Understanding Aircraft Leasing Regulations.

The Four Pillars of ACMI

  1. Aircraft: Obviously, any form of leasing requires an aircraft. However, in an ACMI formula, the lessor must ensure everything required for the aircraft to be airworthy and suitable for the operations it will perform. In particular, the aircraft must have a current Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) and ARC, and all maintenance must be performed according to current requirements. In other words, the lessor must ensure that the aircraft is perfectly airworthy. Additionally, in some cases and for extended ACMI contracts, the lessee may request that the aircraft be branded according to their preference. This is typically done using temporary stickers, which is also why many ACMI providers operate completely white aircraft. It facilitates branding.
  2. Crew: The aircraft is leased along with an adequate flight and cabin crew. This means the lessee doesn’t need to hire or train their own staff. Instead, all crew members come from the lessor, who must ensure they comply with all current flight operations regulations. While this isn’t a big issue for flight crew (pilots), it poses some challenges regarding cabin crew. Since an ACMI lease contract is often international, it would be beneficial for cabin crew to speak the local language, for example. For this reason, some operators opt for a combination of cabin crew and provide some of their own staff to an ACMI aircraft. Crew management can also become an issue, as in most cases, the crew must travel from their original country of employment, requiring frequent per diems and return tickets home.
  3. Maintenance: In an ACMI lease, the lessor is responsible for ensuring proper maintenance of the aircraft at all times. This means the lessor must have contracts with line maintenance providers at the airports where the aircraft will operate during the lease term. Sometimes, if the lessee has their own maintenance facility, the lessor may use that facility, but the costs will be reimbursed one way or another.
  4. Insurance: As obvious as it may seem, in an ACMI lease contract, the lessor is responsible for all insurance-related matters. This includes liability insurance for the aircraft as well as adequate insurance for the crew.