FI0735 – University Aircraft

Effective: July 1, 2017
Revision No: 1


To provide policies and guidelines on the use and operation of university-owned aircraft. It is the intent of these policies that efficient use of university aircraft will be made to conduct official university business and the aircraft will be available for the widest practicable use by the appropriate and designated persons.


General Policies

  1. University-owned aircraft may be used only to conduct official university business and in accordance with the university's travel policy (see FISCAL POLICY FI0705). Personal use and commuting are not allowed. This provision shall not be construed, however, to prohibit use of university-owned aircraft to carry the president to a previously-scheduled personal event within the continental United States if the vice chair of the Board of Trustees, after consultation with the chair of the Audit and Compliance Committee, has determined in advance and in writing that doing so is necessary for the president to attend an unexpected critical meeting or other event related to university business. The university shall issue an I.R.S. Form 1099 for the total cost of using the university-owned aircraft (calculated according to normal university business practices) if required by applicable I.R.S. regulations.

  2. University aircraft may be used only when official business cannot be conducted more economically through the use of regularly scheduled commercial aircraft. Specifically, it is appropriate to use UT aircraft when the destination is not served by commercial carriers; the time required to use such a carrier interferes with other university obligations; or the number of officials and employees traveling makes the use of university aircraft cost effective. Time is an important consideration for the president, vice presidents, chancellors, and other senior staff.

  3. When a university official is required to attend an event where spouses are expected to attend, spouses are permitted to fly in university aircraft, including: spouses of members of the university Board of Trustees, spouses of the university president's executive staff, and spouses of the president and president emeritus. Invited guests of the university who are involved in official functions of or on behalf of the university are also permitted to fly in university aircraft.

  4. When a flight has been scheduled for official purposes and unassigned seats remain on the aircraft, persons other than those for whom the flight was scheduled may be accommodated on a space-available basis when travel is deemed in the university's best interest. These include, but are not limited to, employees, persons conducting business on behalf of the university, and spouses accompanying staff on official university business.

Scheduling Flights

  1. All flights on university aircraft are scheduled through the president's office (865-974-2241). The responsible staff will make every effort to schedule such flights in the most efficient and economical manner possible. Every effort will be made to accommodate all requests consistent with the most efficient use of the aircraft and flight crews.

  2. The president's office is responsible for ensuring that an AIRPLANE REQUEST FORM is completed for all passengers and for documenting the purpose of each passenger's trip on the form. The following information should be included:

    • Departure/return time, date, time, and place
    • Name of each passenger, title, department charged, institution
    • Destination(s), including intermediate stops
    • Purpose of trip for each passenger

Charges for Using University Aircraft

  1. The hourly rate for using the university airplane is set at a level sufficient to recover the cost of maintaining and operating the plane. That rate is periodically reviewed and revised as needed. Information on the current rate may be obtained through the president's office. Before scheduling flights on the university plane, departments should consider the availability and cost of commercial flights and compare the cost of such service with the cost of using university aircraft.

  2. Aircraft users are billed monthly by internal transfer. Charges are determined by multiplying the actual recorded flight time by the hourly rate for use of the plane. If persons from more than one department are on the same flight, the charges will be prorated among the departments involved. No additional wait-time charge is assessed when the trip involves inordinately long layovers, nor is there an additional charge for time and expenses of the crew on overnight trips.

Operation of University Aircraft

  1. University aircraft must be operated at all times in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Aviation Agency approved flight manual and the university's flight operations procedures manual, which is in compliance with the Federal Aviation Act (as amended) and Civil Air Regulations.

  2. A pilot and co-pilot are required on all flights.

  3. Under federal regulations, the pilot of any aircraft is responsible for and is the final authority as to the flight operation of that aircraft. All decisions concerning the flight itself will rest solely with the pilot. The pilot, however, should keep the vice president for administration and finance informed.

  4. For each flight, the pilot will complete a flight log showing the following:

    • Flight number and duration
    • Date
    • Aircraft number
    • Destination and intermediate stops of flight
    • Names of pilot and co-pilot
    • Name of each passenger

Charter Service

  1. Sometimes it will be impossible to accommodate all requests for use of the university plane. In such cases, if commercial flights to the desired destination are not available, if it is essential to fly at a time when there are no commercial flights, or if it is deemed most cost effective the president's office can arrange for a charter flight. When such flights are scheduled, the user department will be responsible for all costs incurred. It is customary for the charter service to assess an additional wait-time charge when the layover exceeds one hour, for the cost of a co-pilot, and for the time and expenses of the crew when overnight travel is involved. For more information on chartering planes, see the university's travel policy (FISCAL POLICY 705, 19).

Donated Aircraft and Flight Services

  1. When an aircraft and flight services are donated for official university business, employees must ensure that the plane and flight crew meet current Federal Aviation Agency regulations and have the appropriate liability insurance. Contact UT Flight Operations or the Risk Management section of the Treasurer's Office for more information. Also see FISCAL POLICY 705, 18 regarding travel by private aircraft.

Annual Report to the Board of Trustees

  1. The vice president for administration and finance shall submit an annual summary report of UT aircraft operations to the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees for review by the Finance Committee. The summary report should contain, at a minimum, information on users, destinations, maintenance performed, and operating costs.


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