VOLUME 12 INTERNATIONAL AVIATION
CHAPTER 2 FOREIGN AIR CARRIERS OPERATING TO THE U.S. AND FOREIGN OPERATORS
OF U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT ENGAGED IN COMMON CARRIAGE OUTSIDE THE U.S.
Section 8 Compliance, Surveillance, and Operations Specifications (OpSpecs)
A. Regulatory Authority. Article 16 of the
Chicago Convention states that the appropriate authorities of each state have
the right, without unreasonable delay, to search foreign civil aircraft on landing
or departure, and to inspect the certificates and other documents prescribed
by the Convention. Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.) §§ 40113
and 46101(a)(2) empower the Administrator to conduct such investigations considered
necessary to carry out the provisions of 49 U.S.C.
B. Department of Transportation (DOT) Authority.
Title 49 U.S.C. § 41703 states that foreign civil aircraft may be navigated
in the United States by airmen holding appropriate certificates issued by the
State of Registry of the aircraft and only if such navigation is authorized
by permit, order, or regulation issued by the DOT, and in accordance with the
terms, conditions, and limitations thereof.
C. Permit Requirements. Permits issued by
DOT to foreign air carriers contain specific terms, conditions, and limitations.
Among these conditions are requirements that each permit holder comply with
safety requirements at least equivalent to International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) Annexes 1, 6, and 8 of the Convention; and
applicable orders and regulations of other U.S. agencies and courts, and with
all applicable laws of the United States.
D. Short-Term Exemptions. Title 49 U.S.C.
§ 40109 exemptions issued by DOT to foreign air carriers conducting short-term
exemption operations (normally no more than 12 flights into the United States)
also require compliance with this order.
12-326 COMPLIANCE. Each foreign air carrier
operating within the United States must comply with each applicable requirement
in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) and in accordance with
its operations specifications (OpSpecs). Additionally, each person operating
a U.S.-registered aircraft outside the United States must comply with 14 CFR
91.703 and, if engaged in common carriage operations, 14 CFR part
12-327 FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) INSPECTIONS
A. FAA Responsibility. Consistent with its
international obligations as the State of Registry, the FAA is responsible for
approving maintenance programs and minimum equipment list (MEL) requirements
for U.S.-registered aircraft engaged in common carriage under §
B. The Following Guidance Applies:
1) Approval of the maintenance program does
not constitute approval of the foreign operator’s maintenance facility or capability.
The operator is responsible for ensuring that the aircraft is maintained in
accordance with its approved maintenance program. Additionally, regulating and
overseeing how a foreign operator integrates a U.S.-registered aircraft, including
the FAA-approved maintenance program, into its operations and maintenance systems
is the responsibility of the State of the Operator under the Chicago Convention.
2) In carrying out its State of Registry responsibilities,
the FAA has authority to inspect aircraft on the U.S. registry even when located
outside the United States. Notwithstanding subparagraph 12-327B1), upon approval
of the §
129.14 maintenance program, the FAA may elect to conduct an in-country visit
to validate that a U.S.‑registered aircraft operated in common carriage
by a foreign air carrier or foreign person is being maintained in accordance
with its approved maintenance program. In-country visits must be approved by
the responsible manager based on a review of the maintenance program and potential
safety issues concerning inadequate maintenance.
3) Prior to scheduling any official visit
to a foreign country, the inspector should coordinate the trip with the foreign
air carrier and notify the foreign Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The inspector
also should obtain a country clearance from the U.S. embassy in the country
where the aircraft to be inspected is located.
4) The responsible manager should consider
the following factors:
the assigned inspector evaluating the maintenance program can conduct the evaluation
satisfactorily without the necessity of traveling to the state where the aircraft
the maintenance provider is a 14 CFR part
145 repair station. In that case, the manger should ensure that these safety
issues are addressed during the part
145 repair station surveillance visit.
evidence to support the reviewing inspector’s safety concerns.
5) Conformity inspection of the aircraft to
the operator’s fleet is the responsibility of the State of the Operator.
NOTE: Conformity of the aircraft to its type certificate
(TC) is verified by the FAA as the State of Registry as a requirement for issuance
of an airworthiness certificate.
A. Purpose. Aviation safety inspectors
(ASI) shall conduct surveillance of each foreign air carrier and its aircraft
and operations. The surveillance task is to determine compliance with the regulations
and the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs. Surveillance of a foreign air carrier
shall be conducted on a routine or recurring basis. If a foreign air carrier
experiences a series of safety-related accidents, incidents, violations, or
complaints, the IFO manager holding the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs shall
initiate surveillance as necessary to resolve any safety deficiencies.
