Exquisite Air Charter, the private aviation company, has added an extra layer to its compliance program by creating a program for identifying illegal charters while also establishing an internal mandatory reporting process of suspected illegal operations.
Increased demand is causing a spike in illegal operations that expose everyone on the plane and even people on the ground to potential risk.
Furthermore, high demand has resulted in an influx of first-time travelers using private charter services, which may lack an understanding of the essential safety standards and needed documentation to demonstrate compliance with industry-wide practices. This poses an opportunity for illegal charters, also called grey operations, to flood the market with unethical practices.
“While there are established awareness campaigns from The Air Charter Association in the UK and NBAA in the US to educate stakeholders about the hazards of illegal charters, we wanted to add tangible value for our customers with a thorough internal review process that secures working only with reputable, experienced, and trustworthy private aviation operators worldwide,” said Rena Davenport, CEO of Exquisite Air Charter.
“When a client comes to us to charter an aircraft, they want to have the guarantee that we have a comprehensive understanding of the industry and are providing reliable and safe options. This newly developed program allows us to go through the appropriate expert-vetted checks, complementing the work of regular safety organizations like ARGUS and Wyvern, to ultimately avoid operators and owners that are offering illegal charters while doing as much as we can to keep the skies and our customers safe.”
The effort by Exquisite Air Charter considers an internal checklist to qualify a flight as legal before dispatching it, looking after crew qualifications, the aircraft registration, the Air Operators Certificate, the registration jurisdiction, and, most importantly, establishing an internal mandatory reporting process of suspected illegal charters.
A common red flag for identifying illegal charters is extraordinarily low prices. They often run the risk of using aircraft that lack proper maintenance and crews that are not qualified to fly them – two main safety risk factors. Other safety issues might include improper weight and balance which can cause an incident or accident. Furthermore, they avoid paying taxes and aviation authority certification fees.
Davenport said, “As part of our efforts, we will continue educating our customers on the importance of chartering legal aircraft options, while actively verifying an owner or operator’s credentials and reporting when appropriate to authorities. This is in the best interest of all the actors involved – operators, brokers, suppliers, customers, and authorities – not only for the obvious safety concerns but also for the business and reputational health of the private aviation industry worldwide.”