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The ACA determined to maintain standards in wake of Sala case
The Air Charter Association welcomes the court’s ruling of David Henderson being found guilty of attempting to discharge a passenger in the UK without valid permission or authorisation and endangering aircraft safety.

Kevin Ducksbury, chairman of The Air Charter Association, has issued a statement in response to the court hearing relating to the fatal flight that carried professional footballer Emiliano Sala.

The Argentinian striker was being flown from Nantes in France to the Welsh capital to join his new club, Cardiff City, on the evening of 21 January 2019 when the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft crashed into the sea north of Guernsey in bad weather. His body was recovered from the seabed 68 metres down. The body of Ibbotson, from Lincolnshire, has not been found. Following the guilty verdict, Henderson has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The Air Charter Association is profoundly saddened by this accident and sends its sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased men,” he says. “As the industry’s global trade association, we stand for and promote compliance and best practice. We are deeply dismayed that so many fundamental safety rules and basic rules of airmanship were disregarded and broken in this case. The Air Charter Association demands the highest possible safety standards from all of its members and insists that all flights are operated in line with legal and regulatory requirements relating to safe operating rules, underpinning the core values of the Association. These include but are not limited to aircraft operating approvals, operating licences, maintenance, flight crew licensing and insurance.

“We welcome the court’s ruling of David Henderson being found guilty of attempting to discharge a passenger in the UK without valid permission or authorisation and additionally, guilty of endangering the safety of an aircraft. The ruling confirms that Mr Henderson arranged and coordinated this flight illegally on behalf of Emiliano Sala. Fully licensed, regulated and approved aircraft charter operations are at the heart of The Air Charter Association’s core values and growing membership. The Association is profoundly disturbed that this flight was allowed to happen but welcomes the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s representation in this case, ensuring a precedence is set and further support is provided to one of the Association’s primary causes – stamping out illegal public transport.

The Air Charter Association will continue its work on educating the public and wider aviation community, to ensure that our high standards are maintained. The message is clear to the industry regarding the importance of using fully licensed air charter and why selecting trusted and regulated members of The Air Charter Association is vitally important to ensure passenger safety.”

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