VOLUME 12 INTERNATIONAL AVIATION
CHAPTER 2 FOREIGN AIR CARRIERS OPERATING TO THE UNITED STATES AND
FOREIGN OPERATORS OF U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT ENGAGED IN COMMON CARRIAGE
OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
Section 3 Part
129 Part A Operations Specifications
A. Responsible Flight Standard District Office (FSDO). The
phrase “responsible FSDO” used in Title 14 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (14 CFR) part
129.11 means any International Field Office (IFO) with responsibility
for the oversight of part
B. Special Interest Flight (SIF). An SIF is any flight
conducted in U.S. territorial airspace in aircraft registered in, or
designated as, or operating with the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) three‑letter designator of a foreign operator in a
country that the U.S. State Department has designated as a special interest
OPSPEC A001—ISSUANCE AND APPLICABILITY, AND REPORTS (Required for All
A. Legal Name, Doing Business As (DBA), Air Operator Certificate
(AOC), and Economic Authority. OpSpec A001 must identify the OpSpecs
holder. The name that appears in OpSpec A001 must be the legal name of the
foreign air carrier as shown on its AOC issued by the State of the Operator
and as shown on its economic authority applicable to its operations or
registrant information filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation
(DOT). See also
Volume 12, Chapter 3, Section 2 for added detail referencing economic
authority, and 14 CFR part
129.7 for the regulatory reference.
NOTE: If a foreign air carrier were to conduct operations
wholly outside the United States that involved the carriage of a U.S. air
carrier code, the foreign air carrier would need economic authority in the
form of an exemption and would also require a statement of authorization
under 14 CFR part 212. It would also have to meet all of the requirements of
the Code-Share Safety Audit program. (If a foreign air carrier conducted
operations wholly outside the United States that did not involve the
carriage of a U.S. air carrier code, then the foreign air carrier would not
need DOT economic authority.)
1) The State of the Operator AOC (Identification). The
identifying number of the foreign air carrier AOC is as issued by the Civil
Aviation Authority (CAA) of the State of the Operator. Foreign air carriers
must provide a copy of the AOC and principal inspectors (PI) must verify the
AOC with the CAA before the issuance of part
2) Legal Name and DBA. PIs can verify the foreign air
carrier’s or Canadian Air Taxi Operator’s legal name (listed on its economic
authority) and DBA by any of the following methods:
a) By requesting from the air carrier or Canadian Air Taxi Operator
either their final notice from the DOT or their application for DOT economic
b) By conducting a search on the regulations.gov website at
NOTE: A search may be narrowed down by limiting the words
used in your search such as: [name of airline] permit, [name of airline]
exemption or DOT-OST-[docket year of original request]-[the next 4 numbers
that were assigned to the original request]. When reviewing search results,
look for key words such as “Final Order” in the title associated with [name
of airline] permit and DBA. Another phrase to look for in the search results
is “Notice of Action Taken” in the title associated with [name of airline]
exemption and DBA. Notice of action taken would indicate the DOT final
decision for approval or disapproval of an exemption or permit request. The
DOT assigns a docket number to each request and response. The docket number
of the response will be associated with the docket number of the request. If
you have a copy of the airline request for DOT economic authority, it may be
easier to search by the docket number. If searching by docket number, type
in all but the last 4 digits of the docket number associated with the
request. For example, if the request had a docket number of:
“DOT-OST-2012-0211-0001,” search using DOT-OST-2012-0211. Your search should
yield the following results: DOT‑OST‑2012-0211-0001,
DOT-OST-2012-0211-0002..., as applicable. The search results may not be in
numerical or chronological order.
c) By contacting the DOT’s Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division. A
foreign air carrier who wishes to change its legal name on its Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) OpSpecs must first register any name change
with the DOT following the procedures in 14 CFR part 215, and present
evidence of its new name on an AOC issued by the State of the Operator CAA.
NOTE: You can find a list of Canadian Air Taxi Operators
registered under 14 CFR part 294 at the following DOT website:
3) The Foreign Air Carrier’s or Person’s OpSpec Designator/Number
129 and § 129.14
This will be the same number obtained from the Aviation Data Systems Branch
(AFS‑620). Enter it into the foreign air carrier’s enhanced Vital
Information Database (eVID).
B. The Foreign Air Carrier’s or Person’s Address.
1) Address of Place of Business or Residence. The foreign air
carrier’s or person’s address is the physical address of the foreign air
carrier’s place of business or residence within the State of the Operator.
NOTE: Under international law, the State of the Operator is
responsible for issuing an AOC to an air carrier that engages in
international commercial air transport. The AOC must be issued in accordance
with the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Annex 6, Part I or III, as applicable to the Convention on International
Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention). Annex 6 defines the State of the
Operator as, “The State in which the operator’s principal place of business
is located or, if there is no such place of business, the operator’s
2) The Address of the Foreign Air Carrier within the United
States. Some foreign air carriers will have an operations representative
in the United States (e.g., a representative for North American operations).
If the air carrier does not have an address within the United States, enter
3) Address for International Mail Delivery. The foreign air
carrier’s mailing address for international mail delivery to its principal
place of business or residence within the State of the Operator.
C. Responsible Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). Enter
the name and the mailing and overnight delivery address of the International
Field Office (IFO) with responsibility for the oversight of the OpSpec
holder, to include the PI names and contact information to assist PIs with
oversight responsibilities of the OpSpec holder.
D. U.S.-Registered Aircraft. Foreign air carriers operating
U.S.-registered aircraft must ensure each flightcrew member complies with 14
Volume 12, Chapter 4, Section 1 for additional information on pilot age
requirements as they relate to foreign air carriers using the services of a
pilot of a civil airplane of U.S. registry.
E. Information Required by OpSpec A001 (the Part
The following is a summary of some of the information captured in OpSpec
A001 for foreign air carriers operating to the United States.
1) Authorized Operations. The kind of operations authorized
(scheduled and/or nonscheduled).
2) Foreign Air Carrier Responsibilities. The responsibilities
(appropriate DOT economic authority, appropriate Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) security program, valid State of the Operator AOC or
equivalent document, required reports as specified in OpSpec A001, etc.) of
the foreign air carrier in conducting its operation to the United States.
See subparagraph G for additional guidance on an appropriate TSA security
3) Applicable Regulations. The regulatory sections (14 CFR
129 and Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) part 175)
and any other applicable regulations, laws, and orders of the United States
or international standards that apply to the operations to be conducted
(Annex 1; Annex 6, Part I or III; and Annex 8, Part II, chapters 3 and 4, to
the Convention on International Civil Aviation, as applicable).
NOTE: Certain portions of 14 CFR part 382 are also
applicable to foreign air carriers.
4) OpSpec Effectiveness. General requirements about the
effectiveness of an air carrier’s OpSpecs as they relate to its DOT economic
authority and crewmember licensing and age requirements. Foreign air
carriers must comply with the current age requirements of Annex 1 to the
Convention on International Civil Aviation.
5) The DOT Economic Authority Type. Based on what the DOT has
issued, in the table within subparagraph a of the OpSpec, under the heading
of “DOT Economic Authority (Type),” select either “Foreign Air Carrier
Exemption,” “Foreign Air Carrier Permit,” or “Part 294 Registrant.” For
additional discussion on economic authority, see
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9, subparagraph 12-353C.
NOTE: The DOT issues “Part 294 Registrant” for Canadian
Charter Air Taxi Operators.
6) The DOT Economic Authority Expiration. Based on what the
DOT has issued, in the table within subparagraph a of the OpSpec, under the
heading of “DOT Economic Authority (Expiration),” there are three selectable
choices: a blank space, “N/A,” and “application pending (Part 377 & APA).”
If the DOT economic authority is without an expiration date, then select
“N/A.” If the foreign air carrier’s economic authority has an expiration
date, then select the blank space and enter the expiration date. In addition
to the expiration date, PIs may also enter the Docket ID. PIs must select
“application is pending (Part 377 & APA)” if:
a) The foreign air carrier has applied for exemption renewal before
the exemption’s expiration date;
b) In the application for renewal, the applicant cited 14 CFR part
377 and Administrative Procedures Act (APA); and
c) The DOT has not taken some type of action.
NOTE: A foreign air carrier exemption will always have an
expiration date. The DOT will grant an exemption for 1 or 2 years, subject
to timely renewal. Per the DOT, there is no limit on the duration that any
application may remain pending. In the case of denial of a long-pending
application of a carrier that holds part
129 OpSpecs, it’s likely that the DOT would advise both the
International Program Division (AFS-50) in Washington, DC and the applicable
IFO. The DOT will grant a permit to a foreign air carrier under the statute
typically 99 percent of the time for an indefinite period, subject to
certain conditions tied to the agreements. In the event that the permit
covers something extra bilateral (not specifically covered by the
agreement), the permit will be granted for 5 years. Canadian air taxi
registrations under part 294 are indefinite.
7) DBA Names Authorized by the DOT and the State of the Operator.
(See also subparagraph B above.)
8) Authorized Geographic Areas of U.S. Operation. The foreign
air carrier must conduct each operation within the United States in
accordance with its State of the Operator-issued AOC and associated
limitations and provisions, and in accordance with specific authorizations,
limitations, and procedures contained in these FAA-issued foreign OpSpecs.
For the purpose of this OpSpec, the available authorized areas are
selectable as follows:
48 Contiguous United States and the District of Columbia.
State of Alaska.
State of Hawaii.
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Territory of American Samoa.
Territory of Guam.
Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
9) Authorized Radio Call Sign and the ICAO Three-Letter
Designator. Like the United States, some foreign CAAs do not require all
air carriers to whom they have issued an AOC to obtain a radio call sign and
the ICAO three-letter designator. It is each operator’s responsibility to
provide the responsible PI with supporting documentation. PIs may find
additional information on international standards in ICAO Annex 10,
Volume II, chapter 5, paragraph 220.127.116.11.2, Radiotelephony Call Signs for
10) Nonscheduled Flight Notification Method. If the air
carrier conducts only nonscheduled operations, leave the “Airports to be
Used for Scheduled Operations” table blank. If the air carrier to whom the
FAA issues part
129 OpSpecs plans on conducting a nonscheduled flight, the air carrier
must provide the responsible IFO with advance written notice (including by
fax, email, or paper document) of the operation. For urgent situations, a
foreign air carrier may use telephone notification to the responsible IFO,
followed by a written notice sent as soon as possible. At a minimum, the
nonscheduled foreign air carrier must provide the following information for
each flight conducted to, from, or within the United States:
a) Aircraft registration.
b) Aircraft make/model.
c) All arrival and departure airports to be used within the United
d) Estimated arrival and departure times at each airport used.
NOTE: As directed by the IFO, the air carrier will provide
updates on the estimated time of arrival (ETA) and departure when delays are
e) Purpose or description of flight. For example, ferry flight for
maintenance, golf charter, dropping off passengers, etc.
f) If possible, the air carrier should provide a contact phone number
within the United States. An example of this would be a Fixed-Base Operator
(FBO), a ground-handling company, or a contract maintenance provider.
