Carrier means: a direct air carrier, except a helicopter operator, holding a certificate issued by the Department of Transportation pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41102 or that has been found fit to conduct commuter operations under 49 U.S.C. 41738, or an exemption from 49 U.S.C. 41102, authorizing the scheduled transportation of persons; or (2) a foreign air carrier holding a permit issued by the Department pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 41302, or an exemption from that provision, authorizing the scheduled foreign air transportation of persons.