July 6, 2016

Business aviation operators will face higher civil penalties from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies for regulatory violations, following recent rule amendments to adjust civil monetary penalties for inflation. The adjustments are allowed under the new Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.

“Business aircraft operators need to be aware of the higher civil penalties, as security agencies attempt to retain a penalty structure that encourages regulatory compliance,” said Doug Carr, NBAA’s vice president of regulatory and international affairs.

The act requires agencies to adjust the level of civil penalties in accordance with inflation rates, first with an initial “catch up” adjustment, and then with subsequent annual adjustments. The goal of the annual penalty increases is to maintain their deterrent effect over time. Previous inflation adjustment policies involved significant rounding procedures that often led to no real adjustment for inflation.

Particularly applicable to the business aviation community is the adjusted civil penalty for non-compliance with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) arrival and departure manifest requirements for passengers, crew members or other occupants on aircraft arriving to or departing from the United States.

The penalty for violations occurring prior to Nov. 2, 2015, with civil penalties assessed after Aug. 1, 2016, was $1,100. The new penalty will be $1,312. Similarly, the fee for non-compliance with landing requirements at designated ports of entry for aircraft transporting aliens was $3,200, and the penalty will now be $3,563.

Penalties for certain Transportation Security Administration (TSA) violations have also increased, from $10,000 to $12,865.

“NBAA members should look at their policies regarding DHS, CBP and TSA requirements and, if necessary, conduct additional training with pilots and flight coordinators to ensure compliance,” said Carr. “Civil penalties will sting a little more now than before and will continue to increase, reflecting established processes to adjust for inflation.”

View the Federal Register notice about the penalty increases.