8900.1 CHG 274



Section 5  Interchange Agreements

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3-476    GENERAL. An interchange agreement is a form of a dry lease agreement. An interchange agreement permits two air carriers to connect two or more points on a route using the same aircraft but each operator’s crewmembers (all pilot(s) and flight attendant(s)). For example: operator “a” (the primary operator) operates an aircraft from point “x” to point “y” (the interchange point). At point “y”, operator “b” (the interchange operator) assumes operational control of the same aircraft to fly from point “y” to point “z” with his (operator “b’s”) own crew. The aircraft make, model, and series (M/M/S) must be listed on operations specification (OpSpec) A029 of both common carriage operators operating to the United States. The registration markings of each aircraft must be listed on OpSpec D085 of each Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 121 and 135 operators, and on OpSpec A029 of each part 129 foreign air carrier. Each certificate holder must obtain prior approval from the Administrator before it conducts any interchange operation.

NOTE:  Title 14 CFR part 129, § 129.9(a)(5) requires that the type and registration markings of each U.S.-registered aircraft authorized for use by a foreign air carrier be included in the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs. Title 14 CFR part 119 § 119.9 and § 129.9 require other business names to be included in the OpSpecs.

NOTE:  Title 14 CFR § 119.5, part 125 § 125.11, and § 129.5(h) prohibit the listing of an aircraft on both private carriage OpSpecs and common carriage OpSpecs at the same time.

NOTE:  Because an interchange agreement is a form of a dry lease, each operator must comply with all applicable regulations for dry leased aircraft.

NOTE:  If the interchange operator is a U.S. certificate holder, then the interchange operator cannot conduct ETOPS in the interchange aircraft without specific FAA headquarters approval (see §§ 121.153, 121.374; part 121 Appendix P; and FAA Order 8900.1 Volume 3, Chapter 17, Section 1). If the interchange operator is a foreign air carrier, then it must have obtained ETOPS authorization from its State of the Operator prior to operating the interchange aircraft under ETOPS (see Annex 6, Part I, 4.7). To maintain ETOPS authority, a U.S.-registered interchange aircraft must be maintained in accordance with its U.S. ETOPS maintenance program.

NOTE:  Definitions may be found in Volume 3, Chapter 13, Section 2 and Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9.

3-477    APPROVAL PROCEDURES. Matters that are commonplace in the normal operations of an air carrier frequently present major problems in an aircraft interchange. Therefore, special emphasis must be given to the review, approval, and monitoring of this type of operation. The following direction and guidance is relevant when an application is received for an aircraft interchange.

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A.    Submit an Application. Each party to an interchange agreement will submit an application for amendment of its OpSpecs to the District Office (DO) that has jurisdiction over its OpSpecs. A copy of the interchange agreement or a written memorandum of its terms must be attached to the application. See Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 3 for the terms of the interchange agreement.

B.    Review the Application. Assigned inspectors will review the application and conduct the necessary evaluations and/or inspections to assure compliance with 14 CFR. The results of these reviews and inspections will be coordinated between the appropriate DOs that have jurisdiction over the OpSpecs of the parties to the interchange agreement. Close coordination between the concerned principal operations inspectors (POI), principal maintenance inspectors (PMI), and principal avionics inspectors (PAI) must be maintained.

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C.    Review the Aircraft. All aspects of the proposed interchange operation must be closely scrutinized, for example: the means of displaying the name or certificate number of the certificate holder operating the aircraft (see 14 CFR § 119.9). The review of the aircraft to be used in the interchange may reveal equipment variances and non‑standard cockpit arrangements of switches, instruments, and controls that could pose a danger to the interchange operator unless it is required to implement a training program or adopt other corrective changes designed to address such issues.

D.    ETOPS Authorization. The primary operator has maintenance control of the interchanged aircraft. The interchange operator must comply with the primary operator’s maintenance program, including ETOPS authorization.

