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Avoid Illegal Charter

Avoid Illegal Charter

For over 70 years The Air Charter Association has been actively educating the public and governments about the risks of illegal charters. However, these flights still occur on a daily basis around the world, carrying increased risk to the travelling public, damaging the reputation of a very professional legal charter industry and impacting businesses and careers.

Why are we so concerned about illegal charter?

The reason The Air Charter Association has such strong views on illegal charters is very simple – they do not have the layers of safety, security, risk and compliance management that legal charter operators put into their flights. We are an industry that sets out to protect the travelling public as best we can, and we firmly believe that illegal charters increase the risk to passengers on those flights and tarnish the reputation of the professionals in our industry who operate within the law.


When a licensed air carrier’s flight takes off, every detail of the flight has been scrutinised by layers of oversight, ensuring that the pilots are appropriately licensed, fully trained in normal and emergency procedures every six months, through auditing the services of third parties such as fuel companies and handling agents to making sure that the flight’s operation is carried out with the least risk possible, taking away all of the commercial pressures from the flight and ground crew, so that they are solely focussed on the journey itself. In an illegal charter, invariably, all of that work is carried out by the pilot, with nobody checking their work.


UK Licenced Air Carriers: Check List

EU Licenced Air Carriers: Check list

USA Licenced Air Carriers: Check List

The Air Charter Safety Alliance

The ACA has worked to bring together a global group of leading business aviation organizations to form a coordinated effort to combat illegal on-demand charter flights. The group, called the Air Charter Safety Alliance, will raise awareness of illegal charter flights among potential customers, charter brokers, ministries of transport, and national aviation authorities.

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 programs that assist on-demand charter operators while continuing to improve their already impressive safety performance. Industry-led programs 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.

The Air Charter Safety Alliance is a coalition of leading international aviation groups including:

  • Associação Brasileira de Aviação Geral (ABAG)
  • The Air Charter Association (The ACA)
  • African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA)
  • Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA)
  • Business Aircraft Operators Association  (BAOA)
  • British Business & General Aviation Association (BBGA)
  • European Business Aviation Association (EBAA)
  • French Business Aviation Association (EBAA France)
  • International Business Aviation Council (IBAC)
  • Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA)
  • National Air Transportation Association (NATA)
  • National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

The Air Charter Safety Alliance

Day Leasing

Day leasing is a term used when an aircraft owner ‘leases’ their aircraft to another person for a short period to undertake a flight. During the period of the lease, the lessor becomes the operator of the aircraft and all responsibilities and accountabilities of being in control of that aircraft pass across to the charterer.

When leasing an aircraft, the lessor must separately hire an independent Commercial Pilot to operate the aircraft.
Whilst technically legal, the Association is concerned that the end-users of such arrangements may not be fully aware of the differences between flying on an aircraft which is commercially registered and operated by a licensed air carrier, and flying on one which is leased for a day, both in terms of safety and in terms of accountability.

When an aircraft is legally chartered, the responsibilities remain with the aircraft operator; they undertake all of the planning, safety, compliance and operational requirements.

When leased, the aircraft operator is the person leasing that aircraft and they are now ultimately responsible for planning, safety, compliance and operations – whilst these tasks can be delegated to the pilot they have hired, the accountability in the event of an accident or incident remains with the lessor. This could give rise to litigation
and criminal charges in the event any shortcuts or illegalities have taken place.

And this really is where the Association’s concerns lie. As an industry we seek to protect the travelling public and minimise the, already very small, risks of flying. We believe that unless the lessor is fully aware of the different level of oversight that a day leased aircraft operates under and the full responsibility and accountability that being a lessor involves, then it is unfair of aircraft owners to put them into that position and would simply recommend using a straightforward, competitive licensed air carrier and aircraft for their flight requirements.



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