Whether you utilize the services of a charter broker or contract directly with an aircraft charter operator for your next private jet charter flight, the tough questions must be asked to ensure your flight meets all regulatory and safety standards. After all, during an accident is the wrong time to learn that you have chartered an aircraft not approved by the FAA or not covered by an appropriate amount of insurance.
You or your broker should ask the following questions to ensure compliance with aircraft charter industry standards and request these verifying documents;
Are you a certified Part 135 Air Carrier? Request a copy of the air carrier certificate and verify that the name of the charter company you have contacted matches what is listed on the certificate.
Is the aircraft I am considering part 135 approved? Request copy of FAA Operations Specification D085 and verify that the aircraft you wish to charter is actually on the aircraft charter company's Part 135 certificate.
Do you have current Department of Transportation approval? Request a copy of DOT certificate OST-4507 to verify that the aircraft charter company has the economic authority to operate public charters.
What is your insurance coverage for that aircraft? A quality operator will have 25 million dollars in liability coverage on turboprop aircraft, and 50 million dollars in liability for light jets. Expect better coverage in mid and heavy sized aircraft. Request a Certificate of Insurance for the aircraft you'll be chartering.
Have the pilots assigned to my flight received simulator training within the last 12 months in the type of aircraft being chartered? Flight Safety International, CAE Simuflite, and Simcom are the universally accepted training providers.
Does your company have a Safety Management System (SMS) in place? The presence of an active Safety Management System, with a Director of Safety on staff, shows that the company addresses safety issues proactively rather than retroactively, or, after an accident has occurred. It is also a sign that the company has adopted industry best practices.
Are you IS-BAO certified, ARG/US rated, or Wyvern recommended? The best charter companies have elected to have their operations and safety programs audited by independent third parties. Request date and outcome of last audit. Read our article about aircraft safety ratings for more detailed information.
Have you had any accidents/incidents/violations? Request a full explanation of any safety record that is less than perfect.
The answers to these few questions will provide you the information needed to make a wise decision as you choose your aircraft charter provider.