China sees surge in demand for CCAR-129 approval 


There has been a surge in demand from operators attempting to gain CCAR-129 approval primarily due to a big  increase in cargo flights to-and-from China, Carlos Schattenkirchner, regional director for China, UAS International Trip Support, told Corporate Jet Investor.  

The CCAR-129 is a commercial requirement for operators who run more than 10 flights in a 12-month window. Below that threshold the approval is not required. However, if above 10 flights, CCAR-129 approval is a mandatory step, without holding it any further commercial operation is not possible and your request for landing rights, permit and slots will not be met. 

Schattenkirchner said that most wide-body business jet operators will rarely cross that 10-flight threshold, however since the outbreak of the pandemic the demand on humanitarian cargo has risen dramatically. Schattenkirchner said he has seen many wide-body operators using their fleet to pick-up cargo from China. He notes those operators might soon fall into the category since they have been operating more flights in the region. 

“The demand will remain high in the coming months because, even if the need of humanitarian cargo decreases, the international belly cargo and passenger transport remains heavily interrupted,” said SchattenKirchner. 

“Especially when it comes to essential industrial spare parts or specialised technician teams. We likely will move to a high demand and the market requirement for wide-bodies with their seating and belly cargo capabilities will remain high.” 

Schattenkirchner notes that the CCAR-129 approval is not a common practice globally and so many operators might fall into this category without being aware. It is also important to note that the CCAR-129 only applies to commercial operations, not private, the distinction is made by the number of seats in the aircraft. Any aircraft with more than 29 seats is considered by default as commercial and not private, irrespective of the flight category. Actual headcount on board is also not considered, only the certified seating capacity. 

Schattenkirchner said: “The CCAR-129, in essence, is a check of your  operational  standards and documents, rather than a normal permit. This means, the CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) will ask for a lot of documents to be presented. I.e. the AOC, OPS-Specs, Aircraft documentation,  handling agreements etc. The CAAC wants to ensure that the applicant is meeting operational standards in China and complies with the safety and operational standard requirements. This is why the entire process is very time consuming and requires a lot of communication between all parties.” 

Following the pandemic’s outbreak, specifically for humanitarian flights (pick-up of relief goods) the process has been simplified by the CAAC. According to Schattenkirchner the Chinese authorities are very focused on reducing the processing time and there have been efforts to also minimise the required documentation.