WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are seeking a $5.9 million penalty against an Atlanta aviation company that they say operated illegal cargo flights that were “careless or reckless” and posed a safety risk.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that Humes McCoy Aviation lacked a commercial operating certificate and used pilots who had not passed required tests. The FAA said the company also didn't have approved programs for pilot training and handling hazardous materials.

David M. McDonald, an attorney for Humes McCoy, said the company does not own any aircraft and merely acted as a broker between cargo customers and licensed air carriers.

“It is our position that no violations took place,” he said.

The FAA said Humes McCoy used small planes to operate 270 illegal flights in North Carolina, South Carolina and Iowa from 2017 through 2019. The alleged violations are civil, not criminal.

The company has 30 days to respond to the FAA. The agency frequently reduces proposed penalties during negotiations.

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