1) Surveillance Program Development. Offices
that issue and/or are holders of OpSpecs for part 129
operators shall develop their annual work programs to incorporate any Required
Surveillance Work Activities (R-item) directed under the National Program Guidelines
(NPG) (the current edition of FAA Order
Flight Standards Work Program Guidelines). Only ASIs who have met one of the
following training requirements can conduct these ramp inspections:
online training course 27100142, How to Conduct a 14 CFR Part
129 Ramp Inspection, or
permanently assigned to an IFO and have completed all required on-the-job training
2) Work Programs. Surveillance of part
129 operators can be accomplished by the office that issues the OpSpecs.
Surveillance includes routine and unannounced ramp inspections in addition to
the “R” items. Geographic units may plan part
129 surveillance as part of the scheduled work program and additional inspections
at the request of the responsible international office. For training requirements,
see subparagraph 12-328A1).
B. Foreign Air Carriers Operating Foreign-Registered
Volume 12, Chapter 3, Section 3 contains general information for conducting
ramp inspections. Normally, principal inspectors (PI) shall limit any routine
or unannounced ramp inspection of a foreign air carrier conducting operations
with foreign-registered aircraft to those operations being conducted in the
United States and shall normally include only the following inspection items:
airworthiness and registration certificates;
and ramp procedures;
and cargo (especially hazardous cargo); and
with pilot-in-command (PIC) age policy.
C. Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS)
and Canadian Air Cargo Operators. The FAA Office of the Chief Counsel
(AGC) has determined that with regard to EGPWS, operators under the safety oversight
system of Transport Canada are permitted to operate in the United States as
long as their EGPWS meets either the ICAO Annex 6 standards or the standards
the FAA applies to its own similarly situated carriers in U.S airspace.
D. Pilot Age Policy and Amendment of OpSpecs.
A foreign air carrier conducting operations within the United States using aircraft
having a passenger seating configuration of more than 30 seats, excluding any
required crewmember seat, or a payload capacity of more than 7,500 pounds (3,400
kg) regardless of the State of Registry of the aircraft must comply with the
standard contained in Annex 1 to the Chicago Convention of the ICAO Personnel
Licensing, Chapter 2, Licenses and Ratings for Pilots, paragraph 2.1.10. The
following applies to foreign air carrier(s) conducting operations within the
United States in commercial operations using foreign registered aircraft:
1) For single-pilot operations, the PIC must
be under age 60.
2) For operations with two or more pilots,
each pilot must be under age 65.
NOTE: Foreign air carriers must also always comply
with more restrictive pilot age requirements imposed by the State of the Operator.
ICAO State Letter AN 12/1.1.18-14/14, dated
March 25, 2014, sent to each
ICAO member state, announced the adoption of amendment 172 to Annex 1, effective
November 13, 2014.
E. Foreign Air Carriers Operating U.S.-Registered
Aircraft. Inspectors may conduct routine and unannounced ramp inspections
(at any location) of foreign air carriers conducting operations with U.S.-registered
aircraft. The captain, his or her representative, or an appropriate airline
representative should also be present. Inspectors must present appropriate FAA
identification to operator representatives and the captain or to the crewmember,
as appropriate. The form on identification should be FAA Form 110A, Aviation
Safety Inspector’s Credential.
1) The operator does not have to be given
advance notice that a ramp inspection is going to be conducted.
2) The following rules of conduct should be
observed by inspectors during ramp inspection activities:
should not interrupt crew or ground personnel when they are performing a particular
phase of their duties.
inspection activities require inspectors to interact directly with the crew
or ground personnel, the activities should be timed to be accomplished when
the crew or ground personnel are waiting to begin another phase of their duties
or after they have completed one phase of their duties and before they begin
activities must be timed so that they do not delay or interfere with passenger
enplaning or deplaning.
activities should not adversely impede aircraft servicing or catering.
F. Frequency of Inspections. The PI in the
responsible office for the foreign air carrier shall initiate surveillance any
time the chief executive officer of the foreign air carrier or the foreign state
CAA requests it in writing. Certain foreign air carriers have requested that
FAA inspectors conduct significantly more indepth inspections of their operations
than is required by the NPG. Since the written request is a change in risk,
the process used to initiate the surveillance activity will be as prescribed
in Order 1800.56.
G. Need for Diplomacy. Inspectors should take
particular care to diplomatically explain, with the foreign air carrier’s
representative, each discrepancy. Items not governed by 14 CFR or approved OpSpecs
(such as training programs, cabin safety procedures, and non-U.S.-registered
aircraft maintenance programs) shall not be inspected, unless a specific written
request has been made by either the foreign air carrier or the state CAA of
the foreign air carrier, or when directed by FAA headquarters (HQ).