NOTE: Foreign air carriers from U.S. State
Department-designated special interest countries to which the FAA issues
129 OpSpecs are exempt by the U.S. State Department from the previously
required Special Interest Flight (SIF) program notifications. A part
129 foreign air carrier’s route information will no longer be posted on
the FAA SIF website. A foreign air carrier from a special interest country
conducting a 14 CFR part
375 operation under part
375, § 375.42
(authorized by the DOT for occasional plane load charters) must continue to
make SIF notifications. A part
375 operator’s route information is required to be posted on the SIF
website. An inspector conducting a ramp inspection may use the FAA SIF
website as an additional tool to help determine the type of operation
conducted. Inspectors should direct any operational issues with a specific
SIF to the Domestic Events Network (DEN). PIs should direct general
questions on SIFs, including link and access authorization for the FAA SIF
website, to the Strategic Operations Security Group (AJR-22) via email at
9-ATOR-HQ-IFOS@faa.gov. PIs may
find FAA U.S. Territorial Airspace Route Authorization Requirements for SIF
operators for each special interest country in the International section of
the FAA Class II Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) publication at
11) Airports Used in Scheduled Operations. For scheduled
operations, select one ICAO airport identifier per drop-down menu. For
additional details on foreign air carrier actions (e.g., what the foreign
air carrier must provide to the IFO to operate into an airport in the United
States and what the IFO uses to evaluate whether to approve the addition of
an airport to OpSpec A001), see
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 5, OpSpec C067, subparagraph C. For
scheduled operations, the foreign air carrier will provide the list of
airports to be used and included as follows:
a) Regular Terminal. An airport approved under scheduled service to a
community as the regular stop to that community.
b) Alternate. An airport at which an aircraft may land if a landing
at the intended airport becomes inadvisable or if operational necessity
requires the use of that airport. Select the most probable alternate for the
regular terminal airport listed for a given regular terminal airport. This
does not preclude the foreign air carrier from using an alternate airport
not listed in the table if weather, air traffic control (ATC) routing, or
other operational necessity requires it.
c) Technical/Refueling Stop. Leave blank if the foreign air carrier
has no technical/refueling stop that it will use on a regular basis for the
regular terminal airport.
NOTE: For nonscheduled operations, the “Airports to be Used
for Scheduled Operations” table will be left blank. See Volume 11 for
inspector guidance on Environmental Assessments (EA) when adding a new
scheduled destination airport for the operator. For a checklist of the
information needed by the General Aviation Operations Branch (AFS-830) for
an environmental review, refer to the document in the Web-based Operations
Safety System (WebOPSS) for OpSpec A001 by clicking the Guidance button and
locating the document in the Guidance pop-up window titled “OpSpecs
12) Notifications. Changes to any information in the
FAA-issued OpSpecs, or the basis upon which the FAA issued them, require
that the foreign air carrier notify the responsible IFO in a form and manner
acceptable to the FAA. For example, changes to the:
a) Foreign air carrier (company) ownership;
b) Addresses for the foreign air carrier and contact details, such as
telephone, fax, and email;
c) Foreign air carrier agent for service and management personnel;
d) Economic authority issued by the U.S. DOT;
e) Airports authorized for scheduled operations to the United States
by the State of the Operator and to be used in the United States; and
f) Notification method for nonscheduled flights to the United States.
NOTE: The responsible IFOs, if necessary, should make
periodic inquiries to the air carrier to ensure the currency of information.
13) Additional Reports. The foreign air carrier must provide
additional reports and notifications when requested by the FAA. For example:
a) A copy of the valid AOC or equivalent document issued by the State
of the Operator;
b) For scheduled flights, the schedule and frequency of flights and
any changes to those schedules and frequencies; and
c) The foreign air carrier’s operations and maintenance liaison
persons and contractors at any U.S. airport served on a scheduled basis.
14) Responsible FSDO. See subparagraph C above.
F. Information Required by OpSpec A001 (the §
The following is a summary of the information captured in OpSpec A001 for
foreign air carriers or foreign persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft
only outside the United States.
1) The Foreign Air Carrier’s or Foreign Person’s Name. See
2) The Foreign Air Carrier’s or Foreign Person’s Addresses.
See subparagraph B.
3) DBA Names Authorized by the State of the Operator. See
4) The Foreign Air Carrier’s or Foreign Person’s OpSpec
Designator/Number. See subparagraph A.
5) The Foreign Air Carrier’s or Foreign Person’s State’s Operating
6) The Foreign Air Carrier’s or Foreign Person’s Representative.
This representative will be the primary representative for all contact
regarding the air carrier’s or person’s U.S.-issued OpSpecs for the
maintenance program and minimum equipment list (MEL) approval.
8) Responsible FSDO. See subparagraph D.
G. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Security Program.
129 operators must maintain an appropriate security program, as required
by the TSA. If a security program is required by TSA, then responsible PIs
need documentation from their part
129 operators (on the TSA security program) prior to issuing OpSpecs.
The TSA will make the determination if the operator needs a security
program. It is each operator’s responsibility to contact the TSA. The TSA
will analyze the carrier’s proposed operations and fleet. Per the TSA:
1) Title 49 CFR part 1546 identifies operators not obligated
to hold a security program.
2) Many smaller charters may fall into the category of not
needing a security program. Essentially, foreign air carriers with planes
with less than 60 seats, less than a certain takeoff weight, not flying
into/out of a sterile area, and not departing from an area where the TSA has
determined a threat exists are not required by the TSA to have a security
program. Operators may opt in to have a TSA security program, if they like.
3) The TSA Office of Global Strategies (OGS) maintains a list
129 operators with valid TSA security programs. Operators on the TSA’s
OGS list are carriers that hold a security program (model security program
(MSP), all-cargo international security procedure (ACISP), twelve-five
standard security program (TFSSP), etc.) and actively fly to/from the United
States. Active is defined by the individual TSA International Industry
Representative (IIR) and can include asking if the carrier has flown to/from
the United States in the past year, and will the carrier fly to/from the
United States in the next year. If both answers are no, then typically those
operators will be removed from the Automatic Detection and Processing
NOTE: If the responsible IFO has any concerns regarding an
operator’s TSA security program, they will contact AFS-50 who will assist in
coordinating with the TSA, as appropriate. IFOs may request a copy of the
latest OGS list from AFS-50.
OPSPEC A002—DEFINITIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS (Required for All Air
Carriers). OpSpec A002 includes definitions of words or phrases used in
other OpSpecs paragraphs. These definitions enhance understandings between
the FAA and foreign air carriers. These definitions have been developed by
the International Programs and Policy Office (AFS-50) and must not be
changed. Any recommendations for changes/addition to these definitions will
need to be forwarded to AFS-50 for review and determination. An addition of
a definition by an International Field Office (IFO) would make the OpSpec
nonstandard and, as such, must be processed as a nonstandard OpSpec request
through AFS-50 for approval.
OPSPEC A003—AIRCRAFT AUTHORIZATION (Required for All Foreign Air
Carriers Operating to the United States—Only the Part
129 OpSpec Templates, Not the §
129.14 OpSpec Templates).
A. General. OpSpec A003 lists the aircraft that the FAA has
authorized a foreign air carrier to use in its operations to the United
States by aircraft, configuration, conditions, and certain operations
authorized. This paragraph also describes the following specific
requirements in order for the aircraft to be listed in OpSpec A003 and used
by a foreign air carrier to conduct its international air transportation
operations within the United States.
NOTE: Civil aircraft operated solely in nonrevenue service
(not holding out to the public) to the United States by a foreign air
carrier who also conducts scheduled or nonscheduled operations in common
carriage (holding out to the public) to the United States do not need to be
listed in OpSpec A003.
1) Aircraft Registration and Airworthiness Certificates. The
aircraft must have on board a current and valid Certificate of Airworthiness
and registration issued by the State of Registry. The Convention on
International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention) requires in Article 29
that aircraft engaged in international navigation carry a Certificate of
Airworthiness and registration. Airworthiness and registration certificates
are also required for foreign air carrier aircraft by 14 CFR part
129.13; and part 375,
375.20. If the aircraft is subject to an agreement made under Article 83
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 8) to the Chicago Convention, the
Certificate of Airworthiness may be issued by the State of the Operator.
2) Airworthiness Code. The State of Registry must have a
comprehensive and detailed national airworthiness code established for the
class of aircraft as required by International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) Annex 8, Part II, chapter 3, paragraph 3.2.2. Determinations
concerning the adequacy of a State’s airworthiness code are made under the
FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Program. If any doubt
exists, contact the International Program Division (AFS-50) before adding
3) Maintenance Programs. Each aircraft must have a maintenance
program approved by the State of Registry or, for an aircraft subject to an
Article 83 bis
agreement, by the State of the Operator. For aircraft subject to an Article
83 bis agreement, verify the agreement has been registered with ICAO
and covers the applicable aircraft (see
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 8). The maintenance program shall conform
to the international standards set forth in ICAO Annex 6, Part I, chapters 8
and 11 for airplanes, and ICAO Annex 6, Part III, chapters 6 and 9 for
helicopters. For each U.S.-registered aircraft, the FAA must have approved
the maintenance program in accordance with § 129.14(a).
4) Minimum Equipment List (MEL) Exceptions. The aircraft
manufacturer develops the Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) in
conjunction with the State of the manufacturer’s Civil Aviation Authority
(CAA). The State of the Operator approves a foreign air carrier’s MEL. Each
foreign air carrier who wants to operate U.S.-registered aircraft with
certain instruments or equipment inoperative must have OpSpec D095 issued to
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 6). If the foreign air carrier does not
have an MEL, then the principal inspector (PI) must ensure that the
following selectable limitation is selected in OpSpec A003 under
“The following aircraft listed below do not have a minimum
equipment list (MEL). Accordingly, the foreign air carrier must not take off
the following aircraft with inoperable instruments or equipment installed.”
NOTE: Additionally, the PI must ensure that the appropriate
aircraft make, model, and series (M/M/S), aircraft registration, or both
are listed in the text box below the above limitation. For example, if a
foreign air carrier has three aircraft listed in the table for OpSpec A003,
none of which has an MEL, then the PI should just list the M/M/S. If a
foreign air carrier has three aircraft listed in the table for OpSpec A003,
all of which are the same M/M/S, but one of the aircraft does not have an
MEL, then the PI needs only to ensure that the registration number of the
aircraft without the MEL is listed.
5) Airworthiness Directives (AD). A foreign air carrier must
have properly accomplished all ADs issued by the State of Registry or
adopted by the State of Registry from the State of Design applicable to each
aircraft listed, in accordance with ICAO Annex 6, Part I, chapters 8 and 11
(airplanes) and ICAO Annex 6, Part III, chapters 6 and 9 (helicopters), as
applicable. After the aircraft is listed in the OpSpecs, the failure to
comply on an ongoing basis with all applicable ADs is justification for
removing the aircraft from the OpSpecs.
