Adding New Aircraft Type to Air Taxi Operations Requires Attention to Order


Part 135 air taxi operators seeking to add a new aircraft type to their operations need not wait until they receive notice that their amended Air Taxi Registration form (4507) has been approved before commencing operations with the new aircraft.  A recent FAA legal opinion acknowledged that filing the amended registration pursuant to 14 CFR 298.23, within 30 days after a change occurs, is sufficient to commence or continue operations after adding a new aircraft type.  However, the FAA cautioned that the filing of an amended registration does not relieve the operator of the requirement to obtain approval for any necessary amendment to its operations specifications pursuant to FAR 119.51.  The certificate holder is required to file an application to amend its operations specifications prior to the desired effective date of the amendment, but the amendment is not effective until approved by the FAA.

Therefore, when adding a new aircraft type to its operations, an air taxi operator should obtain approval for any necessary amendment to its operations specifications prior to commencing operations with the new aircraft, but it may file its registration amendment within 30 days after the change occurs and still maintain its exemption.  Any failure to strictly comply with these regulations will likely result in the operator losing its exemption and becoming the subject of an enforcement action.  To avoid these pitfalls, operators should consult with experienced aviation counsel when changing their operations in order to ensure compliance.

Certificate Requirements Not Avoided by Creative Corporate Structure


In a recent memorandum, the FAA scrutinized two complex aircraft lease arrangements involving multiple corporate entities to find that the corporations engaged in wet leasing without the requisite Part 119 certificates.  Although the situations analyzed in the memorandum were hypothetical, they reflect real-world issues that arise when subsidiaries or shell entities are formed for the sole purpose of leasing aircraft within the company or to closely related entities.  Corporations seeking to own or lease aircraft should consult with an aviation attorney experienced in ownership and leasing issues.