U.S. Eases Foreign Charter Restriction
The DOT has moved to ease restrictions on access to U.S. skies for foreign charter operators. It will now allow as many as 12 charter trips per year into the U.S., up from the previous six, before operators would have to embark on the cumbersome and costly process of applying for a Part 129 foreign carrier certificate. There are no such restrictions on U.S. charter companies flying into Europe. The compromise, brokered by NBAA, has prompted European officials to press ahead with plans to introduce new private operating rules for fractional ownership firms that would be similar to Part 91 Subpart K. According to the European Business Aviation Association, the DOT’s long-awaited relaxation of its rules represents a significant olive branch for a European industry that has been deeply frustrated by what it views as intransigent U.S. protectionism. NBAA president Ed Bolen told AIN that the association is now pushing DOT officials to speed up the processing time for foreign operators applying for flight permits, which is now about seven days.