DOT fines charter airline, Xtra Airways, $300,000

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Direct Air, the now defunct carrier based out of Myrtle Beach, is the subject of a massive fine from the Department of Transportation.

The six figure fine was leveled against the company that supplied Direct Air with it's planes.

To better understand why an affiliate to Direct Air got this $300,000 fine, it's important to point out that Direct Air didn't own any of the planes or equipment it used. That was all leased from companies like Xtra Airways, which is the target of this fine.

In fact, the trustee in charge of the Direct Air case told WMBF News just this week that there could even be criminal charges related to Direct Air's bankruptcy investigation.

Direct Air is accused of violating dozens of federal rules, which has left leasing companies like Xtra Airways on the hook for millions in unpaid fees.

Of course none of this helps the thousands of passengers left stranded by the airline's collapse back in March.

Direct Air actually sold tickets to passengers for flights through the end of November, none of which can be used or even traded to other carriers.

The only good news is that most passengers got their money back quickly through their credit card companies forcing Visa, Mastercard and American Express to take on nearly $30 million of unpaid debt.

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