Charter Aircraft Attract Scrutiny

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With traveling on the airlines just getting worse, and ever more security restrictions and delays, some observers now are fretting that travelers will go looking for charter flights and encounter shady operators. "There's going to be a lot more guys out there calling themselves John Doe's Charter," Miami attorney Stuart Grossman told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Grossman was involved in litigation after the fatal charter crash that killed R&B singer Aaliyah and eight others in the Bahamas five years ago. FAA spokesman Les Dorr told the Sun-Sentinel that inspectors can't oversee every operator, every day. "The sheer number of operators requires the FAA to allocate resources where the greatest benefit can be gained," he said. The FAA offers an online consumer guide for charter users, suggesting that they ask for the number of the company's FAA operating certificate, and check them out with the local FAA Flight Standards District Office. "If the air taxi operator is unwilling or reluctant to provide the answers to the above questions, or does not want you to contact the FAA for verification of his or her Air Carrier Operating Certificate, you would be wise to consider another operator to fill your travel requirements," the FAA advises.