BACA explains why Illegal Charter has to end


Nick Weston

For 70 years BACA – The Air Charter Association has represented the interests of licensed air carriers, professional charter brokers and a whole myriad of specialists working in the charter industry.

For most of those 70 years the Association has been fighting a battle to educate the general public about illegal charters and what the difference is between them and legal commercial air transport with Air Operator Certificate holders.

Nick Weston, BACA’s Chairman says: “To the average traveller, if someone in a pilot’s uniform meets you at the bottom of the aircraft steps, then you’ll generally take it at face value that everything about that flight is safe, legal and compliant. For those of us in the charter industry we all know and recognise that there is a monumental difference between an aircraft being operated by a pilot-manager and one being operated within the boundaries of a professional AOC structure.”

“If you are paying for a charter flight, take the simple option, use a professional charter broker and choose a commercial aircraft operating on an AOC.”

BACA believes that considerable confusion arises amongst both pilots and passengers about where the boundary of legality lies. But Dave Edwards, the Association’s CEO continues “We still need to get away from the term ‘grey charter’ – implying that, in some way, it’s legal. In the vast, vast majority of cases aviation law is very clear and charter flights are either legal or illegal.”

AOC regulations are far stricter than those covering private flight operations. Air crew are subject to more regular training and checks, the flights take place within a regulatory environment where there are substantially more layers of oversight, and fully supported by safety and compliance structures, designed to minimise risk as much as possible.

AOC holders employ hundreds of thousands of people throughout Europe and worldwide, providing well paid, skilled roles across all sections of society. An illegal charter flight not only risks lives, it risks jobs and livelihoods in a sector which complies with the law and operates professionally and honourably.

BACA is campaigning with Regulators throughout Europe on strong enforcement action to be taken against those people breaking the law and is spearheading a fresh campaign to help educate the travelling public about the dangers of illegal aircraft charter.

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