8900.1 CHG 742



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Section 2  Safety Assurance System: Phase 2—Formal Application

2-306    GENERAL. This section details the process for Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 121 Air Carrier Certificates, Phase 2—Formal Application. The Safety Assurance System (SAS) contains “Certification Projects” on the menu, which is the entry point for creating and accessing data and documents related to the certification. Refer to the appropriate initial certification checklist, in the SAS Resource Guide (SRG), for detailed instructions on using the SAS automation during the certification process.


A.    Formal Application Submission. The applicant must submit the formal application items a minimum of 30 calendar-days prior to the requested formal application meeting.

1)    Certification Project Manager (CPM). Identify team resources to review the formal application items.
2)    CPM/Certification Project Team (CPT). Verify that the formal application submittal contains all of the items required to begin the initial review.
3)    CPM. Notify the applicant in writing when the CPT receives all of the required items and begins the initial review.

B.    Formal Application Initial Review. The CPT has a minimum of 30 calendar-days to review the documents after the CPM accepts the application package.

1)    CPM. Provide input to the Certification and Evaluation Program Office (CEPO) assistant manager to help identify team resources that are necessary to complete each Element Design (ED) Data Collection Tool (DCT) selected for the initial review.
2)    CEPO Assistant Manager. Determine resource availability and assign team members to the ED DCTs selected for the initial review.
3)    CPT. Accomplish the eight selected ED DCTs. (See Figure 2-94, Formal Application—Initial Review Instructions, for additional guidance.)
4)    CPM. If the eight selected ED DCTs meet the evaluation criteria outlined in the initial review instructions, notify the applicant in writing and schedule the formal application meeting.
5)    CPM. If additional data is necessary, or if the current submission does not meet the evaluation criteria to proceed, notify the applicant with a written explanation of concerns.
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6)    CPM. Upload a copy of the correspondence to the SAS Document Management.

Note:  When the applicant submits manual or system revisions in this phase, they must provide evidence that they used their Safety Risk Management (SRM) process.

7)    CPT. Upon receipt of the revised submission, continue to complete the selected ED DCTs that did not meet the evaluation criteria. Ensure the ED DCTs and all other documents that met the evaluation criteria have not changed since the original submission. Repeat the review process until the submission is acceptable to the CPM and CPT.

Note:  The CPM may also select additional DCTs for review for any subsequent submission.

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Figure 2-93.  Formal Application Checklist

Formal Application Checklist. Submission is required a minimum of 30 calendar-days prior to the formal application meeting.


Verified by:



Updated FAA Form 8400-6, Preapplication Statement of Intent, if applicable.




Evidence of Economic Authority Request.




Deviation Requests, if applicable.




Initial Letter of Compliance (to include 14 CFR parts 5, 117, 119, and 121).




Company Manuals and Programs.*




Initial Cadre Check Pilot Training Plan.




Outsourcing Contractual Agreements, if applicable.




Status of Drug and Alcohol Testing Program.




Documents of Purchase, Contracts, and Leases.




Aircraft Lease, Proof of Ownership, or Letter of Intent.



If unavailable at the time of submission, the applicant must submit the following items before proceeding to Phase 3:


Current Aircraft Equipment List.




Aircraft Interior Configuration Document.




Aircraft Information Form.



*NOTE: The submission must include all manuals and programs necessary to complete the initial review. The applicant must submit all applicable manuals and programs, as listed on page 2, before proceeding to Phase 3.

See page 2 for instructions.                                                                                                  Page 1

Formal Application Checklist.

This form is for the use of the applicant. The applicant may use the “Verified by” and “Date” columns at their discretion.

    An updated FAA Form 8400-6. Required only if the applicant has made changes to the original PASI.

    Evidence of Economic Authority Request.

    Deviation Requests, if applicable.

    Initial Letter of Compliance (to include parts 5, 117, 119, and 121).

    Company manuals and programs that are necessary to conduct daily operations. This includes computer software program user manuals and engineering and program substantiation documents that support or justify the manual system or a program design (e.g., minimum equipment list (MEL), Weight and Balance Control Program (WBCP); Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Program and Hazmat Training Program; Fatigue Risk Management Plan (FRMP); Fatigue Education and Awareness Training (FEAT)); aircraft modifications; aircraft manufacturers’ maintenance, flight, operating, and performance manuals; and training programs.

    Initial Cadre Check Pilot Training Plan.

