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FAA shuts down Hawaii cargo operator Transair

Safety investigation was underway before July freighter crash

Transair 727-200 at the bottom of the ocean off Honolulu. (Image: NTSB/Flickr)

The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended the operating authority of Honolulu-based Rhoades Aviation after one of its Transair cargo jets crash-landed in the ocean early this month.

The agency said safety investigators had been looking at the company since last fall and that it will be prevented from flying or conducting maintenance inspections until it complies with FAA regulations.

The agency’s decision is separate from the ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board into the July accident of a Transair Boeing 737-200 that crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Honolulu. Both pilots survived. 

The FAA, in a statement provided to American Shipper, said it began investigating the maintenance and safety practices of Rhoades Aviation last fall. On June 13, the FAA notified Rhoades Aviation that the agency intended to rescind the authority for the airline to conduct maintenance inspections due to deficiencies identified during the investigation. The company was given 30 days under administrative process to ask the FAA to reconsider, which it did not do.

On Friday, the FAA notified Rhoades Aviation that the agency was moving forward with plans to rescind its ability to conduct maintenance inspections, effectively preventing it from operating. Transair currently has one operational 737-200 freighter.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the FAA’s decision against Rhoades Aviation.

The Transair pilots were returning to Honolulu because they lost power in one of their engines when they ditched the plane in the ocean.


Transair cargo jet crash lands off coast of Hawaii

Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]