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DOT broker rules increase consumer protections
Brokers are to face new U.S. Part 295 indirect air carrier standards that are designed to enhance transparency, protections and enforcement.

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is encouraging its members to review and prepare for the implementation of new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards related to the sale of charter flights.

The DOT has released new regulations impacting air charter transactions that are designed to provide a formal structure within which air charter brokers may operate, offering increased transparency in transactions, enhanced protections for consumers and strengthened enforcement capabilities.

NATA's regulatory affairs senior advisor Jacqueline Rosser explains: “For well over a decade, the air charter industry has called for better oversight of transactions involving brokers, who typically are not commercial aircraft operators but facilitate charter agreements between consumers and operators. These regulations are the culmination of that effort.”

Effective February 2019, the final rule entitled 'Increasing Charter Air Transportation Options' establishes a new class of indirect air carrier known as air charter brokers, and requires certain disclosures to consumers, creates refund requirements and prohibits several specific actions the DOT has deemed are unfair and deceptive. The DOT has also adopted similar rules for disclosures, refunds and prohibited actions that apply to air charter operators.

The regulations have been under consideration since at least 2007, when the DOT was prompted to act following safety recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Rosser notes: “The DOT acted on many of NATA's recommendations to the 2013 proposed rule. In conjunction with its air charter committee, the association will conduct a thorough review of the rules and expects to provide members with additional analysis to aid in compliance. Operators and those providing air charter broker services should immediately review their processes to ensure compliance with the new standards.”

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