USA: DOT fines Vision Airlines for charter violations

Michael Wukoschitz's picture

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) assessed Vision Airlines a USD 50,000 penalty for violating rules that protect passengers when their public charter flights are suddenly canceled and ordered the carrier to cease and desist from further violations.

Vision Airlines was one of several carriers operating flights for Direct Air, a charter operator also known as Myrtle Beach Direct Air & Tours, which ceased operating in March. Public charters differ from scheduled flights in that they operate only for a specific time period and are usually sold by a charter operator rather than an airline.  DOT has specific rules applying to public charters, including a requirement that the charter operator have a security arrangement, such as a bond or letter of credit and an escrow account to protect consumers’ money if a flight is canceled.  There is also a ban on canceling flights less than 10 days before departure unless it is physically impossible to operate the flight.

Vision Airlines stopped flying charters for Direct Air on March 13, 2012, when Direct Air ceased operations. Numerous passengers did not receive the service for which they paid Direct Air when Vision Airlines cancelled the remaining flights it was scheduled to operate for Direct Air.

Source: DOT press release 136-12 of December 5, 2012

Consent order available on the internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2012-0002.

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