The Federal Aviation Administration recently solicited comments on whether it should change the rules governing “public charter” operations. Public charter operations have existed for decades, operating under 14 CFR Part 380, a Department of Transportation economic regulation. In recent years, however, certain public charter companies have created a new business model selling individual seats to the public on scheduled, public-charter flights conducted under Part 135 of the FAA’s safety regulations. Although the FAA has not yet proposed a new rulemaking, its contemplated changes would revise the definitions of “On-Demand Operation”, “Supplemental Operation” and “Scheduled Operation” under 14 C.F.R. § 110.2. These revisions would apply the higher Part 121 safety standard to Part 380 public charter operations, restoring the One Level of Safety standard that FAA has sought to implement for nearly three decades.
Airlines, charter companies, industry associations, airports, and individuals together submitted nearly 60,000 comments. The Wicks Group, PLLC submitted comments on behalf of the County of Westchester, New York in favor of changing the definitions that apply to these new public charter operations. Several of these companies fly out of Westchester County Airport, demanding that the airport permit them to operate from the airport’s Fixed Base Operators, rather than from the passenger terminal served by the airlines.
The County of Westchester’s comments explain how the current public-charter carve-out allows these operations to function under reduced safety and security standards compared to the scheduled commercial airlines using similar aircraft. If this regulatory anomaly were removed, they would be required to operate under the same standards as the airlines. The County also emphasized that airports should be able to decide which airport facility operators must use, especially when selling individual seats to the traveling public, given that these flights are functionally indistinguishable from the airlines with which they compete.
Established in 1999 and based in Washington, DC, TWG represents a host of aviation-related clients, including airlines, air operators, civil aviation authorities, and airports. For more, please contact Glenn Wicks at email@example.com or Michael Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.