NATA Sends Letters To Members Expressing Anger
The following letter
was sent to NATA members by President Jim Coyne concerning the
recent Certificate action undertaken by the FAA against AMI Jet
Charter, Inc., of Burlingame, CA.
Coyne really took the FAA to task here and describes their
actions as, "...driven more by arrogance and a failure to
understand how Part 135 is different from Part 121 than by true
concerns about the safety of operations conducted on AMI aircraft.
Dear NATA Member:
I am extremely angered by the Federal Aviation Administration's
decision last Friday to revoke the operating certificate of AMI Jet
Charter based in Burlingame, CA. This shocking development
certainly calls into question what was once a productive and
professional relationship between NATA and the FAA and raises
legitimate concerns over the unilateral authority select members of
the FAA legal team have over operational control issues affecting
the Part 135 industry.
NATA has worked very closely with FAA safety officials since
operational control became a hot issue more than two years ago.
Operational control concerns arose in the wake of the Challenger
604 accident at Teterboro Airport in February, 2005. Specifically,
the FAA raised concerns with the operational control procedures of
the aircraft operator involved in the accident, Platinum Jet
We have proceeded with the best interests of our members in mind
and worked with the FAA in good faith to address the agency's
concerns. Since that time, the association has led a number of
efforts, many in conjunction with the FAA, to ensure that the Part
135 industry was informed and prepared to comply with the new
policies being implemented by headquarters on a national basis
through Operations Specification A008. Countless hours were
invested by NATA and operators to educate the FAA on the legitimate
business practices common in our industry.
NATA has also worked
closely with the FAA and AMI Jet Charter to ensure that AMI was
treated fairly and given every opportunity to continue its
day-to-day operations while working with the FAA to address the
concerns that prompted the investigation that began seven months
ago. Sadly, while we believe officials within the FAA's safety
office have been forthright and willing to work with AMI, a select
few attorneys at the agency have taken it upon themselves to act to
suspend and now revoke AMI's certificate despite evidence of AMI's
efforts to ensure compliance with the FAA's frequently changing
standards. These attorneys have essentially derailed the operations
of one of the biggest and best Part 135 certificate holders in the
country for reasons other than safety.
As you may have read, the FAA issued a revocation of AMI's
certificate because of concerns with the business relationship
which exists between AMI and aircraft management company TAG
Aviation. As recently as 2005, the Department of Transportation
investigated the AMI-TAG relationship and ultimately TAG Aviation
paid a fine and AMI-TAG worked with the DOT to ensure that the
relationship between both organizations was legal and
NATA believes that this action against AMI is driven more by
arrogance and a failure to understand how Part 135 is different
from Part 121 than by true concerns about the safety of operations
conducted on AMI aircraft.
NATA remains in close contact with AMI. As we consider our next
steps, all options remain on the table.
Rest assured NATA will remain on top of this issue in order to
protect our members' interests and ensure that any further actions
taken by the FAA are appropriate and justifiable.
James K. Coyne, President