Current Issues

Non-compliant Flights


As a general principle any flight which breaks the current rules is to be considered as an non-compliant flight. In substance though, the Association distinguishes between six main categories:
  1. Illegal charter: EU operator/TCO flies commercially without valid AOC EU operator with  valid AOC undertaking an invalid non-commercial operation
  2. Tax evasion: EU operator avoids VAT & associated duties on purchase of goods and services such as fuel and handling costs
  3. Lacking traffic rights: Third Country Operator (TCO) undertakes commercial air transport without appropriate traffic right
  4. Defective certification: EU operator not fully maintaining EU safety requirements (EG Part-CAT and Part-NCC) as defined in Operating Manual and Certificates
  5. Illegal goods & services: EU operator/TCO transports illegal goods, also persons or goods without proper declaration over borders or provides illegal services through flight operations
  6. Non-compliant operations: EU operator does not comply with EU regulations and requirements during flight (airworthiness non-compliance)

Why are there non-compliant flights and what is the Association doing to curb them?

It is obviously difficult to determine precisely why there are non-compliant activities and what motivates them. In general though, the assumption is that business aviation, not catered for in an appropriate way on many grounds by the legislator, for whom the sector may only represent a negligible quantity, may have been lured by easy shortcuts and cheap alternatives, encouraged as it has traditionally been by poor enforcement measures. This may have been reinforced by years of challenging economic environments.

Sensing that the impact of non-compliant flights was taking an ever growing toll on the bottom line of our member companies, and aware that a significant portion of them were due to lack of awareness rather than a planned and educated decision, the Association decided as early as 2009 to mount an awareness campaign by targeting the customer, and inviting him to ask himself whether he could say for sure that the flight he was about to take was responding to the standard requirements. That was a first step, which led the Association to share its concerns with the Member States and with various European institutions, such as the EASA and the Commission.

But that was just the start. In front of toothless, if not defiant, Authorities, the Association decided to go one step further and commission a true impact assessment aimed at defining the variety of illegal movements, and exposing in detail their impact. To do this, EBAA commissioned the study to a consortium formed by Roland Berger and WINGX in September 2013. The conclusions of the study, which were released in January 2014, are now available to EBAA members. They form the baseline of the association’s strategy against non-compliant flights.

It consists of four main aspects:
  1. Identify, with the national Authorities and EASA, an adapted regulatory framework on key aspects so as to defuse the attractiveness of going non-compliant;
  2. Give practical tools to Authorities to enforce, and when appropriate, punish rogue operators;
  3. Adopt a kit of industry best practice and have its standards voluntarily applied across the board;
  4. Carry on with our awareness campaign by focusing on personal risks to the passenger (related to loss of insurance, etc.)

What can I do if I spot a suspected non-compliant activity?

You can inform your national Authority directly or complete our 'suspected non-compliant flight form' here. Please note that in order to be effective, the Authorities need the information on the non-compliant operation preferably prior to its execution.

Available documents:

  • A Voluntary Declaration for EBAA Members that in substance explicitly bans the conduct of any sorts of non-compliant activities; even if this remains non-binding, it helps set the tone (on demand);
  • Conducted an informative campaign to increase the awareness of both operators and passengers about the risks involved in operating/flying non-compliant:
  • Impact Assessment Study - Final Report (on demand for Members only)

  • Impact Assessment Study - Final Presentation (on demand for Members only)

Mr. Belarmino G. Paradela, Senior Manager, Economics and Operational Activities