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 certificate
holder is able to provide service at the highest degree of safety in the public
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
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.
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
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
AFS Certification Services Oversight Process.
After the CSOP process has been completed and accepted, the CHDO manager
will notify Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS) Management team via email.
The CHDO manager should attach the completed PASI to the email, ‘AFS‑900-Management-Team.
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 person responsible for each action.
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. Inspectors
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)).
Paragraphs 10-421 through 10-434.