CJI Global 2020: David Norton – “Need to get everybody in the right lane” on illegal charter



There is a huge amount of education required in order to curb illegal charter, not least among the FAA, but to their credit it is beginning to take steps said David Norton, managing partner, Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP. Addressing CJI Global panel, The Battle Against Illegal Charter, Norton told delegates there is a cognition amongst the heads of FAA and they are beginning to educate their inspectors in recognising illegal charter.

Norton said: “There is huge amount of educational effort that needs to go across the FAA and to their credit they’re trying to do that and there is a openness there. Now the problem is, we talk about poking the bear. We are poking the bear a little bit so there are some inspectors who look and if they see the word lease they think its automatically an illegal charter well that’s a problem too because there are very valid ways to do this correctly.”

The goal is not to curb those who are operating correctly, Norton said: “The goal is to get everybody in the right lane and I think that moves to both the charter industry and business aviation also. So that’s a part of this ongoing dialogue to make sure we make those distinctions.”

Education on illegal charter does not stop with regulatory authorities. According to Ryan Waguespack, vice president of aircraft management, National Air Transport Association (NATA) he will be joining with FAA and underwriters later this month to further discuss the complexities of the issue.

Waguespack said: “Insurance underwriters have all said now we are starting to see these leases and are hitting the brakes. So we are running an educational programme with eight underwriters to work through those details.”

Focusing on insurance, Dave Edwards, CEO, Air Charter Association, said the one question he always ask insurers is “how many times do you get called by the owner or operator and told I am leasing my aircraft today?”. Edwards explained: “There are aircraft that are leased every other day so presumably you must get a hundred phone calls a year. And almost universally the answer is never get a phone call. So these aircraft aren’t operating within the terms of their insurance.”