In a Press Release issued last Friday, the FAA announced its revocation of American Air Network’s Part 135 air carrier certificate. If you recall from my May 4, 2006 post, the Administrator previously affirmed a $7,000.00 civil penalty against the air carrier for operating a charter flight with a second-in-command pilot whose 2nd class medical certificate had expired.
In this case, the FAA issued an emergency order of revocation of American Air’s air carrier certificate. The FAA based its emergency revocation upon its determination that American Air had “permitted flights for hire or compensation to be conducted on its air carrier certificate when individuals who did not hold an air carrier certificate exercised operational control of those flights.” American Air appealed the emergency order of revocation, but dropped the appeal after the FAA presented its case at a hearing in December.
According to the Press Release, “[t]he FAA’s action is part of a national review of air taxi operational control issues” and should send “a clear message that the FAA will act when it finds evidence that any air carrier is engaged in the franchising or rental of its air carrier certificate.” The operational control issue is clearly a “hot-button” for the FAA. However, to its credit, it is currently holding operational control briefings throughout the country to educate and inform operators regarding its position on this issue. These briefings are highly recommended and, provided that the FAA’s enforcement actions are consistent with the information disseminated at the briefings, they should help operator’s comply with the operational control regulatory requirement of a Part 135 air carrier certificate.