Aviation Safety:

Procedures for Registering and Certifying Air Carriers

RCED-87-115FS: Published: May 5, 1987. Publicly Released: May 22, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) procedures to register and certify air carriers to transport military personnel.

Common air carriers are required to register with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) and obtain an air carrier operating certificate from FAA. GAO found that: (1) OST required that most air carriers obtain only an OST registration, which had minimal requirements, because they operated small aircraft, but required that carriers with larger aircraft have a certificate of public convenience and necessity to assess whether the carrier had the resources and capabilities to carry out services; and (2) FAA certificate requirements applied to all air carriers and included evaluations of air-carrier-proposed operations and maintenance to ensure that the carrier operated in accordance with applicable federal aviation regulations.

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