Europe demands consistency with US rules as International Business Aviation Council releases code of best practice

European fractional ownership safety rules must be harmonised with the USA's to create a "level playing field" and boost the sector's prospects in Europe, according to European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) chairman Brian Humphries.

The call comes as the Montreal, Canada-based International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) releases its International Standards for Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO) in a bid to initiate a code of best practice for the industry.

Humphries says the fractional sector in Europe is lagging behind the USA, with only 40 aircraft operating compared with 700 across the Atlantic - or just over 5% of the total world fleet. "There needs to be some consistency in standards for fractional aircraft," he adds. "It all needs to be reviewed. I hope Europe will see what is happening in the USA and harmonise."

Jack Olcott, president of EBAA's US counterpart, the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA), suggests the proposed sub-part "K" of Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) part 91 (so-called FAR-Frax) should be mirrored by a sub-part of the European Joint Aviation Authorities' JAR-Ops 2, expected this year.

The USA is "experiencing increased levels of activity" with 90% of owners satisfied and intending to renew their contracts, says Olcott. The biggest growth is coming in the mid-size sector. Charter business has also grown in the USA, especially after 11 September, with jet business up 20-25%, although turboprop and piston growth has been slower, he says.

Olcott and Humphries are also frustrated at security measures imposed on business aviation after the terrorist attacks.

Humphries says pilots at his company, Shell Aircraft, who are sent for simulator training in the USA, are subject to tough background checks, although they are experienced and highly trained employees of a long-established business aviation operator.

Olcott says security rules on business aviation crew and passengers "should be different" to civil aviation. "It's counterproductive to apply the same security standards to known passengers," he says.

Meanwhile, IS-BAO release follows more than two years' work. It comprises two company operations manuals - one compatible with FARs, the other with JARs.

The IBAC hopes its code will be adopted by corporate operations worldwide and its principles incorporated in JAR-OPS 2 under discussion in Europe.

 IBAC, the umbrella organisation for nine worldwide trade/associations, including the EBAA and the NBAA, says IS-BAO is a code of best practice developed by the industry for the industry.

Source: Flight International