H. Disagreements Concerning Inspection Findings.
If a foreign air carrier’s representative disagrees with any inspection findings,
the FAA office that conducted the surveillance shall prepare a written report
of these inspection findings and address it to the state CAA. After coordinating
with the IFO holding the OpSpecs of the foreign air carrier and the appropriate
regional and HQ personnel (Flight Standards Service (AFS) and Regional Chief
Counsel), the initiating office shall mail the report to the state’s CAA with
appropriate regional HQ office,
Director of Flight Standards Service (AFS-1),
International Programs and Policy Division (AFS-50), and
Enforcement Division (AGC-300).
I. ICAO Article 83 Bis Leases and Interchanges.
Operators enter into leases and other interchanges, resulting in aircraft being
based outside their State of Registry. States are permitted by Article 83 bis
to transfer safety oversight functions under ICAO Annexes 1, Personnel Licensing;
6, International Commercial Air Transport and General Aviation—Aeroplanes and
Helicopters; and 8, Airworthiness of Aircraft for aircraft on their registry
to the State in which they are based. The Article 83 bis Agreement specifies
what functions are being transferred (not all functions need be transferred),
which aircraft are affected (by tail number), and the duration. In some cases,
a foreign air carrier serving the United States may utilize the aircraft of
another country’s registry. Under the provisions of an Article 83 bis agreement,
the flightcrew may possess certificates issued or validated by the State of
the Operator, not from the State of Registry (see
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 9, subparagraph 12-353 for more information).
1) Inspectors performing ramp inspections
on foreign air carriers should be aware that in some situations the provisions
of an active Article 83 bis Agreement between two CAAs may permit the transfer
of oversight functions under ICAO Annexes 1, 6, and 8 for aircraft on the their
2) In those situations where there is an appearance
of conflict, the inspector should coordinate with their supervisor and contact
AFS-50. AFS-50 will assist in obtaining the information from ICAO in regards
to the status of any active Article 83 bis Agreements between the State of the
Operator and the State of Registry. AFS-50 will also provide guidance to the
FAA’s position in regards to such an agreement.
3) In the case of an aircraft entering airspace
the contracting State that is not a party to Article 83 bis, or has not
been duly advised about a transfer agreement in accordance with this provision,
the certificates and licensees on board the aircraft should be issued or rendered
valid by the State of Registry. The State of Registry would in this case remain
fully responsible with regard to Article 30, Aircraft Radio Equipment; Article
31, Certificates of Airworthiness; and Article 32, Licenses of Personnel, of
the Convention despite the transfer agreement with the State of the Operator.
J. English Language Endorsement. ICAO issued
a requirement for all pilots flying internationally to have a proficiency in
the English language that meets or exceeds a minimum expertise level, as defined
in ICAO Doc 9835.
1) The FAA field inspectors assigned ramp
inspection duties on foreign aircraft flying into the United States are
expected, as part of the ramp inspection, to verify the pilot certificate/license
does have the English language endorsement or verify the country’s posted means
for mitigation are being met. The AFS-50 Web site has a matrix of all Category
I (CAT I) and Category II (CAT II) countries that includes a listing of a state’s
proposed mitigation procedures.
2) If an inspector has concerns or questions
about a pilot’s endorsement, lack of endorsement, or ability to speak at an
appropriate level as defined in the ICAO Doc 9835, the inspector should contact
AFS-50, through appropriate channels. AFS-50 will follow up with the issuing
CAA. The AFS-50 Web site is located at
3) FAA inspectors shall not test foreign certificated
airmen for English language proficiency skills.
K. Desk Audits of Maintenance Programs for U.S.-Registered
Aircraft Maintained under §
129.14. Each responsible International Field Office (IFO) will be assigned
an R-item to conduct a desk audit of each foreign air carrier’s or foreign
person’s U.S.-registered aircraft FAA-approved maintenance program.
1) Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS).
Use activity codes 3637 and 5637.
2) Minimum Items to be Checked. PI should
check the following:
a) Copy of current airworthiness certificate;
b) When the maintenance program was last updated;
c) Whether the maintenance program matches the fleet;
d) Maintenance records;
e) Sample life-limited parts, as applicable; and
f) Sample/review applicable Airworthiness Directives
(AD) and advisory circulars (AC).
3) Sampling and Scope. Sample size and scope
will be as determined by the responsible IFO, based on PI input. It needs to
be sufficiently comprehensive to ensure that the foreign air carrier or foreign
person is complying with the FAA-approved maintenance program.
4) Associated Part
145 Facility Inspections and Ramp Checks. Desk audits at management
discretion may be combined and accomplished as part of an annual FAA part
145 facility inspection when the aircraft are present. A ramp check of a
U.S.-registered aircraft may not be used in place of the desk audit.
5) Termination. The responsible IFO, at the
end of each fiscal year (FY), may terminate each R‑item/desk audit in
accordance with Order
12-329 COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT. The FAA’s
compliance and enforcement program is designed to promote compliance with statutory
and regulatory requirements. The ultimate goal of the FAA’s enforcement policy
is to prevent incidents, accidents, and the occurrence of regulatory violations.
