Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Middle East Business Aviation

Business Aviation in MENA is starting to pick up, the sector was adversely affected by the financial crisis in 2009. According to the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) the sector is worth one Billion USD annually and expanding. As a precursor to any further discussions, a look at the regulatory environment in MENA is required in order to understand the challenges and problems facing the sector.

Most of the countries in MENA with the exception of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), have adopted the EASA EU-OPS as the basis of their regulations. GACA in KSA have the FAA regulations as the basis of theirs.

The FAA has developed different regulations to cater for different sectors of the industry Part 91 (General operating and flying rules), Part 125 (Operations of large aircraft greater than 20 passengers or 6000 lbs payload when common carriage is not involved), Part 135 (Regional and Commuter airlines) and Part 121 (Air carriers). Commercial operations are authorized through an AOC under Parts 121 and 135. Private operation is authorized under Parts 91 and 125, however Part 91 has provisions for operations allowing a certain amount of charges to be collected and to allow Netjets and time sharing. The definition of private carriage and common carriage is defined in FAA AC120-12A. Private carriage operator do not  have to adhere to the same strict operating rules that are mandated in Parts 121 and 135.

EASA on the other hand has EU-OPS1 that is the equivalent to FAR Part 121 and 135. Except for a few provisions that are related to the number of passengers carried on board or the aircraft maximum take off weights all "common carriage" operators require an AOC and have to adhere to strict rules. In essence a corporate jet operator engaged in "common carriage" operates to the same rules as a legacy or a low cost carrier.

These differences in regulatory regimes have posed challenges for Business Aviation of commercial and safety implications, subjects that will be addressed later.

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