you are flying as a passenger on business or leisure, if you or your employer
has paid for a flight in a light aircraft or business jet then that flight must
meet certain safety standards. Such a flight, often called an air taxi or an
air charter, is recognised in law as commercial air transport and should never
be considered as a private arrangement. The organisation or individual
operating the flight must have the correct certificate, insurance and licences.
If you pay for a flight which is unlicensed there could be serious consequences
for your safety and you may not be insured. If you knowingly use an illegal
operator you may also be breaking the law and could be prosecuted.
company who sold you the flight (the ticket seller) may be a different entity.
By law you must be told the name of the operator. You can then check if they
are legal on our website.
You should also ask for
the name and qualifications of the pilot.
assume your flight is legal and never accept a flight on trust.
think you are being offered an illegal flight report it to the CAA by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. We will prosecute illegal
are other options available for flights and one of these is called ‘cost
sharing'. Non-commercial pilots
can carry passengers in exchange for a financial contribution to the costs of
the flight, without requiring an AOC. The costs must be shared between everyone
on-board the flight including the pilot. Only the direct costs may be shared
i.e. fuel, landing and handling fees. These flights can be advertised online
through dedicated flight-sharing platforms which connect pilots with
passengers, but the pilot has the right to amend or cancel the flight at short
notice. The pilot must deal directly with the passenger, not through an
intermediary and must provide a full safety briefing ahead of the flight.
sharing flights are regarded as private arrangements and do not therefore meet
the same safety standards as AOC flights.
Further information on cost sharing flights is available here.
You can also travel legally as a
non-paying passenger in a light aircraft operated by a private pilot. The pilot
has sole responsibility for the conduct of the flight and you fly at your own
risk. However, no money must change hands and the flight must be operated
entirely at the expense of the pilot.
Passengers can also pay for an
‘experience flight’ in an historic aircraft, such as a Spitfire. The company
providing these flights does not need to hold an AOC but will be specially
approved by the CAA to ensure they are operating safely.
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