Federal Aviation Administration Cracks Down On Illegal Charter

Five companies face proposed fines for alleged rule-breaking operations.

The FAA is continuing to crack down on companies it believes may be conducting illegal charter flights, this time proposing a total of $1.23 million in civil penalties against five companies.

The sanctions included a proposed civil penalty of $344,672 against PottCo Airlease of Council Bluffs, Iowa, for allegedly conducting 16 paid passenger-carrying flights in a Cessna Conquest between July 11, 2019, and Nov. 20, 2019, without the requisite air carrier certificate. In addition, the company had no FAA-issued operations specifications and did not have the required personnel on staff, such as a chief pilot, director of operations, or director of maintenance, the agency said.

Similarly, the FAA proposed $301,676 against PottCo Tactical Air for 43 paid passenger-carrying flights without the appropriate certificates, OpSpecs, or personnel. Those flights happened between Feb. 20, 2018, and Feb. 6, 2020, in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

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Wikert Air, of Omaha, Nebraska, meanwhile, faces a $233,133 civil penalty for allegedly conducting 21 paid passenger-carrying flights in a Pilatus PC-12 without the required air carrier or operating certificate, ops specs, or personnel. Those flights took place between April 19, 2018, and Oct. 13, 2019, in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Also in Omaha, Nebraska, Oracle Aviation faces a proposed $191,536 civil penalty for allegedly conducting nine passenger-carrying flights in a Cessna 172M and Pilatus PC-12 without the requisite certificate, OpSpecs, or personnel between November 2018 and June 2019 in Nebraska, Kansas, Washington, and Iowa.

Finally, the FAA is proposing a $157,654 civil penalty against East Shore Aviation of North Charleston, South Carolina, for allegedly conducting nine passenger-carrying flights between Jan. 20, 2020, and June 25, 2020, using two Pilatus PC-12s that were not on the company’s FAA-issued operations specification. It also used a third PC-12 in IFR operations, even though it was only authorized only for VFR on the company’s OpSpecs. Further, the FAA alleged that the company used the aircraft on an ineligible interchange agreement.

The companies facing the penalties are all in communication with the FAA over the associated citations, the agency said.

The announcement comes as the FAA has increased its scrutiny in recent years of illegal charter activity and worked in tandem with the industry on an education effort. The National Air Transportation Association has renewed its illegal charter awareness events throughout the country as part of that campaign. The events take NATA to California, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Miami later this month and into September.