This goal is primarily achieved as to foreign air carriers through surveillance
of the carrier and through technical assistance and consultations with the carrier’s
CAA. As with U.S. air carriers, the FAA encourages voluntary compliance by foreign
A. Suspension or Revocation of OpSpecs. The
compliance and enforcement program provides a wide range of options for addressing
noncompliance. In addition to referring apparent violations to foreign governments
for appropriate handling, options include administrative action in the form
of a warning notice or letter of correction, the suspension or revocation of
OpSpecs, civil penalties, injunctions, and referrals for criminal prosecution.
When the option of suspending the carrier’s OpSpecs is selected, the suspension
may be for a fixed period or an indefinite period pending compliance or a demonstration
of qualifications. Enforcement actions against crewmember certificates (Special
Purpose Pilot Authorizations) also may be available if the foreign carrier in
its operations uses a U.S.-registered aircraft.
B. Actions. When violations occur, FAA personnel
must take the action that best promotes safety and compliance with the regulations.
FAA personnel are to determine what action to take by evaluating the seriousness
and safety risk imposed by the noncompliance. The current edition of FAA Order
2150.3, FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program, provides a description of
the authority, responsibilities, policies, guidelines, procedures, objectives,
and legal aspects of the FAA compliance and enforcement program.
1) The amendment, suspension, or termination
of foreign air carrier OpSpecs are actions that can be affected by the procedural
requirements of a bilateral air transport agreement. Before taking such actions,
the standard language in most bilateral air transport agreements may require
the FAA to consult with the State of the Operator of the foreign air carrier.
NOTE: For additional guidance on amendment of OpSpecs,
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 2. For the regulatory reference for amendment,
suspension, or termination of OpSpecs, refer to §
2) During such consultations, the FAA advises
the foreign government of how the foreign carrier is not complying with the
applicable safety standards and requirements and provides an opportunity for
corrective actions to be taken within a reasonable time.
3) The FAA also should provide this information
to the foreign carrier involved. However, the standard agreement language also
provides for exceptions to the general consultation requirement.
4) Consultations are not required when the
amendment, suspension, or termination of the OpSpecs is essential to prevent
further noncompliance with U.S. law or FAA regulations or with the minimum international
standards applicable to the operations of the foreign carrier.
NOTE: Earlier versions of bilateral air transport
agreements between the United States and foreign governments may not contain
these same provisions and in some cases, the process to revoke, suspend, or
limit the operating authorizations or technical permissions of an airline is
not discussed. However, it is FAA policy that the same process be used for all
foreign air carriers.
C. Field Responsibilities. Because consultations
may be required, amendment, suspension, or revocation of foreign air carrier
OpSpecs may be considered a significant action under Order
2150.3. Therefore, any IFO must coordinate these cases with the responsible
regional division and Washington HQ before initiating an action to amend, suspend,
or revoke a foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs. For emergency cases requiring immediate
action, the IFO must provide information on the amendment, suspension, or revocation
to the regional division and Washington HQ at the same time the action is being
taken. This coordination process will also allow for a more effective response
to the broad public attention that such actions may draw.
12-330 FAA-INITIATED AMENDMENT OF FOREIGN OPSPECS—GENERAL.
If the FAA determines that an amendment to the foreign air carrier or operator’s
foreign OpSpecs is justified, the FAA should amend the OpSpecs in accordance
with the procedures contained in
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 2. In the case of a change in circumstances
of a foreign air carrier’s operations, or when the FAA has specific safety concerns
not of an immediate nature, the following procedures apply:
A. Change in the Foreign Air Carrier’s Operating
Environment. In some cases, FAA may decide to amend a foreign air carrier’s
OpSpecs due to a change in the operational environment. For example, FAA may
create a new OpSpec paragraph to ensure uniform compliance with a certain aspect
of the regulations. In such cases, the appropriate PI may initiate and amend
a foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs due to the change, without the foreign air carrier
having to apply for the change. Once the foreign air carrier has demonstrated
or provided documentation as applicable to show compliance with all appropriate
parts of the regulations and operational and airworthiness requirements, the
OpSpecs may be issued in accordance with the procedures discussed in
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Section 2.
