The UK Civil Aviation Authority is proposing changes to the way ‘cost sharing flights’ are operated to remove any “confusion” surrounding them.

The regulator has suggested updating the regulations of advertising cost sharing flights by private pilots to ensure the public is able to make an informed choice when planning arrangements online.

Cost sharing flights are flights shared by private individuals. The ‘cost share’ element refers to the costs of the specific flight, which can be shared only between the pilot and others onboard the aircraft.

These costs are the ‘direct costs’ which are directly incurred in relation to a specific flight for example fuel, airfield charges, rental fees for aircraft.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has published a consultation on its additional measures for cost sharing flights, which include pilots having to clearly state the start and end locations for each flight as part of their advertisement.

Cost sharing flights

Other measures include limiting pilots to only advertise flights which they intend to take on a specific day, regardless of whether others are available for carriage.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is also considering requirements for pilots to declare the type of licence they hold, the type of medical certificate they hold, and their flying experience in hours as part of an advertisement.

The new measures follow on from the regulator’s consultation on initial proposals, which were aimed at reducing confusion and the opportunities for abuse of cost sharing privileges. The consultation highlighted that some cost sharing advertisements are misleading to the public and not in keeping with the spirit in which rules were created.

Michael Macdonald, co-head of general aviation and RPAS at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We understand that the rules governing advertising cost sharing flights online can be a contentious issue in the general aviation community.

“We are committed to striking the right balance between protecting the public and allowing pilots to reap the benefits of sharing flight costs.

“These new measures are vital in enabling people to make fully informed decisions when entering into cost sharing arrangements online.”

‘Problematic’ existing arrangement

In 2021, the UK Civil Aviation Authority established an internal working group to review the current cost-sharing regulations to ensure they remain fit for the purpose of safeguarding consumers.

Under legacy EASA rules, pilots have been able to advertise their cost sharing flights to the general public online. However, the UK CAA said a common theme in many responses to the initial consultation suggested this arrangement was “problematic”.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority is seeking to gain the views of the public on these additional proposals as they represent significant changes to the measures outlined in its previous consultation and subsequent response document.

The consultation will be open for four weeks and will close on 30 November 2023.
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter