Interested parties will have more time to comment on the FAA’s proposal to require all air-tour operators to be certified under air carrier regulations. Since the proposal was published last October, the FAA has received more than 1,160 comments, many of them asking for an extended comment period and a public forum. In response, the FAA has pushed the comment deadline from last month to April 19, but the agency doesn’t believe that all interested parties would be able to assemble for a public meeting.
Instead, the FAA said it would hold a “virtual public meeting” on the Internet “to allow participation by as many as possible.” A notice on the Internet meeting will be published in the near future. Under the proposal, several hundred commercial air-tour operators that are currently permitted to operate under Part 91 (those that fly within 25 miles nonstop to and from the same airport) will have to become certified under Part 135 or 121. Part 91 operators would get 180 days from the effective date of the new rules to file for certification. For more information contact Alberta Brown at the FAA’s air transport division by calling (202) 267-8166.