The European Business Aviation Association has launched a campaign for operators, brokers and passengers to curtail illegal charter flight activity within Europe.
"The operation of illegal charters has been a top agenda item for EBAA over the past year. The association is taking this forward into positive action in 2011. Operating without a valid air operator's certificate and failing to comply with traffic rights are key concerns for many within the business aviation community," says the Brussels-based trade association.
The plight of Europe's approved operators and brokers was highlighted by our Flightglobal website and Flight International late last year. This followed an industry roundtable discussion that revealed the widespread use of illegal charters and rampant abuse of the regulations by a number of operators, brokers and owners.
"It is in the reputational and commercial interest of all in business aviation to ensure that the flights advertised and arranged are legally permissible and in compliance with the regulatory safety standards demanded of air operator certificate holders," says EBAA president Brian Humphries.
The association has compiled a document called "Is my flight legal. Ensure the safety and legality of the business aircraft you charter" that stipulates what activities fall within the realm of permissible flight activity within Europe and which do not.
A separate brochure has also been published by the association "to help passengers and all non-specialist interested parties better understand the rules and the risk of non-compliance".
The vast majority of flights operated to, within and from the EU are operated in compliance with legal requirements, says Humphries. "Nevertheless, there are some operators who unwisely choose to circumvent the system. The business aviation community must therefore do whatever it can to protect the welfare of passengers and ensure fair competition among operators," says Humphries.
The EBAA says it "is co-operating directly with European regulators to rein in illegal charter activities", and is encouraging anyone who is aware of such flights to report them to the association.