Public Aircraft Operations

In cases such as firefighting, law enforcement, aeronautical research, or managing natural resources, Federal aviation managers can use Government aircraft to transport commercial goods and civilian employees. GSA publishes regulatory policy to clarify the terms of the “public” use of Government aircraft, or as a Government aircraft engaged in carrying people or material for a commercial purpose.

Definition of a Public Aircraft: In some special circumstances, Federal agencies may fly their aircraft as “public aircraft.” These conditions are outlined in Section 702 of the Aviation and Investment Reform Act (Public Law 106-181).

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Compliance: In addition, the FAA's Advisory Circular on Public Aircraft [PDF - 560 KB] explains how to bring public aircraft into compliance with FAA safety regulations.

Last Reviewed: 2019-10-16