Friday’s late-night mask mandate by the CDC following President Joe Biden’s executive order requiring masks to be worn in airports and on commercial airline flights extends to Part 135 charter operations and FBOs, according to a notice sent by the National Air Transportation Association.
Private Jet Card Comparisons reported on the possibility last week after the executive order. The order comes just days in advance of the Super Bowl, typically one of the busiest weekends for private jet flights
Earlier today, a spokesperson from the National Business Aviation Association told Private Jet Card Comparisons there was a 1 p.m. conference call with the Center for Disease Control to clarify the order’s scope.
According to the NATA notification, the CDC mask requirement applies to aviation facilities such as airports, FBOs, and commercial aircraft operations, including Part 135 operations. Part 135 flights include on-demand charters and jet cards. Not included are aircraft operating for their owner (Part 91). It is not clear about fractional owners (Part 91k).
(Updated at 9:59 PM EST on Feb. 1, 2021) An official from NBAA confirmed, “The new mandate will apply to passengers and crew on Part 135 aircraft, as well as anyone in an FBO.” He added, “We’ll publish an article tomorrow with more details, including outlining how the crew will be exempt while at their duty station when compliance may pose a safety risk. “
(Updated at 11:26 AM EST on Feb. 2, 2021) A post from the NBAA notes providers are expected to use their “best-effort” in enforcement. It continues, “Any person not complying with the mandate should be told noncompliance is a violation of federal law, should not be boarded on an aircraft or should be disembarked as soon as possible.”
The order is effective on February 1, 2021, at 11:59 pm EST. All passengers traveling into, within, or out of the United States and operators of transportation hubs or any other area that provides transportation must be followed by all passengers traveling into, within, or out of the United States and operators of transportation hubs or any other area.
The NATA guidance indicates private jet and FBO operators “must use best efforts to ensure travelers are wearing masks covering both nose and mouth.”
The CDC order includes (Scroll down to download the full order):
Exemptions for mask wearing, include:
The order can be enforced by the TSA and federal authorities and cooperating state and local authorities.
Passengers who disobey crew member instructions can face fines up to $35,000 per incidence.
The Order notes the CDC reserves the right to use criminal penalties as well. However, it adds, it “instead strongly encourages and anticipates widespread voluntary compliance as well as support from other federal agencies in implementing additional civil measures enforcing the provision of this order.”
(Feb. 3, 2021) However, an executive from NetJets said the mask mandate doesn’t apply to their flights on behalf of fractional shareowners, lease, or jet card customers.
“Whether flying under (Part) 91 or 135 rules and no matter which product they have bought from NetJets, our customers have contracted with us for access to (a) private fleet of aircraft and are engaged in private aviation,” he said.
He added that the mandate does apply to its private lounges on the ground.
It’s unclear if there will be any more industry efforts to negotiate exemptions.