B. FAA Authority and Foreign Air Carrier Appeal
Rights. FAA has the authority to unilaterally amend a foreign air carrier’s
OpSpecs (revoke, suspend, or limit the operating authorizations or technical
permissions of an airline) when the FAA has determined that safety in air transportation
and the public interest necessitates such an amendment. When amending a foreign
air carrier’s OpSpecs under these circumstances, if immediate action is not
essential, the FAA shall notify the foreign air carrier in writing and then
allow a minimum of 7 days for comments regarding the proposal. The 7-day period
provides the foreign air carrier with an opportunity to submit written information,
views, and arguments on the proposal. After reviewing the comments and their
merit, the IFO shall then either rescind or adopt the amendment. If the IFO
decides that the amendment is necessary, every attempt should be made to obtain
voluntary acceptance of the amendment by the foreign air carrier, and the final
amended OpSpecs should have an effective date of not less than 30 days after
issuance. This will provide the foreign air carrier with appeal rights, as provided
129. Some examples of these types of FAA-initiated amendments are as follows:
1) The FAA will propose to amend a foreign
air carrier’s OpSpecs when it determines that the foreign air carrier’s operating
environment or its operational capability is no longer consistent with the operating
authorizations, conditions, and limitations contained in its FAA-issued foreign
OpSpecs. Examples of such cases are when the foreign air carrier:
operations to the United States with a specific make, model, and series (M/M/S)
of aircraft that is authorized in its OpSpecs.
a series of occurrences involving a particular type of operation (such as domestic
Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) when it is determined that the carrier
may not be adhering to all provisions of their FAA-issued RVSM OpSpec).
a particular type or kind of operation or area of operation (such as when the
operator no longer conducts CAT II or III approach operations in the United
2) The FAA also amends a foreign air carrier’s
OpSpecs when the standard automated OpSpecs have been revised on a national
basis and AFS-50 has requested that PIs amend all or part of their operator’s
12-331 AMENDMENT, SUSPENSION, OR REVOCATION OF
FOREIGN OPSPECS—GENERAL. When the FAA cannot reach agreement with the foreign
air carrier regarding an FAA-initiated OpSpec amendment, the FAA will amend
the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs using the following procedures. These procedures
ensure that the FAA meets its bilateral obligations that affect amendment of
a foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs that may be construed as “revoking, suspending,
or limiting the operating authorizations or technical permissions” of the foreign
A. Responsible IFO. The IFO responsible for
administration of the foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs should prepare a draft letter
to the foreign air carrier clearly explaining the proposed OpSpec amendment
and the reasons for it. If the proposed amendment is associated with a proposed
enforcement action, this may be the Letter of Investigation (LOI) in accordance
2150.3. The responsible office sets a reasonable time (but no less than
7 days), considering the location of the principal place of business, for the
foreign carrier to submit written information, views, and arguments on proposed
actions. When the responsible district office issues the above actions, they
become effective no less than 30 days after the foreign air carrier or foreign
person receives notice of them unless the responsible office determines that
there is an emergency requiring immediate action with respect to safety of the
air commerce or the air carrier petitions for reconsideration.
NOTE: The responsible IFO may make amendment, suspension,
or termination effective the day the foreign air carrier receives notice of
it. The office must articulate the reasons in respect to air transportation
B. Division Notification. The responsible
IFO shall also prepare a briefing paper using the general FAA memo template
that may be found on
https://my.faa.gov/. Within the paper the responsible IFO must include,
at a minimum, a section on the issue(s), background, and recommendation/conclusion.
The briefing paper may also include but is not limited to discussion of major
points, relevant attachments, and political considerations and implications.
The responsible IFO shall forward the briefing paper and the draft letter
described in subparagraph 12-331A (hereinafter referred to as the package) to
the regional division.
NOTE: For uncontroversial amendments, suspensions
or revocations where the foreign operator accepts the amendment, suspension,
or revocation, the responsible IFO must send an email notification to AFS-50
(there is no need for a briefing paper unless requested).
C. Regional Coordination. If the regional
Flight Standards Division (RFSD) manager concurs with the proposed action after
coordination with Regional Counsel and the IFO, the manager will forward the
package to the manager of AFS-50 with copies to AFS-1, the Deputy Director of
Flight Standards Service (AFS-2), the International Affairs and Legal Policy
Branch (AGC-270), and AGC-300. If the division manager nonconcurs, the package
will be returned to the initiating IFO for other action.
D. AFS-50 Actions.
1) When received, AFS-50 will coordinate the
package internally and with AFS-1 and the International Law and Legal Policy
Branch (AGC-7). Provided all concur with the proposed action and the need for
consultations, AFS-50 will initiate the consultation process as set forth below.
In the event of nonconcurrence with the proposed action, AFS-50 will return
the package to the originating IFO through the regional division after discussion.
The package must be retained in accordance with recordkeeping requirements
in the current edition of FAA Order 1350.14, Records Management. For additional
Volume 12, Chapter 5, Section 1.
2) AFS-50 will notify the Assistant Administrator
for Policy, Planning, and International Aviation (API), the DOT, and the Department
of State (DOS) of the proposal to request consultations and request comments.
