§ 121.590 – Use of certificated land airports in the United States.

[Doc. No. FAA-2000-7479, 69 FR 6424, Feb. 10, 2004; Amdt. 121-304, 69 FR 31522, June 4, 2004]

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) or (c) of this section, or unless authorized by the Administrator under 49 U.S.C. 44706(c), no air carrier and no pilot being used by an air carrier may operate, in the conduct of a domestic type operation, flag type operation, or supplemental type operation, an airplane at a land airport in any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States unless that airport is certificated under part 139 of this chapter. Further, after June 9, 2005 for Class I airports and after December 9, 2005 for Class II, III, and IV airports, when an air carrier and a pilot being used by the air carrier are required to operate at an airport certificated under part 139 of this chapter, the air carrier and the pilot may only operate at that airport if the airport is classified under part 139 to serve the type airplane to be operated and the type of operation to be conducted.

(b)

(1) An air carrier and a pilot being used by the air carrier in the conduct of a domestic type operation, flag type operation, or supplemental type operation may designate and use as a required alternate airport for departure or destination an airport that is not certificated under part 139 of this chapter.

(2) Until December 9, 2005, an air carrier and a pilot being used by the air carrier in the conduct of domestic type operations and flag type operations, may operate an airplane designed for more than 9 but less than 31 passenger seats, at a land airport, in any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States, that does not hold an airport operating certificate issued under part 139 of this chapter, and that serves small air carrier aircraft (as defined under “Air carrier aircraft” and “Class III airport” in § 139.5 of this Chapter).

(c) An air carrier and a pilot used by the air carrier in conducting a domestic type operation, flag type operation, or supplemental type operation may operate an airplane at an airport operated by the U.S. Government that is not certificated under part 139 of this chapter, only if that airport meets the equivalent—

(1) Safety standards for airports certificated under part 139 of this chapter; and

(2) Airport classification requirements under part 139 to serve the type airplane to be operated and the type of operation to be conducted.

(d) An air carrier, a commercial operator, and a pilot being used by the air carrier or the commercial operator—when conducting a passenger-carrying airplane operation under this part that is not a domestic type operation, a flag type operation, or a supplemental type operation—may operate at a land airport not certificated under part 139 of this chapter only when the following conditions are met:

(1) The airport is adequate for the proposed operation, considering such items as size, surface, obstructions, and lighting.

(2) For an airplane carrying passengers at night, the pilot may not take off from, or land at, an airport unless—

(i) The pilot has determined the wind direction from an illuminated wind direction indicator or local ground communications or, in the case of takeoff, that pilot's personal observations; and

(ii) The limits of the area to be used for landing or takeoff are clearly shown by boundary or runway marker lights. If the area to be used for takeoff or landing is marked by flare pots or lanterns, their use must be authorized by the Administrator.

(e) A commercial operator and a pilot used by the commercial operator in conducting a domestic type operation, flag type operation, or supplemental type operation may operate an airplane at an airport operated by the U.S. Government that is not certificated under part 139 of this chapter only if that airport meets the equivalent—

(1) Safety standards for airports certificated under part 139 of this chapter; and

(2) Airport classification requirements under part 139 of this chapter to serve the type airplane to be operated and the type of operation to be conducted.

(f) For the purpose of this section, the terms—

Domestic type operation means any domestic operation conducted with—

(1) An airplane designed for at least 31 passenger seats (as determined by the aircraft type certificate issued by a competent civil aviation authority) at any land airport in any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States; or

(2) An airplane designed for more than 9 passenger seats but less than 31 passenger seats (as determined by the aircraft type certificate issued by a competent civil aviation authority) at any land airport in any State of the United States (except Alaska), the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States.

Flag type operation means any flag operation conducted with—

(1) An airplane designed for at least 31 passenger seats (as determined by the aircraft type certificate issued by a competent civil aviation authority) at any land airport in any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States; or

(2) An airplane designed for more than 9 passenger seats but less than 31 passenger seats (as determined by the aircraft type certificate issued by a competent civil aviation authority) at any land airport in any State of the United States (except Alaska), the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States.

Supplemental type operation means any supplemental operation (except an all-cargo operation) conducted with an airplane designed for at least 31 passenger seats (as determined by the aircraft type certificate issued by a competent civil aviation authority) at any land airport in any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, or any territory or possession of the United States.

United States means the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States.

Note: Special Statutory Requirement to Operate to or From a Part 139 Airport. Each air carrier that provides—in an aircraft (e.g., airplane, rotorcraft, etc.) designed for more than 9 passenger seats—regularly scheduled charter air transportation for which the public is provided in advance a schedule containing the departure location, departure time, and arrival location of the flight must operate to and from an airport certificated under part 139 of this chapter in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 41104(b). That statutory provision contains stand-alone requirements for such air carriers and special exceptions for operations in Alaska and outside the United States. Nothing in § 121.590 exempts the air carriers described in this note from the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 41104(b). Certain operations by air carriers that conduct public charter operations under 14 CFR part 380 are covered by the statutory requirements to operate to and from part 139 airports. See 49 U.S.C. 41104(b).