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AOPA joins industry effort to promote best charter practices

New guide clarifies regulations

The General Aviation Dry Leasing Guide addresses concerns about illegal activity, including “sham dry lease” agreements, when chartering an aircraft without a crew.

Photo by Mike Fizer.

AOPA worked closely with other industry experts to create the comprehensive publication, which breaks down key regulatory information as it relates to charters.

The FAA’s increased scrutiny over charter flights using such dry leases—which has taken shape largely under the agency’s Safe Air Charter initiative—has led aircraft owners and lessors to seek greater clarity on the arrangements, so they can fully ensure proper compliance.

In simplest terms, a dry lease is one in which the lessor simply provides an aircraft, leaving it to the lessee to employ or contract crewmembers, and also to assume operational control of a flight.

“The vast majority of general aviation flights—including those conducted under dry leasing arrangements—are done in complete compliance with FAA regulations,” said AOPA General Counsel Justine Harrison. “We helped develop this guide to provide clarity in the wake of federal concerns over some running afoul of the law.”

The free guide was developed by AOPA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transportation Association, and the National Business Aviation Association.

Written by veteran industry experts, it offers a detailed breakdown of the best practices for proper use of dry leases, clarifying how aircraft owners can derive benefits from the arrangement, while enhancing the industry’s vigilance against illegal charter operators.

Among the information presented in the guide is an overview of the different types of dry leases; the difference between dry leases (which provide only an aircraft) and wet leases (which provide an aircraft with crewmembers) and how “operational control” is determined; and how to maintain compliance when considering maintenance, authorization, and insurance requirements. It also includes 22 frequently asked questions that address common causes of confusion for both operators and consumers.

Alyssa J. Miller

Eric Blinderman

Senior Director of Communications
Eric Blinderman is AOPA’s Senior Director of Communications. Eric joined AOPA in 2020 after several years at leading marketing/communications agencies in New York and is looking forward to putting his newly minted private pilot certificate to work.
Topics: Advocacy, Aircraft Regulation, Economic Impact

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