FAA Part 135 Air Carrier Certification

FAA Part 135 Air Carrier Certification

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FAA Part 135 Air Carrier Certification

Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate
 
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Part 135 Air Carrier Certification

Creating a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate


An air carrier certificate is required to operate aircraft with with passengers or cargo for hire. There are some exceptions, such as sightseeing or air tours.

Owning and operating your own Part 135 air charter may be of interest if you:

Own or lease your own jet.

Have an experienced flight crew.

Want to reduce the cost of ownership.

Want to generate revenue via air transporation.

Can efficiently market, sell, and operate aircraft.

May benefit from a tax advantage.

Have a passion for aviation.

Small jets, e.g., Gulfstream, Learjet, Citation, are governed by Title 14 Part 135 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Large jets, e.g., Airbus, Boeing, are governed by Title 14 Part 121. Additional guidance is accessible at FAA Dynamic Regulatory System. The number of guidance documents is overwhelming.

What is a Part 135 Certificate

A Part 135 certificate authorizes an operator to conduct certain operations for hire The operator must apply, qualify, and be granted FAA authorization via Operations Specifications for each type of operation to be conducted. is performed by the Federal Aviation Administration and is described on their 14 CFR Part 135 Air Carrier and Operator Certification website. See the top of this web page.

Part 135 Certificate Costs

Don't be fooled.

Cost of Manuals Only
Operator TypeCost
Part 135 Single Pilot$3,000
Part 135 Basic$6,000
Part 135 Full Operator$10,000

The Part 135 Full Operator is further partitioned based on the number of passenger seats.

    1. Nine or less passenger seats.
    2. Ten or more passenger seats.
    3. More than 19 passenger seats.

The following tasks are not included in the above estimated costs and can be extensive.

    1. Customization for type of aircraft and type of operations.
    2. Resolution with the FAA Safety Assurance System.
    3. Respond to FAA suggested revisions and questions.
    4. Integration with other documents such as training programs and qualification.
    5. Integration with contract service providers, i.e., training and maintenance.

Other factors that impact certification costs are:

    1. Experience of the flight crew with certification tasks.
    2. Experience of the CFR 119.69 Managers:
      1. Director of Operations
      2. Chief Pilot
      3. Director of Maintenance.
    3. Experience of the assigned FAA Inspectors.
    4. How well the initial aircraft complies with regulations and time limits.
    5. Availability of these personel to support certification.

Average Total Costs
OperatorCost
Full 135 9 or Less$55,000
Full 135 10 or More$110,000
Full 135 More than 19$195,000

The FAA currently has a backlog and there is a two year wait to get started for Part 135 certification.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Part 135 Certificate

Average Total Time
OperatorTime
Full 135 9 or Less3 Months
Full 135 10 or More6 Months
Full 135 More than 1912 Months

USAC has completed hundreds of certification projects over the past three decades. Based on our experience and that of others, an estimate of the factors affecting completion time is summarized in the below table.

Factors Affecting Completion Time
FactorWorstBest
Experience of FAA Inspectors-100%+25%
Experience of Operator 119 Managers-400%+25%
Quality of Manuals-200%+100%
Experience with FAA SAS-400%+500%

USAC Labs created three Full 135 Air Carrier Certificates for aircraft with Ten or More passenger seats using AI and automation technology. The FAA SAS website was replicated in the development environment. This would enable functional and load testing to assure the website was not overloaded. Our AI Document Writer was tailored to accept the Company Profile (form) entered by an Operator (our clients). The Document Writer writes custom manuals based on the Company Profile. These custom manuals are based on manuals that have been approved for over one hundred operators operating worldwide. Automation tools were developed to interact with the FAA SAS website to enter data in the Data Collection Tool (DCT). These three air carriers are fully operational today.

Total time to completion is summarized below. The SAS Data Entry was slowed to 3% of capacity to assure the FAA website was not overloaded.

Best Total Time to Complete
ItemEffort
Manual Creation (AI)30 Minutes
SAS Data Entry4 Hours
SAS DCT Data Entry (AI)4 Hours
SAS DCT Response1 Week
Manual Response to Comments1 Week
Minimum Equipment List4 Weeks
Aircraft Conformity Inspection3 Weeks
Company Indoc Training (AUT)2 Days
General Subjects Training (CTS)2 Weeks
Aircraft-Specific Training (CTP)4 Weeks
Proving and Validation Test Flights1 Week
Delay to Get Started2 Years

Notes

The above table does not include delays, e.g. contract training providers.

It assumes an experienced team of FAA inspectors and operator staff.

Excellent manuals and training are required to assure compliance.

Creating an air carrier certificate for a small aircraft operator may be most cost effective. However, buying and existing company that holds an air carrier certificate may be attractive for large aircraft. There are risks and benefits of both options.

Part 135 Certificate for Sale

It is possible to purchase a company that holds an air carrier certificate. However, an air carrier certificate is legally not a transferable asset. The solution is to purchase an existing air charter company in good standing with the FAA. When searching for an air charter company to purchase, consider the following:

    1. You inherrit debt owed by the purchased company.
    2. The certificate may have past or pending FAA violations.
    3. There may be past or pending legal judgments that affect the business.
    4. You must honor the commitments such as lease agreements and contracts.
    5. They are expensive but the shortest path to operating under Part 135.

USAC creates and sells one charter company with an active air carrier certificate each year. It guarantees that there are no judgments, violations, or debt. It provides support, guidance, and training for a period to get an operators aircraft and pilots added to the certificate in the shortest amount of time. You need to have your own aircraft, pilots, and support staff. The risks are minimal.

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