Bahrain: A Guide On Licenses Under Civil Aviation Affairs In Bahrain 2018 - 2019

Last Updated: 6 June 2019
Article by STA Law Firm

Getting the basics right

No person should depose the duties as a flight crew member of an aircraft, unless and until, such person holds a valid license; which reads his compliance with the required specifications of the ANTR Part II and is considered appropriate to depose the duties that are expected to be performed. The license to be considered valid should be issued by the State of Registry of the respective aircraft or in the alternative by any other Contracting State. However, it should be rendered valid by the State of Registry of that own the aircraft. All flight crew members, at all times should carry their respective and appropriate licenses on board of every aircraft which is engaged in international air navigation.

The license holders should always carry their licenses whenever they are exercising their duties and privileges of the said license.

The holder of the said license should dispose of his duties and have privileges within the guidelines of the said license.  Hence, at no point of time shall any person holding a permit indulge in an activity or task which is beyond the permitted levels and guidelines of the said license unless the said person is permitted to do so by the CAA (Civil Aviation Affairs).

II. What is the role of the CAA?

The primary role of the CAA is to regulate and issue various technical directives towards air transportation and airworthiness, that apply to all aircrafts which are entering or exiting the territories of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The CCA also plays a regulatory role by acting as a governing body for setting the laws and regulations with relation to aviation; and is also responsible for making sure that the said rules and regulations are well honoured and compiled by all the stakeholders; and that all stakeholders meet their obligations towards the framed laws and regulations.

The CAA also holds the responsibility for issuing of licenses towards various activities such as the registration of aircraft, licenses carrying personnel status, the operation of aircraft, and scheduling of airlines. The CAA also provides meteorological information which includes services such as weather forecasts and reports.

III. Which are the Directorates that fall under the Civil Aviation Affairs? 

Aeronautical Licensing: Holds the crucial responsibility towards Flight Safety Oversight of the aviation industry of Bahrain, further ensuring the compliance with the established regulations, as per the Bahrain Civil Aviation Law, Navigation Technical Regulations, and the ICAO Standard and Recommended Practices. This directorate also holds the responsibility towards the issuing of licenses to aircraft operations and airworthiness. 

Air Navigation System: This directorate holds the responsibility towards the systems such as radars, communications such as ground to air and ground to ground, aid towards navigation and meteorology), and also towards achieving the safety standards to meet the ICAO requirements.

Air Traffic Management: This directorate holds the responsibility to manage the Air Traffic Control Services which fall within Bahrain information region and the Bahrain International Region. Their responsibility also includes management of aeronautical information, planning airspace, matching up to the standards of the ICAO and its recommendations while it comes to incurring search and rescue.

Air Transport: This directorate is responsible for making air transport regulations, conventions, agreements, and permissions pertaining to airline scheduling. Further, this directorate also looks into the issuing of licenses for cargos and other activities concerning aviation.

Aviation Security: This directorate undertakes the responsibility to make sure that all airport security agencies are in compliance with the National Civil Aviation Security Program and also determine the level of security with compliance to the standards set by the International Aviation Organisation.

Aviation Safety and Security: This directorate undertakes the responsibility of ensuring the compliance of airport service providers and operators as well as the air navigation with regards to the safety standards which are well specified in the Civil Aviation Regulation documents and the National Civil Aviation Program, along with the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Meteorology: This directorate is responsible for providing all government entities, marine operations, civil aviation, media, military, and the general public with weather-related information, advice, and meteorological services.

IV. What are the Licenses issued by the Bahrain CAA? 

Even though the Bahrain CAA issues license with a separate test of certification, they have very well ensured that the other states are easily able to ascertain and determine the privileges attached to such licenses, as well as, the validity of the rating of the said licenses. The CAA issues licenses such as cabin crew, airplanes, helicopters, gliders, powered lift, free balloon pilot, airship, aircraft maintenance engineer, and flight dispatcher.

V. What are the general rules governing pilot licenses and ratings?

It is a well-established law that any person should not perform or indulge into any sort of activity as a pilot in command or a co-pilot of any of the categories such as airplanes, helicopters, power lifts, gliders, free balloon and airship (of a volume of more than 4600 cubic meters), unless the person is holding a valid pilot license issued by the relevant and competent authorities. The title of the permit itself should show the category of the aircraft.

Further, before being issued a license with regards to any of the above mentioned categories, it shall be made sure and confirmed that the applicant meets the set standards and fulfils the requirements to be licensed. These standards include measures such as belonging to a certain age, having the required knowledge, holding the relevant experience, awareness to flight instruction, having the required skill, and fitness level.

It is anticipated that until March 5th, 2022, a type rating may be endorsed by the authorities for aircraft that belong to the power lift category on an aeroplane or helicopter pilot license. This endorsement on the grant will be an indication that the aircraft belongs to the powered lift category. The training for this type rating, with regards to the powered lift category, shall be completed during approved training and shall also take into consideration the previous experience of the applicant with regards to aeroplanes and helicopters.

Further, category rating is mentioned in the licenses itself and hence, is not well established. Any pilot who is seeking an addition to his previous license should be evaluated and tested to know if he matches up to the requirements of the license for which he is trying an addition.

