How the Safety Assessment System works

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The FAA certifies a large number of aircraft for private charter operations. Obtaining the appropriate license is critical, as detailed below. While many of the planes and operators authorized by the FAA are both airworthy and trustworthy, Charter Jets, Inc. evaluates direct air carriers using additional criteria.

Charter Jets, Inc. launched “OPI” to provide clients with an extra degree of quality assurance. Charter Jets, Inc. developed OPI jet plane as a best-in-class private aviation evaluation system from years of expertise in the charter industry and an increasing understanding of the aircraft and operators in play.

OPI reviews these factors when ranking Aircraft Operators:

  • ARG/US Rating (N/A, Gold, Gold+, Platinum)
  • Wyvern Rating (N/A, Registered, PASS, Wingman)
  • IS-BAO Rating (Registered, Stage I, II, III)
  • Operational Integrity
  • Industry Reputation
  • Communication
  • Maintenance Records
  • Crew Experience (Request Hours)
  • Recurrent Training
  • Average Condition of Aircraft
  • Average Age of Fleet
  • On-Demand Dedication
  • # Years with current Part 135 Certificate
  • # Aircraft in operator flee
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What certifications are required to operate private charter flights?

To operate private charter flights, an aircraft must obtain an FAA Part 135 certificate. Part 135 is the FAA classification for commuter and on-demand air carrier operations. The initial requirements to obtain a Part 135 certificate are comprehensiv


Here is a brief outline of what must be submitted to the FAA:

  • Formal application with Letter of Compliance
  • General Operations Manual (varies by applicant)
  • General Maintenance Manual (varies by applicant)
  • De-Ice Program & Training confirmation
  • Part 135 Training Program
  • Pilot Resume(s) with total pilot hours
  • Pilot Medical Certificate
  • Corporation papers
  • Hazmat Procedure & Training Manual
  • Anti-drug and Alcohol Misuse Prevention Program
  • Minimum Equipment List
  • Flight & Duty Records
  • Pilot Training and Checking
  • Aircraft Conformity Inspection
  • Aircraft Proving Runs
  • Operations Specifications (OpsSpecs)

What is OPI?

OPI is a multi-factor scale system of Part 135 air carriers (Operators) developed and maintained by Charter Jets, Inc. Leveraging historical performance data from thousands of Charter Jets, Inc. flights, OPI creates an extensive and detailed overview of anticipated Operator performance, as viewed and experienced by Charter Jets, Inc..

Rather than rely solely on third-party rating organizations to evaluate Operators, or on a single data point like Aircraft Model Year, OPI creates a composite of relevant performance indicators.

OPI rates aircraft Operators, not individual aircraft.  Although an OPI score may be provided alongside a specific aircraft, the score relates to the Operator and its fleet as a whole – not the specific aircraft.

Why was the OPI created?

The on-demand industry is ever-changing and highly fragmented. New aircraft and companies are certified for charter operations on a regular basis, and current inventory vanishes almost as quickly.

Direct air carriers are privately held businesses with specific booking criteria, stringent contract conditions, and each have certain competencies that others do not. Several factors within these businesses (new processes, personnel turnover, fleet usage, etc.) may result in fluctuations in regards to quality service.

As a result, Charter Jets, Inc. began collecting critical performance metrics for all Operators in our network and continuously updating these ratings.

OPI established a comparative scale for evaluating operators of all types and sizes and offers an indicator of expected performance as assessed by Charter Jets, Inc..

OPI Scoring & Utilization

OPI rates Operators on a scale of 0 to 100.  Charter Jets, Inc. will not utilize Operators with a score below 80 by default.

For last-minute flights, peak travel dates, remote locations and similar circumstances, aircraft options may be limited.  In such instances Charter Jets, Inc. may present Operators with a sub-80 score.  While we prefer to use Operators with a score of 80 or higher, there are many reliable options in the 70-80 range.

The minimum OPI score required by Charter Jets, Inc. is 70 – we will not utilize an Operator with an OPI below 70 at the time of booking.

