Justice Department Involvement In FAA’s Illegal Charter Case Spotlights Consequences For Aircraft Owners

Published in Midwest Flyer – December 2018/January 2019 issue

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and its Illegal Charter Task Force are continuing efforts to increase awareness of the dangers posed by illegal activity, and educate aircraft owners, consumers and operators on the importance of compliance with safety regulations. In a move that highlights the serious consequences when aircraft are found to be operating illegally, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has referred a high-profile enforcement action to the Unites States Attorney’s Office (USAO).

This summer, the FAA announced a $3.3 million civil penalty against an aircraft owner it found to be conducting commercial flights without proper authorization. The aircraft owner allegedly conducted hundreds of commercial charter flights for third parties with whom the owner had created multiple timeshare agreements. While regulations permit certain payments when using timesharing arrangements, this operation was collecting unauthorized payments among other alleged infractions. In October 2018, the FAA referred the case to the USAO for action. The case is referred to as United States of America v. The Hinman Company, Case No. 1:18-cv-01140, U.S. District Court, W.D. Michigan (October 4, 2018).

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