Class rating is meant to be established for aeroplanes that are holding certifications for single-pilot operations and are intended to comprise of single engine and multiple engines (land), and individual and various engines (sea). On the other hand, a type rating is meant to be established for those aircrafts that are holding a certification to operate with a minimum crew of 2 pilots.  Further, helicopters carry certification for single-pilot operation, except in a case where a class rating is issued or an aircraft is considered necessary by the CAA. However, the applicant should possess and demonstrate the skills and knowledge of the required quality and standards of the class in which the applicant is seeking the rating. It is pertinent to note that when a type rating is issued wherein the privileges are limited to act as a co-pilot or to work as a pilot only when the flight is in the cruise phase, the said limitation should be endorsed on the rating.

When making use of a flight simulation training device for demonstrating and evaluating the skill for the issuance of a licence or rating, the same should be approved from the CAA, who shall further make sure that the flight stimulation device which has been used is up to the mark and required standards.

The authority who has issued the pilot licence shall not permit the holder to act as a pilot in command or a co-pilot of an aircraft under the instrument flight rules, unless the holder of the said licence has received the authorisation from the valid authorities. Valid permission consists of a proper instrument rating which shall be appropriate to the aircraft authority. This could be considered to be a situation where an appropriate evaluation of an instrument will be required.

VI. What are the requirements to be eligible to obtain a Flight Dispatcher Licence?

An applicant, having made an application for a flight dispatcher licence, should match up to the required criteria for issuing the said licence. The requirements which are to be fulfilled by the applicant before being considered eligible to be issued a licence are the age of the applicant, his competent knowledge, his experience and skill, and the rest as mentioned in the primary criteria for obtaining the said licence.

The applicant should be more than 21 years of age and should possess the required knowledge as specified in the eligibility criteria of the said licence.

Criteria for required knowledge:  The applicant shall be well acquainted with the rules and regulations of the flight dispatcher licence, and should also be well read with the procedures and practices of the air traffic service.

With regards to aircraft, he should possess the required knowledge of the basic principles of operating aeroplane engines (including its system and instruments), operating limitations of aeroplanes and engines, and the minimum equipment list.

With regards to the calculation of flight performance, its planning procedure, and loading; the applicant shall possess knowledge relating to the impact of mass distribution and loading on the performance of the aircraft and its characteristics; and the calculations about mass and balance. 

The applicant shall possess knowledge with regards to operational flight planning, which shall include calculations about endurance and fuel consumption, in route cruise control, and extended range operations. This shall also include knowledge with regards to preparing and filing air traffic services, as well as, being aware of the principles of computer-assisted planned systems. The applicant shall be well-informed about the principles and criteria of threat and management of error relevant to dispatch duties.

Such applicant must also have knowledge with regard to aeronautical meteorology and the movement of pressure systems; and shall also maintain an understanding with regards to the origin and characteristics of the necessary and relevant weather phenomena which holds an effect on the conditions during take-off, en-route, and landing.  The applicant shall know how to interpret aeronautical meteorological reports, charts and forecasts.

He shall be well read with code and abbreviations as well as with the required procedure for obtaining information about meteorology.

The applicant shall possess knowledge with regards to air navigation and its principles about instrument flights. The applicant should have an understanding of the operational procedures, such as the use of aeronautics documentation, the process for carriage of freights and various dangerous goods, the required method to be adopted at times of emergency and accidents. Such applicant must be aware of the procedure to be followed in the event of impacts such as unlawful interference or sabotage of the aircraft.

The applicant should be aware of the appropriate category of aircraft and its principles; also the applicant should be able to comprehend the relevant procedures for connecting and communicating with an aircraft and the situationally required ground stations. Criteria for required experience: The applicant should possess the requisite experience as specified in the eligibility criteria of the said licence, which requires the applicant to have a total of 2 years' experience with regards to serving in one or in a combination of the capacities as mentioned below. Further, for any combination of experience, a minimum one year of service should be rendered as

  1. a member of a flight crew in an air transportation, or 
  2. a meteorologist who has worked with an organisation with the responsibility of dispatching aircraft in the air transportation industry, or 
  3. an air traffic controller,  technical supervisor of flight dispatchers, or with the air transportation flight operations systems.

The applicant should have at least one year experience of working as an assistant in the dispatch of air transport or should have completed a course of the approved training.

The applicant should have the experience of working under the guidance and supervision of a flight dispatcher for a minimum of 90 days which shall be within the immediate six months of the applicant's application for sanctioning of the licence.

Criteria for required skill: The applicant shall possess the necessary skill as specified in the eligibility criteria of the said licence, as per the same the applicant shall be capable of making a precise and operationally acceptable weather analysis which shall be from a series of multiple weather maps and reports. He should possess the skill of providing a briefing on the weather conditions which are prevailing in and around a specific air route. He should be skilled to forecast the weather trends towards air transportation concerning the assigned destination and alternatives. The applicant shall possess the skills of the most accurate flight path within a given segment and also should have the capability of creating manual as well as computer generated plans for flights. The applicant shall have the skills to provide assistance and guidance to a flight which has found itself to be in an actual or stimulated condition of adverse weather. The applicant should possess the capability of recognising and managing threats and errors.

VII. What are the requirements to be eligible to obtain a Private Pilot Licence?

An applicant having made an application for a private pilot licence should match up to the required criteria which are the baselines for the issuing of the said licence. The applicant should possess the necessary knowledge which is with regards to the privileges granted to a private pilot licence holder and also following the standards of the category of the aircraft licence. 

The applicant should have obtained more than 17 years of age. The applicant should possess the required knowledge as specified in the eligibility criteria of the said licence.

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