This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
The FAA has issued four exemptions from certain recurrent and training requirements that are designed to ensure that Part 135 operators can continue to fly during the Covid-19 crisis. Coming at the request of industry groups including the National Air Transportation Association and Airlines for America and backed by NBAA, the exemptions were issued on March 25 without publication in the Federal Register. “There is good cause not to publish a summary…because delaying action on the petition would have an adverse and potentially immediate impact on the petitioner’s ability to ensure continuity of critical aviation operations essential to the public interest,” the agency said.
In effect to May 31, the exemptions apply to most Part 135 operators, NBAA said. Two of the exemptions—one covering Part 135 and another Part 119 (including some Part 135)—are from requirements that crewmembers don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks during recurrent and upgrade training, testing, and checking.
Similarly, two others—for Part 135 and Part 119—provide three-month extensions from ground personnel and crewmembers recurrent training and qualification requirements that come due before May 31.
These exemptions were designed to address currency matters, but NATA v-p John McGraw said he expects more to be issued in the coming days. “I am confident additional action granting relief for certain expiring pilot medicals is forthcoming,” he said.
“The association is grateful the FAA is acting quickly to ensure necessary access to air transportation remains available,” added NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts.
Brian Koester, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations, echoed those sentiments. “We thank the FAA for its responsiveness to our request for these accommodations to ensure that business aviation operators will be able to continue flying through this unprecedented and challenging situation.”