Historic Chalk's airline loses license, faces dim future
Chalk's International Airlines, a fixture on the South Florida aviation scene since World War I, has lost its federal operating license and its future looks dim.
The tiny seaplane operator, with headquarters at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, has not flown since Sept. 3, according to airport officials.
Crippled by a fatal crash of one of its Grumman Turbo Mallard seaplanes in Miami on Dec. 19, 2005, Chalk's had been leasing planes from another airline to ferry passengers between airports in South Florida and the Bahamas. Without operating authority from the Department of Transportation, however, it cannot even do that.
Efforts to reach Chalk's general manager Rajan Nair through phone messages and e-mail were unsuccessful. Fort Lauderdale airport spokesman Greg Meyer said the airline has not returned phone calls left by airport officials for several weeks.
After the 2005 crash, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the type of plane Chalk's uses, the Grumman G-73T Mallard, because of metal cracks in the wings. In August 2006, Chalk's resumed flights using 19-seat conventional planes leased from Montana-based Big Sky Airlines.