2006 Press Releases

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Letter From NBAA President Updates Members About FAA Policies for Management of Chartered Aircraft

Contact: Dan Hubbard at (202) 783-9360 or dhubbard@nbaa.org

WASHINGTON, DC, December 29, 2006 – National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen today issued a letter alerting NBAA Members to a directive, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), concerning "operational control," a term used to describe the systems and procedures involved in the safe and legal operation of an aircraft.

The new FAA guideline, known as operation specification, or "OpSpec," A008, will be issued to Part 135 operators within 60 days from receipt of notification by the air carrier's principal inspector, and by March 15, 2007, at the latest. OpSpec A002 also has been revised by the FAA to contain new definitions.

An accident in 2005 involving complex and confusing aircraft owner and charter arrangements brought the issues surrounding operational control under heightened scrutiny from the FAA. The agency discovered that, in some cases, the lack of clarity in an agreement prompted uncertainty about the qualifications of the parties involved with the operation of an aircraft. The document issued by the FAA today outlines detailed specifications concerning what constitutes an appropriate, or inappropriate, operational control relationship.

"One thing is for certain – it has never been clearer that charter operators must retain operational control of all charter flights at all times," Bolen's letter states. "FAA has been aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against charter operators who have relinquished, surrendered, or lost operational control. Don't let this happen to you."

Bolen's letter makes the following recommendations:
  • Charter companies should conduct a thorough review of their operational control systems and explain what "operational control" means for aircraft owners, pilots, charter brokers and others involved in a charter operation.
  • Aircraft owners should understand and adhere to limitations placed on their involvement with a charter company's control of aircraft and crew used in charter operations.
As the FAA developed the guidelines issued today, NBAA coordinated a series of meetings between NBAA Members and FAA officials to ensure that the voice of the business aviation community was heard on the issue of operational control, and that policies concerning the matter would be effective and workable. FAA officials listened to many of the industry's concerns and incorporated a number of them into the revised OpSpec A008.

"While NBAA succeeded in removing the particularly harmful provisions in the draft OpSpec, and securing a significantly improved final document, the FAA could not make every change for which NBAA advocated because of existing regulations and long-standing regulatory interpretations," Bolen's letter continues. "NBAA will closely monitor this [situation] and address our Members' on-going concerns with the FAA."

In the coming weeks, NBAA's staff and volunteer Committee members will publish additional resources to assist the Association's Membership in understanding and complying with OpSpec A008. In the meantime, information about it is available on NBAA's web site at http://web.nbaa.org/public/ops/part135/wetlease/.

Download and review Bolen's letter in its entirety (120 KB, PDF).

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association, Inc. (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 7,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.