Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - 29

Doing Business in a Part 135 Environment
Continued from page 27

during Part 135 legs, but operational
control during empty legs, training
flights, flights carrying aircraft owners,
and maintenance flights must be
determined and is often defined by the
air carrier’s management agreement.
Many operating limitations
are relatively lenient in Part 91
regulations, but are much more strict
in Part 135 regulations. An example
is runway length. In Part 91, runway
length requirements are determined
by aircraft requirements and
capabilities. In Part 135, the aircraft
must be capable of landing within
either 60% or 80% (depending on
the air carrier’s qualifications) of the
runway length. This affects access to
as many as 2,400 smaller airports.
Part 91 has no specific security
requirements. However, most Part
135 flights are subject to the TwelveFive Standard Security Program. This
program requires the air carrier to
compare passenger names to the No
Fly List, as well as comply with other
security standards. However, the
security program with which the air
carrier has to comply is very different
from what you’re accustomed to
when you fly on an airline. Charter
passengers are not subject to metal
detectors or full body scanners. Their
bags are not subject to x-ray screening,
but Part 135 pilots are required to
search baggage if they suspect a
passenger is carrying firearms or other
dangerous items.
Part 91 does not impose specific
flight crew duty time and rest
requirements. Part 135 imposes
specific flight crew duty time and rest
requirements, which differ depending
on the number of flight crewmembers
and other variables.

Aviation Business Journal | 1st Quarter 2013	

Part 91 only requires drug and
alcohol testing following an accident.
Part 135 operators are required to
comply with the same drug and
alcohol testing requirements as air
carriers operating under Part 121. This
means pilots and other individuals
in “safety sensitive” positions (like
mechanics) are subject to preemployment and random drug and
alcohol testing.
Part 91 has no requirement for
flight following. Part 135 requires
the air carrier to know where each
aircraft is at any moment. This is
accomplished through flight following.
Maintenance requirements for
aircraft used only for Part 91 are
dictated largely by the aircraft
manufacturer. In Part 135, the air
carrier must have very specific
maintenance policies, including the
use of an FAA-approved General
Maintenance Manual (for aircraft
with 10 or more seats). Mechanics
must comply with drug and alcohol
testing requirements.
Part 91 has limited training
requirements, mostly limited to Part
61 and aircraft-specific requirements.
Part 135 air carriers must have
detailed training manuals approved
by the FAA. The FAA also requires
Part 135 air carriers to maintain very
detailed training records.
Part 91 operators are not required
to hold Operations Specifications.
Part 135 operators must hold current,
approved Operations Specifications.
Part 91 and Part 135 have very
different tax implications. Part 135
flights are subject to commercial
federal excise tax (FET) on the
amounts paid for air transportation.
This tax is not applicable to most Part

91 operating structures. (Commercial
FET is collected on timesharing,
interchange and demo flights.) FET
must be collected by the air carrier
and remitted on a quarterly basis to
the IRS when operating under FAR
Part 135. Part 91 and Part 135 also
have different depreciation schedules,
which could impact an aircraft
owner’s decision to make an aircraft
available for charter.
Part 135 certification might
make great sense for some aircraft
operators. However, it is not a process
that should be started without a clear
objective in mind. Do you intend to
obtain certification so you can sell
charter to the public? To charge
friends and family for the use of your
airplane (which, by the way, would
be selling charter to the public)?
To take advantage of a different tax
scheme? These and other reasons
might be relevant reasons to obtain
a certificate. But do not begin the
certification process for sport. It is a
time consuming activity that requires
a significant use of resources — for
both the aircraft operator and for
the FAA. Consider the points above
before seeking certification. If you
still believe it is the right path for
you, seek assistance to alleviate
the workload and get the project
completed properly. The certification
process can set the stage for a
successful Part 135 business.
Lindsey McFarren is the president
of McFarren Aviation Consulting,
which specializes in general aviation
safety and operations consulting.
She was named one of aviation’s
“Top 40 Under Forty” in 2012.
www.mcfarrenaviation.com

29



Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013

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