Illegal Jet Charter Hurts Us All

Illegal Jet CharterThe risks of flying on an illegal jet charter are significant.

Why does it matter if your charter flight is operated by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorized air carrier? All aircraft operators are the same, right? Wrong.

Illegal charters are operated by an entity that is not an FAA authorized air carrier. One of the greatest risks of illegal charter to both the passengers and the aircraft owner is the potential loss of insurance coverage. Imagine having no insurance coverage for an aircraft flight! Aircraft insurance policies often include a clause that nullifies the aircraft and liability insurance if the aircraft is operated in violation of the policy provisions which describe the aircraft use. Violation of this clause could completely invalidate the policy’s coverage, leaving the passengers unprotected!

According to the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), other risks of illegal charters include:

Oversight – The FAA and the Transportation Security Administration have much more oversight of a legal charter operator compared to an illegal operator. This oversight creates a safer, more secure operation.

Accountability – The FAA holds the legal air carrier to a very high standard and has the ability to hold the operation accountable for their actions or omissions.

Training – Pilots of a legal charter operator engage in mandatory, recurring training. Pilots of illegal operations are subjected to less stringent training requirements.

Maintenance – Aircraft used in a legal charter operation must be maintained to strict standards, and only highly trained maintenance personnel may perform maintenance on these aircraft.

Drug and Alcohol Testing – Pilots and mechanics for legal charter operators must undergo pre-employment and random drug and alcohol testing. Illegal operators typically do not test their employees at all.

Experience – Legal charter operators require their pilots to have a relatively high level of experience. Specifically, pilots must have at least 1,200 hours of total flight time. Illegal operators do not have to follow these same standards.

Insurance Coverage – In addition to the possible loss of insurance coverage mentioned above, the U.S. Department of Transportation requires a minimum level of insurance coverage in order to obtain an air carrier certificate. Illegal operators may not have adequate insurance to cover injuries or loss of life or property in the case of an accident.

Illegal Jet Charter

So how do you determine if your charter operator is legal? 

If the charter pricing sounds too good to be true, it probably is. According to the NATA, “legal operators incur relatively high overhead costs to maintain the aircraft, train and test crewmembers, and stay compliant with FAA and TSA regulations. Illegal operators are able to offer significantly lower prices, but at much greater risk.”

Ask for the operator’s air carrier certificate number and for verification that the aircraft you will be flying on is listed on that certificate.

Call your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and inquire about the operator. The FSDO appropriate for your area can be found at:

Aircraft charter is a fantastic alternative for many businesses and individuals, but doing it safely and legally is in the best interest of the industry and its customers. If you have questions about planning a charter flight, Give Keystone Aviation a call.

By Kimberly Page, © June, 2011.

Ms. Page has worked for Keystone Aviation since 1999 where she serves as Chief Financial Officer and oversees corporate risk assessment. To send questions or comments click here.

DISCLAIMER:  Statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, editors and publishers. While care has been taken in the compilation of this article to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Keystone Aviation will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within this article.

Eight Tips to Getting The Most Out Of Your Air Charter Dollars

Getting The Most Out Of Your Air Charter DollarsWheels-up at 7:35 a.m. Right on schedule. As the plane climbs through 12,000 feet you settle back into your seat with a hot cup of coffee and review your itinerary for the day: The shareholders meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. in Denver, back on the plane at 11:30 a.m. for lunch with your executive committee while enroute to Arizona, then a 2 o’clock in Scottsdale with your largest customer. If everything goes well, you’ll be back on the plane by 4:30 p.m. and home in time to make your daughter’s first lacrosse game.

More and more businesses are taking advantage of the benefits offered by private aircraft charter services. Flexibility, security and unparalleled comfort, give your business the competitive edge and agility to propel you on top…or to just keep you there. In this age of corporate belt tightening, you work hard to squeeze every last bit of productivity out of yourself, your employees and your travel budget. Here are eight ways to make sure you are getting your money’s worth out of your air charter.

1. Fill Up The Plane

The average midsize private/corporate jet holds eight passengers. Half of those seats fly empty on most chartered flights. When chartering, you pay for the whole plane. You might as well fill up those seats and reduce your per passenger trip costs. Consider taking an additional person or two to your meeting. Maybe take your sales manager along to scout out some prospective clients while you are in a different city for the day. You can even bring your spouse or child along to enjoy a day-trip out of town.

Example:  One of our customers, a local construction company, ended up winning a large building contract because they flew their entire production management team to the meeting with the potential customer.  Said their CEO, “For every question or concern that the customer had, we had the right person at the meeting to address it.  We never would have taken that many people if we didn’t have our own plane.  That plane is the reason we got the bid”.

2. Maximize In-Flight Productivity

Make the most of your time while in the air. Most private aircraft have adjustable seating. Turn your seats around in a club configuration and hold a meeting. (A meeting with a view, as I like to call it.) Better yet, order some catering and eat some lunch while you solve world peace. Catering doesn’t have to be a big, fancy thing. A simple box lunch or even a pizza can be just the ticket. Sometimes the best use of your time enroute will be to stretch out on the couch and catch a few Z’s. When you step off that plane, you will be refreshed and ready to tackle any issue that arises.

3. Pre-arrange Ground Transportation

Be sure to reserve your rental cars prior to departure. Many times you can request to have your vehicle delivered to your destination FBO (Fixed Base Operator) – or even pulled up to your plane when you land. This little convenience can be a huge time saver. Step off the plane, sign the rental agreement, and you are out of there!

4. Book One-day Trips

If at all possible, limit your travel to one day. Not only will you save money on overnight aircraft and pilot charges, you can also save hundreds, if not thousands, by avoiding extra car rental days, hotel rooms, meals, etc.

Note: Be sure to check with your charter operator to make sure your travel day will comply with pilot duty regulations.  The FAA requires your pilots to have sufficient rest between flights.

5. Multiple Legs

One of the great conveniences of private air travel is the ability to hit several stops all in one day. It would be virtually impossible to accomplish this feat with the airlines, but with charter, almost anything is possible. It is not uncommon to have our customers hit three or even four destinations, all in one day. No need to spend all week out on the road. Schedule multiple stops on your next trip and spend the rest of the week in your own office.

6. Remote Destinations

There are about 500 airports across the United States that are served by commercial airlines. In addition to these, there are approximately 4,500 smaller airports dotted across the country which private, or general aviation (GA), aircraft have access to.  If your destination is a small town or suburb with a population more than a few thousand, chances are, they have an airport where you can land. Need to go to Columbus, Nebraska? No need to fly to Omaha and then drive for another hour and forty minutes. Fly straight to Columbus!

7. Airport Meetings

Want to save even more time while traveling? Hold your next meeting at the airport!  Check with the FBO at your destination and see if they have a conference room that you can schedule for an hour or two. Sometimes there is a nominal fee for this amenity, but usually it’s free. No need for rental cars, driving directions or filling the car up before your return. Once you are done with your meeting, jump back on the plane and you’re off to your next destination.

8. Combination of the Above

Want to realize some serious productivity?  Employ several of the above ideas for your next business trip. With a little forethought, private aircraft charter can be a highly effective business tool.

By Richard G. Winwood, © November, 2010 Mr. Winwood has worked for Keystone Aviation since 1998.

DISCLAIMER:  Statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, editors and publishers. While care has been taken in the compilation of this article to present up-to-date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that inaccuracies will not occur. Keystone Aviation will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within this article.