The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released new guidance and resources to educate pilots and air passengers on illegal charter, while warning that future non-compliance may result in FAA sanctions.
The updates posted to the FAA's website include a detailed letter to Blackbird Air, a web-based app that connects passengers with pilots, in which the agency states that any pilot who provides charter flights without complying with Part 119 will be in violation of Federal Aviation Regulations. An additional document provides a series of questions and answers to help passengers and pilots understand the legal consequences of engaging in air transportation services without the operator holding the requisite certifications.
In a related action, the FAA has also empowered its inspectors to focus on illegal charter activity through formalising its process during investigations. By giving inspectors specific workflows to use when reviewing possible non-certificated activities, the FAA will be able to better coordinate its national response to illegal charter.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been working in concert with the FAA to determine better ways to approach the issue of illegal charter operations and these documents are a direct result of these efforts.
“This is a great example of a government organisation listening to the industry and following through to address misinformation and non-compliance,” states NATA COO and general counsel Timothy Obitts. “When NATA first met with the FAA on illegal charter, we expressed a need for specific tools and training for inspectors and a clarification of rules governing legal and safe flight sharing for the industry. We are very grateful to administrator Dickson and his team at the FAA for their efforts. Through these positive steps, together we are taking action to eliminate illegal charter activity.”
NATA senior vice president Ryan Waguespack adds: “We are seeing the hard work of our members pay off. These new FAA materials resulted from the industry voicing concerns about non-compliant operations and will help everyone gain a better understanding of the scope and scale of the issue. Better education, with enforcement when appropriate, are essential to combating the problem of illegal charters.”
More information about illegal charter is available through the FAA's updated Safe Air Charter Operations website and NATA's Avoid Illegal Charter website.