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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Transportation Department Seeks More Transparency From Air Charter Brokers

Woodrow Bellamy III

Transportation Department officials are looking to require air charter brokers, companies that purchase the use of aircraft operated by another company, to provide more transparency to passengers on chartered flights, the department said Monday. 
The Department of Transportation (DoT) is proposing a new rule that would require air charter brokers to disclose to passengers information about the name of the carrier operating their flights, aircraft type that will be used and the total cost of the trip to the passenger. They would also be required to disclose information about any corporate or business relationship between the broker and the carrie that are providing the flight. 
"The rule would also prohibit brokers from engaging in certain types of unfair and deceptive practices, such as advertising in a way that makes them appear to be the carrier on which a consumer is flying," DoT said in a statement. 
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended DoT implement these requirements for air taxis and air charter brokers following a 2004 fatal crash in Montrose Colo., which raised questions about the identity of the aircraft operator during the crash investigation.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new rule would require the same amount of transparency from air charter brokers as that of "major commercial airlines and public charter companies."
If finalized, the new rule would establish these independent brokers as a new class of "indirect" air carriers, providing air transportation to customers in their own right. DoT is currently seeking public comments on the proposed rule.


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