NATA Has Concerns With FAA Proposed Rule Part 135 Rulemaking


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NATA Has Concerns With FAA Proposed Rule Part 135 Rulemaking

By Shane Nolan

September 20, 2010 — The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has conducted its initial review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) new proposed rule addressing pilot hours-of-service rules for Part 121 airlines.

While the association supports the FAA’s decision to pursue separate rulemaking initiatives for Parts 121 and 135, NATA is deeply concerned about language contained in the proposed rule regarding the FAA’s plan for future Part 135 rulemaking. 

In its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FAA states that “part 135 operations are very similar to those conducted under part 121. . .” and that the Part 135 operator should “expect to see an NPRM addressing its operations that looks very similar to, if not exactly like, the final rule the agency anticipates issuing as part of this rulemaking initiative.” 


“I wish I could only say that I was shocked at the FAA’s statement that Part 121 and 135 operations are ‘very similar,’” NATA President James K. Coyne stated. “But anyone who has any inkling of the vast array of operations that take place and geographic settings common within the Part 135 community would know better than to make this ridiculous comparison. 

“The fact that the statement came from our aviation regulatory authority makes me wonder just how familiar the FAA is with the makeup of the Part 135 community and question the agency’s commitment to honoring the letter and spirit of rulemaking guidance that requires the FAA to consider the specific costs, benefits and regulatory alternatives that may be appropriate for different types of operators.” 

NATA, other aviation trade organizations, numerous aircraft operators and FAA staff invested substantial time and effort to provide the agency with a comprehensive proposal creating a new regulatory system for on-demand operators that addresses concerns about pilot fatigue. 

This comprehensive rulemaking proposal was created through the Part 125/135 Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) several years ago. To date, the FAA has not provided any feedback on the proposal, nor has the agency moved to provide an NPRM based upon the ARC recommendations. 

“I hope the FAA will not scrap a comprehensive, well thought out proposal that could have been implemented years ago instead of allowing it to collect dust,” Coyne concluded. “NATA supports the revised pilot flight, duty and rest regulations contained in that proposal and encourages the FAA to take action on it rather than trying to fit nonscheduled pilots and operations into the rigid scheduled airline model.”


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