Charter Lawsuit Reveals New Rendition Flight Details

Court documents released as part of a lawsuit by Richmor Aviation against charter broker Sportsflight reveal new information about how the U.S. government arranged charters to transport terrorism suspects on so-called rendition flights to secure facilities in various locations, including Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. While some aspects of the documents provide new revelations about the government’s activities, what is surprising is seeing that the government acted like any ordinary charter buyer when arranging the flights. The government, like most charter buyers, went through brokers, in one case a company called Sportsflight. The broker negotiated with charter operator Richmor Aviation of Hudson, N.Y., for a Gulfstream IV, for flights conducted in May through November 2002, including a guarantee of 250 hours during six months at a lower-than-market-price rate of $4,900 per hour, as well as options for 50 hours per month after the initial term. The dispute centers around the optional extension, and the court rejected Sportsflight owner Donald Moss’s appeal, awarding Richmor $1,119,650 in damages and interest, which was later reduced to $874,650.

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