1)    The interchange operator must also have authorization to use ETOPS.
2)    If a U.S. certificated air carrier operates a foreign registered aircraft under an interchange agreement, then 14 CFR part 121 § 121.153, or part 135 § 135.25 applies.
3)    If the primary operator is a U.S. air carrier and the aircraft is authorized for ETOPS, the aircraft would be listed on the primary operator’s (U.S. air carrier’s) OpSpecs D086 and B342. If the interchange operator is a U.S. air carrier and authorized for ETOPS, then it would also be issued OpSpecs B342.

E.    Amending Operations Specifications. Additional guidance for the issuance of OpSpecs to foreign air carriers and persons may be found in Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 3, and to U.S. operators in Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 3.

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1)    Names of Involved Parties. When all items have been found satisfactory, the OpSpecs of both the primary and interchange operators must be amended by the issuance of OpSpec A029 to each operator. The primary operator is the operator who would normally operate the aircraft if the interchange agreement were not in effect. The interchange operator is the other party to the interchange agreement. For domestic operator(s) or foreign operator(s) providing service to the United States, the names of each party shall be entered in the appropriate column of paragraph A029 of each party’s OpSpec.

NOTE:  Foreign air carriers/U.S. certificate holders must not conduct operations under any other interchange agreement not listed in OpSpec A029.

2)    Aircraft. The aircraft M/M/S shall be entered in the appropriate column of paragraph A029 of the OpSpecs. If the primary operator is a U.S. air carrier, then the primary operator’s aircraft will also need to be listed in paragraph D085.

NOTE:  The interchange point for foreign air carriers or foreign persons operating solely outside the U.S. must be outside the U.S.; they will not be issued OpSpec A029.

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3)    Maintenance Program and Minimum Equipment List (MEL). The interchange agreement must specify that the primary operator’s maintenance program, MEL, and associated procedures, must be used during the interchange operation. The primary operator must be responsible for the maintenance control of the aircraft at all times. The interchange operator is the other party to the interchange agreement. Differences in maintenance programs, MELs and associated procedures must be reconciled prior to the issuance of OpSpec A029. If the interchange involves:

·    A U.S. and a foreign air carrier, and the U.S. air carrier is the primary, then it would be up to the State of the Operator of the foreign air carrier to review and issue an appropriate authorization.

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·    A U.S. and a foreign air carrier, and the foreign air carrier is the primary, then the FAA must review and issue an appropriate authorization.

·    Two U.S. air carriers, then the FAA must review and issue an appropriate authorization to the interchange operator.

4)    Interchange Points. The interchange points must be entered in the appropriate column of paragraph A029 of the primary and interchange operator’s OpSpecs. The transfer of flightcrews and operational control (exercise of authority over initiating, conducting, or terminating a flight) responsibility must take place only at the airports specified in the “interchange points” column of paragraph A029 of each OpSpec.
5)    Additional Details. Additional conditions, limitations, and safety-related requirements must be included in OpSpec A029 of the primary and interchange operator’s OpSpecs as authorized by §§ 119.49, 119.5, 119.7, and 129.9.
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NOTE:  If the primary operator is either a foreign air carrier that does not have OpSpecs authorizing it to fly to the United States or a foreign air carrier from an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program Category 2 country where the interchange arrangement takes effect after the downgrade, then the interchange point for operations to the United States must occur outside the United States. If the State of Operator of a foreign air carrier that is a party to an existing interchange arrangement is downgraded by the FAA from IASA Category 1 to IASA Category 2, then while the State remains in IASA Category 2, no new interchange points will be added within the United States.


A.    PTRS. Continued surveillance for part 129 will be performed in accordance with Order 8900.1.

·    1327–Tech/Admin/Oper/Ops Spec Revision (121, 125, 129, 133, 135, 137, 142), and

·    3362–Eval Foreign Reg Acft Leases (121, 125, 129, 133, 135).

B.    ATOS. Continued surveillance of U.S. part 121 carriers operating under ATOS will be in accordance with FAA policy.

·    Element Performance Inspection (EPI) 3.14.

·    Safety Attribute Inspection (SAI) 3.1.4.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 3-479 through 3-495.