Four years after 'cost sharing' rules for general aviation were relaxed across Europe, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is reminding pilots and aircraft owners of the opportunities brought about by the change.

Following the introduction of a new set of Air Ops regulations by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in April 2014, costs of private flights no longer need to be shared equally between pilots and passengers. Private pilots are also allowed to carry passengers who are not friends, family or flying colleagues. Previously, the pilot of a GA aircraft keen to carry passengers was bound by a number of restrictive rules designed to prevent the pilot benefiting financially in any way.  Profit is still not permitted but the costs can now be shared as set out in the rules.

As a result of the relaxation of the rules, European GA pilots can now sign up with dedicated online flight sharing services to help fund their recreational flying. These services match pilots with passengers for specific journeys and co-ordinate the admin between the two parties. Pilots who take advantage of these services can build up their hours and therefore their experience.

In a blog published today Tony Rapson, the Head of the CAA's General Aviation Unit, sets out in more detail the rules around cost sharing, to help allay any misunderstanding within the GA community. The CAA is also publishing an article on cost sharing from its forthcoming GA safety magazine Clued Up. The full magazine will be published at the end of May, and will be available free of charge to GA pilots in both print and electronic formats.