NATA Takes FAA To Task over Emergency Revocations
On Friday, National Air Transportation Association (NATA) president James Coyne criticized the FAA for issuing another emergency suspension order for a Part 135 operator, this time grounding Punta Gorda, Fla.-based aeromed transport company Air Trek. According to NATA, the FAA’s use of emergency suspensions calls into question fairness in regulatory oversight of Part 135 on-demand aircraft operators versus the Part 121-regulated scheduled airlines. In a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell, Coyne noted, “Despite repeated assertions from the FAA that the agency would ensure fairness in the evaluation of operational control, it has become clear that the FAA favors certain classes of air carrier over others. Over the last 24 months, the FAA has issued, or threatened to issue, numerous emergency suspension or emergency revocation orders to Part 135 carriers that have ultimately resulted in the loss of certificates for the operators involved. However, while Part 135 air carriers have received the ultimate penalty for operational infractions, their Part 121 counterparts are simply fined and permitted to operate.” He also said that operators cannot rely upon what the local FAA office tells them, since inspection teams from FAA headquarters or regional offices are the ones issuing the emergency revocations. “It is time for common sense to enter into this process,” Coyne concluded.