OPI Statistics

(Last updated May 11th, 2022)

  • The average OPI score is 79.5.
  • The highest concentration of scores is in the 80-89pt bracket – 51% of all Operators rated

OPI Ranking Factors

Operational Integrity

Operational reliability is a critical performance metric for Part 135 air carriers. The following are some, of the main elements we examine when assigning a score to Operational Integrity:

  • What infrastructures do you have in place, and how many points of contact does your business have?
  • How vast is your logistics network?
  • How knowledgeable are the individuals responsible for Charter Sales, Flight Operations, Accounting, and so forth?
  • Are their processes a source of confidence for the entire organization?
  • What is their S.M.S.? (Safety management system)

The answers to the preceding questions offer a clear picture of the sort of service and delivery that may be anticipated.

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Communication is critical to the charter operation’s success. In aviation, attention to detail, every minor detail, counts as the stakes are high as there are several moving pieces to consider. Each trip’s success is contingent upon the commitment and work of several individuals from different organizations.

Here are some examples of how an OPI Operator’s Communication rating is calculated:

  • Response Times – How soon do they react to inquiries, particularly in the hours preceding and during a trip?
  • Proactive Updates – Do they communicate significant changes to trip arrangements promptly? (examples include crew changes, tail number changes, FBO switches, weather updates, and passenger input).
  • Internal Communication- Is their sales staff in touch with their operations team? Does Ops communicate with the crew? It is critical to have open lines of communication.

Service Record

For extended periods of time, an operator can provide best-in-class service, but that quality might soon deteriorate due to a variety of reasons. Aircraft degrade with time, interiors get worn out, operations employees make mistakes, and a variety of other factors can contribute to a subpar flying experience for passengers. The following are some examples of elements that might have an impact on an Operator’s Service Record:

  • Negative passenger criticism on the crew, the aircraft’s condition, or the in-flight experience
  • Delay caused by the pilot or operator, technical failure, or other trip-altering circumstance
  • Operational shocks at the last minute, such as aircraft swaps, cargo limits, and catering problems.
  • Lack of communication and compassion

Average Condition of Aircraft

This category refers to the operator’s whole fleet’s perceived condition, not to any particular aircraft, as determined by a number of evaluation methods:

  • Passenger experience and feedback
  • Average fleet YOM and dates of refurbishment
  • In-person inspection
  • Photos and videos provided by the Operator
  • Industry Reputation

Aircraft Fleet

The size of an Operator’s fleet is a major indicator of its capacity to successfully accomplish missions over time. While small fleets are capable of delivering consistent outcomes, larger fleets often have the infrastructure and backup aircraft necessary to perform over time.


ARG/US & Wyvern Ratings

ARG/US and Wyvern are third-party rating organizations for direct air carriers.  OPI takes an Operator’s rating with these companies such as ARG/US ,Wyvern, and IS-BAO into account, but does not reflect the standards or practices used by either organization.  The rating alone (‘Platinum’, ‘Wingman’, etc) is what OPI factors.

CharterJets Inc. is an ARG/US Registered Broker but not with Wyvern.  Ratings are obtained on Operators’ websites, marketing materials, or from a company spokesperson.  Ratings are also published on various industry platforms and databases to which CharterJets Inc. is either a member of or has access to.

Aircraft Year of Manufacture (YOM)

The age of aircraft is a controversial topic for some in private aviation. Companies selling brand new jets assert that ‘newer planes are safer, prettier, and more luxurious,’ while those selling older planes assert that ‘newer planes are more expensive but no more safe or competent.’

Both assertions are accurate in our opinion, and each client and routing configuration is unique. To some pilots, a 1992 aircraft with a brand-new interior may be just as marketable as a 2012 aircraft with high hours with the original interior.

Having said that, newer planes often operate at a cheaper hourly rate and have more advanced pilot and passenger technologies. Usually that results in a better overall experience as the cabins are more comfortable thanks to improved sound proofing as well as newer aircrafts maintain a lower cabin altitude. To some, these differences are inconsequential. And to other Charter Jets, Inc. clients, it means everything.

