TapJets Battles FAA over Emergency Certificate Revocation

The agency claims the company flew passengers illegally, but TapJets says that’s not true.

TapJets
TapJets Inc. is fighting the FAA, which put a halt to its operations based on events in late 2016.Embraer

On January 26, the FAA issued an Emergency Order of Revocation against TapJets Inc., claiming that the company conducted various flights in violation of federal aviation regulations. The agency claimed that the company flew 10 flights during the period between September 28, 2016, and January 22, 2017, with unqualified pilots. Allegedly, one copilot only had a student pilot’s certificate. The agency further claimed that 14 passenger-carrying flights were conducted with aircraft that were not listed on TapJets’ air carrier certificate. As a result, the FAA immediately revoked the company’s ability to conduct charter flights.

Now, the Houston-based company says it is “vigorously defending itself against all such allegations,” in a press release posted on its website. TapJets claims the flights in question were conducted during the “initial development of our company,” and that the passengers on those flights were non-paying friends and family members conducted to test software. As such, the flights would be classified under FAR Part 91.501, not Part 135, which would be the federal regulations the FAA alleges the company violated.

“We are concerned about why — a year after the fact — the FAA has raised these allegations based on an anonymous complaint, in their attempt to classify these flights as Part 135,” the company said. “More importantly, they concern a part of our operating model that no longer even exists, and in no way affects or impacts any of the past, present or future flights that customers book on TapJets’ platform.”

Since beginning operations in May 2016, TapJets has endeavored to become the “Uber of jet charter,” with more than 2,000 commercial flights to date. The company claims to be “the World’s first hail-a-jet company capable of instantly booking a private jet in under one minute.”