With AIN Media Group's Aviation International News and its predecessor Aviation Convention News celebrating the company's 50th year of continuous publication this year, AIN’s editorial staff is going back through the archives each month to bring readers some interesting events that were covered over the past half-century.
REWIND: AMI Jet charter’s trouble with the FAA didn’t start on October 12, when the agency revoked AMI’s charter certificate, nor the week before when it suspended AMI’s certificate, nor in March when the FAA began an investigation of AMI or even in September 2005 when the Department of Transportation fined AMI $250,000 for violation of foreign-ownership regulations.
According to the FAA, AMI’s problems began in 1998 when TAG Aviation USA, which is owned by Switzerland-based TAG Aviation Holding bought part of Aviation Methods, a Burlingame, California, charter/management company that then became AMI Jet Charter.
FASTFORWARD: AMI, one of the largest Part 135 operators in the U.S. with 79 airplanes was essentially forced to shut down after the FAA determined that TAG was exercising operational control over AMI flights. According to the agency neither TAG Aviation USA nor its parent TAG Aviation Holding of Switzerland had authority to fly charter trips.
TAG Aviation USA eventually agreed to pay a $10 million fine as part of an FAA settlement, which allowed the sale of AMI’s assets and orderly transfer of aircraft without interference. In January 2008, it was acquired by Sentient Flight Group.