V.H. Effective Date and Compliance Schedule

The FAA proposed an effective date of 30 days and a general

compliance date of 1 year after publication of the final rule. The

FAA stated in Notice 95-5 that a final rule, if adopted, would be

published by December 31, 1995, and that within 1 year of that date,

that is, by December 31, 1996, all affected certificate holders that

have air carrier certification or operating certificates issued under

part 135 at the time of publication would have completed the approval

process and obtained new operations specifications giving them

authority to conduct domestic or flag operations under part 121.

Under the proposal, persons who do not already have air carrier

certificates or operating certificates who submit applications for or

obtain air carrier certificates or operating certificates after 30

days after the publication date of the final rule would be required to

obtain part 121 operations specifications; however, these new entrants

would meet the same requirements as the affected commuters, i.e.,

delayed dates for retrofit of airplanes with certain types of


Proposed § 121.2(c) and § 135.2(c) allow for regular or

accelerated compliance with part 121 requirements. Proposed §§

121.2(g) and 135.2(g) also require an affected certificate holder to

submit to the FAA a transition plan for moving from part 135 to part


Comments: Eleven comments were received on this issue. Several

commenters express a desire for an "incremental" or "phased"

compliance schedule. Two commenters are concerned that the proposed

"turnkey" recertification event is high risk with no early rewards or


RAA suggests revising proposed §§ 121.2(c) and 135.2(c) to

require compliance "not later than" 1 year after final rule

publication rather than the proposed "as of," and adding the word

"complete" before "14 CFR part 121 operations specifications." RAA

also suggests adding a new paragraph to the section that would state

that a certificate holder may be authorized under its transition plan

to comply with portions of part 121 instead of the equivalent portions

of part 135 in advance of being issued complete 14 CFR part 121

operations specifications. Accordingly RAA recommends adding to the

transition plan requirements of paragraph (g) a new subparagraph to

include in the transition plans provisions for interim compliance with

portions of part 121 in advance of obtaining complete 14 CFR 121

operations specifications. Other commenters also request provisions

for complying with portions of part 121 in advance of obtaining part

121 operations specifications.

Other commenters also state concerns about FAA's capacity to

facilitate the transition process on schedule. Two commenters

perceive a shortage of trained inspectors and suggest that the

compliance date be extended if an adequate number of inspectors are

not provided by mid year 1996. GAMA suggests a reevaluation of the

implementation schedule of § 121.2(d)(1), citing a questionable number

of aircraft certification service personnel to support the extensive

design approval activity certain to occur. Another commenter

expresses concern over the necessary type certification activity

surrounding modifications and suggests that 1 year is an unrealistic

compliance deadline given the current FAA Aircraft Certification

Office backlog.

RAA is concerned that the population of FAA inspectors qualified

to perform their duties under part 121 will not be able to respond to

the new part 121 air carriers. According to RAA, FAA inspectors must

be trained and qualified to help affected commuters achieve the

transition. RAA recommends a "fill in the blanks manual" to achieve

standardization among FAA regions and districts. If there is an

insufficient number of qualified FAA inspectors, the 1996 compliance

date should be delayed.

ASA proposes a standardized transition program including three

elements: (1) a fill-in-the-blanks manual for transitioning carriers;

(2) an automatic exemption and incremental approval process; and (3)

time schedules from transitioning carriers submitted to FAA.

Mesa Airlines recommends pre-formal certification meetings with

principal operations inspectors (POI's) at an early date to

familiarize both parties with the certification process outlined in

FAA Order 8400.10. According to Mesa, compliance statement

development, individual operator transition plans, GOM (general

operating manual) development, and formal certificate application

should be scheduled for the spring of 1996 to allow adequate review by

respective POI's. According to Mesa this would allow certificate

holders to be running their commuter operations under part 121 rules

by the summer of 1996. This in turn would allow for a start-up phase

for part 121 dispatch operations and modifications to the requirements

for proving runs as proposed in § 121.163 and would eliminate the

necessity for formal initial operating experience (IOE).

