Classifying aircraft parts for import and export

How to classify aircraft parts and accessories when using the Tariff: guidance to using chapter 88 codes.


Aircraft (powered and non-powered), aircraft parts, satellites and launching equipment are covered in chapter 88 of the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom (the Tariff). Civil aircraft or parts for use in civil aircraft (where designated) are subject to end use control. The description ‘civil aircraft’ is defined as aircraft other than aircraft used in military or similar services in the EU member states which carry a military or non-civil registration. For all relevant nomenclature descriptions ‘civil aircraft’ is to be taken to include civil ground flying trainers.

The subheading 8802 11 00 covers multi-rotor helicopters (so-called ‘drones’ of an unladen weight not exceeding 2,000 kilograms) of different sizes which can operate autonomously (to a pre-programmed destination) or are remotely piloted by the user.

If they have the character of toys or recreational models, they are classified under heading 9503. See the Explanatory notes to the Combined Nomenclature to that heading.

Drones integrated with a camera must be considered under heading 852580.

This guide will help you classify aircraft parts and accessories using the Tariff.

Find commodity codes and other measures applying to imports and exports by accessing the online UK Trade Tariff tool.

What are considered to be ‘parts of aircraft’ in heading 8803

Heading 8803 of the Integrated Tariff of the United Kingdom covers parts of the goods falling in heading 8801 or 8802, provided that those parts fulfil both of the following conditions:

  • they must be identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the goods of headings 8801 (balloons and dirigibles, gliders and hang gliders and other non-powered aircraft), or 8802 (other aircraft (helicopters aeroplanes), spacecraft (including satellites) and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles
  • they must not be excluded by the provisions of the notes to section XVII of the Tariff

Items excluded by the provisions of the notes to section XVII

The expressions ‘parts’ and ‘parts and accessories’ don’t apply to the following articles, whether they are identifiable as for the goods of this section:

  • joints, washers and the like of any material (classified according to their constituent material or in heading 8484) or other articles of vulcanised rubber other than hard rubber (heading 4016)
  • parts of general use, as defined in note 2 to section XV, of base metal (section XV), or similar goods of plastics (chapter 39)
  • articles of chapter 82 (tools)
  • articles of heading 8306
  • machines or apparatus of headings 8401 to 8479, or parts of that, articles of heading 8481 or 8482 or, provided they constitute integral parts of engines or motors, articles of heading 8483
  • electrical machinery or equipment (chapter 85)
  • articles of chapter 90
  • articles of chapter 91
  • arms (chapter 93)
  • lamps or lighting fittings of heading 9405
  • brushes of a kind used as parts of vehicles (heading 9603)

References in chapters 86 to 88 to ‘parts and accessories’ don’t apply to parts and accessories which aren’t suitable for use solely or mainly with the articles of those chapters. A part or accessory which answers to a description in 2 or more of the headings of those chapters is classified under that heading which corresponds to the main use of that part or accessory.

There are other exclusions not mentioned in the above notes, where there are specific raised headings for the items, for example:

  • 700721 80 10 - laminated safety glass - windshields, not framed, for use in civil aircraft
  • 940110 00 - seats of a kind used for aircraft

Where items are mentioned under their own raised heading, they are to be classified to their respective raised heading and not as parts under 8803.

The section and chapter notes should be used at all times when classifying any product. It should never be assumed that because ‘parts’ are intended for aircraft they will be classified under heading 8803. 

Heading 8803 covers parts of the goods covered in heading 8801 or 8802 and includes:

Parts of balloons and dirigibles such as:

  • nacelles
  • envelopes and parts of that (strips or panels)
  • carrier hoops
  • ballonets
  • rigid frames and sections of that
  • stabilisers and rudders
  • propellers for dirigibles

Parts of aircraft including gliders and kites, such as:

  • fuselages and hulls, fuselage or hull sections, also their internal or external parts (for example, radomes, tail cones, fairings, panels, partitions, luggage compartments, floors, instrument panels, frames, doors, escape chutes, windows, port-holes) - the windows and portholes mentioned here are of laminated glass and framed - if unframed they are classified in 7007
  • wings and their components (spars, ribs, cross-members)
  • control surfaces, whether or not movable (for example, ailerons, slats, spoilers, flaps, elevators, rudders, stabilisers, servo-tabs)
  • nacelles, cowlings, engine pods and pylons
  • undercarriages (including brakes and brake assemblies) and their retracting equipment, wheels (with or without tyres), landing skis
  • seaplane floats
  • propellers (airscrews), rotors for helicopters and gyroplanes, blades for propellers and rotors, pitch control mechanisms for propellers and rotors
  • control levers (control columns, rudder-bars and various other operational levers)
  • fuel tanks, including auxiliary fuel tanks

Goods often misclassified as parts

Please note any products listed below that are covered by heading 9930, will be classified in this heading.

Rubber hoses are classified in chapter 40 whether they have fittings, for example, hoses with fittings for aircraft are classified in heading 4009.

Gaskets and seals are usually cut to specific shapes. If made of vulcanised rubber, they are classified in heading 4016, specifically in subheading 401693.

Items of hard rubber are classified in heading 4017. Gaskets and similar joints of metal sheeting, combined with other materials, are covered by heading 8484, specifically in subheading 848410. If made of a single layer of one metal, the goods will be classified as an article of that specific metal.

