The European Business Aviation Association, the British Business and General Aviation Association, and The Air Charter Association are committing to step up their efforts to fight against illegal charters. The associations further have called on governments worldwide to take the issue of illegal charter flights more seriously.
The associations’ call comes in response to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) released report of the fatal crash of the Piper Malibu carrying 28-year-old soccer player Emiliano Sala, into the English Channel January 2019. Published on Friday, the report stated that “neither the pilot nor aircraft had the required licenses or permissions to operate commercially”—raising the issue of illegal charter flights.
The associations plan to organize dedicated workshops across Europe for operators, brokers, and authorities to accelerate knowledge and best-practice sharing. In addition, they will roll out new tools to empower passengers and the business aviation community to look up charter operators, access factsheets, and report questionable operations, they said.
Further, the organizations stressed authorities must make additional resources available “to actively prosecute offenders who flout the law. There need to be far higher sentences, more substantial fines, the removal of pilots’ licenses and seizure of aircraft for those people who, despite knowing the law, operate as if they weren’t subject to any of it.”