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8900.1 CHG 742

VOLUME 2  AIR OPERATOR AND AIR AGENCY CERTIFICATION AND APPLICATION PROCESS

CHAPTER 3  THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS—TITLE 14 CFR PART 121

Section 1  Safety Assurance System: General Information and Phase 1—Preapplication Phase

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2-296    GENERAL. This section provides an overview of the certification process for Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 air carriers. It also contains the steps in Phase 1, the Preapplication Phase. The part 121 certification process is a cooperative effort between the Certification and Evaluation Program Office (CEPO) of the Safety Analysis and Promotion Division and the Office of Air Carrier Safety Assurance (ACSA). The CEPO assigns a certification project manager (CPM), initiates the certification, and directs the project through all phases of the certification process. The ACSA assigns the certificate management office (CMO) and establishes a Certificate Management Team (CMT) to perform Continued Operational Safety (COS) oversight after certification. The Certification Project Team (CPT) will include aviation safety inspectors (ASI) from the CEPO and the ACSA.

Note:  The CPM ensures that the applicant meets all requirements for each gate in order for the certification project to continue. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not issue a certificate until the Safety Analysis and Promotion Division Management, the CEPO management, and the ACSA management are confident that the applicant is able to provide service at the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest, in accordance with Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.) § 44702.

Note:  All five phases of this certification process involve the use of the Safety Assurance System (SAS). See Volume 10, and refer to the SAS Automation User Guide (AUG) and the SAS Resource Guide (SRG) for current policy, guidance, checklists, and SAS automation updates as the process continues.

A.    Purpose. This section provides general information for CEPO and ACSA personnel to use during the certification of a part 121 air carrier.

B.    Scope. This section provides an overview of the following certification processes:

1)    Initial application inquiries.
2)    Review of the applicant’s submissions for completeness and accuracy.
3)    Evaluating the design of the applicant’s operating systems.
4)    Determining if the applicant’s systems are performing as intended and producing the desired results.
5)    Completing all administrative functions.

2-297    BACKGROUND.

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A.    Initial Inquiries or Requests. Inquiries about certification may come in various formats from individuals or organizations. These inquiries may be in writing or be the result of meetings with personnel from a responsible Flight Standards office. Offices receiving an initial inquiry will direct the applicant to the FAA’s public website (https://www.faa.gov), and advise that the information available on this website will assist them during the certification process. The responsible Flight Standards office should also notify the CEPO and ACSA, who will designate points of contact for the upcoming certification project.

B.    Safety Management System (SMS). An SMS is an integral part of the certification and operation of an air carrier, required by 14 CFR part 5. Flight Standards (FS) personnel should advise the applicant to contact the SMS Program Office (SMSPO) for information on the design and implementation of an SMS before they begin to develop processes and procedures in their manuals.

C.    CEPO Notification. Offices that receive FAA Form 8400-6, Preapplication Statement of Intent (PASI), will return the PASI to the applicant and advise them to resubmit it to the CEPO (Region C4, Office C410) in the SAS automation, or email the PASI and supporting documents to the CEPO manager. Upon receiving the PASI, CEPO personnel will work with the ACSA to schedule a preapplication meeting with the applicant. The preapplication meeting should convene as soon as the applicant’s part 5, § 5.25 and 14 CFR part 119, § 119.65 required management are available to attend. The meeting will include an Initial Certification Briefing.

D.    Certification Services Oversight Process (CSOP) Initiation. When the CEPO receives the PASI, the CEPO assistant manager will initiate the CSOP using the guidance in Volume 10, Chapter 12.

E.    Certification Phases and Gates. The certification process contains five phases and three gates.

1)    A phase separates the certification process into related activities that support a specific function. Each phase includes detailed guidance and identifies the individuals responsible for each action. The CPM may use their discretion to adapt or modify steps within a phase, when necessary.
2)    A gate is a set of prerequisites the applicant must meet before proceeding to the next step. Gate requirements cannot be altered or modified.

F.    Request for Deviation to the Certification Process for Part 121 Air Carriers. If the CPM finds that it is necessary to deviate from the requirements of the certification process, the CPM sends a written request to the CEPO manager. The CEPO manager will forward a request to deviate from this process, through the Safety Analysis and Promotion Division manager, to the applicable director. If approved, the CEPO manager will forward the approval, from the applicable director, to the CPM. The CPM uploads all documentation relating to the deviation request to the SAS Document Management.

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Note:  An applicant may apply for other deviations when a regulatory section stipulates that a deviation is permitted. All deviation requests must adhere to the processes and procedures described in this order.

