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Safety and the U.S. Part 135 On-Demand Charter Industry

The U.S. on-demand air charter industry comprises more than 2,000 air operators that utilize many different types of aircraft from small, single-engine airplanes and helicopters, to business jets able to fly more than 6,000 miles between landings.

These on demand air carriers are governed by Part 135 of the Federal Air Regulations.  The FAA is charged with the oversight of implementing and maintaining adherence to these regulations.  These regulations, by nature, must recognize the diverse nature of the on demand charter industry and preserve the flexibility needed to operate a wide range of aircraft for a very diverse range of customers.

While FAA oversight is comprehensive, the best on-demand air charter companies go far beyond the FAA regulations to ensure passenger safety.  Some charter operators invest in systems and processes that significantly exceed minimum FAA regulations.  But, it can be very challenging to identify these operators.

In 2007, the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), with significant input from the air charter industry, developed a common Industry Audit Standard (IAS) to which all on-demand air charter operators and fractional aircraft ownership management companies can be evaluated. The IAS is based on the airline auditing standard that has been successful at reducing risk in that industry.

A safety review of on-demand charter operators by Robert E. Breiling Associates indicates that operators adhering to a higher standard, such as the ACSF IAS, have loss rates significantly lower than the industry average. For example, a five-year review of safety data by Breiling revealed that  business jets operated under Part 135 by ACSF registered operators show almost a threefold improvement beyond the jet charter industry’s already impressive safety record.  Jet charter on an ACSF registered operator is now the safest possible form of travel between most destinations on earth!

The ACSF mission is to enable on-demand charter providers and fractional program managers to achieve the highest levels of safety in the aviation industry. Companies that adhere to a higher standard are proven to be more successful at managing risk in day-to-day operations, and have a better safety record than industry at large.