November 1, 2009 — The Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has extensively revised the rules governing operations of large private aircraft.  Specifically, the DCA has implemented the Overseas Territories Aviation Requirements (OTAR) Part 125 under directions from the United Kingdom’s Department for Transport, in order to provide a “more cohesive system of civil aviation safety regulation in the UK Overseas Territories” – Air Safety Support International.

The new rules went into effect November 1st and bring about major changes in the way that the aircraft business will be conducted in Islands of Bermuda.  These changes affect continuing airworthiness requirements, ongoing crew and training requirements, flight and duty time limits, additional record keeping and ongoing audits and reporting requirements.  OTAR 125 requires that non-commercial operators of large aircraft comply with regulations similar in nature to those governing commercial operators (those that require Aircraft Operating Certificates (AOC)). The “operator” of the aircraft is subject to these new requirements and must now be approved by the DCA, in addition to the airworthiness of each aircraft.

OTAR 125 focuses on the management, human resources and organizational capabilities of the aircraft operator.  So, the aircraft operator can no longer be a “shell” company, but must have the necessary resources to perform the operator’s obligations under the new rules.  In addition to the initial approval, each individual operator is subject to and responsible for the expenses of continuing inspections and regular audits of their operations and safety standards by the DCA and certain third party auditors.