Inside the Fence

Nov. 8, 1999


John Infanger, Editorial Director

November / December 1999

The overriding topic of conversation at this year's NBAA Convention was whether fractional ownership programs should be regulated under FAR Part 91 (as they are now) or Part 135. One such conversation went as follows ...

"So, what is you do for your company's flight department?"

"Crew chief."

"What d'ya think of this debate over Part 91 vs. 135 for fractionals?"

"They've gotta be 135."

"Oh. Why?"

"Because they're providing a commercial service that's regulated under Part 135."

"You know, I've heard it said that if FAA puts fractionals under 135, that they're going to include aircraft management and interchange agreements, too. And, that if they're going to review fractionals and 135, they'll probably wind up taking a serious look at making significant changes to 91 as well. In fact, I've been told that FAA has indicated as much to NBAA's Board."

"Yeah, I've heard that. Doesn't matter."

"Let me ask you, does having fractionals regulated under 91 in any way negatively affect your job?"


"If they change fractionals to 135 and also wind up putting stricter regs on 91, do you think that will have any negative impact on your job?"


"Oh. Nice talking to you."

* * *

Seems like only yesterday that every time we did an interview with a 135 operator, the person at the other side of the desk would inevitably pick up a stack up resumes and comment about the deluge of corporate pilot resumes coming in. The market was flooded, and quite a few corporate pilots were hungry. But then, that was yesterday.

* * *

A conversation with a long-term NBAA staffer brought out the following: "You know, it's one thing to have a debate over fractionals and how they should be regulated. But attacking Jack Olcott's integrity is absurd."

A reasonable observation, it seems.

NBAA has prospered under president Olcott's term. And, there has been no consensus on this issue to date.

It's said that if FAA does propose new regs, implementation will take three years. But, FAA has been looking to redo security and maintenance regs for some ten years now.

NATA chairman Charlie Priester has some interesting thoughts on the fractional issue, which can be found on page 26.

* * *

Meanwhile, at the Airports Council Int'l-North America show in Las Vegas, the "father" of airline deregulation — Alfred E. Kahn, former chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board — offered his thoughts on where the system is today ...

• The most obvious problems are congestion and delays. But the process is the problem: "It is so organized it is constrained."

• It is "amazing," he says, that the focus is almost totally on supply. Both airlines and airports do not charge a premium for peak travel times. Charging airlines by landing weights, he says, is like charging for fine artworks by the pound. Excessive congestion means prices are too low.

• Slots should not be controlled by the airlines, but by the public.

Thanks for reading.