NOTE: OpSpec A447 must also be issued to each carrier
operating U.S.-registered aircraft, which are listed in OpSpec A003, to
enable the FAA to notify the foreign air carrier regarding emergency ADs.
6) Flight Deck Security. Section
129.28 establishes additional flight deck security requirements to
prevent unwanted persons from entering the flight deck when operating to the
7) Aircraft Accident Liability Insurance. A foreign air
carrier’s aircraft must have accident liability insurance coverage and meet
the requirements of 14 CFR part 205.
B. Enter Aircraft Information. All aircraft information must
be first entered into the Web-based Operations Safety System (WebOPSS) in
the left navigation area, under “CHDO,” “Maintain Operator Data,”
“Aircraft.” Once you do that, when you move a new OpSpec A003 template to
the workspace, all of the information entered under “Operator—Aircraft” will
self-populate the table. All aircraft that the foreign air carrier owns, dry
leases, or wet leases that it will operate within the United States must be
entered in OpSpec A003. Both foreign- and U.S.-registered aircraft must be
entered. The aircraft of a foreign air carrier that provides service to the
United States will only be listed in OpSpec A003 of the “primary operator’s”
OpSpec A003, in the case of an interchange operation; the “lessor’s” OpSpec
A003, in the case of a wet lease; or the “lessee’s” OpSpec A003, in the case
of a dry lease (see
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9).
NOTE: For additional help in adding an aircraft to part
OpSpecs in the left navigation area, select “CHDO—User Manual” under
1) M/M/S. When entering an authorized M/M/S into OpSpec A003,
select it from the listing provided in WebOPSS. If the appropriate M/M/S
cannot be found in WebOPSS, inspectors should immediately notify the WebOPSS
help desk so that the table can be updated. On the “Certificate Holder,
Aircraft Authorization” menu, enter data on both the “General” and “Detail”
2) Aircraft Serial Number. Enter the manufacturer’s aircraft
3) Aircraft Registration Number. Enter the aircraft
registration marking assigned by the State of Registry. The ICAO defines the
State of Registry as “the State on whose register the aircraft is entered.”
In accordance with Article 18 of the Chicago Convention, an aircraft cannot
be validly registered in more than one State.
4) Configuration. PIs must select “All Cargo,” “Passenger,”
“Combi,” or “Pax and Cargo” based on the main cabin configuration.
a) All Cargo. The main cabin is for cargo hauling only. There may be
a few supernumerary seats.
b) Passenger. The main cabin is for passenger (pax) seating only.
There may be overhead bins for bags.
c) Combi. The main cabin of the airplane is a simultaneous
combination of passenger and cargo. For example, half of the main cabin
volume is for cargo and half of the main cabin volume is passenger seating.
d) Pax and Cargo. At one time the main cabin is All Cargo (see
subparagraph a)) and at another time the main cabin is Passenger (see
subparagraph b)), though not at the same time.
EXCEPTION: The PI must ensure that the selection represents
how the aircraft’s main cabin can be used and that it is not contrary to the
type of service for which the aircraft is approved. For example, if an
aircraft’s main cabin can be configured for “Pax and Cargo,” but the State
of the Operator and the Department of Transportation (DOT) economic
authority only authorize the air carrier to carry passengers, then the PI
must select “Passenger.”
5) En Route. Inspectors must enter the appropriate en route
flight rule for each M/M/S. If the M/M/S is a large aircraft, as defined in
OpSpec A002, and/or approved for only instrument flight rules (IFR)
operations by the State of the Operator’s CAA, select the phrase “IFR” in
the column labeled “En Route.” If the M/M/S is other than a large aircraft,
as defined in OpSpec A002, and/or restricted to visual flight rules
(VFR)‑only operations by the State of the Operator’s CAA, select the phrase
“VFR.” If the M/M/S is other than a large aircraft, as defined in OpSpec
A002, and/or approved for both IFR and VFR operations by the State of the
Operator’s CAA, select the phrase “IFR/VFR.”
6) Condition. Select the day/night condition for each M/M/S.
If the State of the Operator’s CAA approves the M/M/S for both day and night
conditions, select the phrase “Day/Night” in the column labeled “Condition.”
If the State of the Operator’s CAA approves the M/M/S for daylight
conditions only, select the phrase “Day Only.”
7) Noise Stage. This only applies to turbojet airplanes with a
maximum weight of more than 75,000 pounds; otherwise, enter “N/A.” Select
the aircraft noise stage II, III, or IV. If the aircraft is stage II or the
aircraft is a dual-noise-stage-certificated B747, then OpSpec A026 must also
be issued to the foreign air carrier. Evidence of noise stage should be from
approved aircraft documentation, such as a noise certificate (if issued),
approved flight manual, or other document issued by the State of Registry.
8) Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM). The operational
authorization of RVSM is provided by the State of the Operator. OpSpec A003
is used to confirm that the foreign air carrier has operational approval.
The maintenance program is approved by the State of Registry. For
U.S.-registered aircraft, the United States approves RVSM maintenance as
part of the maintenance program authorized via OpSpec D085. The State of the
Operator must have regulation and supporting guidance documents for the
issuance of RVSM.
a) Authorized for RVSM Operations. If the foreign air carrier has
aircraft that are authorized for RVSM operations by the State of the
Operator, then for each authorized aircraft, select “Yes” in the “RVSM”
column of Table 1 in OpSpec A003.
NOTE: If the PI has concerns as to how the State of the
Operator approved the air carrier for RVSM (e.g., the State of the Operator
approved the air carrier without regulation and supporting guidance
documents for the issuance of RVSM), then the PI must advise the
International Operations Branch (AFS-52). AFS-52 will coordinate with the
Flight Technologies and Procedures Division (AFS-400) subject matter expert
(SME), initiate discussions with the State of the Operator (as appropriate),
and advise the PI on resolution.
b) Not Authorized for RVSM Operations. If the foreign air carrier is
not authorized for RVSM, then select “No” in the “RVSM” column of Table 1 in
c) Authorization Process. Before designating the airplanes in OpSpec
A003, the responsible International Field Office (IFO) inspectors must
obtain documentation from the foreign air carrier or operator for
verification of RVSM approval to include the following:
1. In the case of foreign-registered
airplanes, a copy of their foreign OpSpecs or other issued Air Operator
Certificate (AOC) special operating provisions that show they have been
authorized by the State of the Operator for RVSM. The documentation from the
foreign CAA must show the M/M/S, aircraft serial number, and aircraft
registration number of the airplanes that the operator has been authorized
to fly in RVSM airspace. Normally for foreign-registered aircraft, the
responsible IFO inspectors will only need to examine the foreign OpSpecs or
other AOC special operating provisions documented evidence of foreign CAA
approval. If the responsible IFO believes it to be necessary in the interest
of safety to verify such RVSM authorization, then the responsible IFO
inspector(s) may require that the operator submit the following:
a. Documentation of airplane RVSM eligibility. The
foreign air carrier’s or operator’s aircraft must comply with RVSM
standards. For in-service aircraft, documentation showing that inspections
and/or aircraft system modifications are completed as required by the
applicable Service Bulletin (SB), Service Letter (SL), Supplemental Type
Certificate (STC), or other approved documents approved or accepted by the
State of Registry’s CAA. For aircraft that were manufactured RVSM-compliant,
the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) or Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS)
contains a statement of RVSM eligibility, as appropriate.
NOTE: For U.S.-registered airplanes, the FAA is the State
of Registry’s CAA and documentation must be in accordance with subparagraph
b. Documentation showing that the State of the
Operator’s CAA has approved the foreign air carrier’s or operator’s RVSM
maintenance program and that it is acceptable to the State of Registry.
c. Documentation that the State of the Operator’s
CAA has approved/accepted the operator’s plan to participate in a monitoring
d. Documentation that the State of the Operator’s
CAA has approved/accepted the foreign air carrier’s or operator’s RVSM
operational procedures in their manual required by ICAO Annex 6, Part I,
chapter 4, paragraph 4.2.
2. In the case of U.S.-registered
airplanes, documentation of airplane RVSM eligibility. For in‑service
aircraft, the FAA determines that inspections and/or aircraft system
modifications are completed as required by the applicable SB, SL, STC, or
other Aircraft Certification Office (ACO)-approved document. For aircraft
manufactured RVSM-compliant, the AFM or TCDS contains a statement of RVSM
eligibility, as appropriate.
9) Additional Aircraft Information. When adding aircraft
information into WebOPSS under “CHDO,” “Maintain Operator Data,” “Aircraft,”
enter, select, or check other information about the aircraft as appropriate
to the AOC and the aircraft used. These include nose number (or “N/A”);
Multiengine Land (MEL), Single-Engine Land (SEL), Multiengine Sea (MES),
Single-Engine Sea (SES), etc., or §
129.14; number of certificated and installed seats; and Civil Reserve
Air Fleet (CRAF) information, if appropriate. Fields denoted with an
asterisk are required. The “Authorizations” column should have appropriate
entries assigned (e.g., RVSM, Category (CAT) II, or CAT III) for each
10) Ground Deicing Program. The PI must ensure that the
appropriate response from the drop‑down list (yes or no) is selected in the
column labeled “Ground Deicing Program” for each CAA‑approved aircraft based
on whether or not the M/M/S has been approved for ground deicing. If
requested, the foreign air carrier must provide (as proof of CAA ground
deicing program approval) their PI with either:
English-language material provided to the U.S. ground deicing contractor (if
the foreign air carrier’s manual reference for ground deicing is not in
foreign air carrier’s manual reference (if in English).
a) Approved Program. A foreign air carrier must communicate with each
contractor prior to having its aircraft deiced on procedures to be followed.
Contractors are not regulated by the FAA and will not have approved or
accepted deicing programs; however, the contractor is required to follow the
air carrier’s approved deicing program. It is the air carrier’s
responsibility to communicate its procedures to each contractor and to
ensure that the air carrier’s approved program is being followed. ICAO Annex
6, Part I, chapter 4 states in part that:
1. A flight must not commence until the
pilot in command (PIC) is assured that the airplane is Airworthy in respect
to ice contamination.
2. Accumulation of ice or other naturally
occurring contaminants must be removed so that the airplane is kept in an
Airworthy condition prior to takeoff.
b) Not-Approved Program. Some CAAs do not require a system to conduct
operations during ground icing conditions if the air carrier:
operates in areas where ground icing conditions should not occur, such as
Puerto Rico and other specific islands and territories within the region of
the South Pacific Ocean, such as Guam and Samoa.
only authorized VFR with small airplanes or helicopters. These are typically
nonscheduled, on-demand charter operations (e.g., from Canada).
NOTE: The above is not an exclusive list. There are CAAs
that authorize an operator into IFR, but not for ground deicing.
c) ICAO Annex 6.
