FAA's Anticipated Regulations for Public Charter Scheduled Services

Jun 18, 2024

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is preparing to release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing safety issues in public charter carriers operating scheduled services under Part 135 regulations. FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker stated that these regulations might lead to a distinct category for these carriers, often referred to as hop-on charters. Whitaker emphasized that the FAA needs to assess whether companies operating similarly to scheduled airlines should adhere to the same stringent rules applied to traditional airlines.

Public charter services have existed for over four decades but have gained significant traction in the last ten years. Part 135 operators, like JSX, have taken advantage of what some Part 121 carriers see as a regulatory loophole. These operators are permitted to sell individual seats on aircraft with 30 seats or less, take advance bookings, and advertise ticket sales. Unlike Part 121 airlines, they can employ pilots with a minimum of 250 hours of flight time, operate from Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) and hangars, and bypass TSA screening. JSX, based in Dallas, has developed an extensive network utilizing about 50 ERJ 135 and 145 aircraft, offering hundreds of scheduled flights each month throughout the Southwest. JSX markets its service as the “ultimate travel hack,” drawing criticism from traditional carriers for perceived unfair competition.

While Whitaker acknowledged safety as the primary concern, he suggested that the FAA might accommodate this service model, provided it can be safely managed. He highlighted the agency’s commitment to safe air travel options for everyone, including those in small and rural communities, aiming to maintain high safety standards while fostering future innovations.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also scrutinizing public charter operations, hinting at more stringent security regulations, potentially mirroring those of major airlines. The TSA has opened a 45-day comment period on these potential changes, ending on June 27, and will consider public feedback before finalizing new regulations. JSX has expressed its willingness to collaborate with regulators, asserting its position as a leader in safe, secure, and reliable regional operations.

JSX's statement to the Dallas Morning News reinforced its commitment to working with regulators to ensure the continued importance of public charters and expanding access to essential air connectivity in the future.


Niles, R. (2024, June 17). FAA getting ready to rule on public charter scheduled service. *AVweb*.