After comments are received and considered, either AFS-50 will proceed with
consultations or the package will be returned to the originating IFO through
the regional division after discussion.
NOTE: There are many variables that would cause the
package to be returned, to include: more information is required from the originating
IFO, additional information has been received which may change the IFO’s recommendation,
a decision was made not to proceed with consultations, etc. If there is a lack
of clarity on what to do with the returned package, then that question must
be directed to AFS‑50. See subparagraph 12-331D1) for record retention
3) If the final decision is made to proceed
with consultations, AFS-50 will prepare a cable (a sensitive message) requesting
consultations and forward it to the foreign government through the DOS.
4) Assuming the foreign government agrees
to the consultations, a team led by AFS-50 will conduct the consultations and
brief post staff on the results. AFS-50 will then prepare a decision paper regarding
the proposed OpSpec amendment based on the results of the consultations. AFS-50
will make a final decision regarding the amendment in coordination with AFS-1,
AGC-7, AGC-300, the IFO, and the regional division. The decision may be to proceed
with the OpSpec(s) amendment as proposed, modify the amendment, or return the
package to the IFO through the regional division for no action.
5) Once the decision on the amendment is made,
AFS-50 shall prepare a decision cable for transmission through the DOS Post
to the foreign government notifying it of the decision regarding its air carrier’s
NOTE: DOS Post refers to the diplomatic mission which
is either the embassy or consulate. It is the official means of transmitting
sensitive communications between governments.
6) After the foreign government is notified
of the decision to proceed with the OpSpec amendment, the IFO will be directed
by AFS-50 through the regional division to issue the OpSpec amendment without
further discussion, effective upon receipt by the foreign air carrier.
12-332 INACTIVE OPSPECS.
A. Inactive Status. The FAA, as an
ICAO member state, has an obligation to establish a program with procedures
for the surveillance of foreign air carrier operations while the foreign air
carrier is within U.S. airspace and to take appropriate action when necessary
to preserve safety. (Refer to ICAO Annex 6, part I, paragraph 4.2.2). The FAA
sets out minimum surveillance requirements for foreign air carriers operating
to the United States and foreign air carriers and foreign persons operating
U.S.-registered aircraft solely outside the United States in Order
1800.56. At the
responsible IFO’s discretion, foreign air carriers and foreign persons who have
not conducted operations under part 129
for a period of 12 calendar-months (3 years for certain operators) will not
be permitted to maintain their part 129
OpSpecs authorization. Refer to Order
1800.56 for details.
After such prolonged inactivity, the FAA will not be able to determine whether
the operator continues to meet the applicable requirements of part
129 on which the FAA granted the OpSpecs authorization. Safety in air commerce
and the public interest may require an amendment, suspension, or termination
of the foreign operator’s OpSpecs in accordance with §
129.11. For example, during the period of inactivity, the FAA would not
1) Any surveillance of the air carrier to
ensure that it maintains compliance with the safety standards required by its
OpSpecs (see paragraph 12-328), or
2) An annual audit of the foreign air carrier
or foreign person’s maintenance program approved under § 129.14
to ensure that the foreign air carrier or foreign person is maintaining the
U.S.-registered aircraft it operates in accordance with a program approved by
the Administrator in the OpSpecs.
NOTE: Therefore, allowing an inactive air carrier
to continue to hold part
129 OpSpecs would prevent the FAA from effectively carrying out its safety
B. Rendering OpSpecs Inactive. The conditions
under which OpSpecs may be rendered inactive include the following:
1) Scheduled Operations. The foreign air carrier
or foreign person has not conducted any flights within or outside the United
States for more than 12 calendar-months.
2) Nonscheduled Operations. A nonscheduled
foreign air carrier has not operated within the United States in the preceding:
a) Twelve calendar-months for a foreign air carrier
utilizing aircraft TC’d for 10 or more seats; or
b) Three years for a foreign air carrier utilizing
aircraft TC’d for 9 or fewer seats.
3) Missing Documentation. The foreign air
carrier or foreign person who operates U.S.‑registered aircraft has failed
to provide the PIs with the requested documentation necessary for the PIs to
conduct an annual desk audit of the operator’s FAA-approved maintenance program
4) Bankruptcy Proceedings. The foreign air
carrier or foreign person is the subject of bankruptcy proceedings.
5) Lack of Personnel, Facilities, or Equipment.
The foreign air carrier or foreign person does not have the necessary personnel,
facilities, or equipment to conduct the operations listed in its OpSpecs.
NOTE: PIs must direct any questions regarding termination
of OpSpecs (due to inactivity) to AFS-50.
NOTE: The responsible IFO must follow the process
described in paragraph 12-333 for termination of a part
129 operator’s OpSpecs.