    Outsourcing Contractual Agreement, if applicable.

    Status of Drug and Alcohol Testing Program.

    Documents of Purchase, Contracts, and Leases. The documents should provide evidence that an applicant has acquired supporting facilities and services as necessary for the proposed operation.

    Aircraft Lease, Proof of Ownership, or Letter of Intent (LOI). The document should provide evidence that the applicant is, in good faith, committed to making arrangements for an aircraft. If an LOI is submitted, the applicant must provide the aircraft lease or proof of ownership prior to the aircraft configuration evaluation in Phase 4.

    Current Aircraft Equipment List.

    Aircraft Interior Configuration Document. (Commonly called a List of Passenger Accommodations (LOPA)).

    Aircraft Information Form.

Page 2

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Figure 2-94.  Formal Application—Initial Review Instructions

Formal Application—Initial Review. The applicant submits the formal application package at least 30 calendar-days prior to the requested formal application meeting. The initial review determines the acceptability of the formal application items.

1. The CPT verifies that the applicant has submitted the formal application documents required to begin the initial review and verifies that they are acceptable.

a) Verify that all manuals required to conduct the initial review are available to the CPT.

b) Verify that the Letter of Compliance includes applicable rules from parts 5, 117, 119, and 121.

2. The CPT will complete eight ED DCTs. The CPM might select a combination of ED DCTs representing programs that require approval or operations specifications (OpSpecs) and additional ED DCTs as necessary to total eight. The CPT will accomplish the selected DCTs as follows:

a) Download and complete the DCT-to-Go for the eight selected ED DCTs. The CPT will retain a copy of their responses to the DCT questions and enter the data in SAS during Phase 3, Design Assessment (DA).

b) Use the evaluation criteria below when determining Element Design Assessment (EDA) results:

1. The design of the applicant’s operating system must comply with the regulations and be consistent with safe operating practices. Conduct the review using guidance in this order.

2. The selected programs meet the requirements for approval or acceptance.

NOTE: If a design contains minor discrepancies that will allow the CPT to approve or accept the program with mitigation, ensure the applicant corrects these discrepancies during Phase 3.

3. If the manuals describe systems that do not meet the evaluation criteria, the CPM notifies the applicant about the errors and returns the manuals for revision and re-submission.

NOTE: The CPM may elect to add additional DCTs for any subsequent submission.

NOTE: The applicant must use their SRM process for each revision and submit evidence of such use.

C.    Plan Formal Application Meeting.

1)    CPM. When the applicant has submitted a complete formal application package and the CPT determines it meets the initial review evaluation criteria, plan the formal application meeting (see Figure 2-95, Formal Application Meeting Plan).
2)    CPM. Schedule the meeting at a time when the 14 CFR part 5, § 5.25 and 14 CFR part 119, § 119.65 required management personnel are able to attend.
3)    CPM. Ensure the primary inspectors will attend the formal application meeting.
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4)    CPM. Notify the Office of Air Carrier Safety Assurance (ACSA) of the date for the formal application meeting.
5)    ACSA. Assign a certificate management office (CMO) to the certification project.
6)    CMO Manager. Assign CMO aviation safety inspectors (ASI) to the CPT to assist with the remaining phases of the certification process. The CMO manager should also begin planning for the assignment of the principal inspectors (PI).

Note:  The CMO manager should assign a CMO point of contact (POC) and one ASI for each technical discipline to the CPT.

7)    CPM. Conduct the Initial Certification Briefing for the CMO CPT members, using the PowerPoint presentation on the CEPO Knowledge Services Network (KSN) site.

Note:  If unable to assign and brief the CMO CPT before the formal application meeting, ensure these steps are accomplished prior to Phase 3 (Module 3, Resource Management).

8)    CPT. Develop questions to assess the required management personnel’s knowledge of their processes and associated system documentation (see Figure 2-96, Formal Application Management Questionnaire Worksheet).

Figure 2-95.  Formal Application Meeting Plan

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Formal Application Meeting Plan. The objective of the meeting is to determine that the applicant’s §§ 5.25 and 119.65 required management personnel are knowledgeable of their operating systems, Safety Management System (SMS), applicable rules, and guidance. The CPT accomplishes this task by developing questions related to processes under the individual’s areas of responsibility or control.

