Gil Wolin, vice president of corporate communications for TAG Aviation USA, posed this question at a recent seminar in New York. Most aircraft offered for charter are managed by the operators and owned by other parties.
But 20 percent of all aircraft offered for charter, Wolin estimated, are operated by Part 91 aircraft owners (and flown by their pilots) who have these aircraft on a charter operator’s Part 135 certificate. The FAA and DOT call this practice “piggybacking” and consider it illegal when not done properly. Recent accidents involving multiple layers of piggybacking have subjected the whole industry to scrutiny. Wolin urged charter operators to get involved in the process to help the FAA and DOT eliminate such “rent-a-certificate” operations in a way that would encourage owners to keep their aircraft flying charter legally.