1. In accordance with ICAO Annex 6, Part I,
4.3.5, for airplanes, or Annex 6, Part III, 2.3.5, for helicopters, when a
flight is planned, or expected to operate in suspected or known ground icing
conditions, such that frost, ice, or snow may reasonably be expected to
adhere to the aircraft, the foreign air carrier shall not take off unless
the aircraft has been inspected for icing and, if necessary, has been given
appropriate deicing/anti-icing treatment. Accumulation of ice or other
naturally occurring contaminants shall be removed so that the aircraft is
kept in an Airworthy condition prior to takeoff.
2. The foreign air carrier shall have a
system to conduct operations in accordance with the requirements above and
the carrier’s system shall be contained in the manual required by ICAO Annex
6, Part I, 4.2.3, and Appendix 2, 2.1.15, for airplanes, or Annex 6, Part
III, 2.2.3, and Attachment G, 2.1.14, for helicopters. The foreign air
carrier’s system shall not conflict with the aircraft approved flight
manual, and shall have been accepted or approved by the foreign air
carrier’s State CAA.
3. In accordance with part
129, foreign air carriers operating to the United States must comply
with the minimum ICAO Annex 6 standards.
11) Data Communications (Data Comm). The FAA has made
Departure Clearance (DCL) available using Future Air Navigation System 1/A
(FANS 1/A) at various airports within the United States. This is an
alternative means to voice communication between pilots and air traffic
control (ATC) with data link communications at those U.S. airports for the
purpose of picking up DCLs. Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication
(CPDLC)-DCL is now operational at various U.S. airports. In 2018, data link
communications will be implemented in U.S. en route airspace. When that
occurs, if the operator has Data Comm that meets the requirements of U.S.
airspace and is already authorized via A003, then the operator can use Data
Comm within the United States whenever/wherever it is available.
NOTE: The National Airspace System (NAS) Data
Communications Guide replaced the Data Communications Implementation Team
(DCIT) CPDLC-DCL Flight Deck User Guide. When Data Comm is available for en
route in U.S. airspace, the current edition of Advisory Circular (AC) 90-117,
Data Link Communications, will contain the requirements for en route in
U.S. airspace as well.
12) Data Comm Criteria Acceptable to the FAA. The FAA does not
approve data link communications installations, training programs, MELs, or
maintenance programs for foreign operators operating non‑U.S.‑registered
aircraft. Such authorizations are addressed as specified by the State of the
Operator. However, since compatibility of data link communications within
U.S. airspace is essential, part
129 operations guidelines for data link communications are issued.
Compliance with these data link communications provisions ensures both data
link communication system and procedural compatibility. The FAA issues
limitations for data link communications, in accordance with, but not
limited to, the following:
Operational Data Link (GOLD) Manual, ICAO global guidelines for data link
adopted by the CAA, equivalent standards to AC
NOTE: PIs must coordinate all acceptable criteria other
than that specified above with AFS‑52, who will coordinate with the AFS-400
SME, as appropriate. For a list of applicable ICAO Standards and Recommended
Practices (SARP), refer to AC
13) Data Link Address. An appropriate data link must be
installed and operated on suitable frequencies specified by ATC during
flight in U.S. airspace if procedures are predicated on its use. A unique
and specific address, the ICAO 24-bit aircraft identification, must be
assigned to the airplane and the data link must recognize this address. When
properly set, the unique address may not be altered, set to a duplicated
address, or set to an address that potentially interferes with ATC or data
link safety functions.
14) Data Link Coordination. A data link capable of
coordinating with air traffic facilities using RTCA DO‑219, Minimum
Operational Performance Standards (MOPS) for ATC Two-Way Data Link
Communications, or other equivalent standards must be installed if
operations will be predicated on its use. The data link system should be
operated in an appropriate data link mode during flight in U.S. airspace
using data link, except as provided for by the MEL provisions acceptable to
the State of the Operator.
15) Data Link Training Program. All foreign air carrier
flightcrews must have successfully completed their State of the Operator’s
CAA-approved training program for data link communication prior to
conducting data link communication in U.S. airspace.
16) Foreign Air Carrier Actions. A foreign air carrier
applying to the FAA to conduct data link communications within U.S. airspace
must provide the responsible IFO with evidence that the State of the
Operator has approved the foreign air carrier for this operation. The
approval must include:
(e.g., foreign-issued OpSpecs, official letter) from the State of the
Operator’s CAA stating that the foreign air carrier is approved for data
link communication in accordance with XXXX (e.g., ICAO GOLD) criteria, that
the aircraft and aircraft equipment are eligible and approved for data link
communication, and that the flightcrews are trained and the operator has
procedures to conduct data link communication.
documentation for A003 Table 1 data link system flight plan code (filled in
field 10a) that meets U.S. domestic airspace requirements for each aircraft
M/M/S. Operators may find U.S. domestic airspace requirements as well as the
corresponding flight plan codes in AC 90-117.
PIs may accept equipment eligibility that has been determined eligible and
approved by a foreign air carrier’s CAA when it is also documented by the
AFM or other FAA‑recognized means. If the documentation includes (marketing)
terminology that is not covered by AC
90-117 or de-identified in GOLD and listed as available for that M/M/S,
then the operator will need to obtain a letter from the Original Equipment
Manufacturer (OEM). The OEM will need to de identify the (data link
communication marketing) terminology in internationally accepted terms which
can be found in the current edition of ICAO Doc 4444, Procedures for Air
Navigation Services—Air Traffic Management.
other pertinent information.
NOTE: For airlines that wish to configure and receive FANS
CPDLC dispatch messages, refer to the Subscriber Database Website User’s
17) Foreign Air Carrier Authorization. The PI must select all
of the applicable data link flight plan codes and the Data Comm boilerplate
limitation after the principal operations inspector (POI) and principal
avionics inspector (PAI) agree that the foreign air carrier:
a) Has been authorized to conduct data link communications by the
State of the Operator’s CAA;
b) Is eligible for data link communications operations in the U.S.
c) Understands the Data Comm boiler plate OpSpec A003 limitations
(i.e., the difference in the U.S. domestic airspace requirements between
CPDLC-DCL and en route data communications services).
NOTE: If the data link flight plan code applicable to U.S.
domestic airspace requirements is not in Table 1 of OpSpec A003, then a
request for the addition must be made to AFS-52 who, with AFS‑400 SME
concurrence, will coordinate the addition with the Air Transportation
18) Data Link System Flight Plan Codes and U.S. Domestic Airspace.
a) Air traffic issues a departure clearance in U.S. domestic airspace
via CPDLC based on the operator filing one or both of the following
equipment codes in field 10a of the ICAO flight plan:
• J3 and
b) J3 stands for CPDLC FANS 1/A. J4 stands for CPDLC FANS 1/A very
high frequency (VHF) data link (VDL) Mode 2. In ICAO Doc 10037, Global
Operational Data Link (GOLD) Manual, PIs and operators will find FANS and
Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN) product availability by
aircraft M/M/S. For example:
1. For Airbus A350, product availability is
FANS A +B as FANS 1/A- ATN B1. FANS A +B is marketing terminology used by
Airbus. FANS 1/A- ATN B1 is the internationally acceptable terminology used
for air traffic management (refer to ICAO Doc 4444, page A2-6).
2. For Boeing 747-8, product availability
is FANS 2 as FANS 1+ and ATN B1. FANS 2 is marketing terminology used by
Boeing. FANS 1+ and ATN B1 are the internationally acceptable terminology
used for air traffic management (refer to ICAO Doc 4444, page A2-6).
c) Once en route data communication is available in U.S. domestic
airspace, the same J codes as those for CPDLC-DCL will be suitable for U.S.
data communication en route.
19) CPDLC and Push to Load Requirement. What “push to load”
means is the ability of the flightcrew, when they get a clearance sent to
their flight management system (FMS), to press a button on their
FMS/avionics system that with the press of that button will load the
clearance into the FMS/avionics system. If the FMS/avionics system does not
have push-to-load capability, then the flightcrew would need to manually
enter the clearance. Currently, there is no ICAO flight plan code to
identify to air traffic that the operator’s FMS has push‑to‑load capability
(sometimes referred to as automation). The FAA has made push to load a
requirement for the following CPDLC message sets into the FMS: UM79, UM80,
and UM83, as it eliminates typing errors and, as such, enhances safety.
Operators whose FMS/avionics do not have push to load should contact their
FMS/avionics equipment OEM to see if push to load is available for their
20) CPDLC Flight Plan Designators/Codes.
a) The filing of all of the applicable flight plan codes is the
responsibility of the operator. Operators must enter all applicable Data
Comm codes in field 10a of the ICAO flight plan for their entire route.
Reason: those flight plan codes will determine the routing from point of
departure to destination. For example: If an operator wanted to fly from
Boston’s Logan airport (U.S.) to Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport (France)
in a Boeing 747-8 (for which FANS 2 as FANS 1+ and ATN B1 was installed and
the operator was approved by the State of the Operator for data link) over
the North Atlantic (NAT) track then in field 10a of the ICAO flight plan the
operator would list:
1. J1 for the ATN B1. J1 would be a flight
plan code used for data link communications in Europe.
2. J3 and/or J4 as appropriate for FANS 1+.
J3 and J4 are the flight plan codes used for data link communications in
U.S. domestic, presently CPDLC-DCL and later U.S. domestic en route. For
additional guidance on VDL Mode 0/A as it relates to U.S. domestic en route,
refer to AC
NOTE: Although an aircraft may be able to send a CPDLC
(text) message to air traffic while sitting on the ground at a U.S. domestic
airport via satellite communications (SATCOM), the U.S. air traffic
controller will not be able to send a message back to the aircraft via
SATCOM. Currently, SATCOM is only available to air traffic centers who are
tasked with separating traffic over the ocean.
3. The appropriate combination of J2 (CPDLC
FANS 1/A HFDL), J5 (CPDLC FANS 1/A SATCOM (Inmarsat)), J6 (CPDLC FANS 1/A
SATCOM (MSAT)), J7 (CPDLC FANS 1/A SATCOM (Iridium)). J2, J5, J6, J7 would
be the flight plan code(s) used for data link communications over the ocean
between the United States and Europe when outside of range of VHF. When over
water, in line of sight/ground radio range CPDLC data can be transmitted via
FANS 1/A VDL Mode A (J3) and FANS VDL Mode 2 (J4).
b) The U.S. Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) also makes
reference to field 18 DAT in relation to CPDLC-DCL (refer to U.S. AIP,
paragraph 18.104.22.168, page ENR 1.5-74). For details, refer to AC 90‑117,
Appendix D, Flight Planning.