C. Operations to the United States under 14 CFR
375. If the foreign air carrier intends to conduct last-minute charters
to the United States and no longer holds FAA-issued OpSpecs, the foreign air
carrier may make a request to, and obtain economic authority from, the DOT to
conduct “occasional plane load charters” under part
375. (single requests, no more than 6 per year; or batch processed pre-qualified
requests, no more than 12 per year, which the foreign air carrier can renew
60 days prior to expiration).
12-333 PROCEDURE FOR AMENDMENT, SUSPENSION
OR TERMINATION OF OPSPECS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION
129.11—ACTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATOR.
A. Notice of Intent. When the responsible
IFO determines that it is necessary to amend, suspend or terminate a foreign
air carrier or foreign person’s FAA-issued OpSpecs, the responsible IFO must
send a written notice (Notice of Intent) by certified mail to both the:
foreign air carrier or foreign person specifying the Administrator’s intent
to amend, suspend or terminate the operator’s OpSpecs; and
foreign air carrier’s or foreign persons agent for service in the United States.
NOTE: Once the foreign air carrier or foreign person’s
agent for service in the United States has been served, as provided in §
129.11, the foreign air carrier or foreign person cannot claim (legally)
that they did not receive proper notification. (See
Volume 12, Chapter 2, Sections 2 and
3 for additional information.)
B. Contents of the Notice of Intent. The Notice
of Intent must:
1) Describe the basis for the proposed adverse
action (amendment, suspension, or termination).
2) Provide the foreign air carrier or foreign
person with a minimum of 30 calendar-days to submit written information, views
and arguments to justify why the FAA should not take the action described in
the Notice of Intent.
C. Decision Letter and Request for Reconsideration.
1) At the end of the 30-day period, the responsible
IFO must review the information the air carrier or foreign person submits and
issue a decision (Decision Letter) on the proposed amendment, suspension or
termination. The Decision Letter must state that the decision is final 30 days
after the foreign air carrier or foreign person receives it, unless the foreign
air carrier or foreign person submits a petition for reconsideration within
that time (30 days after receipt).
2) The foreign air carrier or foreign person
must submit the petition for reconsideration to AFS-1. If the foreign air carrier
or foreign person submits a petition for reconsideration, the responsible IFO
will not take any other action on the suspension, amendment or termination until
the petition for reconsideration is reviewed, and AFS-1 issues a decision.
D. Emergency Actions.
1) If the responsible IFO determines that
an emergency exists that requires immediate action with respect to the amendment,
suspension or termination, the decision will become final on the day the foreign
air carrier or foreign person receives notice of the decision (Emergency Decision
Notice). The Emergency Decision Notice must state the basis for the determination
that an emergency exists (refer to §
2) If the foreign air carrier or foreign person
files a petition for reconsideration after receiving an Emergency Decision Notice,
the amendment, suspension or termination action will continue in effect until
AFS-1 issues a decision.
NOTE: For additional guidance (field/HQ responsibilities
and coordination) see paragraph 12-329 through paragraph 12-331. PIs may also
find further details on termination of OpSpecs in §
12-334 EMERGENCY AMENDMENT OF FOREIGN OPSPECS.
A. After Legal Action. The emergency suspension
or revocation of a foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs generally occurs after legal
enforcement action. Order
2150.3 contains the information, policies, guidelines, and procedures to
be followed by PIs when taking emergency enforcement action, including procedures
for issuance of any emergency order.
B. Safety or Security Situations. FAA may
amend a foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs without consultations with the foreign
government if the safety or security situation requires immediate action. In
such cases, the amendment would become effective immediately upon receipt by
the foreign air carrier. This process applies only when an emergency exists
that requires immediate action with respect to safety and when the other procedures
to amend OpSpecs are impractical or contrary to the public interest; or when
the FAA has reasonable grounds to believe that the foreign carrier or the State
of the Operator does not comply with the aviation security provisions of the
bilateral air transport agreement. In the case of aviation security issues,
the FAA may request immediate consultations with the CAA of the foreign air
carrier. Failure to reach a satisfactory agreement within 15 days from the date
of such request shall constitute grounds to withhold, revoke, limit, or impose
conditions on the operating authorization and technical permissions (OpSpecs)
of a foreign air carrier. In this case, as well, when required by an emergency,
the FAA may take interim action within 15 days after the OpSpecs is issued.
1) Example 1. An emergency amendment to a
foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs would be justified if the foreign air carrier
is knowingly operating an unairworthy aircraft or using unqualified crewmembers
in the operation.
2) Example 2. An emergency amendment to a
foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs would be justified if the foreign air carrier
is operating flights into the United States in violation of U.S. security requirements,
including the requirements of its Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
foreign air carrier security program.
