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FAA fans flames of ire
While safety is the overriding goal of every OEM, operator and pilot, the suggestion that more regulations may be on the way doesn’t please everyone.
Read this story in our July 2024 printed issue.

The FAA seems to have set the cat among the pigeons with its talk of amending Part 110 definitions of scheduled, on demand and supplemental operations. If it goes through, it would subject public charters to operating rules based on the same safety parameters as scheduled airlines.

It is also going to convene a Safety Risk Management Panel to assess the feasibility of a new operating authority for scheduled Part 135 operations in 10-30 seat aircraft.

Why are there different regulations governing scheduled and business aviation operations? If you are flying an aircraft filled with people, whether it’s 350 or 10, or indeed two, then surely you need to apply the highest, most stringent safety standards.

Public charter operators currently adhere to Part 135 regs, which are less demanding than the Part 121 rules that govern scheduled airlines. This difference applies to pilot training requirements, security and maintenance protocols.

Pilots of public charter flights can transport up to 30 passengers, but they aren't subject to the 1,500 hour flight training rule that commercial airline pilots must follow. Nor are they forced to retire at 65.

Public charter customers don't have to go through standard TSA airport screening, though the operations are subject to TSA oversight. Should these passengers be screened through a traditional TSA checkpoint?

Who is behind these looming rule changes? The big airlines, fearful of losing market share, even though they don’t service the many smaller airports that public charter flights can nip in and out of? Many fear that changes to public charter regulations would jeopardise service to small communities.

And it comes at a time when developers of electric aircraft are themselves aiming to address both short hops and regional trips, when the range is achievable.

It’s interesting that while safety is the overriding goal of every OEM, operator and pilot, the suggestion that more regulations may be on the way doesn’t please everyone.

Is the FAA going far enough in suggesting that only public charter operators be regulated under the same safety regulations as commercial airlines? Shouldn’t all charter operators fall into line?

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