November 4 - BACA (Baltic Air Charter Association) is launching a 'BACA Standard' to promote higher trading standards and business ethics of the air charter brokers within its membership.

Dick Gilbert, BACA chairman revealed the new standard at the 60th Anniversary Luncheon and Annual BACA Awards ceremony at Guildhall, London.

Each broker will be assessed to ensure they conform to a standard and then be awarded the status of a BACA accredited broker, a title to be renewed probably every two years. Although the level should be achievable by most brokers at the outset, the bar will be steadily raised with more and more requirements for training and professionalism being added over the coming years.

Mr Gilbert says: "The eventual aim is for the BACA accredited broker logo to be an established seal of quality, to be sought by airlines and the charter-buying public in the same way that one looks for a Blue Flag on a beach and should there be any inclination in the future for UK or European governments to enforce standards for air charter brokers (as may well happen in the USA), BACA will be in a strong position to defend its members from such interference by providing evidence of the accreditation scheme already in place."

BACA is also working on establishing a BACA escrow account, intended to provide a safe third-party holding facility for deposits required by airlines for flights that will take place in the future. Brokers, or their clients, who might be concerned that the airline might go out of business in the interim - and their money could therefore be lost - would be able to retrieve the funds from this account. When the flight actually takes place, the funds will be transferred to the operator.