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Sun, Jul 13, 2008

NATA Launches 'Hotline' To Report Illegal Charters

Watchdog Effort Funded Through FAA Grant

Funded by a grant from the FAA, the National Air Transport Association announced Friday the availability of a toll-free hotline for certificated operators to report suspected illegal commercial activity.

"Persons illegally conducting commercial flights adversely affect the air charter industry. For years our members, licensed air charter operators, have sought ways to involve the FAA in tracking down and taking enforcement action against illegal operators. Now, we believe that we have found a way," said NATA President James K. Coyne.

"By providing NATA with the funding to establish and support this reporting program, the FAA has demonstrated its agreement that taking action against an illegal operator is important, not only from a fairness standpoint, but also to ensure the safety of the traveling public," Coyne added

Effective immediately, any employee or agent of a Part 135 on-demand certificate holder can call a special toll-free hotline, 888-759-3581 or 888-SKY-FLT1, to file a report of suspected illegal commercial flights, where an aircraft operator without an FAA Part 135 certificate is accepting compensation for transportation, in violation of both FAA and Department of Transportation regulations.

The hotline is staffed by an independent third-party with knowledge of the air charter industry. Reports can be filed anonymously if desired, and all reporters will be provided with a case code for follow-up. The FAA will be provided with details to initiate an investigation, and NATA will regularly contact the FAA to ensure that cases are being followed-up for appropriate action.

In addition to the ability to provide meaningful, actionable information to the FAA, this hotline will also permit NATA to collect data that may help quantify the scope of the illegal charter problem.

In addition to the hotline, NATA also has published a free consumer guide to chartering aircraft as well as a leaflet describing the dangers of illegal charters. These documents, designed to increase consumer awareness, along with the reporting hotline create an atmosphere where legitimate operators can thrive while forcing illegal operations to shut down.



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