NATA Brings Back Air Charter Summit

 - May 25, 2023, 4:23 PM
Advanced air mobility is among the many topics on the slate for NATA's upcoming Air Charter Summit. (Photo: Hanneke Weitering/AIN)

After nearly a decade’s hiatus, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is bringing back its Air Charter Summit with a focus on addressing issues that are “bringing the future into play today,” according to association executives.

Last held in 2014, the association moved away from an air-charter-specific summit in favor of a broader event that merged it with its then-called Aviation Business and Legislative Conference. However, NATA this year is planning various events that are more focused on different aspects of aviation businesses, some of them through potential partnerships with other organizations.

To be held June 21 and 22 in the Washington, D.C. area, the Air Charter Summit will open with committee and Capitol Hill meetings, while the second day of the event will feature government officials and other experts on issues such as public versus private charter, safety management systems, the pilot records database, and advanced air mobility (AAM).

Among the sessions is a fireside chat with Carol A. (Annie) Petsonk, assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs for the Department of Transportation (DOT), who will discuss how on-demand and public charters fit within her agency’s mission. “We’re seeing a lot of confusion [in this area],” said Alan Stephens, v-p of regulatory affairs for NATA.

Stephens said there could be clarity about how Part 135 addresses the safety regulations while Part 380, which is under the DOT, addresses economic authority. Concerns continue to get raised around the differences in terms such as scheduled and commuter operations, he added.

The discussion is also expected to touch upon the move by airlines to pull out of some regions. “What happens there and then who serves that airport?” he asked. Further questions surround the DOT’s vision for Essential Air Service around some of those airports and how they address reimbursements when charter operations fall through.

With that as an opening backdrop, the summit will lead into sessions with a range of FAA officials and legal experts on illegal charter, public charter opportunities, and the future involving AAM.

FAA regulators further will delve into plans for the rollout of SMS for Part 135, oversight of the Air Traffic Organization, and certification efforts. Also, following a day on the Hill, NATA is planning a discussion on how FAA reauthorization will specifically affect air charter.