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Regulatory Brief -- European Mandatory Aircraft Insurance Requirements

Regulatory Brief

European Mandatory Aircraft Insurance Requirements

The issue

Effective April 30, 2005, new European (EC) regulations require that all aircraft operators (both commercial and private) carry liability insurance coverage with respect to passengers, baggage, cargo, and third parties when operating within, into, out of, or over the territory of a European Union (EU) Member State. The required insurance includes coverage for war, terrorism, hijacking, sabotage, unlawful seizure of aircraft, and civil commotion.


As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, and the ratification by the EU and its member states of a new Montreal Convention of International Commercial Air Transport, the EU has introduced a new regulation that makes insurance compulsory for both commercial and private aircraft.

The importance to our members

The new regulation will significantly impact general aviation owners of U.S.-registered light single- and twin-engine aircraft that travel to or within Europe because the level of insurance now required cannot be easily or affordably obtained through U.S. insurers.

Private aircraft operators will now be responsible for having the necessary insurance coverage regardless of whether they own or lease the aircraft. Failure of U.S.-registered aircraft operators to comply with the regulation may lead to refusal of the right to land by the relevant EU Member State. Additionally, if the relevant authorities of EU Member States are not satisfied that the conditions of the regulation are being met, aircraft will not be allowed to take off until the requisite insurance coverage has been evidenced.

Each EU member state has the right to inspect aircraft landing in that state and may require verification of compliance with the new insurance regulation. A current insurance certificate showing the required coverages should be carried on board the aircraft as evidence of compliance to avoid unexpected and expensive delays and possible refusal to land in EU territory.

Significant provisions

Passenger Liability:

  • $250,000 SDRs (Special Drawing Right as defined by the International Monetary Fund) or $378,425 U.S. dollars* per passenger on aircraft weighing 2,700 kg (5,954 lb) or more.
  • EU Member States may apply a reduced insurance minimum of 100,000 SDRs or $151,370 U.S. dollars per passenger for non-commercial operations by aircraft weighing less than 2,700 kg (5,954 lb).

Third Party Liability Per Aircraft:

Up to MTOW (kg) MTOW (lb) SDRs U.S. Dollars*
500 1,103 750,000 $1,135,275
1,000 2,205 1,500,000 $2,270,550
2,700 5,953 3,000,000 $4,541,100
6,000 13,228 7,000,000 $10,595,900
12,000 26,456 18,000,000 $27,246,600
25,000 55,116 80,000,000 $121,096,000
50,000 110,232 150,000,000 $227,055,000
200,000 440,925 300,000,000 $454,110,000
500,000 1,102,312 500,000,000 $756,850,000
Over 500K See Above 700,000,000 $1,059,590,000

MTOW = Maximum takeoff weight
* Rate as of April 19, 2005

As an example, a Cessna 182 carrying a pilot and three passengers and operating non-commercially would require $4,995,210 of insurance coverage, assuming the EU Member State applies the reduced amount for passenger liability. This figure was calculated as follows:

$4,541,100 + $454,110 ($151,370 x 3 passengers) = $4,995,210

The insurance requirements related to risks of war and terrorism does not apply to aircraft with a MTOW of less than 500 kg (1,103 lb) used for non-commercial purposes or flight instruction.

AOPA's position

AOPA believes that the new regulation creates a hardship and is unfair toward the owners and operators of small general aviation aircraft who have their airplanes based in Europe or only fly there occasionally. There are more than 500 individually owned U.S.-registered airplanes based in European countries, and close to 100 more of our members make at least one annual trip to Europe in their privately owned airplane. While most of these owners/operators carry liability insurance, the level of insurance required by the new regulation would not be easily obtainable or affordable through U.S. insurers. It is likely that for most, the decision would be to not fly their airplanes to Europe anymore.

AOPA recognizes the difficulty for operators of light single- and twin-engine aircraft to obtain liability coverage in excess of $1 million on their aircraft from U.S. underwriters. For this reason, AOPA is talking with insurance companies to determine the feasibility of providing temporary liability insurance coverage for those members desiring to fly to Europe for a one-time trip or long-term liability insurance coverage for those on an extended stay.

Updated Thursday, January 18, 2007 4:29:35 PM