August 14 - BACA, the Baltic Air Charter Association, has condemned the continuing operation of 'grey charters', unlicensed cheap passenger and cargo flights that pose a significant risk to the public and harm legitimate operators.

The association warned that despite industry-wide opposition and high-visibility campaigns by air charter associations, the existing system can be subject to fraudulent practices, reports of which continue to flood in from all over the globe.

The key areas of concern on grey charters are the lack of an applicable air operator's certificate, the required insurances or the necessary traffic rights for the particular flight being offered.

Do not be afraid to ask basic questions when hiring an aircraft, BACA advises, while recommending the following as a minimum pre-hire test: ask if the aircraft is licensed, ask to see an operating certificate, and enquire under what jurisdiction the aircraft is registered.

BACA noted that the air charter sector is directed by stringent legislation that requires firms to invest significantamounts in aircraft maintenance and training in order to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of customers and crew alike.

Despite the cost of these measures, the modern air charter industry remains competitive and vibrant, BACA concluded.