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EBAA Launches Campaign to Curb Illegal Charters
January 14, 2011
A campaign to curb illegal charter flights in Europe was launched this month by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), NBAA's "across the pond" counterpart. EBAA is distributing two brochures warning of illegal flights, one for charter operators and brokers, and the other for European Union authorities and charter flight customers.
"It's a safety issue," said Pedro Vicente Azua, COO of the EBAA. "If…the flight is not performed by a duly certified and licensed operator (it)…may be operated to considerably less-demanding standards than those for certified public transport flights."
Azua said there are charter operators based in eastern Europe and registered in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands that offer charter flights in Europe without the required Air Operator Certificate (AOC), "or any intention to obtain it."
A valid AOC and an Operating License (OL) are required for companies offering charter flights in Europe. An AOC is similar to a Part 135 certificate issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, attesting to compliance with regulations to ensure personnel competence and flight safety. An OL is granted when the operator shows sufficient financial strength and compliance with other legal requirements, including proof of proper insurance coverage.
The new EBAA campaign targets not only illegal operators but also aviation authorities in each European nation. In Europe, national authorities typically direct most of their efforts toward airline safety. "It is difficult for authorities to catch the [illegal charter operators] at the right moment to be able to prove the illegality," said Azua. "EBAA is encouraging the various EU authorities to put more resources into this, as well as making passengers more aware of the current practice and its risks."
EBAA has printed the information brochure for national authorities and Association members, and published the second brochure, for charter operators and brokers, in PDF format.