Regulatory Assistance

On your behalf, HAI’s Operations Department is working closely with the FAA and other aviation regulatory agencies around the world. We are working to ensure safe flight can continue while helping to relax regulations.

United States

FAA Exemptions Resulting from COVID-19

The FAA has created a webpage that provides a list of exempted regulations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. HAI encourages US operators to visit this page regularly.

Part 61 and 135 exemptions listed are also extended to other Part 135 air carriers and operators that submit a letter of intent (LOI). Operators may choose to use this template letter for companies when requesting an exemption.

The NATA and AMOA exemptions cover numerous Part 61 and 135 regulations (click here for a list, to include the AMOA exemption that was deleted below).  HAI members are urged to consult the specific exemptions for details.

Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118, signed on April 29, 2020, provides regulatory relief to persons who have been unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, duration, renewal and checking requirements because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief allows operators to continue to use pilots,  crewmembers and pilot schools in support of essential operations during this period.

Limited Extension of Relief for Certain Persons and Operations During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency was issued on June 29, 2020.

FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin – Aircraft Interior Disinfection

HAI members are urged to reference the table located on pages 9 and 10 of SFAR 118 for usage requirements.

Australia

Updated Information for Australian Operators

Details relating to CASA pilot exams changes:

https://www.casa.gov.au/about-us/news-article/proposed-changes-pilot-and-engineer-exams-during-covid-19

Business loans due to COVID Queensland (QLD)

Government’s COVID-19 Business Support Loans

Applications now open

The website is now live and accepting applications for the business support loans:

Loan features:

  • $500 million loan scheme
  • Maximum loan up to $250,000
  • No repayments or interest charged for the first year
  • Plus two years interest only
  • 2.5% fixed interest rate
  • 10-year term of loan
  • Open until 25 September 2020 or until funding is fully committed

You will need the following information to complete your application:

  • Business Financial Statements for 2017-18 and 2018-19
  • Personal Taxation Returns for 2017-18 and 2018-19
  • Bank Account Information
  • Australian Tax Office (ATO) Integrated Client Account Statement
  • Aged list of debtors and creditors at time of application
  • Applicant Identification
  • Organisation Constitution or Rules of Association and Certificate of Incorporation (if applying as a non-profit organisation)
  • Trust Deed (if applying as a trust)

Website link: http://www.qrida.qld.gov.au/current-programs/covid-19-business-support/queensland-covid19-jobs-support-scheme

Australian TAX relief due to COVID

Where your business has been impacted by the coronavirus, you may be eligible for one or more of a range of payroll tax relief measures including:

  • Refunds of payroll tax for 2 months
  • Payroll tax holiday for 3 months
  • Deferral of paying payroll tax for the 2020 calendar year

Website link: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/employing/payroll tax/lodging/coronavirus-tax-relief

Proposed changes to pilot and engineer exams during COVID-19

CASA is working to establish measures to provide relief to candidates who are partially through an examination program.

Website link: www.casa.gov.au

Brazil Helicopter Pilot’s Association (ABRAPHE)

Dzioba Pereira, Thales Augusto

“ABRAPHE filed a request to the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC), and was granted permission to extend the licenses and certificates of crew members for a period of 120 days. Another action by ABRAPHE is the request to ANAC that the certificates of aircraft also have their validity extended; this request is still under analysis. We have another action that aims to extend the deadline for an air taxi company to respond to any ANAC requests regarding inspections in a longer period to prevent inspectors and ground staff from being exposed to the risk of contamination by Covid19.”

British Helicopter Association

Tim Fauchon, CEO

“The [UK’s] CAA are being brilliant and usually get there before EASA. They are presently looking to get a cockpit and cabin screen designed by contact, within an AS355. The head of CAA Airworthiness sent an email supporting that they will approve if possible without going through Part 21 process.”

Tim goes on to say, “We are about to start supporting the government and military with a fleet of around 80 commercial helicopters, all operated by air operator certificate (AOC) holders and controlled and tasked by the BHA. All organizing will be done virtually, as we are now in lock down. The CAA is fully involved and being very forward leaning. Normal commercial air transportation (CAT) rules will still apply but things like a call sign prefix helicopter aid to civil authorities (HACA) was sorted in 6 hours, and air navigation service providers (ANSP) will be briefed and we should get looked after. We’re just waiting for the government’s financiers to catch up as we need invoices settled in 7 days, and not at the 3 months they normally take. I estimate Monday for commencement of ops.”

Helicopter Association of Canada (HAC)

Mr. Fred Jones, President and CEO of HAC

“Transport Canada has been quite responsive to industry’s request for relief on a number of fronts, including medicals, recurrent training, PPCs, instructor qualifications, relief from quarantine requirements when transiting between Provinces or entering Canada from elsewhere, approved check pilot (ACP) qualifications, and designation of essential services (in Canada, most of what we do is “essential” – firefighting, powerline maintenance, security services, re-supply to communities, medevac, firefighting etc.). Much of the material has been coming out fast-and-furious in the form of emails, but they are starting to catch up, posting all of the material in one spot at: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/initiatives/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-tc.html

Fred continues by saying, “Unfortunately, any extensions are only valid until August 1, with the potential for another extension(s), thereafter. Operations have ground to a halt in the Canadian industry, with projects cancelled or postponed – in some cases indefinitely. Early season charter operations have ground to a complete halt. Our industry has experienced 50-80% layoffs of staff, given the timing for these events – that is, capital investment in heavy maintenance during the winter, and most operators keep their staff on during the winter months.”