C. Adding or Deleting an Aircraft. Inspectors must instruct a
foreign air carrier wishing to add or delete an aircraft to its part
129 OpSpecs to submit a letter or electronic transmittal to its assigned
FAA office. The air carrier should address the letter or email to its PI, as
listed in OpSpec A001, requesting the aircraft addition or deletion. The PIs
assigned to the foreign air carrier must obtain and review the following
documents prior to adding an aircraft to the air carrier’s OpSpecs:
1) A copy of the State of the Operator-issued OpSpecs/air
carrier certificate or other document, reflecting that the proposed aircraft
is authorized for the proposed type of operation by the State of the
2) If applicable, any aircraft lease (wet or dry) agreement or
interchange arrangement. The lease agreement or interchange arrangement must
address who is responsible for aircraft maintenance, operational control,
flightcrew and cabin crew responsibility, etc. If no lease agreement or
interchange arrangement is applicable, review the copies of documents
showing ownership of the aircraft (see
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9).
3) Approvals of the State of the Operator and State of
Registry relating to the aircraft maintenance programs. This paragraph and
ICAO Annex 6 establish the requirement that the aircraft’s airworthiness
certification be in accordance with a comprehensive and detailed code of
airworthiness. Coordinate with AFS‑50 if either of the following applies:
the aircraft that the foreign air carrier wants to add to its operations to
the United States is registered in a country (which may not be the State of
the Operator) that is IASA CAT II (or has not been assessed by the FAA); or
airworthiness certificate for the aircraft that the foreign air carrier
wants to add to its operations to the United States does not contain a
statement that it is issued in accordance with ICAO Annex 8.
4) The following aircraft-specific documentation showing
approval from the State of the Operator and State of Registry and/or
compliance by the foreign air carrier, as applicable:
a) The Certificate of Airworthiness and registration issued by the
State of Registry or the State of the Operator in the case of an existing
Article 83 bis agreement (see
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9).
b) The Article 83 bis agreement (if the aircraft is subject to
this agreement). Review the agreement and ensure agreement registration with
c) Approval by the State of the Operator for the aircraft MEL, with
the exceptions noted above in subparagraph A4).
d) Noise stage compliance for each applicable aircraft.
e) Documentation that flight deck door security requirements have
been met in accordance with § 129.28.
f) Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS)/Airborne
Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS) installation approval, including
compliance with the required software version number for aircraft equipped
with TCAS II.
g) Aircraft configuration information showing the State of Registry
and/or State of the Operator‑approved aircraft configurations. PIs must
select “All Cargo,” “Passenger,” “Combi,” or “Pax and Cargo,” based on the
h) Each of the air carrier’s required approvals from the State of the
Operator’s CAA for specific operations, such as RVSM, North Atlantic High
Level Airspace (NAT HLA), CAT II, CAT III, instrument landing system
(ILS)/precision runway monitor (PRM), Required Navigation Performance
Authorization Required (RNP AR) or restricted CAT II/III approaches, Low
Visibility Take-Off (LVTO) minima, land‑and‑hold‑short operations (LAHSO),
etc., to be authorized in the OpSpecs. Confirm that the air carrier has
authorizations for Extended Operations (ETOPS), if appropriate. Some
authorizations will require additional OpSpecs to be issued. For detailed
guidance on Data Comm, see subparagraph B. If the PI already has
documentation that the criteria used by the State of the Operator’s CAA for
a particular approval is acceptable to the FAA, then the criteria
documentation does not need to be resubmitted unless:
State of the Operator’s CAA changed the criteria;
State of the Operator’s CAA uses different criteria for the aircraft the
operator requested to operate to the United States; or
responsible PI is not in possession of documentation referencing the State
of the Operator’s CAA criteria that was already determined to be acceptable
to the FAA.
i) Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) Form 6411, U.S.
Foreign Air Carriers Certificate of Insurance Under 14 CFR Part 205. Refer
to the “Maintain Operator Data—Insurance” area of WebOPSS for the foreign
air carrier to verify that the air carrier’s insurance company has filed a
properly completed OST Form 6411 indicating that the additional aircraft
have required insurance coverage.
1. If the foreign air carrier has an
“Approved (Active)” policy with blanket coverage for all aircraft (i.e., the
column labeled “Blanket” in the Insurance interface will indicate “True”),
then additional aircraft added to the foreign air carrier will be covered.
NOTE: Blanket coverage policy is indicated by the insurance
company designating “Operations conducted with all aircraft operated by the
insured” in section 3 of OST Form 6411.
2. If the foreign air carrier does not have
a blanket coverage policy, click on the policy number links listed in the
“Policy Number” column for policies with “Approved (Active)” status (as
listed in the “Status” column). Each link will provide details of the
aircraft covered by that specific policy. Aircraft not identified as covered
by an “Approved (Active)” policy must not be added to OpSpec A003.
3. If you have additional questions about
insurance coverage, (e.g., no insurance information in WebOPSS for the
operator), contact an insurance analyst in the Technical Programs Branch
(AFS-260) by email at
4. Additional information, including a link
to a copy of OST Form 6411, may be located at
j) A statement from the foreign air carrier that the aircraft meets
the aircraft equipment requirements of ICAO Annex 6, Part I for airplanes or
Part III for helicopters, as appropriate (refer to § 129.5(b)).
The following exceptions apply:
1. A foreign air carrier whose aircraft
does not meet the aircraft equipment requirements of ICAO Annex 6 must apply
for and receive an exemption from the Administrator in accordance with 14
CFR part 11
before the aircraft can be added to the air carrier’s OpSpecs.
2. When the FAA allows all U.S. air
carriers or a class of U.S. air carriers to meet different safety standards
in U.S. airspace, the FAA believes that ICAO Article 11 obligations permit
the FAA to allow similarly situated carriers from ICAO Member States to
operate in U.S. airspace under standards that do not make distinctions among
the operators based on nationality. Per the Office of the Chief Counsel
(AGC), “…when FAA rules allow U.S. air carriers to meet different standards,
then the FAA can permit foreign air carriers to operate in the U.S. airspace
either under the U.S. standards appropriate to the class of air carrier or
under ICAO Annex 6 standards.”
5) Aircraft-specific documentation for each U.S.-registered
aircraft. Obtain and review the documentation to verify the following:
a) For U.S.-registered aircraft, approval of the aircraft maintenance
program and MEL by the FAA is in accordance with part
NOTE: Documents that apply to multiple aircraft and have
already been reviewed for another applicable aircraft already on the OpSpecs
do not have to be reviewed again for subsequent aircraft (e.g., if all of
the airplane types to be added are covered by a fleet MEL and another
aircraft of the same type is added, the MEL does not need to be reviewed
again). The option to review will rest with the responsible IFO. An instance
when it would be advisable to review the records would be if the previously
reviewed records are no longer available.
b) The air carrier has complied with supplemental inspection
requirements for U.S.-registered aircraft in accordance with part
129, as applicable.
c) Digital flight data recorder (DFDR) installation is in accordance
d) The air carrier has complied with special maintenance program
requirements in accordance with part
129, as applicable.
D. Environmental Assessments (EA). The lower the noise stage
of an aircraft, the louder/higher the aircraft noise will be (e.g., noise
stage III aircraft is louder than noise stage IV aircraft). If the operator
is proposing to add new aircraft that is noisier than the aircraft already
listed on the OpSpec, then:
Volume 11 for guidance on EAs; and
• For a
checklist of the information needed by the General Aviation Operations
Branch (AFS-830) for an environmental review, refer to the document in
WebOPSS for OpSpec A003 by clicking the “Guidance” button and locating the
document in the pop-up window titled, “OpSpecs Environmental Reviews.”
E. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). On
January 1, 2020, all aircraft operating in U.S. airspace must comply with §§
91.227 with regard to ADS-B Out equipment. The airspace where ADS-B Out
will be required includes (in general) all airspace above 10,000 feet mean
sea level (MSL) and all Class B and C airspace. In August 2015, the FAA
issued Exemption 12555 at the request of Airlines for America (A4A). The
exemption acknowledges that many transport category aircraft currently
utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation equipment that does not
meet the accuracy requirements detailed in § 91.227.
In addition, this equipment may not be commercially available before the
requirement takes effect. This exemption is available to all operators and
will permit ADS-B equipped aircraft to operate in U.S. airspace using
navigation equipment which does not meet the accuracy requirements detailed
91.227. Additional information concerning the exemption is available in
Notice N 8900.418, Exemption 12555 Notification and Implementation Process,
and Information for Operators (InFO) 16003, Exemption 12555 Process. For
additional information concerning the FAA’s plans for ADS-B Out
implementation, refer to
F. Limitations. The PI must select only the applicable
limitations to the foreign air carrier’s operations.
OPSPEC A004—SUMMARY OF SPECIAL AUTHORIZATIONS AND LIMITATIONS
(Required for All Air Carriers).
A. Purpose. This OpSpec summarizes optional authorizations
applicable to the foreign air carrier that have been issued by OpSpecs. This
OpSpec also summarizes limitations and restrictions that apply to the
foreign air carrier’s operations within the United States. Although this
OpSpec is completed automatically by the automated Operations Safety System
(OPSS) when related OpSpec paragraphs are moved into the workspace, PIs can
use this OpSpec as a checklist in selecting other optional OpSpecs for
issuance in the OPSS.
B. Procedure. Optional OpSpecs can be selected in the
workspace by checking the blocks for the associated authorizations,
limitations, or restrictions. These optional OpSpecs will then be generated
in the workspace.
OPSPEC A005—EXEMPTIONS AND DEVIATIONS (Optional).
A. General. Both exemptions and deviations may be authorized
for a foreign air carrier. In order for a foreign air carrier to conduct
operations under the provisions of any exemption or deviation, OpSpec A005
must be issued and list the exemption or deviation. Volume 3, Chapter 2
contains the process for application and approval of exemptions or
B. Exemptions. In the left navigation area, under “CHDO,”
“Maintain Operator Data,” “Exemptions,” enter the current exemption number
and expiration date. List the exemption numbers in numerical order. In the
space labeled “Remark” (referencing each exemption), enter a brief
description of the exemption or, if appropriate, the exempted regulations.
If another OpSpec specifies certain conditions or limitations related to the
exemption, enter the reference number of the other OpSpec in this space.
Coordinate all exemptions with AFS‑50 prior to authorization in the foreign
air carrier’s OpSpecs.
C. Deviations. All deviations must be first selected in the
OPSS in the left navigation area, under “CHDO,” “Maintain Operator Data,”
“Deviations.” Enter the applicable 14 CFR sections to which a deviation has
been granted in paragraph “b” of OpSpec A005. List the deviations in
numerical order by 14 CFR section. In the space labeled “Remarks and/or
References” (adjacent to each deviation), briefly describe the provisions of
the deviation or indicate a reference number for the standard OpSpecs
paragraph that authorizes the deviation. Coordinate all deviations with
AFS-50 prior to authorization in the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs.
OPSPEC A006—FOREIGN AIR CARRIER’S PERSONNEL, DESIGNATED AGENT, AND
OTHER PERSONS (Required for All Air Carriers).
