US Department Of Transportation Denies Miami Air’s International Charter Request

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Summary

  • Miami Air denied an ACMI application due to an incomplete submission, partly due to its ongoing financial fitness issues.
  • DOT allows the resubmission of new applications only if fully completed, giving hope for the Florida carrier in the future.
  • Some airlines, like Eastern, have had successful comebacks, even after initial bankruptcy, focusing on charter flights.

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) dismissed an application from Miami Air to operate as an Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance (ACMI) airline after the company could not provide all the relevant information when submitting the request.

 Photo Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

According to ch-aviation, the DOT dismissed the airline’s interstate and foreign charter passenger operations application after the charter airline failed to prove its financial fitness. The process included reducing its fleet to one aircraft, limiting its ACMI capability. This comes only four years after its attempted takeover of defunct Miami Air International, which operated as a wet lease company, covering busy summer seasons for carriers such as Transavia. It worked for nearly thirty years before ceasing operations in 2020, becoming one of the many airlines victims of global lockdowns.

The startup attempted to revive the trusted brand but unfortunately failed to submit the complete application by September 15, 2021. A second unsuccessful attempt was made the following year and in 2023. The carrier may still file new applications, but the USDOT will only examine them if they are complete.

Miami Air’s sole remaining 737-800, registered as N735MA, has since been repossessed by its lessor and now operates for UK-based TUI as G-TUKR.

From defunct to a brand new ACMI carrier

While the fate of Florida-based Miami Air remains uncertain, another defunct airline has made a successful comeback in the past decade. Eastern Airlines. Some readers may remember the original airline, a staple of US Air Travel in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.

The airline operated classic airliners like the L-1011, 725, and 757. Much like Miami Air, Eastern had strong ties to the Sunshine State, calling itself the “Official Airline of the Tampa Bay Bucs” in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, the airline started registering losses in the late 1980s. It was sold to Texas Air in February 1986. In 1991, the airline flew for the last time. Or so did people believe at the time.

In a surprising turn of events, and exactly two decades after Eastern’s final commercial flight, the airline was reborn, following a different business model. It inherited the defunct airline’s callsign “Eastern” and ICAO code “EAL” – the only notable difference is the IATA code “D2,” which is unique to the new airline.

EAL specializes mainly in military charter flights and ad-hoc wet lease operations. It also operates a unique monthly 767-200ER flight between Miami and Santo Domingo, the only remaining regularly scheduled flight in the western hemisphere.

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Looking ahead

Overall, the charter business in aviation is highly competitive, meaning that venturing into it can prove challenging for operators, leading to bankruptcies and failed takeovers. However, like in the case of Eastern, sometimes airlines can make a comeback. This is why we must remain hopeful; one day, the Sunshine State may see Miami Air grace the skies again.

Have you flown with Miami Air International? Have you been on a charter plane? How was it? Let us know in the comment section.



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