VOLUME 12 international aviation
CHAPTER 2 FOREIGN AIR CARRIERS OPERATING TO THE U.S. AND FOREIGN OPERATORS OF U.S.‑REGISTERED AIRCRAFT ENGAGED IN COMMON CARRIAGE OUTSIDE
Section 2 Part
Specifications Overview and Issuance
12-104 GENERAL. In addition to obtaining economic authority from the Department of Transportation
(DOT) and a security program from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) if applicable to the operation being conducted, each foreign air carrier
conducting operations within the United States, and each foreign air carrier or foreign person operating a U.S.-registered aircraft solely outside the United
States in common carriage, must obtain operations specifications (OpSpecs) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Title 14 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (14 CFR) part
129.7 includes detailed requirements that
an applicant must meet to be issued OpSpecs.
12-105 RESPONSIBLE FAA OFFICE.
A. International Field Offices (IFO). The responsibility for the issuance and amendment of
foreign air carrier OpSpecs and the approval of minimum equipment lists (MEL) and maintenance programs for U.S.‑registered aircraft has been delegated
to specific IFOs. The assigned office is responsible for OpSpecs and enhanced Vital Information Database (eVID) data for foreign air carriers that are issued
Air Operator Certificates (AOC) from a foreign authority in the geographic area as specified below. Regardless of where the foreign air carrier may elect to
locate its U.S. office, the IFOs specified below still retain responsibility for OpSpec and eVID information. See
Volume 12, Chapter 3, Section 3, paragraph 12-416
for additional guidance on surveillance, entry, and maintenance of environmental information.
B. International Responsibility. Part
states that matters under this part should be directed to the “responsible Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).” For regulatory
purposes, it was determined that only a single type of facility could be specified. The International Program Division (AFS-50) division manager determines
and assigns international responsibility to an IFO for the oversight of operations under
The responsible IFOs are:
• Dallas/Ft. Worth International Field Office (DFW-IFO),
• Los Angeles International Field Office (LAX-IFO),
• Miami International Field Office (MIA-IFO), and
• New York International Field Office (NYC-IFO).
NOTE: The FAA lists these IFOs’ areas of responsibility on the following website:
Once on the website, click on the link for each IFO for additional information.
12-106 APPLICATION. The application procedure is designed to ensure an applicant’s programs, systems,
and intended methods of compliance are thoroughly reviewed and evaluated in accordance with U.S. requirements and international standards. The procedure,
once completed, will ensure the applicant’s infrastructure (i.e., programs, methods, and systems) will result in continued compliance after
issuance of the OpSpecs. The following procedure will be used to determine issuance of OpSpecs under part
A. Preapplication. In the preapplication phase, the applicant notifies the FAA of their intent to operate under part
The applicant also provides the required information to the FAA for the issuance of
part 129 OpSpecs.
1) Letter of Intent (LOI). The preapplication begins when an
applicant submits an LOI to the responsible IFO requesting OpSpecs for a foreign air carrier to conduct operations within the United States, or for a foreign
air carrier or foreign person to operate U.S.‑registered aircraft solely outside the United States in common carriage under part
129. The applicant is
not required to submit FAA Form
8400-6, Preapplication Statement of Intent, for a part
2) Application Information. The responsible IFO provides the applicant with the following:
a) Information regarding the part
129 OpSpec application process;
b) Requests for additional information. The IFO may refer the applicant to the preapplication job aid found at
to help ensure that the applicant submits all the information needed for the issuance of part
3) Preapplication Meeting. After initial review and determination that the applicant is prepared to begin the procedure,
the IFO manager will assign inspectors to the part
Early in the process, the assigned inspectors should hold a preapplication meeting with applicant personnel.
If the applicant is a foreign air carrier who operates within the United States, it may be beneficial to hold this meeting after the U.S. DOT grants the applicant
a permit or exemption. It may not be convenient for all parties to meet face‑to‑face. In this situation, it is acceptable to meet via video or teleconference.
Discussion points should include:
• The application process, which may include FAA, DOT,
and TSA requirements;
• Where to find regulatory guidance;
• Introduction to Web-based Operations Safety System (WebOPSS);
• Authorizations available to the applicant based on aircraft capabilities
(e.g., Category (CAT) II/III, Required Navigation Performance Authorization Required (RNP AR));
• Preferred methods for communicating with the FAA IFO and U.S.‑based
agent for service requirements;
to obtain approval of the maintenance program and MEL required by
§ 129.14 for U.S.‑registered aircraft;
• FAA-required reports (e.g., flight notification); and
• Notification of ramp inspection requirements.
B. Application. Applicants shall make a request for part
OpSpecs by letter to the responsible IFO. The application letter must contain the applicable information prescribed in §
129.9, the information required for preapplication,
and copies of the approvals from the State of the Operator.
