I L L E G A L C H A R T E R
90% of the USA’s
community has been
negatively affected by
National Air Transportation Association
According to Julie Black, deputy chair of the
Air Charter Association (ACC) and manager of
executive aviation at Hunt & Palmer, there
are a number of points to check to ensure a
European charter is fully compliant and legal.
“When we’re chartering aircraft for our
clients for intra-European trips, firstly we’d look
to use an operator from Europe, including the UK,
as appropriate. Aircraft registered outside of Europe
would have to apply for traffic rights to fly within the EU,”
“As a broker, we entrust our operating partners
to comply with crew licensing, aircraft maintenance
and all of the technical aspects of operating a charter
flight within Europe. It’s a leap of faith but we trust the
authorities and operators.”
• Does the aircraft operator hold a valid Aircraft
Operator’s Certificate (AOC)?
• Is the specific aircraft registration listed on the
operations specification of that AOC as for charter in
the required category?
• Is the aircraft insured for commercial charter
operations and is it flying to any country not covered
on the insurance? Certain exclusions, usually conflict
zones or sanctioned countries, will be stated thereon.
• Does the aircraft have a valid Certificate of
• Are there any special challenges for the airports
in question that require special crew training or
experience and does the operator have such crew
available on the day of operation? Category C airports
such as Sion or London City are good examples.
• Is there enough crew duty for the requested schedule?
• Are we using the right aircraft for the operating
criteria? Some airports would have night-time noise
curfews that prohibit older or heavier aircraft or
aircraft in excess of a certain capacity.
• Do passengers, pets and cargo all have the correct
22 | BU S INE S S A I R P O RT INT E RNAT I ONA L A P R I L 2 0 2 0
According to a recent survey
by the US National Air
90% of the USA’s business
aviation community has
been negatively affected by
illegal chartering – when privately-owned planes are used
to transport passengers without the required licensing and
inspections from aviation authorities.
Essentially the unlicensed taxicab of the aviation world,
the majority of illegal chartering — also known as gray
chartering — goes unreported as people are concerned
about potential repercussions to their own businesses,
and even question how or if the authorities will respond.
Therefore, the full extent of the problem is still unknown.
But even without the full picture the industry
considers illegal chartering a major issue, one
that it’s working harder than ever to address.
Gray chartering is very much a global
issue, but anecdotal evidence has shown
that illegal activity does tend to be seen
in some regions more than others. Until
recently gray chartering was rampant
across the Middle East. Although far
from eradicated, the Middle East and
North Africa Business Aviation Association
(MEBAA) has worked hard to control the
problem. Southern states in America, such as
Texas and Florida, have also been highlighted as
“Texas is a really big state and there are a lot of
small airports. There’s a lot of valuable and dry leasing of
jets. The airports are hundreds of miles away from the local
FAA office, so nobody looks at them. When there’s less of a
physical FAA presence there are more opportunities,” says
David Norton, partner and head of aviation practice at legal
firm Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton.
Above: Julie Black, deputy
chair of the Air Charter
Below: David Norton,
partner at Shackelford,