Jetstar Japan Granted a “Designated Domestic Air Carrier,” Can Re-Certify Captains

Earlier today, Jetstar Japan announced that it has been granted the status of a “Designated Domestic Air Carrier” by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT).

That will allow the airline to – in some situations – certify pilots in command (i.e. captains) without having to involve MLIT inspectors.

Jetstar Japan Granted a "Designated Domestic Air Carrier," Can Re-Certify Captains
With the new designation, Jetstar Japan will be able to conduct certain check flights in-house.

Jetstar Japan Becomes a “Designated Domestic Air Carrier”

Generally, every time first officers are promoted to captains in Japan, they have to do a check flight with an MLIT inspector onboard to get certified. When airlines meet certain requirements, however, they can be classified as “Designated Domestic Air Carriers” which eases those restrictions.

(“Domestic” in this case means “Japanese” rather than “operating domestic flights.”)

Even with the designation, government-employed inspectors are still required to observe and certify first-time captains. However, that requirement is dropped for captains requiring re-certification and for captains switching aircraft types.

In the two cases where MLIT inspectors’ presence is not required, specially trained “check pilots” employed by the airline can observe the “check flights” instead.

According to the airline, Jetstar Japan was granted the status on October 23, 2019, and the airline currently has three check pilots on its team.

Other airlines that are designated as such carriers include ANA, JAL, Air Nippon, NCA, Solaseed Air, Fuji Dream Airlines, and Air Do. Peach Aviation acquired the status recently, in April 2019, as well.


I am not sure what effect this change has on the airline’s economics – i.e. whether it is more cost effective for the airline to have the government provide the service or for it to do it in-house. I would guess the latter.

More than that, however, I am sure being able to conduct its own check flights makes the logistics of getting their captains re-certified much easier. Rather than having to involve the government and coordinate schedules, they can simply include the check flights in their check pilots’ rosters.

Last but not least, the designation is also certainly a testament to the quality of the airline’s organization, processes, and so on.

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