FAA To Fine Interstate Helicopters 7,100 For Illegal Charter Operations

FAA To Fine Interstate Helicopters $617,100 For Illegal Charter Operations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $617,100 civil penalty against Oklahoma-based Interstate Helicopters for allegedly conducting illegal charter flights.

The FAA alleges that between September 2016 and April 2017, Interstate Helicopters conducted approximately 24 paid passenger-carrying flights in jet airplanes when it was only authorized to conduct flights in helicopters.

The FAA further alleges the company used unqualified pilots who did not complete required training, testing, and competency checks for the 24 flights. Interstate Helicopters has 30 days to respond to the FAA after receiving the letter.

The FAA has authority to issue orders assessing a civil penalty of up to $400,000 against persons other than individuals and small business concerns and up to $50,000 against individuals and small business concerns.

Generally, the penalty for each violation ranges from $1,100 to $27,500, depending on the provision violated and the category of the alleged violator: individual serving as an airman, individual not serving as an airman, small business concern, or someone other than an individual or small business concern.

There is no dollar limitation on assessments for violations of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety Act or the Hazardous Materials Transportation Regulations, and the penalty for each violation of these requirements ranges from $600 to $30,000.

There is no dollar limitation on assessments for violations of the commercial space statute or regulations, and the maximum civil penalty the FAA may impose in commercial space cases is $120,000.

For civil penalties in excess of the dollar limitation on FAA’s assessment authority (for other than hazardous materials violations), the FAA has authority to compromise a penalty by issuing a compromise order stating that the FAA believes the entity has violated a statute or regulation and that the FAA is willing to accept a penalty of a specified amount in resolution of the matter.

When the FAA issues a compromise order, no adjudicated finding of violation is made a part of the entity’s enforcement record (unless the entity agrees otherwise as part of the resolution). If there is no resolution, the matter is referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution in U.S. District Court.

The FAA initiates civil penalty matters by providing notice of the civil penalty or notice of the proposed assessment.

An entity may appeal the notice, and a hearing before one of the Department of Transportation’s or National Transportation Safety Board’s administrative law judges (ALJ) is available.

Any decision by an ALJ may be appealed to the FAA Administrator or the NTSB, respectively. Final decisions by the Administrator or the NTSB may be appealed to a United States court of appeals.

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