BACA, the Air Charter Association, has called for an urgent review of regulations for the practice of bookings made on a private flight, cost-sharing basis.
BACA is suggesting that global regulatory authorities should work together with the industry to deliver a set of standards that maximise safety and security on all flights operated on this basis.
A growing practice
The practice is growing, particularly with the launch of a number of cost-sharing apps. BACA says it fully embraces innovation in the market and new tools that improve the flying public’s access to and appetite for flight. However, it also notes that while genuine cost-sharing on private flights is legal, all commercial charter flights must be undertaken by an air carrier that holds an AOC (Air Operator Certificate) which permits a charter for hire and reward. BACA is concerned that, without proper regulation, commercial flights will be flown without an AOC, thus compromising flight legality and safety.
It is illegal to fly commercial flights on a private licence. AOC holders are subject to enhanced levels of flight maintenance, safety and crew experience that are designed to protect flying customers and the general safety of the public. If these rules can simply be circumvented by characterising flights as private cost-shares, then that calls into question the integrity of the regulatory regime.
BACA acknowledges that current regulations are not entirely clear in this area and so are creating a market for these new business structures. BACA is therefore calling for an industry-wide review to clarify the regulations and place passenger safety and security as the key priority. BACA says it has made approaches to a number of industry organisations and regulatory bodies to discuss and review the practice of private flight cost-sharing.
BACA Chairman Richard Mumford comments: “A number of our members have approached us and raised concerns about the market developments in this area. We believe that safety and security are paramount and wish to open a debate on the subject with the ultimate view of delivering clear and binding regulations that meet the highest levels of safety and security for passengers and crew.”