A. General. This OpSpec identifies the following individuals:
the foreign air carrier’s management personnel, personnel designated to
officially apply for and receive OpSpecs, the agent for service, and the
responsible government official.
B. Instructions for the Information Fields. The following
provides direction for the information fields, which must be added to this
1) Management Personnel.
a) Air carrier management information must be first entered into the
Web-based Operations Safety System (WebOPSS) in the left navigation area
under “CHDO,” “Maintain Operator Data,” “Personnel.” If designated by the
operator, the names of the Director of Maintenance (DOM), Director of
Operations (DO), Director of Quality Assurance, Director of Safety (DOS),
and chief pilot should be entered. If foreign equivalent titles that fulfill
similar responsibilities are used, select (in the “FAA Recognized Position
Title”) the title default of “(Not Applicable)” and enter the equivalent
title in the “Equivalent Position Title.” The box for “Management Personnel
(A006)” should also be checked. Once that is accomplished, moving the
template from “available” to “workspace” will cause the information to be
loaded automatically into the table in subparagraph a of the OpSpec. The
telephone, fax, and email will need to be loaded manually into A006 (once
template A006 is in “workspace”).
b) A foreign air carrier’s management personnel may have titles
significantly different from titles of management positions used in 14 CFR
135. In addition, under 14 CFR part
129 there is no regulatory requirement for foreign air carrier
management personnel, nor is it within the FAA’s authority to approve
foreign air carrier management personnel.
c) The intent of OpSpec A006 is to clearly identify the air carrier’s
key management personnel who are fulfilling management positions in
accordance with the air carrier’s own requirements as well as any that are
imposed by the State of Operator Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
2) Operations Representative. OpSpec A006 subparagraph b
should include the foreign air carrier’s primary representative for all
contacts regarding the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs and foreign air
transportation operations within the United States. The name, address,
title, telephone number, fax, and email of the operations representative
will need to be typed in manually. Some foreign air carriers will have a
management representative in the United States (for example, a manager of
U.S. operations). If the air carrier does not have a management
representative within the United States, enter information for the
operations representative located outside the United States.
3) Agent for Service.
a) An agent for service is a person or company designated by the
foreign air carrier upon whom all legal notices, processes and orders,
decisions, and requirements of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the
FAA, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shall be served.
Once any of these documents has been served upon the foreign air carrier’s
agent for service, the foreign air carrier cannot claim (legally) that it
did not receive the documents. Title 49 of the United States Code (49
U.S.C.) § 46103(a) requires foreign air carriers to designate an agent for
b) Subparagraph c of the OpSpec should include the name, address,
title, telephone number, fax, and email of the air carrier’s agent for
service. Agent for service information must be first entered into WebOPSS in
the left navigation area under “CHDO,” “Maintain Operator Data,”
“Personnel.” The box for “Agent for Service” should be checked. If the agent
for service is also designated by the air carrier as authorized to apply for
and receive OpSpecs, then the “Other Designated Persons (A007)” box also
needs to be checked (see subparagraph B4) for more details). Once that is
accomplished, moving the template from “available” to “workspace” will cause
the “Name,” “Address,” and “Title” information to be loaded into the OpSpec
automatically. The remaining contact information will need to be manually
entered into OpSpec A006.
4) Personnel Designated to Apply for and Receive OpSpecs.
Subparagraph d of the OpSpec should include the name, title, and parts
authorized of persons designated by the air carrier as authorized to apply
for and receive OpSpecs. Persons signing the OpSpecs must be first entered
into WebOPSS in the left navigation area under “CHDO,” “Maintain Operator
Data,” “Personnel.” The “Other Designated Persons (A007)” box for personnel
type should be checked. Also, check the boxes for the OpSpecs parts for
which the designated person is responsible. Once that is accomplished,
moving the template from “available” to “workspace” will cause the
information to be loaded into the OpSpec automatically.
5) Responsible State Government Official. Subparagraph e of
the OpSpec should include the name, address, title, telephone number, fax,
and email of the foreign CAA official responsible for issuing the air
operator certificate (AOC) and for ensuring continuing oversight of the
foreign air carrier. The name, address, title, telephone number, fax, and
email of the responsible State Government official will need to be typed in
manually into subparagraph e of the OpSpec.
C. Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFO) and Information for
Operators (InFO). Operators may go to the FAA website (www.faa.gov)
to subscribe to SAFOs and InFOs. Once on the website, operators must provide
their email address to subscribe. Operators have the primary responsibility
for obtaining SAFOs and InFOs. Principal inspectors (PI) should not take on
this primary role. PIs are encouraged to advise their foreign air carriers
and foreign persons of SAFO and InFO subscription availability.
OPSPEC A007. DECOMMISSIONED.
OPSPEC A008—OPERATIONAL CONTROL, AERONAUTICAL WEATHER, AND AIRPORT
AERONAUTICAL DATA (Required to be Issued Only for Part
129 Air Carriers from IASA Category 2 Countries).
A. General. Operational control, aeronautical weather, and
airport data is a requirement for all operators under International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 6. When the FAA determines, under the
international aviation safety assessment program (IASA), that the State of
Operator does not oversee civil aviation safety in accordance with minimum
international standards, then the FAA puts additional OpSpec requirements on
foreign air carriers issued an air operator certificate (AOC) by these
countries. The FAA does not require that operational control, aeronautical
weather, and airport data be captured for foreign air carriers assessed
under the IASA as being from a Category 1 country because the FAA has
determined that the State of Operator oversees civil aviation safety in
accordance with minimum international standards.
B. Purpose. The purpose is to ensure that each 14 CFR part
129 foreign air carrier, under the oversight of an IASA Category 2
country, is operating within the United States in accordance with the ICAO
Annex 6 standards for operational control, aeronautical weather and airport
data, and that those requirements are:
1) Contained in the manual required by ICAO Annex 6 (Part I,
paragraph 4.2.3 for airplanes, and Part III, paragraph 2.2.3 for
helicopters) that has been accepted or approved by the foreign air carrier’s
State Civil Aviation Authority (CAA); and
2) Described or referenced in the OpSpec, preferably by the
manual or sections of an air carrier’s manual. When an air carrier’s manual
does not adequately describe the system or procedures used, a narrative
description combined with references will be provided by the operator and
entered in the OpSpec. The narrative description should be brief. It should
provide sufficient information so that the FAA and the air carrier have the
same understanding about the system or procedures used by the air carrier.
The foreign air carrier shall inform their assigned FAA principal inspectors
(PI) as listed in A001 of any changes when they occur.
C. Operational Control. Operational control may be provided by
a dispatch organization or method of flight supervision. Operational control
is defined by ICAO as “the exercise of authority over the initiation,
continuation, diversion, or termination of a flight in the interest of the
safety of the aircraft and the regularity and efficiency of the flight.” The
description of the systems or procedures for controlling flight movement as
described in the air carrier’s manual and referenced or described in the
OpSpecs should include the following types of information, as appropriate to
the kind of operation:
and procedures for initiating, diverting, and terminating flights.
or duty positions authorized to, and responsible for, exercise of
and location of facilities used by the air carrier in the exercise of
systems and procedures used by the air carrier.
coordination methods and/or procedures used by the air carrier to assure the
aircraft is Airworthy.
NOTE: A method of control and supervision of flight
operations is covered in ICAO Annex 6, Part I, paragraph 22.214.171.124 for
airplanes, and Part III, paragraph 126.96.36.199 for helicopters.
D. Aeronautical Weather Data. The operator needs to have a
system of obtaining and disseminating weather data (ICAO Annex 6, Part I,
paragraph 4.3.5 for airplanes, and Part III, paragraph 2.3.5 for
helicopters) so that prior to takeoff the operator has a means of
1) A flight that is to be conducted under visual flight rules
(VFR) can remain under VFR; and
2) A flight that is to be conducted under instrument flight
rules (IFR) has the weather minimums necessary to make a landing at the
destination airport or, if required, the alternate airport. At least one
destination alternate (if required), at the estimated time of arrival (ETA),
must have the weather at or above the airport operating minimums.
E. Airport Aeronautical Data. The data required in accordance
with ICAO Annex 6 is at least the following types of airport aeronautical
1) Current Aeronautical Guides and Charts. Information
relating to communication facilities, Navigational Aids (NAVAID),
aerodromes, and other such information may be found in ICAO Annex 6, Part I,
paragraph 6.2.3, and ICAO Annex 6, Appendices 2 and 6.
2) Minimum Flight Altitudes. The method for determining
minimum flight altitudes for each route to be flown (ICAO Annex 6, Part I,
3) Aerodome Operating Minima. Aerodrome operating minima shall
be applicable to the type of operation as specified in ICAO Annex 6, Part I,
paragraph 4.2.8. Consideration shall be given in establishing such minima
for the following:
a) Airplane type, performance, and handling characteristics;
b) Flightcrew composition and experience;
c) Runways to be used;
d) Adequacy and performance of the available visual and non-visual
e) Airplane navigation equipment to the type of operation; and
f) Obstacle clearance altitudes for landing, missed approach, and
OPSPEC A009–A013. RESERVED.
OPSPEC A014. DECOMISSIONED.
OPSPEC A015–A022. RESERVED.
OPSPEC A023. DECOMISSIONED.
OPSPEC A024—AIR AMBULANCE OPERATIONS (Optional).
A. Purpose. The intent of OpSpec A024 is to promote the same
understanding between the foreign air carrier and the FAA concerning the
safe conduct of air ambulance operations within U.S. airspace.
B. Manual Requirements. The foreign air carrier should have
air ambulance procedures in their foreign air carrier’s State Civil Aviation
Authority (CAA)-approved/accepted manual. While International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) Annex 6 does not contain specific references to air
ambulance operations, it does require that:
1) The operations manual required by ICAO Annex 6, Part I,
paragraph 4.2 and Appendix 2 contain:
outlining the responsibilities of operations personnel pertaining to the
conduct of flight operations, and
of emergency and safety equipment and instructions for its use.
2) An operator shall ensure that all operations personnel are
properly instructed in their particular duties and responsibilities and the
relationship of such duties to the operation as a whole, as required by ICAO
Annex 6, Part I, paragraph 4.2.3.
C. Training. The foreign air carrier should ensure that all
crewmembers have been trained in air ambulance procedures in accordance with
a training program approved by the foreign air carrier’s State CAA. While
ICAO Annex 6 does not contain specific references to air ambulance training,
ICAO Annex 6, Part I, paragraphs 9.3 and 12.4 require that an operator
establish and maintain a ground and flight training program, approved by the
State of Operator, which ensures that all flight and cabin crewmembers are
adequately trained to perform their assigned duties. In addition, ICAO Annex
6, Part I, paragraph 4.2 and Appendix 2 require that all operations
personnel are properly instructed in their particular duties and
responsibilities and the relationship of such duties to the operation as a
whole, and that instructions be contained in the operator’s manual.