1) The applicant must present evidence of:
• Current OpSpecs issued from the State of the Operator;
• Approvals or authorizations from the State of the Operator for
types of operations authorized that may include, but are not limited to, Data Link Communication using Future Air Navigation System (FANS), ground deicing, etc.
2) If applicable to the operation to be conducted, the applicant must present evidence of:
permit issued by the DOT under Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.), Subtitle VII, Part A, §§ 40109 and/or 41301;
• Prior to OpSpec issuance, the approved security program or waiver
by the TSA; and
• The Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods Program.
3) For operation of U.S.‑registered aircraft, the applicant must submit documents to include:
• Registration markings required by part
• Proposed MEL tailored to the applicant’s operations and based
on the FAA‑approved Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) (see
Volume 12, Chapter 3, Section 2
for MEL information);
• Maintenance program or procedures adequate to support the use
of the proposed MEL; and
• Applications for special‑purpose pilot authorizations, if
NOTE: For leased U.S.-registered aircraft, the applicant must submit
the lease agreements or a written memoranda of the terms both parties signed, in addition to the items listed above.
4) The aviation safety inspector (ASI) must ensure the applicant provides the name
of the authorized officer or employee, certifying that all application statements in the application are true. Refer to
§ 129.7 for timelines.
C. Temporary Designator and Numbers. The Aviation Data Systems Branch (AFS‑620)
will assign the applicant a temporary designator and an OpSpecs number through the Enhanced Flight Standards Automation System (eFSAS) for each foreign air
carrier. The inspector shall obtain a foreign air carrier/foreign person temporary designator and OpSpecs number directly from AFS‑620 via email at
9-AMC-AFS620-Certinfo@faa.gov (alternatively by phone at 405‑954‑9723).
The four‑letter designator shall always be the first four characters of the OpSpecs number. When requesting a designator and OpSpecs number, the inspector shall
state, “the purpose of the contact is to request a foreign air carrier/foreign person designator and OpSpecs number” and then provide the official name of
the foreign air carrier.
D. Contents of OpSpecs. Section
129.5 defines those foreign air
carriers or foreign persons that must hold FAA OpSpecs.
1) The contents of the OpSpecs issued to a foreign air carrier conducting operations within the United States under §
129.1(a) shall include all the information §
2) The contents of the OpSpecs issued to a foreign air carrier or foreign person operating
U.S.-registered aircraft solely outside the United States in common carriage in accordance with
§ 129.1(b) shall include the information
§ 129.9(b) requires.
3) The air carrier or foreign person operating under part
must designate an agent for service within the United States. This includes the agent’s full name and office address or usual place of residence. The agent
for service is the person or company the operator designates upon whom the FAA will serve all legal notices, processes and orders, decisions, and requirements
concerning the air carrier’s authorization to operate in the United States under part
When the agent for service receives a document from the FAA, the operator is considered to have received the document.
12-107 PROCESSING APPLICATIONS.
A. Notification and Evaluation. The responsible IFO shall notify the applicant upon receipt
of the formal application. This office shall evaluate the application to ensure the applicant provided the information identified in the preapplication phase
(see paragraph 12-106) and the information is accurate. The evaluation of the application consists of a review of the documents and information the
applicant provided. See applicable OpSpecs and associated guidance for further requirements or additional information.
B. Technical Resources.
1) Unless the International Field Management Branch (AFS-54) advises otherwise, IFOs may
continue to directly reach out to and use All Weather Operations (AWO) resources, to include:
• Subject matter experts (SME) for technical questions relating
to Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) technology or Special Areas of Operation (SAO),
and written material on the AWO Knowledge Services Network (KSN) website,
• Participate in presentations (e.g., WebX) available through the
AWO KSN website, and
• On-the-job training (OJT) resource materials on the AWO KSN website.
2) Request for access to the AWO KSN website will be made in
the same manner as requests for access to the Area Washington (AWA) tracker, commonly referred to as the NextGen tracker. The AWA tracker tracks certain
types of applications (e.g., OpSpec C384) foreign operators submit to their responsible principal inspector(s) (PI). The NextGen tracker helps the Associate
Administrator for Aviation Safety (AVS-1) set goals, make resource allocations, track how many users have applied for NextGen technology, and track how many
users were approved.
C. Issue OpSpecs. If the assigned inspectors determine that the applicant meets the
requirements of 14 CFR
parts 91 and
and the applicable International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) annexes, the IFO may issue appropriate OpSpecs
to the applicant. If the evaluation results indicate deficiencies or omissions in the application, the responsible inspector must inform the applicant’s
representative of the deficiencies and corrective actions required. If the deficiencies are not satisfactorily resolved within a reasonable period of time,
the IFO shall return the application to the applicant with a letter that describes the specific reasons the application is unacceptable.