There were several comments on specific compliance dates. ALPA is

generally pleased with the compliance schedule, but states that the 4-

year compliance date for the installation of pitot heat indication

systems could be shortened to 2 years, given the relative ease of the

modification. Fairchild Aircraft finds fault with the fact that a 2-

year delay is provided for compliance with emergency exit handle

illumination, but no delay is allowed for compliance with §

121.310(b)(2)(ii), which would require the replacement of exit signs

on new commuter category airplanes. Mesa Airlines suggests that

compliance with part 121 crew flight and duty limitations be changed

to January 1, 1997.

FAA Response: The final rule has a 30-day effective date and a

general compliance date of 15 months after publication of the final

rule. The FAA is extending the general compliance date to be

consistent with the compliance date in the training rulemaking

referenced in Section III. E, Related FAA Action. Also, the proposed

delayed compliance dates for certain retrofit requirements have been

modified in response to comments. The final rule also establishes

delayed compliance dates for meeting the performance operating

limitations of part 121 for certain airplanes. Compliance dates are

provided in § 121.2. This section has been reorganized to separate

compliance dates for 10-19 seat airplanes and those for 20-30 seat

airplanes. Retrofit and performance requirements compliance dates are

listed on Table 1 and discussed in the appropriate place in the


Because of the scope and significance of this rulemaking, the FAA

has already begun planning for the implementation of the final rule.

Training has been provided for inspectors who will be responsible for

overseeing the transition of the affected commuters from part 135 to

part 121 operations. Additional training planned for January 1996

will focus on the recertification and transition process. Extensive

guidance material is being prepared to assist the inspectors during

the transition process. Portions of this material will also be made

available to the affected commuters.

The FAA agrees with Mesa Airlines that meetings between POI's and

affected commuters would help facilitate the preparation of the

transition plan, which is due 90 days from today, and the planning

necessary to ensure that normal operations can continue during the

transition phase. The FAA believes that the training given to its

inspectors, the guidance material being prepared, and a cooperative

working relationship between the affected commuters and the FAA will

ensure a smooth transition to part 121 operations.

The transition plan must include the certificate holder's

proposed calendar of events that shows how and when it plans to make

changes in its operations to meet the requirements of part 121. The

transition plan should also show detailed plans for accomplishing

activities and necessary retrofits for requirements with delayed

compliance dates. The POI and the certificate holder will schedule

the inspections necessary to show compliance with part 121

requirements. When the inspections are complete and the FAA has

determined that the certificate holder can comply with part 121, the

FAA will issue new operations specifications. Until the new

operations specifications are issued, the existing operations

specifications remain in effect. In any case the existing operations

specifications expire on: (1) The date the new operations

specifications are issued; or (2) 15 months from this date of

publication, whichever is earlier. Affected certificate holders who

want to comply with certain part 121 requirements in advance of being

issued complete 14 CFR part 121 operations specifications could

include in their transition plan a phased schedule including advance

compliance for certain part 121 requirements, subject to their POI's


Table 1 - Summary of Modifications shows the compliance dates for

certain retrofit and performance requirements for affected commuters.

Many of these are required by the end of the basic 15-month

compliance period. Affected commuters should be aware that by the

specified date they must comply with all part 121 requirements, not

just the ones listed on Table 1. Although the table includes

additional items that were not listed in the table in Notice 95-5, no

new requirements are involved. Not all requirements are in the table.

The purpose of the table is to show the compliance dates for certain

equipment and performance requirements that necessitate advance

planning for purchasing and installation. Many of the delayed

requirements apply to airplanes in the current fleet, while others

apply only to newly manufactured airplanes.

It should also be noted that § 121.2(h) requires a certificate

holder to comply with corresponding part 135 requirements, as

applicable, in the interval between the effective date of this rule

and when the certificate holder is in compliance with the part 121

requirements. In addition, the intent of § 121.2(h) is also included

in specific sections that have delayed compliance dates.

This table does not apply to certificate holders currently

operating under part 121. The passenger seating configuration numbers

provided in the chart do not mean that the requirement applies only to

that size airplane but rather that the requirement is new for that

size airplane.