1. CPM—Develop an Agenda. Suggested agenda items:

    Introductions and circulate attendance roster (see Figure 2-97, Sample Attendance Roster),

    Applicant describes proposed operating systems,

    Review certification process,

    Explain conduct and criteria of this meeting,

    Present management questions,

    Resolve discrepancies and open items,

    Discuss proposed OpSpecs, and

    Review requests for deviation, if applicable.

2. CPT—Develop Management Questions. Develop questions that will assess the applicant’s required management personnel’s knowledge of their processes and associated system documentation. The questions should directly relate to processes under the individual manager’s area of responsibility. The answers should include references to the manual system or other company documentation.

NOTE: Develop questions that are relevant to the current status of the applicant’s system documentation and target each manager’s knowledge of the process for which he or she has responsibility. Do not use questions based on a scenario.

3. CPM—Document the Questions and Expected Answers. Record the question, the manual/documentation reference(s), and the answer on the Formal Application Management Questionnaire Worksheet (see Figure 2-96, Formal Application Management Questionnaire Worksheet).

4. CPM. Assign questions to CPT members.

5. CPT—Present Management Questions and Evaluate Responses. Each of the required management personnel should demonstrate an acceptable level of understanding of their operating systems by correctly answering all questions. Do not allow managers to use “word search” as their primary method to locate manual references. They should be able to identify the correct manual and chapter before using any “word search” function. Unsuccessful results may require retesting the manager(s) at a later date.

NOTE: Do not identify inadequacies in the applicant’s system design during this event. The DA in Phase 3 addresses deficiencies in their system design.

6. CPT. Discard questions and answers upon successful completion of the meeting.

Figure 2-96.  Formal Application Management Questionnaire Worksheet

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Name and Position:








Expected Outcome (References):






Actual Outcome:






SAT ☐      UNSAT ☐


CPT Member Name:

Separate Here to Provide Question to Management






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D.    Conduct the Formal Application Meeting. See Figure 2-95, Formal Application Meeting Plan, for guidance.

1)    CPM. Circulate the attendance roster (see Figure 2-97, Sample Attendance Roster).
2)    CPM. Accomplish the items on the meeting agenda.
3)    CPM. Conclude the formal application meeting.
4)    CPM. Inform the applicant that they will receive written notification within 5 business-days of acceptance or rejection.

Figure 2-97.  Sample Attendance Roster

Attendance Roster



Type of Meeting:


Applicant Name:





(Please Print)

Title or Position

Phone Number

Email Address













































































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E.    Accept or Reject the Formal Application Package.

1)    CPM/CPT. Determine that the applicant’s required management personnel are knowledgeable of their operating systems.
a)    If management personnel failed to demonstrate knowledge of their systems, the CPM may elect to reject the application or schedule follow-up evaluation(s).
b)    The CPT must complete this follow-up evaluation with satisfactory results before finishing Phase 2.
2)    CPT. Discuss areas of concern identified during the formal application meeting.
3)    CPM/CPT. Determine whether the formal application meeting and formal application package are acceptable.

Note:  During the certification process, if there is a change to any § 5.25 or § 119.65 required management personnel, evaluate the new management to ensure they are knowledgeable of their operating systems, SMS, and applicable rules and guidance.

F.    Notify the Applicant.

1)    CPM. Provide either a letter of acceptance or a letter of rejection to the applicant within 5 business-days of completing the formal application meeting. A letter of rejection will state the reason for rejection of the formal application package and meeting. The CEPO manager will determine at which step the applicant will reenter the certification process, or whether to terminate the certification project.
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2)    CPM. Upload a copy of the correspondence to the SAS Document Management.

G.    Complete Phase 2 Review.

1)    CPM. Verify that the applicant has met all Phase 2 Gate requirements, to include all formal application required documents (see Figure 2-98, Phases and Gates for Initial Certification).
2)    CPM. Ensure all correspondence and supporting documentation are uploaded to the SAS Document Management.
3)    CPM. Ensure the certification project is transferred from the CEPO (Region C4, Office C410) to the assigned CMO in the SAS automation.
4)    CPM. Make appropriate entries into the SAS automation per the applicable initial certification checklist.
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Note:  Section 119.39(b)(1) states, “An application for a certificate may be denied if the Administrator finds thatů 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 Federal Aviation Administration (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.

Figure 2-98.  Phases and Gates for Initial Certification

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Figure 2-98. Phases and Gates for Initial Certification

RESERVED. Paragraphs 2-308 through 2-313.