The Middle East's business aviation community is calling on the region’s rule-makers to ease the regulatory burden on local providers and remove the costly “one size fits all” policy that currently applies to both commercial and business aircraft operators.

During the Middle East Business Aviation Association conference on 7 December, the industry also called for a more harmonised approach across the region to reduce country-by-country variations. For example, Saudi Arabia adheres to US Federal Aviation Authority guidelines, while the UAE follows EASA rules.

“A pilot who has secured 1,500h on an FAA license cannot fly for a UAE-based operator so it can be difficult to get crew at short notice,” says Lasse Rungholm, chief executive of aircraft importer OPMAS. “We need more flexibility.”

Operators around the region argue that it is unfair to apply the same set of rules to both commercial airlines – with big fleets and large passenger loads - and to ad hoc operators.

“No matter what the size the fleet, commercial operators have to implement a number of costly and sometimes unnecessary procedures such as safety management systems,” says business aviation services provider TAG. “Middle East business aircraft operators need tailored rules designed to cover their specific needs, ensuring safe operations whilst providing the flexibility needed to conduct their businesses."

Ali Al Naqbi, founding chairman of MEBAA, agrees. “It is important to remind regulators in the region that general aviation is a different animal from commercial airlines, and that regulations designed for commercial providers do not always make sense within a general aviation framework,” he says.

Source: Flight Daily News