|Quoting LatinAviation (Reply 5):|
I also wonder how one is to complete due diligence on the airline? And would the DOT and FAA allow the transfer if management materially changed?
It’s highly unlikely that the FAA would recognize the Part 135 certificate if all of the management (Director of Maintenance, Chief Pilot, etc.) were to change.
After all, what else is the FAA really certifying, other than the qualifications of management, access to capital and the operating procedures that they developed?
If many of the key people where to remain in place and the airline continued operating as normal, THEN the FAA almost certainly would recognize the certificate through a transfer of ownership. Other than that, they are going to be giving the “thumbs down” to such a transaction.
I nearly learned this the hard way, when I was starting a Part 135 operation. I tried to buy a charter jet operator that I just closed its doors and laid off its employees as a fast way to get a Part 135 certificate. Luckily, I got the regional FAA office involved and they explained that I would basically have to go through the certification process again.
It was far better to just start from scratch.
This was made even clearer to me when my attorney uncovered a lot of bills, leans and other skeletons that the company had in its closet.
As far as acquiring a Part 121 certificate… yes, if you already have a Part 135 certificate, excellent management and skilled people in place and a great rapport with the local FAA office, then you certainly have a head start. But it is still a very complex and rigorous process and other than buying a “going concern” with all of the management / people in place and operating… there is no other “short cut” to getting the FAA / DOT blessing.