For 70 years BACA - The Air Charter Association has represented the interests of licensed air carriers, professional charter brokers and a whole myriad of specialists working in the charter industry.
For most of those 70 years the Association has been fighting a battle to educate the general public about illegal charters and what the difference is between them and legal commercial air transport with Air Operator Certificate holders.
Nick Weston, BACA’s Chairman says: “To the average traveller, if someone in a pilot’s uniform meets you at the bottom of the aircraft steps, then you’ll generally take it at face value that everything about that flight is safe, legal and compliant.
"For those of us in the charter industry, we all know and recognise that there is a monumental difference between an aircraft being operated by a pilot-manager and one being operated within the boundaries of a professional AOC structure.
"If you are paying for a charter flight, take the simple option, use a professional charter broker and choose a commercial aircraft operating on an AOC.”
BACA believes that considerable confusion arises amongst both pilots and passengers about where the boundary of legality lies. But Dave Edwards, the Association’s CEO continues: “We still need to get away from the term ‘grey charter’ - implying that, in some way, it’s legal. In the vast, vast majority of cases, aviation law is very clear and charter flights are either legal or illegal.”
AOC regulations are far stricter than those covering private flight operations. Air crew are subject to more regular training and checks, the flights take place within a regulatory environment where there are substantially more layers of oversight, and fully supported by safety and compliance structures, designed to minimise risk as much as possible.
AOC holders employ hundreds of thousands of people throughout Europe and worldwide, providing well paid, skilled roles across all sections of society. An illegal charter flight not only risks lives, it risks jobs and livelihoods in a sector which complies with the law and operates professionally and honourably.
BACA is campaigning with Regulators throughout Europe on strong enforcement action to be taken against those people breaking the law and is spearheading a fresh campaign to help educate the travelling public about the dangers of illegal aircraft charter.
BACA membership at an all time high level
In further news, BACA reports that its Membership has hit a record high, with more than 250 companies now part of the Association.
The number has increased significantly in the last year as BACA has established itself as the "global voice" of the air charter industry. At the end of 2018 the number of members stood at 236 but the first three months of 2019 saw a rapid increase in new members, taking the number past 250, yet again the highest number of members in BACA's history. The Association has recently taken a very active stance on illegal charters and this combined with a strong portfolio of events has led to the steep rise in new membership.
BACA recently held its annual Spring lunch which saw the largest number of guests ever in attendance. The situation bodes well for the Association as 2019 marks 70 years since it was first established and we are holding a special event to mark the occasion on 4th July.
Speaking about the record number of members Chairman Nick Weston said "this is a significant step forward for the Association, we always knew that 250 members was an objective we would like to meet but to achieve it in our 70th year is very satisfying. We are working hard to ensure that the authorities are aware of our stance on illegal charters and we have seen some significant progress in combating the issue. The more members we have the greater the global influence we have when speaking with the relevant authorities."
BlueSky Business Aviation News | 30th May 2019 | Issue #512