FAA: Company Used By Arizona Diamondbacks Conducted Illegal Flights

Published: Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 5:05am

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order Wednesday against a company that flew professional sports teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The FAA revoked the operating certificate for Paradigm Air Operators. The agency alleged the Dallas-based company conducted dozens of unauthorized charter flights using unqualified pilots.

The FAA said Paradigm’s certificate allowed it to conduct private carrier operations — that usually means working for a few select customers.

But the FAA said Paradigm paid a consultant $272,646 to secure long-term contracts with the Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners and operated common carrier flights. Those type of flights face stricter regulations and, among other things, require directors of safety, maintenance and operations, which Paradigm reportedly did not have. 

Between June 2013 and March 2018, the FAA alleges Paradigm conducted at least 34 unauthorized flights on its two Boeing 757 and one Boeing 737 aircraft.

Customers included the Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers baseball teams, and the the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs hockey teams. 

In an email to KJZZ, Josh Rawitch, senior vice president, content and communications for the Diamondback said, "We are aware of the news but at this time, we will respectfully decline comment as we are still learning more about the situation."

Under the order, Paradigm must immediately surrender its operating certificate and faces a $13,669 daily penalty for failing to do so.