The US Federal Aviation Administration’s attitude towards safety oversight of the on-demand charter part of the business aviation industry in the USA is almost beyond belief. What makes the lives of those citizens who need to charter a small, professionally crewed aircraft – no matter for what reason – less valuable than those of regular airline passengers?

The FAA has made a rod for its own back in allowing owners and operators in this sector of the industry to have less transparent identity than in any other.

Regulations actually permit one organisation to do business as a company whose name is just a front. This makes it almost impossible for even experienced customers to check out the full credentials of the registered owner and operator, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

In fact the lack of oversight is clearly appreciated among those who regularly use the services of on-demand air charter operators – they frequently use experts to carry out background checks.

But the permitted lack of transparency is so total it can even baffle those whose profession is based on this expertise, the NTSB says.

This sort of system is not worthy of aviation. It smacks of the intentional obscurity of the offshore money-laundering business and gets even the sector’s many good operators a bad name. The FAA must close the loopholes.

Source: Flight International