Dallas-based JSX Air taps patrons for support in battle with the FAA
Dallas-based JSX Air is seeking public input on new changes in regulations being proposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that would ban JSX’s style of flying.
The changes would affect JSX Air and some of the 53 other domestic carriers that offer public charter service.
Flights with 30 or fewer passenger seats, like those that JSX flies, can be classified as "public charters" and aren't subject to regular airlines rules on matters like how much downtime a pilot must have between flights or TSA checks. (JSX does a TSA pre-check, exempting travelers from government-run security checkpoints.)
Egged on by the major airlines, federal regulators are considering rules that would thwart an effort by regional airline SkyWest to create a subsidiary for small markets that would enjoy the looser charter rules that JSX follows.
If the rules are used to prevent SkyWest’s move, JSX would be threatened with similar prohibitive action.
The rule change is being pushed by American and Southwest airlines, the Air Line Pilots Association, and the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, who are seeking to halt SkyWest’s new offshoot, under the guise that the looser charter rules threaten airline safety.
“Other carriers will follow suit because this is a way to find a loophole in pilot training and security requirements,” Jason Ambrosi, president of the Air Line Pilots Association International, told Bloomberg News.
As the federal Department of Transportation takes comments from the public on its considered regulatory move, JSX is petitioning supporters to chime in.
In an email sent last week to its list followers, JSX CEO Alex Wilcox said American and Southwest, along with their unions, are looking to stymie JSX by “hiding behind baseless allegations…American has an 86 percent market share at DFW and Southwest has a stunning 96 percent market share at Love Field. This is a de facto duopoly in Dallas that they surely want to preserve.”
JSX is also being supported as a charter carrier by JetBlue Airways, which owns a small stake in the airline and offers JSX flights on its website.
“DOT is being urged to take steps by certain stakeholders that are antithetical to the procompetition mandate that the Biden administration claims to be pursuing,” Robert C. Land, head of government affairs for JetBlue said in a written comment to the DOT.
According to AV Web, JSX’s appeal has generated 40,000 comments, with about 100,000 who've clicked on a link that sends a "message of support" to members of Congress.
The FAA's public docket where the public can comment on their proposal is linked here. The deadline is Thursday, October 12.
UPDATE 10-11-2023: An American Airlines spokesperson added the following comment: "We applaud the FAA for its intent to close the loophole currently allowing certain scheduled passenger carriers, like JSX, to evade the safety and security requirements of most airlines. America's security architecture was crafted after 9/11 to keep passengers safe, and we can't afford to see it undermined. ... The FAA correctly suggests that as the operations of companies seeking to exist under separate safety and security regulations grow, it would be wise to reevaluate this misuse of the exception for public charter operators under current FAA regulations."