Charter substitution arrangements
Civil Aviation Order 82.0 (CAO 82.0) was amended in 2005 to provide for the addition of an additional subsection “Conditions relating to charter substitutions”. This web page:
- explains the purpose and effect of the amendment; and
- describes how you might obtain approval from CASA for a charter substitution arrangement.
Subsection 3C of CAO 82.0
3C Conditions relating to charter substitutions
3C.1 In this subsection:
scheduled flight means a flight
- advertised to persons generally; and
- in accordance with fixed schedules; and
- to and from fixed terminals.
3C.2 A certificate authorising regular public transport, or charter, operations is subject to the condition that its holder must not enter into a charter substitution arrangement unless CASA has given written approval for the arrangement.
3C.3 For this subsection, a charter substitution arrangement is an arrangement:
- between the holder of a certificate authorising charter operations (the charter operator) and another person; and
- that provides for the charter operator to carry a passenger who has entered into a contract of carriage with the other person to be carried on a scheduled flight or a flight substituting it.
3C.4 However, an arrangement is not a charter substitution arrangement if the charter operator:
- is the holder of a certificate authorising regular public transport operations on the same route as the flight mentioned in subparagraph 3C.3(b); and
- conducts the flight in accordance with the authorisation.
3C.5 For paragraph 3C.2, an approval may contain conditions that are necessary in the interests of the safety of air navigation.
Why was this amendment considered necessary?
Regulation 206 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CARs) sets out the classification of commercial aircraft operations in Australia. That regulation, in part, draws a distinction between charter operations and regular public transport (RPT) operations. The CARs generally impose higher safety standards for operation of aircraft in RPT operations than in charter operations.
CASA is aware that some charter operations are conducted in circumstances which have many of the hallmarks of RPT operations, and which are indistinguishable from RPT operations by the travelling public. These operations are conducted by holders of AOCs authorising charter, but not RPT, operations, carrying passengers who have contracted with another person for their carriage.
For example, this may occur where the person who the passengers have contracted with is an RPT operator itself, but is unable to conduct the relevant flight or flights because of unserviceability of an aircraft or unavailability of crew. Or it may occur where the person who the passengers have contracted with is not an aircraft operator at all, but publicly offers to arrange flights with (charter) operators in accordance with fixed schedules, to and from fixed terminals.
CASA calls such operations “charter substitution” operations, as they substitute charter operations for RPT operations. CASA is of the view that where there is a charter substitution, fare-paying passengers are being carried on aircraft which appear to those passengers as be operated to “airline” i.e. RPT, standard, but which may not be.
The amendment to CAO 82.0 prohibits charter substitution arrangements, but enables CASA to authorise such arrangements in the public interest.
The amendment does not prohibit substitution of RPT operations by one operator by RPT operations conducted by another operator, provided the latter are authorised by the second operator’s AOC.
How this amendment may affect your operations
Subsection 3C of CAO 82.0 is a condition on all AOCs authorising charter or RPT operations. If you hold such an AOC, you cannot enter into a charter substitution arrangement unless the arrangement has been approved in writing by CASA. If you don’t get prior approval by CASA to the arrangement, you will be in breach of a condition of your AOC. This means that, under subsection 28BA(2A) of the Civil Aviation Act 1988, your AOC will no longer authorise charter or RPT operations, and you may be guilty of an offence under section 29 of the Act. It is therefore essential that, prior to entering into such an arrangement, you receive CASA’s written approval.
Because a charter substitution arrangement is an arrangement between two parties – the party who has contracted with passengers for carriage, and the charter operator carrying them – if the person who has contracted with the passengers for carriage holds a charter or RPT AOC its own right, both it and the charter operator will need to have approval from CASA for the charter substitution arrangement.
How might you obtain approval from CASA for a charter substitution arrangement?
Permissions in advance
Clearly the best way in which to obtain approval for a charter substitution arrangement is in advance of the time that it is required. If you are the holder of an RPT AOC, and unexpectedly you are unable to operate one of your scheduled flights, it simply may not be possible for you to make an application for approval for a charter substitution arrangement, and for CASA to assess it and to issue the permission, in the time available.
If you feel that you may need to apply for such an approval at any time, you would be well advised to plan for such an eventuality in advance, negotiate with a suitable charter operator (or operators) and apply to CASA for the permission for the arrangement to be put in place ahead of time.
A good time to put these arrangements in place would be during the initial application for your AOC, or while you are taking the opportunity to amend your Operations Manual. You could set out in the Manual the circumstances that would give rise to the need for a charter substitution, and set out which charter operator would be used, providing full details of how the flight would be conducted.
Part of your negotiations with the charter operator should include discussion with the operator in relation to an amendment to their Operations Manual as well, taking into account how they would operate your flights as a charter on your behalf.
If you and the charter operator then each submit the Operations Manual amendments to CASA with a completed application pro-forma, CASA would consider the application and, if suitable, would issue the approval to both operators. A condition of the approval might be that the charter substitution flight be carried out in accordance with the procedures set out in the Operations Manuals of both operators.
Ad hoc permissions
Applications for ad hoc approvals in cases where you have not been able to obtain a approval from CASA in advance, would need to be made to your local CASA Office. The same details as described above would be required.
While CASA will do its best to assist you in the time available, CASA will still consider the same issues it considers for approvals given ahead of time. While, individual specific instances of aircraft unserviceabilities and unavailability of crew are not foreseeable, that such things occur from time to time is foreseeable, and they should be catered for. CASA cannot be expected to go out of its way to assist operators with ad hoc approvals to deal with foreseeable events. For this reason, it is important that you plan ahead for such events and seek the necessary approval ahead of time.
What matters will CASA take into account in deciding whether to approve an application for a charter substitution arrangement?
CASA will be looking for an approximately equivalent or higher level or safety in a charter operation substituting for an RPT operation.
In doing so, CASA will examine such matters as:
- Type of aircraft
- Turbine or piston powered
- The maintenance schedule of the aircraft
- The number and experience of operating crew
- Crew training and checking arrangements (including whether the flight crew have been proficiency checked on the type, and whether they have been checked as competent for the route to be flown by a qualified check pilot)
- Crew recency on the route to be flown
Where it is not possible to reach an equivalent level of safety in one area, it may be that this could be offset by an increased level of safety in another, but this would be a matter of discretion for the CASA delegate to consider on a case by case basis.
Download an application form
CASA has prepared a standard application form:
Form 086, Application for a Charter Substitution Arrangement