Aviation Groups Question Regulatory Overhaul for Flights Vital to Underserved Communities

Contact: Dan Hubbard, 202-431-5970, dhubbard@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, Oct. 13, 2023 – Seven leading aviation groups joined today to comment on a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) notice proposing sweeping revisions to regulations that impact Part 135 charter operators, including on-demand air carriers operating Department of Transportation (DOT)-authorized public charter operations, which provide vital air service to small communities.

“Changes to regulatory definitions could have unintended negative consequences throughout the entire Part 135 community – an established industry segment providing safe and secure transportation options that meet the diverse needs of thousands of communities across the nation,” wrote the coalition.

View the full comments.

In August, the FAA issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) suggesting potential revisions to the regulatory definitions of “on-demand operation,” “supplemental operation” and “scheduled operation” under 14 CFR Part 110. FAA regulations govern the operations of air carriers, while DOT Part 380 regulations address economic authority for those offering public charters. Current regulations allow a part 380 operator to work with any air carrier, including on-demand carriers operating under Part 135.

“For more than 45 years, Part 135 carriers have operated aircraft safely and reliably on behalf of public charter operators under DOT Part 380, unlocking substantial public benefits and providing valuable air transportation to many communities that otherwise would not have commercial air service,” the aviation groups said in their filing. 

“Changing regulations could eliminate well-paying jobs at all levels of the industry while hurting economic competition, carbon emissions reduction, emerging technologies, aviation innovation, and service to small communities. Any changes to the regulation should be driven not by the economic interest of competitors, but by an identified safety need.”

In putting forward the notice, FAA officials presented a data set pointing to the growth in flights conducted under Part 380 over the past decade as the basis for the agency’s proposed regulatory review. However, the operational increase has come with no major incidents or accidents under the current regulatory framework, which makes the motive for the FAA’s action unclear.

While the number of Part 380 operations has increased over the past decade in response to declines in commercial airline service to smaller communities, those flights comprise a very small part of the more than 52 million total operations within the national airspace system in 2022.

Comments to the FAA notice were submitted and co-signed by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), International Flight Services Association (IFSA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). 

Today’s comments follow concerns expressed by several associations earlier this year about inaccurate characterizations of Part 135 operators conducting Part 380 public charter flights in response to one carrier’s economic application to the agency to launch such an operation. Read the coalition’s June 30, 2023, press release about Part 135 flights operating under Part 380 regulations.

The groups are committed to a robust and comprehensive discussion about repercussions of any regulatory action and recommend an aviation rulemaking committee to facilitate such discussion and consideration.      

# # #

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (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 10,000 company and professional members and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at nbaa.org.

Members of the media may receive NBAA Press Releases immediately via email. To subscribe to the NBAA Press Release email list, submit the online form.