Calls For Clarity In Air Charter Agreements
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO
Ed Bolen issued a letter Friday 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
The new FAA guideline, known as operation specification, or
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.
The NBAA states 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
The document issued by the FAA 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 new guidelines, 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.
NBAA states FAA officials listened to many of the industry's
concerns, and incorporated a number of them into the revised OpSpec
"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."