Years with Current Part 135 Certificate

Aircraft operators arrive and depart the on-demand market on a weekly basis. Owners will place an aircraft on a Part 135 air carriers certificate when it makes sense for them and reserve the right to withdraw it at any moment.

The longer an Operator has an active Part 135 certificate, the more dedicated they are to charter operations in general, and the more experience their staff has.

At Charter Jets, Inc., we only present aircraft from people we have worked with frequently in the past. We never will present an aircraft that we have not seen in person and thoroughly vetted prior.

On-Demand Dedication

Not all operators view on-demand charter as their primary business, while others in the current market have limited their quoting to only trips within 96 hours.  Certain organizations are owner-centric, devoting the majority of their efforts to handling excursions for aircraft owners rather than providing on-demand consumers. While these organizations are safe and reliable, their owners needs come first meaning they may drop your trip to fulfill a last minute owner request. This will also happen to smaller firms that don’t have experience in the industry.

Our experience indicates that businesses who see the charter market as a ‘as required’ or ‘necessary evil’ business channel frequently fall short of fulfilling Part 135 air carriers. Thankfully you can rely on our experience and working with all of the major providers for years. We have close, one-on-one relationships to assist with any and all requests.

On-Demand Dedication

Please Note:

OPI (Operator Performance Index) is based on Charter Jets, Inc.s’ experience working with direct air carriers and represents the opinion of Charter Jets, Inc. regarding the performance and capabilities of these direct air carriers. Charter Jets, Inc. makes no representations about the safety record or certification of any direct air carrier, any pilot or any aircraft.

Similarly, OPI is not intended to, and does not, make any representations about the safety record or certification of the direct air carrier, the pilots or the aircraft. Charter Jets, Inc. does not audit direct air carriers, and OPI is not based on and does not reflect any standards used by any auditing organization. Further, OPI is based on an assessment of the direct air carrier’s overall history of performance with Charter Jets, Inc. and is not a guarantee of future performance on any flight.


What Exactly Is ARG/US?

ARG/US is an impartial safety rating system that assigns safety ratings to thousands of aircraft and pilots and maintains data on them. ARG/US International, formed in 1995, is the most comprehensive source of third-party charter ratings. If you’ve ever looked at safety documents for chartered flights, you’re probably familiar with the ARG/US safety rating system.

How to Verify the ARG/US Ratings

ARG/US ratings are critical for ensuring the highest safety standards. You can use the CHEQ ARG/US operator registry to view ARG/US operator ratings. Each company’s name and logo are included on the registry, along with its ARG/US rating, certificate number, homebase code, and the number of aircraft on the certificate. You may filter results by airport, distance, name, or rating. The database excludes firms that do not meet the criteria or are not rated.

How Is the WYVERN Rating System Calculated?

WYVERN is another independent grading and certifying organization. The organization develops and updates safety standards, as well as conducting routine audits. Additionally, it offers statistics on safety intelligence, leader training, and software solutions. Charter operators and brokers can get accreditation through WYVERN.

What Is the Difference Between ARG/US and WYVERN Charter Safety Ratings?

When booking a charter flight, you have access to information on the safety compliance of each operator.
Safety ratings are used in a variety of ways in the charter aircraft sector. The Aviation Research Group of the United States (ARG/US), the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the WYVERN grading systems all contribute to the establishment of the industry’s highest safety standards. Though they do the same thing, each holds businesses to a different set of criteria and offers distinct certifications. It is critical for jet pilots to understand how these identifiers are used. A full study of these safety rating systems can assist you in making educated charter flight booking selections.

What Do Charter Jet Safety Ratings Mean for Passengers?

Safety ratings assist charter jet passengers in making educated choices. When ordering a private charter flight, you may feel overwhelmed by the number of operators available. By utilizing the grading systems in place, you can limit down comparable possibilities and pick the safest choice. You’ll want to pay close attention to the ARG/US rating tier system, WYVERN Wingman certification, PASS reports, and IS-BAO stages.