WHAT IS AN ILLEGAL CHARTER?
An illegal charter is an unlicensed aircraft charter operation, meaning that the operator does not have a valid AOC.
Commercial charter companies must have an air operator’s certificate to provide legal services, demonstrating their adherence to a strict set of regulations designed to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
These include specific standards for aircraft maintenance, flight operations, ground operations, crew experience and training.
WHY ARE ILLEGAL CHARTERS DANGEROUS?
Illegal air charter operations pose a serious safety hazard to the traveling public as illegal charter operators are usually operating to less stringent pilot training, maintenance and other safety standards than are required by charter operators operating legally.
The biggest risk of flying with an illegal charter operator is that they are not approved or not complying with the operating regulations of the Registering Authority. In the event of an accident or incident, it's possible an insurance company would not cover a claim if it is discovered that the flight was conducted illegally for compensation or hire. There may also be civil and criminal penalties for the aircraft crew and owner.
HOW CAN I AVOID BOOKING AN ILLEGAL CHARTER?
Using a reputable aircraft charter broker. A trustworthy broker always prioritizes passenger safety and carries out all essential due diligence, carefully vetting each operator prior to proposing an aircraft to a client.
This includes, but is by no means limited to, obtaining copies of a valid AOC, Airworthiness Certificate or Airworthiness Review Certificate, Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Insurance.
HOW TO IDENTIFY AN ILLEGAL CHARTER?
If you’re new to aircraft charter, you can ask the following questions before proceeding with any aircraft charter booking:
- Is the aircraft insured for charter operations?
- Can you provide an Air Operators Certificate?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, then the proposed flight is likely to be an illegal charter.