The National Air Transportation Association has formed a group to address a growing concern among members and the industry: illegal charter operations.

Members report that their No. 1 concern is the danger illegal charter does to their businesses and to the industry as a whole, said Timothy Obitts, NATA executive vice president of operations and general counsel. “NATA’s initiative reinforces our ongoing efforts in combating this serious threat to air charter and the public that is often difficult to identify due to the use of deceptive and convoluted agreements,” he said.

The initiative to combat illegal charter activity is overseen by a subcommittee of NATA’s Air Charter Committee, called the NATA Illegal Charter Task Force. And it plans to take action in several areas. These include: (1) Working with the FAA to provide guidance on identifying steps to avoid illegal operations and helping the agency’s enforcement actions through data collection and illegal charter reports. (2) Collaborating with the IRS to understand the tax consequences for illegal charter operations. (3) Working with Congress to better equip the FAA to take action. (4) Educating the public on the importance of flying legally. (5) Helping the FAA in enforcement.

“The goal of this effort is to protect the safety and integrity of an industry held to a very high standard,” Obitts said. “Safety and fair competition are paramount to the continued success of the air charter industry. Illegal charter must be stamped out.”