How to avoid illegal grey charter flights?

What are grey charter flights and what are the risks involved?

Learn how to avoid fraudulent practices when chartering a private jet

The air charter industry could be subject to fraudulent practices: learn how to avoid them with our informative blog post. Grey charters have become a sensitive matter posing a severe threat to legitimate charter certificate holders, ruining competition and – above all, undermining safety for passengers. Therefore, it is crucial that companies like GlobeAir, with ten years of highly respected reputation in private jet hiring worldwide, help fight against illegal chartering.

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Flight operations centre against grey charters

Luckily, business aviation has instructed several institution to fight the rise of illegal charter procedures. The EBAA reminds us that in 2020, a global group of leading business aviation organisations announced a coordinated effort to combat illegal on-demand charter flights. The group, called the Air Charter Safety Alliance, aims to raise awareness among the various BizAv stakeholders.

What is a grey charter flight?

A grey charter is any unlicensed charter flight operation.

A grey charter is an unlicensed jet charter operation whereby the operator does not have an AOC (Air Operator Certificate). Therefore, those illegal charters are not required to abide by the same safety framework as an AOC holder.

These unauthorised private flights are a network of fly-by-night operators and brokers who fly people illegally. Although they can offer reasonable prices, is the low cost too good to be true? Unfortunately for unaware flyers, paying for a charter flight is illegal when no valid AOC is in place. In addition, operators without an AOC cannot take payment for profit to perform commercial passenger flights.

Compliance is a crucial aspect of any operator. Our commitment is to inform our discerning customers about the existence of grey charters, so that they can become aware about those unfortunate illegal procedures and keep an attentive eye against shady private jet charter operators. – says Bernhard Fragner, GlobeAir CEO

In January 2019, European Football star Emiliano Sala, 28 years of age, died on an illegal charter flight from Nantes to Cardiff. He was on his way to sign a £15 million (€18 million) contract that would have seen him move to Cardiff City football club. The aircraft was not flying under an AOC. The pilot did not hold a licence to charter passenger flights, nor was he trained for night flights or experienced flying in bad weather.

A good analogy would perhaps be the unlicensed minicab trade, in that grey chartering cons unsuspecting customers by way of ubiquity and low pricing, but poses a significant risk to the public and harms legitimate operators.

The future against grey charters

Several associations have already worked on reducing illegal activity by setting up dedicated websites to educate on proper compliance regulations. Today the Air Charter Safety has the objective of collecting those best practices to create a tidy repository about educational materials to raise the public's awareness against the dangers of illegal charters to dissuade people from chartering with fraudulent operators.

The coalition will develop and promote several safety programs that assist on-demand charter operators while continuing to improve their already impressive safety performance. Industry-led programs focusing on Safety Management Systems, flight data recording and safety reporting, along with a focus on safety culture have aided in bringing greater value to state-approved charter operators, EBAA.

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Arthur Montibert

Arthur Montibert

Compliance Manager

Diego Durjava

Diego Durjava

VP Flight Operations

Bernhard Fragner

Bernhard Fragner

Chief Executive Officer • Founder • Shareholder


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