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Coalition says enough is enough for illegal charter
While the majority of on-demand charter flights comply with national and international safety standards, there have been instances of unauthorised aircraft operators actively avoiding aviation authority oversight.

A global group of leading business aviation organisations have announced a coordinated effort to combat illegal on-demand charter flights in the sector. The group, called the Air Charter Safety Alliance, will raise awareness among potential customers, charter brokers, ministries of transport and national aviation authorities regarding the use of unauthorised aircraft operators for on-demand flights.

While the overwhelming majority of on-demand charter flights comply with national and international safety standards, there have been instances of unauthorised aircraft operators actively avoiding aviation authority oversight, placing at risk the safety of unwitting passengers and hurting the economic health of approved charter operators.

In the past, several associations have worked actively on reducing illegal activity by setting up dedicated websites to educate and engage aircraft owners and national authorities on proper compliance with charter regulations. Over the next three months, the coalition hopes to collect best practices from the various associations, create an online platform and initiate an online educational campaign to make main stakeholders aware of the dangers of illegal charter.

The coalition will develop and promote several safety programmes that assist on-demand charter operators, while continuing to improve their already impressive safety performance. Industry-led programmes focusing on safety management systems, flight data recording and safety reporting, along with a focus on safety culture, have aided in bringing greater value to state-approved charter operators. Creating more discerning customers, in addition to efforts that will help to identify illegal charters, will hopefully dissuade those seeking to compromise safety for profit.

“For over 70 years, we have aided members and the business aviation community by identifying and sharing best practices along with advocating for reasonable and effective safety regulation,” notes NBAA VP for international and regulatory affairs Doug Carr. “We believe this multi-pronged approach to consumer education, along with regulator and supply-chain awareness, will reinforce the safety value of approved charter operators. The association has a wealth of resources, including the Aircraft Charter Consumer Guide, updated in 2020, which helps individuals and businesses become informed consumers.”

Kurt Edwards, director general of IBAC, adds: “ICAO has established obligations and guidance on the regulation of international air transport, as well as standards and recommended practices for the safety and security of commercial and non-commercial air transport. These form the harmonised basis for legal international air charter activities. We are pleased to work with the IBAC member associations to raise awareness among national authorities and client populations of this international framework to further reduce the occurrence of charter operations inconsistent with the framework.”

EBAA COO Robert Baltus comments: “Business aviation is known as the most flexible means of transportation, using the highest safety standards, and EBAA and our partners aim to ensure that the travelling public can continue to trust our industry.”

Dave Edwards, CEO of the Air Charter Association, concludes: “Illegal charter goes against everything our industry works hard to deliver; it increases risk to passengers, damages the reputation of our industry and impacts careers and businesses. By working together with our partner associations around the world, we aim to protect the air charter community and educate passengers, pilots and aircraft owners about the serious consequences of illegal charter.”

The Air Charter Safety Alliance is a coalition of leading international aviation groups, including the Associação Brasileira de Aviação Geral (ABAG), the Air Charter Association (ACA), African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA), the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA), the Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA), the British Business & General Aviation Association (BBGA), the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), the French Business Aviation Association (EBAA France), the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), the Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

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