FAA Proposes $1M Penalty for Charter Company

Weathervane Aviation Services in Massachusetts allegedly operated 1,400 illegal flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration has proposed a $1 million civil penalty for Weathervane Aviation Services for allegedly operating about 1,400 illegal charter flights between May 9, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2018. The flights by the Westport, Massachusetts-based company were illegal because Weathervane didn’t have an air carrier certificate and used unqualified pilots, the FAA alleged.

During the period, Weathervane conducted the flights in two twin-engine Cessna 402Cs between New Bedford Regional Airport and Nantucket Memorial Airport, and all but 52 of them occurred after company president Richard Araujo was notified that the company was required to have an air carrier certificate, according to the FAA. Further, the FAA alleged that 455 of the flights happened after it notified Araujo of an investigation into his company conducting illegal charters.

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The regulator also alleged that Weathervane didn’t have an approved pilot-training program or policies and procedure manual. In addition, pilots operating the flights hadn’t passed FAA-required written, oral, flight, and instrument checks, the agency alleged.

Weathervane has 30 days to respond to the FAA’s enforcement letter after receiving it.