NATA, along with its Air Charter Committee, launched an initiative to combat illegal charter, addressing a growing concern among members and industry. This initiative reinforces the association's ongoing efforts in opposing a serious threat to air charter and the public that is often difficult to identify due to the use of deceptive and convoluted agreements. NATA's initiative to combat illegal charter is overseen by a sub-committee of its Air Charter Committee called the NATA Illegal Charter Task Force.
NATA's Illegal Charter Task Force seeks to:
- Work with the FAA to provide guidance on identifying and steps to avoiding illegal operations
- Work with the IRS to understand and educate industry on the tax consequences of illegal charter operations
- Work with Congress to better equip the FAA in combating this real safety issue
- Educate the Public through campaigns and resources, including the "Chartering an Aircraft, A Consumer Guide" and "Risks of Illegal Charter"
- Assist the FAA in enforcement through data collection and reporting
- Leverage existing FAA data sources to help the FAA focus enforcement efforts
- Help industry provide the FAA with illegal charter reports that provide more actionable data
What can you do?
If you believe you are chartering, verify the operator's legitimacy. Ask for copies of the air carrier certificate and for validation that your selected aircraft is authorized for charter use. If an operator is resistant to providing verification, you would be wise to consider another charter operator. When leasing an aircraft, recognize that you are assuming responsibility for all aspects of the flight. If the lessor is retaining responsibility, it may be an illegal charter.
Ensure you fully understand the requirements for legitimate leases as explained in AC 91-37B. If you consider placing your aircraft in a "leasing pool" or "leasing program," conduct an independent exam of the system to ensure you are not engaging in a disguised illegal charter system.
If you suspect illegal charter operation, please report it to the ACSF's Illegal Charter Hotline (888-SKY-FLT1). All reports are forwarded to and reviewed by the FAA. Educate your aircraft owners and customers on the risks posed by illegal charter schemes. Legal operators incur relatively high overhead costs to properly maintain the aircraft, train and test crewmembers, and stay compliant with regulations. In return, they accept the legal and financial risks for their operations. Ultimately the adage holds true—if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
For more information, please contact Ryan Waguespack at firstname.lastname@example.org.