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Air Charter – What You Don’t Ask Could Hurt You

Whether you utilize the services of a charter broker or contract directly with an air charter operator for your next private jet charter flight, the tough questions must be asked to ensure your flight meets all regulatory and safety standards.  After all, during an accident is the wrong time to learn that you have chartered an aircraft not approved by the FAA or not covered by an appropriate amount of insurance.

You or your broker should ask the following questions to ensure compliance with air charter industry standards and request these verifying documents and standards;

  • Are you a certified Part 135 Air Carrier? Request a copy of the air carrier certificate and verify that the name of the charter company you have contacted matches what is listed on the certificate.
  • Is the aircraft I am considering part 135 approved? Request copy of FAA Operations Specification D085 and verify that the aircraft you wish to charter is actually approved to fly in charter operations on the air charter company’s Part 135 certificate.
  • Do you have current Department of Transportation approval? Request a copy of DOT certificate OST-4507 to verify that the air charter company has the economic authority to operate air charters.
  • What is your insurance coverage for that aircraft? A quality operator will have 25 million dollars in liability coverage on turboprop aircraft, and 50 million dollars in liability for light jets.  Expect better coverage in mid and heavy sized aircraft. Request a Certificate of Insurance for the aircraft you’ll be chartering as proof of coverage.
  • Have the pilots assigned to my flight received simulator training within the last 12 months in the type of aircraft being chartered? Flight Safety International, CAE Simuflite, and Simcom are the universally accepted training providers for jet and turboprop aircraft.
  • Does your company have a Safety Management System (SMS) in place?  The presence of an active Safety Management System, with a Director of Safety on staff, shows that the company addresses safety issues proactively rather than retroactively, or after an accident has occurred.  It is also a sign that the company has adopted industry best practices.
  • Are you IS-BAO certified, ARG/US rated, or Wyvern recommended? The best charter companies have elected to have their operations and safety programs audited by independent third parties.  Request date and outcome of last audit to ensure your operator has been audited by an independent third party. Read our article about aircraft safety ratings for more detailed information on this topic.
  • Have you had any accidents/incidents/violations? Request a full explanation of any safety record that is less than perfect.  If the operator you have selected has an accident history, there may be cultural safety issues that you need to investigate.

The answers to these few questions will provide you the information needed to make a wise decision as you choose your air charter provider.

Book Your Next Air Charter Flight

Contact Desert Jet to book your next air charter flight at (760) 399-1000 or email at

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