G.    Suspension or Termination of the Certification Process. Section 119.39(b)(1) states, “An application for a certificate may be denied if the Administrator finds that… the applicant is not properly or adequately equipped or is not able to conduct safe operations under this subchapter.”

1)    The FAA may terminate the certification process when it is clear that continuing will not result in the issuance of an Air Carrier Certificate (i.e., multiple failures of the applicant’s submissions or performance).
2)    The applicant must maintain an active project. The CEPO and ACSA will review the project for possible termination if there is no objective evidence (i.e., submission of required or requested documents, manuals, revisions to manuals) that the applicant is actively pursuing certification for a 90 calendar-day period.
3)    If there is a change to the aircraft make/model during the certification process, the project must restart at the beginning of Phase 2 or be reviewed for possible termination.
4)    If at any time during the certification process the applicant formally terminates all efforts toward certification, or the FAA determines that the applicant will not proceed with this process, the CEPO assistant manager will notify the applicant in writing that the certification project is terminated. The applicant must submit a new PASI in order to initiate the certification process again.

2-298    SUMMARY OF PHASES. Figure 2-90, Phases and Gates for Initial Certification, depicts the following phases:

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A.    Phase 1: Preapplication. The applicant will contact the responsible Flight Standards office for initial inquiries regarding certification. When the applicant is ready, they may submit the PASI using the SAS External Portal, email, or other means outside of the SAS automation. The responsible Flight Standards office will forward the PASI and any supporting documents to the CEPO manager. When the PASI is accepted, the CEPO assistant manager will coordinate with ACSA management.

Note:  Phase 1 ends when the CPT accepts the preapplication submission and the applicant has met all other preapplication requirements.

B.    Phase 2: Formal Application. A formal application meeting is tentatively scheduled after the FAA receives the formal application submission. The CPT reviews the applicant’s formal application package for completeness, accuracy, and regulatory compliance before confirming the formal application meeting date. During the formal application meeting, the applicant’s management personnel must demonstrate knowledge of their air carrier’s system design.

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Note:  Phase 2 ends when the applicant successfully completes the formal application meeting, the CPT accepts the formal application package, and all Phase 2 Gate requirements are met.

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C.    Phase 3: Design Assessment (DA). The CPT evaluates the design of the applicant’s operating systems to ensure that their compliance with regulations and safety standards, including the obligation to provide service at the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest. This phase uses Data Collection Tools (DCT) to collect data for use in determining if the air carrier’s operational system design meets regulatory requirements.

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Note:  Phase 3 ends when all programs have been accepted or approved, and all Phase 3 Gate requirements are met.

D.    Phase 4: Performance Assessment (PA). The CPT uses DCTs during this phase to collect data for use in determining if the applicant’s systems are performing as intended and producing the desired results. This phase requires the operation of an aircraft to aid in the assessment of the applicant’s system design. Proving tests begin only after all Phase 4 Gate requirements are met.

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Note:  Phase 4 ends after the successful completion of the proving tests and all design and performance issues are addressed per the applicant’s SMS.

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E.    Phase 5: Administrative Functions. This phase provides for completion of all administrative functions (e.g., issuance of the Air Carrier Certificate and operations specifications (OpSpecs), Activity Recording requirements, and certification reports).

Figure 2-90.  Phases and Gates for Initial Certification

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Figure 2-90. Phases and Gates for Initial Certification

2-299    PHASE 1: PREAPPLICATION.

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A.    Submission of the PASI. The responsible Flight Standards office receives the PASI via the SAS External Portal or other means outside of the SAS automation.

B.    Notify the CEPO. The FS office manager returns the PASI to the applicant and advises them to resubmit it to the CEPO (Region C4, Office C410) in the SAS automation, or email the PASI and any supporting documents to the CEPO manager at AFS-900-Management-Team@faa.gov.

C.    Establish the CEPO CPT.

1)    CEPO Manager. Assign a CEPO assistant manager and CPM to the certification project.
2)    CEPO Assistant Manager. Notify the ACSA of the certification project. The ACSA should begin the process of CMO selection.
3)    CEPO Assistant Manager. Assign CPT members to include primary inspectors qualified to approve/accept manuals, programs, minimum equipment lists (MEL), etc.

D.    Coordinate and Conduct the Preapplication Meeting.

1)    CPM. Contact the applicant to schedule the preapplication meeting. Attendees must include the applicant’s §§ 5.25 and 119.65 required management.

Note:  The CPM may take into consideration extenuating circumstances, which may preclude the attendance of all the required management listed in the PASI.