The IFO must also notify AFS-54 that the IFO has determined that the process to obtain OpSpecs should be terminated.
12-108 ISSUANCE OF OPSPECS.
1) OpSpecs are issued to a foreign air carrier after the IFO conducts an evaluation of
the application and determines the applicant meets the operating requirements of parts
and the applicable ICAO annexes. OpSpecs are issued through WebOPSS. The FAA created two sets of templates in WebOPSS to
distinguish between foreign air carriers that operate within the United States, and foreign air carriers or foreign persons that operate U.S.‑registered
aircraft solely outside the United States in common carriage.
a) The §
set of templates/paragraphs is available for issuance to foreign air carriers who operate within the United States. This set also
makes available D‑series OpSpecs for those operators who also operate U.S.-registered aircraft. This set is annotated in WebOPSS as the
b) The §
set of templates/paragraphs is available for issuance to foreign air carriers or foreign persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft
solely outside the United States in common carriage. This set is annotated in WebOPSS as the
2) The responsible inspector must ensure appropriate OpSpecs are completed, reviewed, approved, signed,
and mailed or sent by electronic format to the applicant. See
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Sections 3
through 7 for additional details.
B. Permanent Designator and Numbers. AFS-620 will assign an applicant a permanent designator
and an OpSpecs number. The inspector shall obtain a foreign air carrier/foreign person permanent designator and OpSpecs number directly from AFS‑620 via
email at 9-AMC-AFS620-Certinfo@faa.gov (alternatively by phone at 405‑954‑9723).
The four‑letter designator shall always be the first four characters of the OpSpecs number. When requesting a permanent designator and OpSpecs number,
the inspector shall state, “the purpose of the contact is to request a foreign air carrier/foreign person permanent designator and OpSpecs number”
and then provide the official name of the foreign air carrier or foreign person.
12-109 AMENDMENTS. Per §
129.11, the FAA may amend,
or the foreign air carrier/foreign person may apply for an amendment to, OpSpecs issued under part
provides that a foreign air carrier may apply for an amendment of its OpSpecs, and that the proposed amendment should be submitted whenever the operator desires
a change in the items required by §
129.9 to the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs.
An amendment shall be approved, as appropriate, after a determination is made that the foreign air carrier continues to meet the operating requirements to
conduct any operation in accordance with the amended OpSpecs.
A. Applicant. The foreign air carrier or foreign person should request an amendment whenever
there is a change in the items required by §
129.9 that requires a change to
its OpSpecs. This procedure is found in
§ 129.11(d). In cases of mergers and
acquisitions of airline operational assets that require an additional showing to DOT for economic authority, the foreign air carrier or foreign person must
file an application to amend its OpSpecs at least 90 calendar‑days before the applicant’s proposed effective date of the amendment. In all other
cases, the foreign air carrier or foreign person must file an application at least 30 calendar‑days before the proposed effective date. The applicant
must submit the proposed amendment in a form and manner prescribed by the FAA to the responsible IFO.
B. Administrator. The responsible IFO may amend OpSpecs when the Administrator determines safety in air commerce and the public interest
require the amendment; or when the foreign air carrier or foreign person applies for an amendment, and the Administrator determines that safety in air commerce
and the public interest allows the amendment. In order to prevent unnecessary delays and provide quick turnarounds for processing OpSpec revisions, each responsible
IFO must have a policy to require and use proxies for signature authority for OpSpec processing when a PI is unavailable (see
Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 2.)
C. Addition of Same Aircraft to OpSpec A003. Amendments for the addition of the same make, model,
and series (M/M/S) of aircraft for foreign air carriers from International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program CAT
1 countries that are not issued within 15 business-days of receipt of a completed application must be reported electronically to the AFS‑50 division
manager. The report must specify the name of the foreign air carrier or person making the requested amendment, the reason that the request could not be processed
within 15 business-days, and when the responsible IFO expects to complete processing. This 15 day report requirement does not apply if the aircraft
being added is not registered in the state of the foreign air carrier requesting the amendment.
D. Petition for Reconsideration. Following an adverse decision, the applicant may submit
a petition for reconsideration to the Office of the Executive Director, Flight Standards Service (AFX‑1) within 30 calendar‑days after the date the
foreign air carrier or foreign person receives a notice of the decision. The filing of the petition for reconsideration suspends the decision unless the
Administrator determines that an emergency exists, requiring immediate action to maintain safety in air commerce or air transportation
(see Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 8,
paragraph 12‑330; and §
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 8
contains information regarding amendment, surrender, suspension and involuntary amendment, and suspension or termination of OpSpecs.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 12‑110 through 12‑124.