8900.1 CHG 368

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Volume 10  Air Transportation Oversight System

Chapter 6  THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS of Part 121 Air Carriers

Section 1  General Information

10-413    PURPOSE. This chapter provides detailed guidance on the certification process of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 air carriers. During the certification process, the certificate-holding district office (CHDO) and Flight Standards National Field Office (AFS-900) team will form a Certification Project Team (CPT). The CPT will follow the Certification Process Document (CPD) found in Volume 10, Chapter 6, Section 2. Under no circumstances will an applicant be certificated until the CHDO, the regional Flight Standards division (RFSD) offices, and AFS-900 are confident that the prospective air carrier is able to provide service at the highest degree of safety in the public interest.

10-414    INITIAL INQUIRIES OR REQUESTS. Initial inquiries about certification or requests for application may come in various formats from individuals or organizations. These inquiries may be in writing or in the form of meetings with CHDO personnel. Requests for applications may come from inexperienced and poorly prepared individuals, from well-prepared and financially sound organizations, or from individuals and organizations ranging between these extremes.

A.    Preapplication Statement of Intent (PASI) (FAA Form 8400-6). Upon initial contact, CHDO personnel should provide the applicant with a PASI and instruct the applicant on how to complete the PASI. The CHDO personnel should also provide the applicant with the address of the certification process page (http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/atos/air_carrier/), and advise them that the information found in this Web site will assist them during the certification process.

NOTE:  CHDO personnel should become familiar with at least the information in Phase 1 of the CPD.

B.    Safety Management System (SMS). An SMS has become an integral part of the certification and eventual operation of an air carrier. Before an applicant begins to develop processes and procedures that their manual system will describe, he or she should give consideration to incorporating SMS into their design. Information on the design and implementation of an SMS is available at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/sms/. When the applicant delivers the PASI to the local CHDO, the applicant should request the SMS briefing that is available.

10-415    AFS-900 NOTIFICATION.

A.    Certification Service Oversight Process (CSOP) Initiation. When the PASI is accepted, the CHDO manager will initiate the CSOP found in the current edition of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Order 8000.92, AFS Certification Services Oversight Process (CSOP).FS Certification Services Oversight Process (CSOP).

B.    Email. After the CSOP process has been completed and accepted, the CHDO manager will notify the AFS-900 Management Team via email at AFS-900-Management-Team@faa.gov. The CHDO manager should attach the completed PASI to the email.

10-416    CPD.

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A.    Background. The CPD provides step-by-step work instructions to the CPT. Any deviations to this process must be requested per the Quality Management System (QMS) AFS-900-001, Certification and Evaluation Program Office Processes, deviation process.

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B.    Process. The CPD contains work instructions organized into four phases and three gates. A phase separates the certification process into related activities supporting a specific function. A gate is a set of prerequisites that must be met before proceeding to the next step. Within each phase, the CPD provides detailed guidance in the form of action statements that must be accomplished to fulfill its function. This document identifies the individual responsible for each action.

Figure 10-8.  Phases and Gates for Initial Certification

Figure 10-8. Phases and Gates for Initial Certification

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10-417    PHASE 1: APPLICATION. This phase begins when the applicant submits a request for a formal application meeting to the CHDO. During this phase, the AFS-900 team briefs the CHDO on the certification process. A formal application meeting is tentatively scheduled after the FAA receives all submissions required in the Preapplication Checklist (PAC). The CPT reviews the applicant’s PAC submissions for completeness and accuracy before confirming the formal application meeting date. During the formal application meeting, the applicant’s management personnel must demonstrate knowledge of their air carrier’s system design. Phase 1 ends when the CPT accepts the formal application package and all Gate I requirements are met.

10-418    PHASE 2: DESIGN ASSESSMENT. The CPT evaluates the design of the applicant’s operating systems to ensure their compliance with regulations and safety standards, including the obligation to provide service at the highest level of safety in the public interest. This phase uses Safety Attribute Inspections (SAI) to collect data that will be used to determine if the air carrier’s system design meets all regulatory requirements. Phase 2 ends when all manuals have been accepted or approved, and all Gate II requirements have been met.

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10-419    PHASE 3: PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT. Aviation safety inspectors (ASI) use Element Performance Inspections (EPI) during this phase to collect data that will be used to determine if the applicant’s systems are performing as intended and producing the desired results. This phase requires the operation of an aircraft to aid in the assessment of the applicant’s system design. Proving tests begin only after all Gate III requirements are met. Phase 3 ends after the successful completion of the proving tests.

10-420    PHASE 4: ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS. This phase provides for completion of all administrative functions (e.g., issuance of the air carrier certificate and operations specifications (OpSpecs)).

RESERVED. Paragraphs 10-421 through 10-434.