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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.