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Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

The FAA is tightening safety rules at public charter airlines like Dallas-based JSX

By meerna Jun18,2024
The FAA is tightening safety rules at public charter airlines like Dallas-based JSX

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to impose stricter safety requirements on public charter airlines such as Dallas-based JSX, a step toward closing what critics call a loophole in U.S. aviation regulations.

The new rules aim to ensure that public charter flights, which effectively operate like typical commercial airlines, follow the same safety rules, the FAA said in a statement Monday. JSX bills itself as the “ultimate travel hack” because passengers can bypass airport crowds and security lines.

“If a company does operate as a scheduled airline, the FAA must determine whether those operations should be subject to the same stringent regulations as scheduled airlines,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker said in a statement.

The rise of operations like JSX and whether they pose any security risks have divided the industry. Critics say JSX and companies like it are exploiting a loophole in current regulations, allowing them to operate scheduled flights like major airlines under less stringent standards applicable to private charter operations.

Public jet charter service JSX is adding a new route from Dallas to Scottsdale

The move announced Monday comes after the regulator asked for feedback on potential rule changes in August, which led to about 60,000 comments from other airlines, unions, airports, cities and travelers.

Public charter carriers such as JSX and others offer scheduled flights from smaller, privately owned terminals. Although they are limited to carrying 30 passengers per flight, they are not subject to regulations requiring pilots to have at least 1,500 flight hours and a mandatory retirement age of 65.

Their passengers also do not have to go through the same type of security checks as customers traveling with commercial airlines. JSX checks swab bags for explosives and passengers pass through a weapons detector, but there are no Transportation Security Administration agents there like commercial carriers.

“As the nation’s largest public charter air carrier, JSX has led the way toward safe and reliable regional operations,” JSX said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our regulators to strengthen the importance of public charters and expand access to key air routes in the future.”

JSX has conducted an advertising campaign accusing critics of American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. about putting pressure on the government to crush its business model and deny passengers more choice.

The two larger airlines have denied having anti-competitive motives, saying they are simply seeking to introduce uniform standards for operators of scheduled public flights.

Last year, the FAA and TSA began analyzing whether to review standards for public charter carriers after the FAA concluded that their rapid growth would pose “increased security risks if left unchecked.”

The FAA said it plans to issue its new rule “quickly” and that comment would be sought on the proposal on an effective date that would give the industry enough time to comply.

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