2)    CPM. Conduct the Initial Certification Briefing using the PowerPoint presentation on the CEPO Knowledge Services Network (KSN) site.

E.    SAS Automation Preparation. The certification process for part 121 air carriers is completed entirely through the SAS automation by the FAA or by both the applicant and the FAA through the External Portal (applicant) and internal portal (FAA). Initial certification checklists are located in the SRG and provide step-by-step instructions for using the SAS automation during the certification process.

1)    CEPO Assistant Manager. Enter and/or accept the preapplication information in SAS and assign the CPM role.
2)    CPM. Add the CPT to the certificate holder/applicant (CH/A) team in SAS.
3)    CPM. Ensure that the CPT members have access to the certification project in SAS.
4)    CPM/CPT. Coordinate with representatives of the applicant to review their proposed scope of operations and enter the appropriate configuration data in SAS.
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5)    CPM. If the applicant elects to submit the self-audited DCTs, ensure that the applicant is able to generate the Element Design (ED) DCTs in SAS.
6)    CPM. If the applicant elects to submit the self-audited DCTs, provide the SMS Design Validation Custom DCTs to the applicant.

F.    Preapplication Checklist (PAC) Items Review. The applicant contacts the CPM to schedule a formal application meeting 60 or more calendar-days in advance of their proposed meeting date.

1)    CPM. Receive the applicant’s request for a formal application meeting and all of the items listed in the PAC (see Figure 2-91, Preapplication Checklist (PAC)).
2)    CPM. Identify team resources to complete the review.
3)    CPM/CPT. Verify that the PAC submittal contains all of the items listed and verify that the preapplication package is complete.
4)    CPT. Review and evaluate all components of the submission. (See Figure 2-92, PAC Items—Review Instructions, for guidance.)
5)    CPM. When the CPT agrees the current submission is acceptable to proceed, notify the applicant in writing.
a)    If additional data is necessary, or if the current submission is not of sufficient quality to proceed, notify the applicant with a written explanation of concerns.
b)    Upload a copy of the correspondence to the SAS Document Management.
6)    CPT. Repeat subparagraph F3 above until the submission is acceptable.

Figure 2-91.  Preapplication Checklist (PAC)

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Preapplication Checklist. Submission is required a minimum of 60 calendar-days prior to the formal application meeting.

Document:

Verified by:

Date:

 

Formal Application Letter.

 

 

 

FAA Form 8400-6, Preapplication Statement of Intent.

 

 

 

Completed proposed Schedule of Events (SOE).

 

 

Required Management Personnel Résumé, Qualification Summary (QS), and Quality Audit Forms (QAF).

Management Position:

Verified by:

Date:

 

Director of Maintenance         QS       QAF

 

 

 

Director of Operations            QS       QAF

 

 

 

Chief Pilot                               QS       QAF

 

 

 

Chief Inspector                        QS       QAF

 

 

 

Director of Safety                   QS       QAF

 

 

 

Applicant’s Accountable Executive (part 5) Designation

 

 

 

Part 121 Applicant Quality Audit

 

 

This form is for the use of the applicant. The applicant may use the “Verified by” and “Date” columns at their discretion. Refer to the FAA public website (https://www.faa.gov) to obtain forms and instructions.

Figure 2-92.  PAC Items—Review Instructions

PAC Items Review. The applicant submits the PAC items a minimum of 60 calendar-days prior to the requested formal application meeting. The review determines the acceptability of the PAC items.

1. The CPT verifies that the applicant has submitted all of the PAC items and ensures that the following items are acceptable:

a) Formal Application Letter.

b) An updated FAA Form 8400-6, Preapplication Statement of Intent.

c) Completed proposed SOE.

Note: The FAA SOE format is available on the FAA’s public website.

d) The completed required management personnel résumé, QS, and QAF (see Volume 2, Chapter 2, Section 3).

e) The accountable executive (part 5) designation.

f) The part 121 Applicant Quality Audit Form.

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Note:  Section 119.39(b)(1) states, “An application for a certificate may be denied if the Administrator finds that… the applicant is not properly or adequately equipped or is not able to conduct safe operations under this subchapter.” In addition, the applicant must maintain an active project. The CEPO and ACSA must evaluate an inactive period that exceeds 90 calendar-days. Inactivity of greater than 90 days may be cause to terminate the certification process. The FAA may also terminate the process when it is clear that continuing the process will not result in approval or acceptance (i.e., multiple failures of the applicant’s submissions or performance). If there is a change to the aircraft make/model during the certification process, the project must be restarted at the beginning of Phase 2 or reviewed for possible termination.

RESERVED. Paragraphs 2-300 through 2-305.