D. Prerequisites. Prior to issuing OpSpec A024, the inspector
should review the appropriate documentation to ensure that:
1) The air carrier has procedures in its manual for air
ambulance operations that its CAA has approved/accepted. Absent any guidance
or requirements from the State of Operator, the air carrier may use the
advisory information in the current editions of FAA Advisory Circular (AC)
135-15, Emergency Medical Service/Airplane (EMS/A), for airplanes,
135-14, Emergency Medical Services/Helicopter (EMS/H), for helicopters.
The foreign air carrier’s air ambulance procedures should be consistent with
those of a U.S. air carrier authorized to conduct similar air ambulance
2) The carrier has air ambulance operations included in its
approved crewmember training program. The minimum training should indicate
that the pilot in command (PIC) (and the second in command (SIC) if
appropriate) is trained in the same areas as required of all pilots and
supplemented by training in any additional aircraft equipment, normal
operating procedures, and emergency procedures specific to air ambulance
operations. The inspector should also determine whether medical personnel
participating in the flight are considered passengers or crewmembers in
order to determine the extent of training required. Also, refer to AC 00-64,
Air Medical Resource Management, current edition.
3) The carrier is authorized by an appropriate government
agency within the State of Operator (CAA or other agency). This may be in
the form of a letter, operating certificate, or other document. The
inclusion of air ambulance procedures and training in required manuals may
be sufficient to determine if the operator is authorized to conduct air
ambulance operations since those procedures and training will have been
approved/accepted by the State of Operator.
4) The installation of the medical equipment (or air ambulance
required equipment) on the aircraft (the aircraft modification) has been
approved by the State of Registry and the State of Operator.
E. System References. The system approved/accepted by the
State of Operator for the foreign air carrier must be described or
referenced in OpSpec A024. Referencing pertinent sections of the air
carrier’s manual or other documents that describe the system used by the air
carrier should complete the paragraph. When a single manual or document does
not adequately describe a system, it may be appropriate to provide an
additional narrative description of the system in additional text to
complete OpSpec A024. When a narrative description (or outline) is used, it
should be brief but provide sufficient clarifying information, describing
the complete system for air ambulance operations.
OPSPEC A025. RESERVED.
OPSPEC A026—RESTRICTED OPERATION OF CERTAIN STAGE 2 AIRPLANES
A. General. The intent of OpSpec A026 is to promote the same
understanding between the foreign air carrier and the FAA concerning
aircraft noise requirements and ensure that a foreign air carrier who
operates Stage 2 aircraft to the United States is in compliance with the
Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA) of 1990. The ANCA prohibits the
operation of civil subsonic turbojet Stage 2 airplanes over 75,000 pounds in
the contiguous United States after December 31, 1999. On November 29, 1999,
the President signed into law certain changes to the ANCA that affect
operators of Stage 2 airplanes. These changes distinguish airplanes by type
of certification and operation. The prohibition on revenue operations of
Stage 2 airplanes after December 31, 1999, remains in effect.
B. Noise Requirements. The noise requirements were implemented
in 14 CFR part
36 and 14 CFR part 91,
91.877. In accordance with part
91, no foreign air carrier shall operate any aircraft to or from any
airport in the contiguous United States, unless it complies with Stage 3
noise levels. Subparagraph a of OpSpec A026 reiterates this requirement.
There are two exceptions to this requirement as follows:
1) Dual-Certificated Boeing 747 Airplanes. At the foreign air
carrier’s discretion, in order to comply with the noise requirements §
91.853, an operator of a Boeing 747 that is currently certificated for
operation in either a Stage 2 or Stage 3 configuration (per the Aircraft
Flight Manual (AFM)) may choose to limit the operation of that airplane to
Stage 3 configuration only, to allow operation in the contiguous United
States. These airplanes should be entered in subparagraph b of OpSpec A026,
including make, model, and series (M/M/S), registration number, and serial
2) Other Stage 2 Airplanes. The foreign air carrier may choose
to restrict their operation to operations solely outside the 48 Contiguous
United States. Section
91.857 requires that this restriction be included in the carrier’s
OpSpecs. These airplanes should be entered in subparagraph c of OpSpec A026,
including M/M/S, registration number, and serial number.
C. Additional Information. The law permits a range of
nonrevenue Stage 2 operations. Any operator of a Stage 2 airplane over
75,000 pounds may operate in the contiguous United States for the following
1) To sell, lease, or scrap the airplane.
2) To obtain modifications to meet Stage 3 requirements.
Operators moving a Stage 2 airplane to a location for Stage 3 modification
must provide a copy of the modification contract to the FAA with the
application for a Special Flight Authorization (SFA).
3) To obtain scheduled heavy maintenance or significant
modifications. The FAA interprets “scheduled heavy maintenance” to mean a
“C” or “D” check; “significant modifications” are those requiring special
knowledge or equipment not readily available elsewhere or not practicable
outside the United States.
4) To deliver the airplane to a lessee or return it to a
5) To park or store the airplane.
6) To prepare the airplane for any of these events.
D. SFAs. The operator of a Stage 2 airplane that wishes to
operate in the contiguous United States for any of the purposes listed above
may apply to the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy (AEE) for a special
authorization. The applications are due 30 days in advance of the planned
flight and must provide the information necessary for the FAA to determine
that the planned flight is within the limits prescribed in the law.
OPSPEC A027—LAND AND HOLD SHORT OPERATIONS (Optional).
A. General. This paragraph authorizes land-and-hold-short
operations (LAHSO) for foreign air carriers operating under 14 CFR part
129, after requirements for operational policies, procedures, and
training for LAHSO have been met. No air carrier may participate in LAHSO
unless it has accomplished flightcrew training. The information contained in
this subparagraph is critical to the safety of LAHSO and will be used in
conjunction with FAA Air Traffic Order
7110.118, Land and Hold Short Operations, current edition.
B. Background. In 1997, the FAA expanded and replaced
simultaneous operations on intersecting runways (SOIR) with LAHSO. SOIR,
used since 1968, exclusively described simultaneous operations on two
intersecting runways; either two aircraft landing simultaneously or one
aircraft landing while another is taking off. LAHSO includes landing
operations to hold short of an intersecting runway, taxiway, predetermined
point, or an approach/departure flightpath. LAHSO, just as SOIR, is an air
traffic control (ATC) tool used to increase airport capacity and maintain
system efficiency and safety. In April 1999, the FAA, in coordination with
industry, outlined changes in policy and procedures for conducting LAHSO.
LAHSO procedures require both pilot and controller participation to balance
the need for system efficiency and safety. These operations include landing
and holding short of an intersecting runway, an intersecting taxiway, or
some other predetermined point on the runway other than on a runway or
C. Requirements. Foreign air carriers may not participate in
LAHSO and the FAA will not issue OpSpec A027 unless the following conditions
1) The appropriate Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) having
oversight responsibility for the foreign air carrier has authorized the air
carrier to conduct LAHSO.
2) The appropriate CAA certifies as to the completion of
training and qualification of the flightcrew members to conduct LAHSO. The
training and qualification of flightcrew members must be equivalent to that
specified in OpSpec A027.
3) The appropriate Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has
certified the landing and stopping capabilities and airworthiness
requirements of the airplanes that will conduct LAHSO. The airworthiness
requirements and the landing and stopping capabilities of any airplane being
operated in LAHSO by a foreign air carrier must be equivalent to that
specified in FAA Air Traffic Order
4) The part
129 carriers must be identified in the local Air Traffic Directives
before they can participate in LAHSO.
5) The POI has received the necessary written documentation
from the appropriate CAA certifying the successful accomplishment and
completion of LAHSO policies, procedures, and operational requirements
specified in this order and FAA Air Traffic Order
6) Foreign air carriers, in order to participate in LAHSO,
must ensure that English-speaking flightcrews are at the controls of the
aircraft when the LAHSO clearance is accepted.
D. Procedures. OpSpec A027, subparagraph c, must
reference/describe the foreign air carrier’s LAHSO procedures
approved/accepted by the State of Operator. These procedures may be
contained in any flightcrew member manual or document readily available to
flightcrew members for reference. When possible, the OpSpec should be
completed by referencing pertinent sections of the carrier’s manual or other
documents that describe the procedures used by the carrier. When an air
carrier’s manual does not adequately describe the procedures used, a
narrative description combined with references may be necessary. When a
narrative description is used, it should be brief but provide sufficient
information so that the FAA and the carrier have the same understanding
about the LAHSO procedures used by the carrier.
OPSPEC A028—AIRCRAFT WET LEASE AGREEMENTS (OPTIONAL).
A. Purpose. OpSpec A028 is required to be issued to any
foreign air carrier conducting operations to the United States under any
aircraft wet lease agreements approved by the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT). OpSpec A028 is issued with the intent to promote the
same understanding between two or more foreign air carriers and the FAA
concerning their aircraft wet lease agreements. This paragraph provides
general direction and guidance for processing and authorizing wet lease
agreements in OpSpecs.
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9 contains complete information on wet
lease agreements for foreign air carriers and should be reviewed prior to
issuing OpSpec A028.
1) In the case of a wet lease between a U.S. air carrier and a
foreign air carrier, the U.S. air carrier must have operational control.
Information regarding DOT economic authority requirements and wet leases may
be found at the following DOT website:
Some wet leases may be referred to as Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and
Insurance (ACMI), which is a leasing arrangement whereby one airline
(lessor) provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to
another airline (lessee), which pays by hours operated. The lessee provides
fuel and covers airport fees and any other duties, taxes, etc. These leases
normally only take place between two International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) Member States. The lessor may operate them using the
flight numbers of the lessee.
2) When a wet lease agreement is authorized, OpSpec A028 is
issued to both the lessor and the lessee, except as otherwise allowed by
this paragraph. Only those air carriers with FAA-issued OpSpecs receive
3) If the foreign air carrier has more than one lease
agreement, OpSpec A028 must authorize all such agreements.
4) Each aircraft shall also be entered in OpSpec A003 of the
5) A determination must be made as to which air carrier has
operational control. In the case of a U.S. air carrier, the U.S. air carrier
must have operational control.
6) A U.S. air carrier may not wet lease from a foreign air
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9).
B. Requirements and Definitions.
1) For the purposes of these OpSpecs, a wet lease is any
leasing agreement, other than a code‑sharing arrangement, whereby a lessor,
such as an air carrier, provides an aircraft and at least one crewmember to
another air carrier (the lessee) where one air carrier retains operational
control. A wet lease requires that authorized officers of the two parties
execute a written agreement between the lessor and the lessee. A copy of the
lease agreement must be provided to the responsible International Field
Office (IFO) along with the Statement of Authorization approved by the DOT.
