8900.1 CHG 707



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Section 16  Blanket Special Flight Authorizations for Eligible Part 129 Foreign Air Carriers

16.1    GENERAL.

16.1.1    Purpose. This section provides the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service (FS) with policy guidance and information associated with the issuance of blanket Special Flight Authorizations (SFA) to eligible Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 129 foreign air carriers.

16.1.2    Scope. This section is applicable to all FAA FS International Field Offices (IFO), principal inspectors (PI), and aviation safety inspectors (ASI) with oversight responsibility for part 129 foreign air carriers.

16.1.3    Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem (PTRS) Activity Codes. See paragraph 16.5.3.

a)    Operations: 1395.

b)    Maintenance: 3323.

c)    Avionics: 5323.

16.1.4    Regulatory References. All regulatory references in this section are found in 14 CFR unless otherwise indicated.


a)    In 1996, the FAA introduced policy on SFAs specific to certain Canadian air carriers applying for “continuous SFAs” in the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS). Both the FAA Aircraft Certification Service (AIR) Production and Airworthiness Certification Division and the FS Aircraft Maintenance Division collaborated on the development of the policy.

b)    In 1997, the FAA issued Flight Standards Handbook Bulletin for Airworthiness (HBAW) 97-11, Procedures for the FAA to Permit Certain Canadian Air Carriers Continuous (Blanket) Special Flight Authorizations. The bulletin outlined FAA policy regarding certain Canadian air carriers’ eligibility for FAA continuous (blanket) SFAs.

c)    The FAA reviewed the continuous SFA policy early in 2018 and identified that the policy developed in 1996 was no longer appropriate as written. The review identified that the continuous SFA policy (now referred to as the “blanket SFA” policy) is applicable to all part 129 foreign air carriers in accordance with part 91, § 91.715.

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16.3    PART 129 FOREIGN AIR CARRIER BLANKET SFAS. The following information and policy guidance will be used and followed when a part 129 foreign air carrier submits an application for a blanket SFA for unairworthy aircraft capable of safe flight.

16.3.1    Responsibility. Airworthiness PIs are responsible for evaluating, accepting, and authorizing blanket SFAs. However, because of the operational aspects of air carrier ferry flights, Airworthiness PIs must closely coordinate the review and evaluation of the authorization with the Principal Operations Inspector (POI).

16.3.2    International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Airworthiness Standards. ICAO Annex 8, Airworthiness of Aircraft, Part II, details the airworthiness requirements for all ICAO contracting States. Part II specifies that all contracting States operating their aircraft over foreign (other contracting States’) territory must be airworthy. All aircraft operating under the provisions of ICAO must meet this requirement.

a)    When foreign civil aircraft cannot meet this condition (i.e., are unairworthy), the operator must have special permission from each foreign country it will overfly.

b)    The United States meets this ICAO obligation in accordance with § 91.715 and FAA Order 8130.2, Airworthiness Certification of Aircraft.

16.3.3    Eligibility. Part 129 foreign air carriers eligible for FAA blanket SFAs under this guidance must:

a)    Belong to an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 1 country; and

b)    Possess valid special purpose flight permits or continuing authorization to conduct a ferry flight program (CAFP) and accompanying procedures. These permits, issued by the responsible Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), allow foreign air carriers to issue special flight permits (SFP) for aircraft listed in their maintenance control manual that do not meet all airworthiness requirements but are capable of safe operations.


16.4.1    Application to the FAA.

a)    A foreign air carrier applying to the FAA for a blanket SFA must submit, in writing, the information required by Order 8130.2, Chapter 22, Special Flight Authorizations for Foreign Civil Aircraft (§ 91.715), and any other information deemed necessary by the FAA.

b)    The foreign air carrier submits this application package to the responsible FAA IFO. Typically, this is accomplished via the assigned Airworthiness PI or appropriate IFO management. PIs must evaluate the completed application and foreign air carrier history to assess:

1)    Any safety concerns; and

2)    Whether a blanket SFA should be issued.

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16.4.2    CAA CAFP Elements. The IFO Airworthiness PI should verify that the CAFP contains requirements for displaying the SFP in the aircraft. The CAFP should include requirements for carrying responsible CAA operations specifications (OpSpecs), management specifications (MSpecs), or portions of the foreign air carrier’s manual containing those conditions, unless the SFP used by the foreign air carrier lists those conditions and limitations. FAA ASIs do not approve or accept a foreign carrier’s CAFP or equivalent program; however, ASIs must review the foreign air carrier’s CAFP or equivalent program to ensure it addresses elements such as crew training, operational limitations, flight equipment limitations, limitation to essential crew, nonrevenue operations, and aircraft inspection procedures.

16.4.3    Operating Limitations. The blanket SFA may include additional conditions and limitations unique to the foreign air carrier or CAA, which may be due to the operating environment.

16.4.4    SFA Documentation. Foreign air carriers issued FAA blanket SFAs may issue SFAs in the United States and must carry the following documents aboard when operating with an SFA in the United States:

a)    A copy of the FAA blanket SFA; and

b)    A copy of the foreign air carrier’s SFP or CAFP, issued by the responsible CAA, and the appropriate section of its maintenance control manual.

16.4.5    Aircraft Inspection. The foreign air carrier must have the aircraft inspected or evaluated prior to each flight (under this blanket SFA) according to procedures in its CAFP, and have an appropriately rated mechanic or maintenance provider certify in the aircraft record that the aircraft is in a safe condition for the flight as specified in the operator’s manual.

16.4.6    Duration. A blanket SFA may be issued for any duration up to a maximum of 1 year.

16.4.7    Renewal. Renewal of issued authorizations will follow the application procedure identified in paragraph 16.4.

16.4.8    The FAA May Rescind or Cancel a Blanket SFA. The FAA may rescind or cancel a blanket SFA at any time.

16.4.9    Foreign Air Carrier Operational Notification to FAA.

a)    The foreign air carrier must inform their FAA Principal Maintenance Inspector (PMI) or Principal Avionics Inspector (PAI), within 72 hours of operating an aircraft under an FAA blanket SFA, of the following information:

1)    The reason for operation (including aircraft malfunction),

2)    Date of operation,

3)    Aircraft registration number,

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4)    Flight route, and

5)    Preparatory maintenance actions accomplished.

b)    PIs must ensure the foreign air carrier is not misusing or exploiting the blanket SFA provision.

16.5    RECORDS.

16.5.1    Blanket SFA Format. Refer to Order 8130.2 for the form and required content of a blanket SFA.

16.5.2    Office Record. The responsible IFO will:

a)    Track issued blanket SFAs in accordance with office procedures; and

b)    Maintain a copy of the blanket SFA in the operator file, in accordance with office procedures.

16.5.3    PTRS Records.

a)    Initial and Renewal. PIs will enter a PTRS record upon the initial issuance and renewal of a blanket SFA. The record must include the part 129 designator. Comments must include the duration of the blanket SFA. Use “BLKT” (without quotation marks) in the “National Use” field.

b)    PI Notification. PIs will enter a PTRS record when notified by the foreign air carrier of an operation under a blanket SFA. The appropriate PTRS fields and comment field must include the information identified above in paragraph 16.4.9. Use “BLKT” (without quotation marks) in the “National Use” field.