Allowing other people to use your Aircraft

The scenario is this: An important client of your company calls and says “We have ridden on your jet before, and now we urgently have to get to a team out to a site where there has been an accident, and we would like to use your aircraft to get us there tonight instead of waiting for the airlines; we shall pay for the flight, can we use your jet and go?”

Of course you want to help out a valuable client that is in dire need, especially as you feel that it will further cement your relationship with them, but after a call to your legal department you are now unsure whether you can agree to your clients urgent request.

Your ‘legal eagles’ are happy about the Liability issues being ‘no-problem.’ This is because you carry more insurance than you really need because of the regularity in which clients and other non-employees are flown on your aircraft. Also even though the trip will be at the request of another, your company will be in complete operational control of the aircraft and therefore it is the same as you and your own people being on board. The issue that bothers your legal team is the assertion by the client that ‘we (he) will pay for the flight.’ So what is the issue of payment that they are citing here? Well, you operate your aircraft under cfr 14, FAR part 91 operating rules. You do not have an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) under part 135 and therefore you cannot charge the client for the flight as you will be breaking the law.

Well actually ‘Au contraire mon amis’, because you can legally charge for the use of your aircraft by another person or entity as long as you write a very simple ‘Time Sharing Agreement’ and then refer to the following provisions in the Code of Federal Regulations (cfr) Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Part 91 – General Operating Flight Rules, Subpart F – Large and Turbine Powered Multiengine Airplanes and Fractional Ownership Program Aircraft, Rule Number 501, sub-paragraph C (1), which states:

A time sharing agreement means an arrangement whereby a person leases his airplane with flight crew to another person, and no charge is made for the flights conducted under that arrangement other than those specified in paragraph (d) of this section…. Which further states ….(d) The following may be charged, as expenses of a specific flight, for transportation as authorized by paragraphs (b) (3) and (7) and (c)(1) of this section:

(1) Fuel, oil, lubricants, and other additives.

(2) Travel expenses of the crew, including food, lodging, and ground transportation.

(3) Hangar and tie-down costs away from the aircraft’s base of operation.

(4) Insurance obtained for the specific flight.

(5) Landing fees, airport taxes, and similar assessments.

(6) Customs, foreign permit, and similar fees directly related to the flight.

(7) In flight food and beverages.

(8) Passenger ground transportation.

(9) Flight planning and weather contract services.

(10) An additional charge equal to 100 percent of the expenses listed in paragraph (d)(1) of this section.

Now you know for certain and you can make the happy call to your client.

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