The Air Charter Association of North America hosted an open forum yesterday at the NBAA Convention on the U.S. DOT’s impending notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) aimed at air charter brokers. The DOT has been developing the regulations to ensure transparency for air charter customers, but has delayed release of the NPRM. At the Acana forum, a panel of air charter experts provided an overview of what is and isn’t known about the rules that will be proposed.
Dayton Lehman Jr., president of Capitol Business Solutions’ Aviation Group and a former DOT counsel, said the impetus behind the NPRM was the fatal crash of a Challenger 600 at Colorado’s Montrose Airport in 2004. During its investigation, the NTSB couldn’t determine the legal operator of the flight due to a circuitous charter booking. Currently charter brokers are unregulated, but can serve only as an agent of the customer or the air carrier.
The NPRM may propose requiring some form of licensing for air charter brokers, and possibly allow them to act as a principal in the charter transaction and be licensed as indirect air carriers. Delays in release of the NPRM are due to the high workload at the DOT and the complexity of the regulatory issues, according to panelists.