Business aviation groups are concerned that guidance the Federal Aviation Administration released last week about wet leases could devastate the Part 135 industry. In a notice printed in the Oct. 25 Federal Register, FAA seeks comments on guidance discussing what would be considered legal and illegal wet lease arrangements - those involving the lease of an aircraft and at least one crewmember.
"It has long been contrary to Federal Aviation Regulations for an air carrier to 'wet lease' an aircraft from an individual or entity that is not separately authorized to engage in common carriage," FAA said, adding that the notice attempts to clarify what is permissible. The notice also is intended to address "certain other commercial arrangements" that exist between carriers and aircraft owners that, while not illegal wet leases, "could nevertheless result in the air carrier impermissibly ceding operational control of flight to non-certificated entities."
FAA said it understands aircraft owners lease aircraft to Part 135 operators to recover costs, and said, "Nothing in this guidance is intended to bar these arrangements." The agency has no objections, it said, as long as the carrier maintains operational control. However, FAA stated the "carrier may not enter into any contract by which it agrees directly or indirectly to utilize only the aircraft owner's or lessor's pilots when conducting Part 135 flights.
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