FAA Weighs Penalties for Illegal Charter

FAA official John Duncan detailed the agency's approach to illegal charter during NATA's 2018 Aviation Leadership Conference.

The Federal Aviation Administration is examining how it approaches enforcement and fines for violations involving illegal charter operators that are unwilling or unable to comply with regulations, a senior agency official recently told attendees at the NATA 2018 Aviation Leadership Conference. “There’s been a reexamination of how much regulation is appropriate,” said John Duncan, FAA deputy associate administrator for aviation safety.

FAA enforcement was among several issues highlighted during the Aviation Leadership Conference, which also tackled workforce issues, looking at new models of service, and elevating the safety of Part 135 operations. More than 100 registrants attended the event, which also included the participation of National Transportation Safety Board chairman Robert Sumwalt and many other business leaders.

Do Your Homework Before Flying Privately (We'll Help)

Related Article

Do Your Homework Before Flying Privately (We'll Help)

Whether you’re weighing the relative merits of charter, a jet card, a membership program, or a share in a fractionally owned aircraft, we’re here to help.

When asked what FAA has been doing about illegal charter operators, Duncan said the agency’s approach is to make sure operators have the proper education and understanding regarding how they need to comply. The FAA can approach compliance issues through its non-punitive Compliance Philosophy that establishes compliance actions, rather than enforcement, to address the problems, he added.

However, if an operator is unwilling or unable to comply, the agency will use enforcement to either rehabilitate it or move it out of the system. A concern Duncan flagged is that “if the event is not scary, then the dollar amount is driven down.” Over the past 10 years, the FAA has dealt with 288 such cases and the civil penalties combined have totalled $10 million. Duncan pointed to a recent civil penalty involving a second case against an operator for $600,000. In his thinking, he said, that penalty should have been $6 million.