ARG/US Prevails in Charter Safety Rating Challenge
A legal issue between East Coast Jets and charter auditor ARG/US over a dropped “Platinum” rating following a fatal crash came to a swift conclusion yesterday. On July 31, an East Coast Jets-operated Hawker 800 flying from Lehigh Valley (Pa.) International Airport crashed while on approach to its destination of Owatonna (Minn.) Airport, killing all six passengers and two crewmembers aboard the twinjet. Shortly after the accident, ARG/US designated East Coast Jets as “not rated,” which is its standard practice following an accident. Until that point, ARG/US gave East Coast Jets a Platinum safety rating, the highest of its ratings under its Charter Evaluation and Qualification (Cheq) service. East Coast Jets last Thursday filed a petition against ARG/US, seeking reinstatement of the Platinum rating, as well as court and attorney costs and compensatory damages. Yesterday, the Common Pleas Court in Lehigh County “denied East Coast Jets’ petition to mandate that ARG/US rate East Coast Jets in a manner contrary to ARG/US’ standard policies and procedures for the Cheq system,” ARG/US told AIN. “After a lengthy two-day hearing, the court specifically found that ARG/US has and continues to operate and apply its Cheq rating system in a uniform, objective manner. This ruling represents the second occasion on which the integrity and credibility of the ARG/US rating system has withstood and overcome a legal challenge.” East Coast Jets did not respond to AIN’s requests for comment.