C. FAA Coordination. An emergency
amendment to a foreign air carrier’s OpSpecs requires close coordination between
the IFO, the regional division and Washington HQ. Unless the gravity of the
safety or security situation precludes prior notification, an effort will be
made to first comply with the procedures in this order. When the gravity of
the safety or security situation precludes prior notification in the interest
of safety, the amendment should be made using the above procedures as soon as
possible. AFS-50 can assist any coordination with the foreign government, which
may include the following actions after being notified of the emergency action:
1) Preparation of a cable describing the action
taken and coordinate it with the API, DOT, and DOS.
2) Sending the cable to DOS Post for delivery
to the foreign government.
D. Presidential Authority. Under 49 U.S.C.
§ 40106(b), when the U.S. President decides that the government of a foreign
country is acting inconsistently with the Convention for the Suppression of
Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft or that the government of a foreign country allows
territory under its jurisdiction to be used as a base of operations for training
of, or as a sanctuary for, or arms, aids, or abets, for terrorist organizations
that knowingly uses the unlawful seizure, or the threat of an unlawful seizure,
of an aircraft as an instrument of policy, the President may suspend the authority
1) An air carrier or foreign air carrier to
provide foreign air transportation to and from that foreign country;
2) A person to operate aircraft in foreign
air commerce to and from that foreign country;
3) A foreign air carrier to provide foreign
air transportation between the United States and another country that maintains
air service with the foreign country; and
4) A foreign person to operate aircraft in
foreign air commerce between the United States and another country that maintains
air service with the foreign country.
E. Duration of Suspension. The President may
act under this subsection without notice or a hearing. The suspension remains
in effect for as long as the President decides it is necessary to ensure the
security of aircraft against unlawful seizure. In this case, the IFO shall,
in coordination with Washington HQ, immediately notify the foreign carrier that
its OpSpecs are suspended or revoked until further notice.
12-335 ACCIDENT, INCIDENT, NEAR MIDAIR COLLISIONS
(NMAC), PILOT DEVIATION (PD) AND COMPLAINT INVESTIGATION. The current edition
of FAA Order
8020.11, Aircraft Accident and Incident Notification, Investigation, and
Reporting, prescribes the FAA procedures and responsibilities for aircraft after
accident and incident notification, investigation, and reporting. Order 8900.1
Volume 7, Investigation, prescribes Flight Standards Service (AFS) procedures
(to include forms to be filled, timelines, data collection, Program Tracking
and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) entries, notification, and techniques) for all
investigations. FAA responsibilities remain unchanged when U.S.-registered or
U.S.-manufactured aircraft are involved in an accident or incident in a foreign country.
The degree of participation in the investigation, however, is subject to ICAO
Annex 13 of the Convention, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, Department
of State (DOS) policy, and any special agreement that may apply between the
United States and any particular country. Public complaints that directly relate
to safety shall be investigated as incidents.
A. Accidents and Incidents. The FAA Investigator-in-Charge
(IIC) for an accident or incident investigation involving foreign air carriers
must notify the responsible International Field Office (IFO) with geographic
responsibility for 14 CFR part
129. The IFO is responsible for informing the appropriate Civil Aviation
Authority (CAA) and the foreign air carrier’s representative of the accident
or incident, as well as assisting in the investigation, as required.
B. PDs, NMACs, and Occurrences. The IFO with
geographic responsibility for issuing part
129 foreign air carrier OpSpecs maintains the responsibility for investigating
PDs, NMACs, and/or occurrences involving foreign air carriers operating
under 14 CFR parts
375 (occasional plane load charters). If the responsible IFO does not have
the resources to complete an investigation, then the IFO should attempt to transfer
responsibility for completion of the investigation to another IFO before requesting
additional resources from AFS-50. IFOs must copy AFS-54, or another branch as
assigned, on all transfer requests. If the responsible IFO is unable to transfer
responsibility for the investigation among the IFOs, then they must contact
AFS-50 for additional resources. The office which completes the investigation
is responsible for completing all forms relating to the investigation.
C. Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and
Responsible IFO. The FSDO in whose area the PD, NMAC, or occurrence took
place will notify the responsible IFO and coordinate to assist as necessary
to obtain data (to include site visits, local charts, pictures, and witness
interviews) as needed by the IFO. However, the IFO is responsible for completing
all required documentation, except when an agreement was made with management
from AFS-50 and the region responsible for the FSDO that the local FSDO would
complete the investigation. All letters or communications with a foreign state
civil authority must be made by the responsible IFO.
NOTE: Even when operating a foreign aircraft, operators
must follow all applicable U.S. air operating regulations to include 14 CFR
129, as well as FAA-issued OpSpecs. The basic investigation process is the
same as that followed for U.S. aircraft and operators. See FAA Order 8900.1
Volume 14 and Order
2150.3, as revised, for additional details on compliance and enforcement.
RESERVED. Paragraphs 12-336 through 12-348.