Following extensive negotiations with UK Border Force (UKBF) some London Luton Airport handling agents for private jet charters are now able to offer a dedicated customs & immigration service. This will now alleviate issues we have had in the past that has meant passengers being hauled over and cleared at the main commercial terminal. The service went live on Monday 6th January 2014 whereby a dedicated UKBF officer is on site so that the officer can clear passengers in the comfort of their own aircraft or at the very least in their own private passenger lounge. This service is available from 06.30am till 22.00 where there is a small UKBF Immigration charge per international arriving aircraft. For out of hours service between 22.00 to 06.30am these will be either remotely cleared as normal or met by a roaming officer.
People looking to take specially chartered air taxi flights to meetings, conferences and events have been advised to check the operator of their flight has been approved before booking their trip.
Any UK-based individual, organisation or company offering flights in return for payment must have an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) issued by the CAA. This means they are regularly checked out by the CAA to ensure they maintain and operate their aircraft to stringent commercial air transport standards. Anyone requesting payment for flights without an AOC is therefore breaking the law, is putting passengers at risk and may be invalidating the life insurances of all on board.
The CAA is now reminding members of the business community to take care when choosing the operator of their flight. All UK AOC holders are listed on the CAA website, making it easy for people to check if a UK operator is approved to provide commercial air transport.
Bob Jones, Head of Flight Operations at the CAA, said: "We know that many businesspeople enjoy the convenience of being able to fly to meetings and appointments across the UK and Europe. And with over 130 operators approved by the CAA to provide commercial air transport there is lots of choice out there.
"However we're also aware that some individuals or companies may be selling flights without the required approvals. This is against the law and passengers could be at risk if they book with them. It's therefore vital that people check the operator has an AOC before they book and report any concerns to the CAA." The requirement to have an AOC applies to anyone providing flights in return for payment, for example helicopter flights to get people to business meetings, small aircraft being used for leisure flights and jet airliners operating transatlantic services.
People can check if a UK operator has an AOC by visiting www.caa.co.uk/aocholders where all approved UK operators are listed. Non-UK air operators are required to hold an AOC granted by their own state. Anyone who suspects illegal commercial air transport flights are taking place can inform the CAA using our online reporting form.