Gulfstream chief disputes accusations about airline


The chief executive of Gulfstream International Group Inc., parent of a commuter airline accused by federal officials of crew-scheduling and maintenance violations, said he believes the company will be vindicated on a majority of the items under scrutiny.

The company faces a proposed $1.3 million penalty for the alleged violations, made public Thursday by the Federal Aviation Administration.

In emails Friday, David Hackett disputed assertions by congressional investigators that Gulfstream falsified flight-time records and forced crews to fly more hours than federal rules permit.

“No records were ever falsified, period,” according to Mr. Hackett. The airline is unaware of allegations that pilots were forced to violate flight-time restrictions, although he said “on a couple of occasions, a crew schedulers make a mistake and allowed a pilot to fly over his required limits.”

There were “minor” discrepancies between the airline’s manual logs of crew flight times and aircraft flight records, because of unintentional errors that are being rectified, Mr. Hackett said. Pilots exceeded mandatory flight-time limits “on a couple of occasions,” he said.

Gulfstream and an affiliated training academy provided training and initial airline experience to Marvin Renslow, the captain of the Colgan Air Inc. plane that crashed near Buffalo, N.Y., on Feb. 12, killing 50 people. Mr. Hackett said Capt. Renslow’s record at Gulfstream was “uneventful” and said he never failed flight checks while working for the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., airline.

In disputing “whistleblower” claims that pilots were punished by the airline for raising safety concerns, Mr. Hackett said certain employees were terminated for poor performance and alcohol abuse.