Following the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s report regarding a 2007 accident involving a private operator aircraft, the Minister of Transport determined that the certification and oversight of private operators were core responsibilities of Transport Canada that should not be held by the private sector. Accordingly, on May 30, 2014, the Minister announced new regulatory amendments for the oversight of private air operators. These amendments are all-encompassing, affecting requirements regarding: registration; flight operations; personnel requirements and training programs; emergency equipment; maintenance; cabin safety; and safety management systems.
These amendments have been long anticipated, and since April 1, 2011, Transport Canada has certified private operators through the means of interim orders and the issuance of Temporary Private Operator Certificates (TPOC).
In addition to refocusing the responsibility for private operators with Transport Canada, the new system is designed to reduce the administrative burden on private operators. Previously, the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) issued Private Operator Certificates (POC) to private operators, and monitored their operations. The Canadian Aviation Regulations required POC applicants to become members of the CBAA, submit specific documents for review (e.g. operations manuals), and undergo a successful pre-certification audit ($1,700 fee in 2010). Initial and recurring annual certification dues were based on fleet composition. POC holders had to undergo recurring safety audits every 1-3 years.
Under the new system, applicants are not expected to go through a pre-certification audit, and would only have to provide tombstone information to receive a Private Operator Registration Document. Registration holders will have to undergo recurring monitoring activities every 1-7 years, based upon their specific risk indicators. These activities would include program validation inspections, process inspections and assessments. Registration and the recurring monitoring activities will not create a fee, resulting in savings for current and future private operators.
Private operators holding a valid TPOC will receive a Private Operator Registration Document and information regarding their monitoring activities schedule. They will be given 24 months to adjust their operations so that they comply with the amendments.
For individuals or companies seeking to become private operators, the details of the new registration process is expected to be published by Transport Canada this Summer.