Fred concludes by saying, “The biggest problem, aside from business continuity, that I see coming, is when we are called upon to help evacuate symptomatic individuals or diagnosed COVID-19 patients outside of a MEDEVAC scenario, from remote or isolated communities. We are about to experience “Ice Break-up” here in Northern Canada – where fixed-wing operators will have no access to some communities (on skis or floats) – which will intensify the demand on helicopter operators. Transport Canada has stated that all carriers, except air taxi operators, must ask passengers about symptoms and deny boarding to anyone who is exhibiting. We expect that our industry segment will be under extreme pressure to transport people exhibiting symptoms and diagnosed with COVID-19 when our designated Provincial MEDEVAC operators are overwhelmed by demand for their services to evacuate these people. Transport Canada has also refused to issue guidelines for the transportation of known or suspected COVID-19 infected individuals, except provincially in the context of MEDEVAC operations.”

Chilean Helicopter Association (ACHHEL)

Ms. Loreto Moraga, Chair of ACHHEL

ACHHEL provides an excellent service for using helicopters privately and also serves the country when circumstances require it. Loreto reported that “the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) has extended for 3 months the validity period for license and certificates (3 months is the current validity term for State of Emergency). ACHHEL contacted the DGAC and offered the support of commercial aircraft to public operations.” The DGAC Ruling N°0298, extends the validity of airworthiness certificates that expire between the date of this resolution (March 20, 2020) and June 30, 2020, for a period of three (03) calendar months from the date of their expiration stated in the respective document, provided that the operator submit a statement that concludes that said aircraft is in airworthy condition. Ruling N°0299, extends the validity of the aeronautical licenses and ratings granted by the DGAC in application of regulations DAR 61, DAR 63 and DAR 65 that expire between the date of this Resolution (March 20, 2020) and June 30, 2020, for a period of three (03) calendar months from the date of expiration, provided that your aptitude is not subject to a Medical Waiver or License.

China

Captain Hang Lin, Representative, ICAO Flight Operations Panel

While China does not yet have an international helicopter association, their International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) representative to the Flight Operations Panel, reported that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) advises that all operators should use online training instead of classroom training or practices, including emergency medical training, CRM training, crew emergency survival training etc. In addition, the following guidance was provided:

  1. English language proficiency is extended to 30 June 2020 automatically.
  2. Recurrent training and proficiency checks are NOT exempt and shall be conducted as usual. Note: China has a sufficient amount of flight training centers and simulators to meet most of the demand, but it still falls short in meeting all the training needs.
  3. Maintenance licenses are extended 6 months automatically.
  4. Medical licenses are extended 45 days automatically, and expect further extension.

European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) & European Helicopter Association (EHA)

Peter Möller, Chairman of EHA

Elisabetta Dalla Benatta, Executive Directorof EHA

The European Helicopter Association (EHA), based in Cologne, Germany, functions under the governance of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Peter Möller, Chairman of the EHA, recently stated that, “EASA is very supportive and collaborative in the present situation. The agency started to draft, in cooperation with involved stakeholders, guidelines and templates concerning operational crew training and checking, validity of licenses, medicals and airworthiness to enable operators to continue their operation with their personal also beyond current validity dates. These guidelines and templates have been provided to the national CAAs who transferred them more or less in copy and paste into national rules. Actually, this means that validity of trainings, checks, licenses, medicals have been extended by 4 months with an option to extend them another 4 months, should the Corona situation not improve within the next few months.”

Peter goes on to say that: “On our EHA homepage www.eha-heli.eu we have published information, best practices, SOPs which have been developed by our members to share with the entire helicopter community. National governments have developed financial support programs for their industries which will also cover the aviation sector. Financial support programs on European level are in development.

Elisabetta Dalla Benatta, EHA Executive Director, stated: “We are regularly collecting feedback from our members (national helicopter associations and OEMs) on special procedures applied in various European countries. A dedicated EASA home page (see link below) provides information, templates, safety directives, etc. dealing with the operation under the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

https://www.easa.europa.eu/document-library/general-publications/coronavirus-advice-airlines-and-their-crews#group-easa-related-content. More information can be found on the EHA website at http://www.eha-heli.eu/index.php/covid-19 and on the EASA website together with many other useful documents.

New Zealand Helicopter Association

Scott McKenzie, Chairman

“The NZ CAA have listened and taken swift action which is great. We have had several Zoom meetings with them which is going well. You can see what they have been doing for the industry on this CAA What’s New page https://www.aviation.govt.nz/whats-new/, with the COVID-19 headings. Included are extensions (via exemptions for competency checks, sims, medicals of 90 days.”

Scott continued with, “We have instigated an industry survey and prelim responses are dire. Significant reductions with air transport operations (ATO) hardest hit, commercial transport operations (CTO) next, and the agriculture sector least hard hit. Many aircraft are parked up, and there is some conflicting info on the maintenance ground-run requirements, with some insurance companies also providing conflicting advice. Our national air carrier has gone from 3700 flights per week to less than 100.”

Scott concluded with “There is a significant government response package, with business loans that are government-guaranteed to 80%, and bank exposure to 20%. However, initial indications are that some businesses are experiencing issues with lenders, and the recovery outlook looks like it will be slow. In NZ, the four-week lockdown may be extended, and the government started saying yesterday that we need to be prepared to extend past four weeks. Funding increases have been put on hold, and we’re trying to get business information out to the sector .

Saudi Arabia

COVID-19 related Regulatory Exemptions

The General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) is adopting a set of measures to enhance civil aviation safety and allow crews the flexibility they need in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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