…While Ongoing Challenges Include Regulations…

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Regulatory changes were also in the business aviation news during 2004. Perhaps the biggest change was in how the FAA views fractional ownership operations. While the new “frax” rules were published in September 2003, they didn’t become effective until Dec. 17, 2004. By most accounts, they have been implemented without too many challenges, perhaps because industry had a lengthy time frame in which to read, understand and make them effective. Another widespread change is the coming Jan. 20, 2005, deadline for RVSM to be implemented in domestic airspace.

However, the potential for the greatest, longest-lasting change to the regulations under which business aviation operates lies in the (still) ongoing Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) convened in 2003 to rewrite existing rules governing FAR Parts 125 and 135. A successor to the joint government-industry efforts on the frax rules, the 125/135 ARC has met throughout 2004, with its final meeting scheduled for early in 2005. Hundreds of industry participants have been working behind the scenes to develop a wide range of proposals for changes to existing rules, as well as a few new ones. At this writing, much of the ARC’s efforts are still not yet formally agreed upon, however. Nevertheless, this rule-writing effort promises to be one of the biggest business aviation stories in 2005 and – because of the lead time necessary for new rules to go into effect – subsequent years, also.