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Direct Air Carrier

A direct air carrier is a person or entity that provides or offers to provide air transportation and who has control over the operational functions performed in providing that transportation. A direct air carrier generally provides air transport services for passengers or freight, and holds or is required to hold an air carrier operating certificate while operating aircraft that have a seating capacity of more than 30 passengers.

Direct air carriers either lease or own their aircraft to provide these services and often form partnerships or alliances with other air carriers for mutual benefit. Direct air carriers can vary from those with a single aircraft carrying mail or cargo, to full-service international carriers that operate diverse fleets consisting of hundreds of aircraft. The services offered by direct air carriers can be categorized as being intercontinental, intracontinental, or domestic and may be operated as scheduled services or charters.

Unlike direct air carriers, charter operators/brokers and or companies that offer charters may not be required to hold an air carrier operating certificate as they generally do not own the aircraft offered for charter and therefore do not have operational control over the operator providing the aircraft and/or crew. Rather, the operator that is contracted by the charter/broker to provide the aircraft and/or crew for the trip would be required to hold an air carrier operating certificate.

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