The wet lease must be reviewed by the U.S. air carrier’s certificate-holding
district office (CHDO) legal counsel when that air carrier is the lessor. A
valid wet lease agreement must be in force for the DOT approval period as
shown in the DOT Statement of Authorization. Further, the only wet lease
agreements that should be listed in this paragraph are those wet lease
agreement(s) that are documented and authorized by the DOT. The
DOT-documented authorizations are in the form of an approved Statement of
NOTE: The FAA requires operators conducting wet leasing
operations to hold OpSpecs for the same kind of operation as that being
conducted in order to ensure that the operator is qualified to conduct that
kind of operation.
2) Before issuing OpSpec A028, principal inspectors (PI) will
need to review the terms and conditions of the appropriate wet lease
agreement. The wet lease agreement shall specify that the lessor has
operational control and airworthiness responsibility (approved maintenance
program and minimum equipment list (MEL)) and any associated procedures to
be used during the wet lease operation. A valid wet lease agreement must be
in force for the DOT approval period as shown in the DOT Statement of
Authorization. OpSpec A028 shall be revised by removing authorization for
any wet lease agreement at the expiration of the DOT approval period in the
Statement of Authorization or at the expiration of the wet lease agreement
(if not renewed and provided to the IFO), whichever occurs first. If renewal
of the DOT authority has been requested prior to the expiration of the
existing DOT authority, the wet lease can continue. Enter the phrase “DOT
renewal applied for” in the box for the DOT order expiration date.
Verification of DOT approval must be received.
NOTE: Any additional text added to the OpSpec makes the
whole OpSpec nonstandard. Any additional text added to this OpSpec must be
coordinated with the International Program Division (AFS‑50) division
C. Paragraph Completion. Under a wet lease agreement, the
lessor always maintains operational and airworthiness responsibility of the
aircraft. If it is any other way, then it is not a wet lease. The purpose of
the paragraph is to identify the airline with operational control and for
whom the lessor is conducting flights. For example, Operator A, a 14 CFR
121 air carrier, leased aircraft under the wet lease to Operator B, a
14 CFR part 129
air carrier. Operator A painted their aircraft to look exactly like an
Operator B airplane, flew their routes, used their call sign, etc. From the
FAA’s perspective, this was an Operator A flight, so all of the rules that
the flight operated under had to have been under part
121. This would also apply to a part
121 air carrier wet leasing to another part
121 air carrier. See the following for additional wet lease and
paragraph completion information:
1) For a short-term wet lease (fewer than 60 calendar-days or
a series of wet leases fewer than 60 calendar-days) between a U.S. air
carrier and a foreign air carrier, with the U.S. air carrier operating
flights from a foreign country to the United States, no Statement of
Authorization for the wet lease is normally approved by the DOT. In this
case, the wet lease is not documented in OpSpec A028 for either air carrier,
even though the foreign air carrier may hold OpSpecs to serve the United
2) For a short-term wet lease (fewer than 60 calendar-days or
a series of wet leases fewer than 60 calendar-days) between two foreign air
carriers from the same country, a Statement of Authorization may or may not
be issued by the DOT, dependent on the current bilateral air transport
agreement. If the DOT does not approve a Statement of Authorization, then
the wet lease will not be documented in OpSpec A028.
3) For additional details on how to document any long-term wet
lease operation, see subparagraph A.
OPSPEC A029—AIRCRAFT INTERCHANGE ARRANGEMENTS (Optional).
The intent of OpSpec A029 is to promote the same understanding between
two or more air carriers and the FAA concerning their aircraft interchange
arrangements. This paragraph provides general direction and guidance for
processing and authorizing aircraft interchange arrangements in OpSpecs.
Complete information on aircraft interchange arrangements to include
definitions for foreign air carriers is contained in
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9 and
Volume 3, Chapter 13, Section 5. (Additional definitions may be found in
Volume 3, Chapter 13, Section 2.)
A. Discussion. An interchange arrangement is a form of a
dry lease. An interchange arrangement permits one operator to connect
two points using the same aircraft but each operator’s crewmembers,
thereby providing greater operational flexibility and utilization of
transport category aircraft by the operators. When an aircraft interchange
is authorized, OpSpec A029 is issued to the primary operator (as determined
by the FAA) and the interchange operator (only to the interchange and
primary operator that operates to the United States). For the purpose of
this paragraph, the primary operator is the air carrier that would normally
operate the aircraft if an interchange arrangement were not in effect.
The primary operator always retains responsibility for the maintenance
control of an aircraft that is the subject of an interchange arrangement.
The interchange operator is the other party to an interchange arrangement.
The interchange points are those airports where an aircraft may be
transferred between the primary operator and the interchange operator.
The transfer involves the replacement of the flightcrew of one operator with
the flightcrew of the other operator.
B. Amending OpSpecs. The following scenarios will arise when
amending the OpSpecs to document interchange arrangements involving foreign
air carriers and operations to the United States:
1) If the primary operator under an interchange arrangement
provides service to the United States, then the aircraft subject to the
interchange will be identified in paragraph A029 of the primary operator’s
OpSpecs and included in the list of the primary operator’s aircraft in
paragraph A003 of its OpSpecs.
2) If the primary operator under an interchange arrangement
does not provide service to the United States, then the interchange points
must be located outside the United States. The FAA would not issue
OpSpec A029 to the primary operator.
3) If the interchange operator provides service to the United
States, then the aircraft subject to the interchange will be identified in
paragraph A029 of the interchange operator’s OpSpecs. If the interchange
operator does not serve the United States, then the FAA would not issue
OpSpec A029 to the interchange operator. The interchange points must be
located outside the United States in that case.
4) When U.S.‑registered aircraft are included under an
interchange arrangement between two foreign air carriers, those aircraft
must also be listed in paragraph D085 of the primary operator’s OpSpecs.
C. Review Terms of the Interchange Arrangement. Before issuing
OpSpec A029, principal inspectors (PI) must review the terms and conditions
of the appropriate interchange arrangement. The interchange arrangement must
specify the associated procedures to be used during the interchange
operation. The agreement should ensure the following:
1) When the primary operator’s flightcrew is operating the
aircraft, the primary operator will be responsible for and maintain
operational control of the aircraft. When the aircraft is under the
operational control of the primary operator, the flightcrews and dispatch
personnel of the primary operator will conduct the operation.
2) The interchange operator, when its flightcrews are
operating the aircraft, is responsible for maintaining operational control
of the aircraft. When the aircraft is under the operational control of the
interchange operator, the flightcrews and dispatch personnel of the
interchange operator will conduct the operation.
3) The primary operator is responsible for the maintenance
control of the aircraft at all times and must ensure that all maintenance
authorizations/special authorizations are in compliance.
D. Instructions for Information Fields for OpSpec A029. The
following provides direction for the information fields, which must be added
to OpSpec A029 in the columns provided:
to the interchange arrangement—the name to include Doing Business As (DBA)
if applicable of the primary and interchange operator;
make, model, and series (M/M/S);
aircraft serial number;
registration markings from the State of Registry; and
interchange points (airport name and International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) identifier) where operational control between air
carriers will change.
NOTE: If the primary operator is a foreign air carrier that
does not serve the United States then the interchange points must be located
outside the United States. If the FAA downgrades the State of Operator of a
foreign air carrier that is a party to an existing interchange arrangement
from International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 1 to IASA
Category 2, then all interchange points must be frozen at those locations.
PIs must also ensure that if the interchange operator from an interchange
point outside the U.S. makes any stopovers while en route to the U.S. that
that route be identified because in the event of a downgrade that route
would likewise be frozen.
OPSPEC A030–A035. RESERVED.
OPSPECS A036 and A040. DECOMMISSIONED.
OPSPEC A041–A046. RESERVED.
OPSPEC A447—EMERGENCY AIRWORTHINESS DIRECTIVE NOTIFICATION FOR
U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT (Required for All Carriers Operating
U.S.-Registered Transport Category Aircraft).
A. Applicability. OpSpec A447 establishes emergency
Airworthiness Directive (AD) notification and receipt requirements. The FAA
will issue A447 to 14 CFR part
129 foreign air carriers and foreign operators operating U.S.‑registered
transport category aircraft. For additional guidance on processing
400-series templates, see
Volume 3, Chapter 18, Section 2.
B. When an AD is Issued. The owner or operator of an aircraft
is responsible for maintaining that aircraft in an Airworthy condition, as
required by 14 CFR part
91.403(a). ADs are substantive regulations issued by the FAA in
accordance with 14 CFR part
39 when an unsafe condition has been found to exist in particular
aircraft, engines, propellers, or appliances installed on aircraft. ADs are
also issued when that unsafe condition is likely to exist or develop in
other aircraft, engines, propellers, or appliances of the same type design.
Once an AD is issued, no person may operate a product to which the AD
applies, except in accordance with the requirements of that AD. The
principal operations inspector (POI), along with the principal avionics
inspector (PAI) and the principal maintenance inspector (PMI), are
responsible to see that an owner/operator complies with an AD, as applicable
for the operations of any particular aircraft. More information may be found
C. Emergency ADs Require Immediate Action. The FAA Aircraft
Certification Service (AIR) distributes emergency ADs that affect transport
category aircraft by email. As such, all part
129 foreign air carriers and foreign operators operating U.S.-registered
transport category aircraft are required to provide a designated person or
organization, 24-hour telephone number, and 24-hour monitored email address
for emergency AD notification. The FAA no longer uses Société International
de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA), ARINC, or Telex codes for
D. Confirmation of Emergency AD Receipt. Part
129 foreign air carriers and foreign operators operating U.S.-registered
aircraft will confirm receipt of an emergency AD by replying to the
emergency AD email message. This ensures the FAA that all operators affected
by an emergency AD have been notified in time to comply with its
requirements and avoid any undue safety risks. In the absence of a timely
response by the operator to the email notification, the FAA will attempt to
contact the operator by telephone.
E. Action. Principal inspectors should:
1) Review the completeness and accuracy of the Web-based
Operations Safety System (WebOPSS) Maintain Operator Data > Airworthiness
Directive Notification information for each assigned part
129 foreign air carrier and foreign operator operating U.S.-registered
transport category aircraft. Select the row of the “Responsible Party” and
click the “Edit” button to review/edit the AD notification form. This
information will be used to populate OpSpec A447. A foreign air
carrier/operator may assign several people and/or organizations to receive
ADs; however, only one may be assigned as the responsible party. Check the
“International” box. Populate and/or validate the required AD notification
fields, including the “Responsible Party’s E-mail Address.” Emergency ADs
will be sent to the responsible party’s email address.
2) Populate OpSpec A447 and issue it to each assigned part
129 foreign air carrier or foreign operator operating U.S.-registered
transport category aircraft. The certificate holder is not required to sign
F. Historical ADs. ADs from the 1940s to the present are now
available in electronic format for full‑text searching in the FAA Regulatory
and Guidance Library (RGL) at
or on the FAA’s website at
link is provided to subscribe (or modify a subscription) to receive, via
email, ADs and Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins (SAIB). PIs may
direct questions to AIR via phone at 405-954-4103, or email at
OPSPEC A570. DECOMISSIONED.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 12-126 through 12-176.