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What is an air carrier?
The term "air carrier" is defined in the Federal Aviation Act in 49 U.S.C. § 40102. In general, under federal aviation law, an air carrier means an entity that undertakes – either directly or indirectly – to provide interstate transportation for compensation as a common carrier. To be an "air carrier," an entity must have two separate government approvals: economic authority from the U.S. Department of Transportation ("DOT") and safety/operational authority from the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA"). Air carriers must also be U.S. citizens.
Fractional programs are regulated by the FAA, and may be operated by air carriers or non-air carriers, like Flexjet.
What is the difference between a Part 91 flight, Part 91K fractional flight and a Part 135 flight?
From an FAA standpoint, the primary difference between the different types of flights relates to who has "operational" control of the flight and the requirements that must be met for each type of flight. FAA regulations establish different operating requirements for different types of flights, which, in this case, are found in 14 C.F.R. Parts 91 and 135. Fractional flights are operated under Part 91, Subpart K, which govern fractional programs.
For Part 91 and Part 91 K flights, the owner of the aircraft (or fractional owner) has operational control of the aircraft, which means that the owner, not the management company, is responsible for the actions of the flight crew, for aircraft operations, and for safety of flight. Part 91 flights, including fractional flights, may be operated by entities that are not "air carriers." The FAA reviews and approves fractional programs under Part 91, Subpart K.
Part 135 operations are operated by air carriers, and on these flights, the Part 135 operator, not the aircraft owner or passenger, is responsible for the flight crew, aircraft operations, and safety of flight. Part 135 operators have authority from both the FAA and DOT to operate. Jet Solutions is a Part 135 operator.
Who is Flexjet?
Flexjet operates an approved Part 91 Subpart K fractional ownership program. In addition to its fractional program, Flexjet provides access to a range of other aviation solutions, such as card programs operated by certificated U.S. air carriers, charter brokerage services, and whole aircraft management under Part 91. Flexjet is the first fractional provider to be recognized as meeting the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard.
While providing customers world-class aviation solutions and programs, Flexjet is not an air carrier and does not provide air transportation services for compensation or hire.
What is Flexjet's fractional program aircraft?
Flexjet's fractional program aircraft refers to aircraft that are in the Flexjet fractional ownership program dry lease pool. This includes aircraft owned and operated under Part 91 Subpart K by fractional owners and individuals who elect to put their aircraft managed under the Part 91 whole aircraft management program into the dry lease pool. Some of these aircraft are also utilized by Jet Solutions as part of the Flexjet 25 Jet Card program, and when these aircraft are used by Jet Solutions, they are operated under the control of Jet Solutions, not Flexjet. The fractional program aircraft are used by Flexjet in operating its Part 91, Subpart K fractional ownership program and in its Part 91 whole aircraft management program.
Who maintains the Flexjet fractional program aircraft?
As a fractional program manager, Flexjet has arranged to have all aircraft in the fractional program maintained in accordance with Part 135 by Jet Solutions under its FAA General Maintenance Manual ("GMM"). The maintenance standards for Part 135 exceed the requirements for Part 91 Subpart K, so Flexjet's decision to adhere to these Part 135 standards is further evidence of its commitment to excellence in maintaining Flexjet program aircraft.
Jet Solutions is responsible for ensuring all maintenance is done in accordance with its GMM and applicable FAA requirements. Jet Solutions uses several FAA-certificated Part 145 Repair Stations for maintenance, including two Flexjet-owned Repair Stations.
Flexjet Repair Stations are located in Addison, Texas, and Teterboro, New Jersey, and have each won 13 consecutive FAA Diamond Awards for Excellence, the FAA's most prestigious maintenance award.
Who is Jet Solutions, and what is its relationship with the Flexjet 25 Program?
Jet Solutions, LLC ("Jet Solutions") is one of the largest on-demand air carriers in the country, certificated under 14 C.F.R Part 119 and operating under 14 C.F.R. Part 135 ("Part 135"). Jet Solutions is the first air carrier in the country to be recognized as meeting the Air Charter Safety Foundation's Industry Audit Standard and has a complete Safety Management System (SMS) that exceeds the FAA voluntary program. Flexjet has enjoyed a strong relationship with Jet Solutions, since its inception in 1995. Jet Solutions operates flights under Part 135 for owners in the Flexjet fractional program who elect not to have operational control of their aircraft.
Jet Solutions also operates Flexjet 25 Jet Card program flights using its aircraft and its pilots. Jet Solutions maintains strict control and supervision over its direct employees operating in safety-sensitive positions, like its Director of Operations, Director of Maintenance, Chief Pilot, and Director of Quality Assurance as well as all its agents. Jet Solutions also contracts all its customer care through Flexjet’s Customer Account Managers (CAM). Whenever these Flexjet CAMs are working in connection with the Flexjet 25 Jet Card program or a Part 135 flight for a fractional owner, they are working on behalf of Jet Solutions.
The aircraft and pilots used by Jet Solutions in its Part 135 operations for the Flexjet 25 Jet Card and program are the same aircraft and pilots utilized in Flexjet’s fractional ownership program and whole aircraft management program (see below). When Jet Solutions is operating these aircraft for Flexjet 25 programs, the aircraft and pilots as agents of Jet Solutions are under the control of Jet Solutions, not Flexjet, and are, therefore, Jet Solutions' aircraft and pilots. Jet Solutions is also responsible for ensuring the aircraft and pilots comply with applicable FAA requirements, as required by Part 135.
What aircraft are used for the charter brokerage service programs?
These flights are operated by a select network of certificated Part 135 operators, not Flexjet. Each of these operators is responsible for providing and operating its own aircraft. In these cases, Flexjet acts as the agent for the customer in arranging for air transportation on a certificated carrier. Flexjet's standards for selecting air carriers to provide transportation include certain aircraft and pilot requirements to ensure conformance with Flexjet's high customer service and safety standards. However, Flexjet does not provide the aircraft or pilots for these services, nor does Flexjet direct or control the providers' use of pilots or aircraft. Operational control of these flights is maintained by the individual carrier.
What is a Customer Account Manager (CAM)?
A Flexjet Customer Account Manager ("CAM") is a dedicated representative assigned to each Flexjet fractional program customer, handling everything from booking flights and coordinating catering requests to managing ground transportation, and checking weather conditions for the passengers the day of the trip. After each flight, CAMs follow up to ensure the entire travel event was flawlessly executed and to personally address any concerns. These managers are also equipped to handle billing as well as recommend ways for customers to extract even more value from their fractional program.
Flexjet implemented the CAM initiative in June 2010 and provides CAMs directly to its aircraft owners participating in its Flexjet fractional and whole aircraft management programs.
Jet Solutions has contracted with Flexjet to provide customer account management services for its customers under the Flexjet 25 Jet Card Program, and other programs operated by Jet Solutions. Although Flexjet is not an air carrier, the customer account management services provided by Flexjet (i.e., customer care, catering, ground transportation, etc.) are intended to support the operation of aircraft under Part 91 Subpart K by fractional owners, or air transportation offered and provided by Jet Solutions, a Part 135 operator, and other Part 135 operators, as may be the case.