Electrical insulating materials such as heat shrink polyolefin tube with no electrical connections would be classified according to its material, rather than its use. Polyolefin is a plastic material and would be classified in chapter 39.

Paints, adhesives, fillers and mastics are all classified to their respective headings.

Automatic data processing (ADP) machines are classified under heading 8471, see note 5(A) to chapter 84, and in particular note 5(A) (2). This heading is intended primarily to cover laptop and desktop PCs, which allow the user full interactivity for example, by word processing and spreadsheet applications.

ADP machines that can only operate on fixed programmes, which can’t be modified by the user, (even if they can choose between several fixed programmes), are classified within their own specific raised headings, and not as a part of an ADP machine, see note 5(E) to chapter 84, ‘Machines incorporating or working in conjunction with an automatic data-processing machine and performing a specific function other than data processing are to be classified in the heading appropriate to their respective functions or, failing that, in residual headings.’ For example, navigational equipment is classified in heading 9014.

Radios for radio broadcasting reception only - heading 8527. For reception and transmission - heading 8517. Parts of radios will also be classified, subject to certain important exceptions, within chapter 85 (see note 2 to section XVI). 

Radio navigation equipment including GPS systems (Global Positioning Satellite) - heading 8526. Parts of radio navigation equipment will also be classified, subject to certain important exceptions, within chapter 85 (see note 2 to section XVI).

Other navigational instruments and appliances including Sonar - heading 9014. Parts and accessories of other navigational instruments and appliances will also be classified, subject to certain important exceptions, within chapter 90 (see note 2 to chapter 90).

Weapons computers - chapter 93. Any computer that’s integral to, or specially designed for a particular weapon, would be classified in the appropriate parts heading. The complete weapon including the weapons computers would be classified in the appropriate heading within chapter 93. (Please note it is unlikely for weapons system computer to be classfied to 8471, being as these computers have a function other than data processing).

Measuring or checking instruments, appliances and machines, including test sets will be classified within chapter 90.

Test benches generally consist of a frame with a measuring or calibrating instrument. They are used to test engines, motors, electrical generators, pumps, speed indicators, tachometers and so on - heading 9031. If the ‘test set’ is checking a specific parameter they may be classified elsewhere in an appropriate raised heading in chapter 90. For example, checking voltage 9030. 

Flight simulators are classified in heading 8805. If the simulator is mounted on a motor vehicle, chassis or trailer, then it is classified within heading 8705 or 8716 depending on its specific features or capabilities,see explanatory notes. Parts and accessories of simulators will also be classified, subject to certain important exceptions, within chapter 87 (see notes 2 and 3 to section XVII).

Printed circuit boards are classified according to what function they perform, or as a part of the machine they are designed for use with.

Carpets and other floor coverings, of textile or rubber, whether or not cut to shape, are to be classified in chapter 57 (textile) or chapter 40 (rubber).

Articles that are intended for replenishment of consumable supplies, or to be sold on board for example after shave, perfume and sun creams. are also excluded from classification in this section, and are to classified under their respective headings.

End-use relief provisions for civil aircraft parts

Importers who wish to take advantage of the end-use relief provisions are required to be authorised by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) before they import or receive goods affected by these provisions. 

Relief from customs duty is provided for:

  • civil aircraft (aircraft other than aircraft used in military or similar services in the EU member states which carry a military or non-civil registration)
  • certain goods for use in civil aircraft (including goods for use in ground flying-trainers for civil use) and for incorporation within in the course of their manufacture, repair, maintenance, rebuilding, modification or conversion
  • ground flying-trainers and their parts, for civil use

Relief from customs duties is subject to the conditions laid down in the relevant Community provisions with a view to customs control of the use of such goods, see Articles 291 to 300 of Commission Regulation (EEC) 2454/93.

An alternative to using end use relief is the certificate of airworthiness scheme. Parts, components and other goods falling within chapters 25 to 97 of the Tariff which are to be incorporated in or used in the manufacture, repair, maintenance, rebuilding, modification or conversion of civil aircraft imported with a certificate of airworthiness may be entered to this procedure. Any certificate of airworthiness issued by a party authorised by European aviation authorities or aviation authorities of a third country will be valid to enter goods under this procedure.

It doesn’t cover:

  • semi-manufactured parts or components or raw materials which have a manufacturers certificate of conformity
  • serviceable parts which are imported for repair

Details of the scheme are contained in the UK Trade Tariff: suspensions from Customs Duty.

Further information

The free on-line UK Trade Tariff is available for you to look up classification codes. This offers easy access to tariff information by providing commodity code and duty rate listings together with a search engine to facilitate enquiries and allow self-service to commodity code information.

If after visiting this site you are unable to self-assess your products, you can request additional support by sending a request by email to

Please make sure that one item only is detailed per email and that the request includes the following type of information, so that we can deal with your enquiry efficiently:

  • what the product is
  • what it is made of, if made or more than one material please explain the breakdown of the materials
  • what it is used for
  • how the product works or functions
  • how it is presented or packaged

A classification officer will then email a response back to you providing you with non-legally binding classification advice based on the information you have given.

Published 2 August 2012
Last updated 21 March 2017 + show all updates
  1. The introduction section of the guidance has been updated.
  2. Change of service contact details, as of the 1 September 2015 the tariff classification helpline is changing from telephone contact to email.
  3. First published.