Safe Air Charter Operations
The FAA works aggressively to identify and shut down rogue air charter operators and to help passengers ensure the company they hire is legitimate.
Air charter operations — also known as commuter and on demand operations — require a higher level of FAA pilot training and certification, aircraft maintenance procedures, and operational safety rules, than pilots who may take family or friends for an airplane ride. FAA inspectors perform more frequent periodic checks on air charter companies’ pilots, crewmembers and aircraft than they do on private pilot operations. And charter companies’ crewmembers must undergo regular proficiency checks to maintain their FAA certifications.
The FAA has taken a number of actions to ensure FAA aviation inspectors are equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to investigate illegal charter operations. The agency formed a Special Emphasis Investigations Team to investigate complex cases; partners with the National Air Transportation Association (NATA)'s Air Charter Safety Foundation to help identify possible illegal operations; and continues to collaborate with industry trade associations to educate pilots and operators to ensure they understand all of the rules that apply to charter operations.
It's important to verify the legitimacy of the charter operator before you before you book your flight. When paying for an Air Charter, ask to see the Operator's Air Carrier or Operating Certificate to validate that the aircraft has authorization for charter use. If the operator refuses to allow you to see the required authorization, look for a charter operator willing to provide you with that information. Before entering into an aircraft lease, ensure you understand and are willing to accept your responsibilities for compliance with air safety regulations.
Learn more about Chartering an Aircraft, A Consumer Guide to Help You Fly Smarter (PDF).