IG Report Accuses FAA of Inadequate Charter Oversight

 - July 21, 2009, 10:30 AM

In a report on the on-demand Part 135 charter industry issued last week, the Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) concluded that the “FAA does not effectively target inspections to higher-risk on-demand operators” nor provide enough inspector oversight of charter operators in comparison with Part 121 airlines. The IG suggests that if Part 135 on-demand and Part 121 regulations were similar, then some notable accidents might not have occurred. While the IG audit notes that “the number of fatalities from on-demand operations makes it imperative that FAA take action to address these issues,” the IG was not able to analyze Part 135 versus 121 accident rates to support its concerns. The IG audit, said the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association, does not place “enough emphasis on the inherently-more-risky 135 environment. Much of the flying is done in foul weather, on demanding schedules, in relatively unsophisticated aircraft, with a single-pilot.” And according to National Air Transportation Association president Jim Coyne, “The IG largely conducts an apples-and-oranges comparison. Part 121 is very homogenous with regard to the types of aircraft and operations. Part 135 contains every possible mission profile and includes single-engine pistons up to large cabin jets. Of course the requirements are going to be different.”