So much of life is about risk management: keeping safe your family, yourself, and your business. You vet each prospective investment of time, energy, and dollars against your own established measures for risk and reward before proceeding.
To help quantify flight risk, business aviation has depended on the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) established guidelines since 2009. They provide an independent safety standard against which to measure the safety procedures in place at any flight department, management company, or charter operator.
To insure that your flight department personnel operate to industry-accepted “best practices,” most of you use an independent aviation consulting group to perform regular onsite audits. Most auditors, including Argus, Wyvern, VanAllen, Essex, AMS, and Baldwin, likely go beyond the ISO standard, using a form of the International Business Aviation Council IS-BAO certification program. Business-aircraft specific, it is designed to insure optimal safety for you and your passengers.
Just as Consumer Reports and Underwriters Laboratory do for consumer products, auditors issue a rating to charter operators that meet its safety standards in flight operations, maintenance, and record keeping. Only those operators passing that onsite audit can display that rating.
More than 2,000 turbine aircraft charter companies in the U.S. alone operate more than 5,500 aircraft. Because not all operate to the same high standards, the better ones proudly display those ratings, to assure you that your safety is their primary concern. Those ratings help you make an informed decision as to which charter operator to use to best manage your risk.
That’s why it’s curious that so many otherwise careful and knowledgeable folks are willing to risk using a virtually invisible broker to make their charter arrangements: an app which provides less information than you’ll find on a new restaurant. Using such an app is simple. Just enter your trip time(s) and date(s), the departure and arrival cities, and the folks behind the app, using their contacts and tracking software, do the rest.
But “simple” does not equal “safe.” Effective risk management requires more information than just the final price. A broker’s profitability depends on his/her ability to buy low and sell high. While many questionable charter brokers and apps claim to offer “only the safest, highest-rated aircraft,” these unsubstantiated claims may escape the notice of the customer seeking a low price.
There are many excellent charter brokers in the industry, companies led by experienced individuals with long histories of delivering safe and superior travel. Their detailed backgrounds can be found quickly and easily on their websites – information never in evidence in a faceless app. When the time comes to use charter, make sure you take a hard look behind the curtain before booking your trips. BAA
Publisher of Business Aviation Advisor, has nearly 50 years in business aviation including executive positions at aircraft management/charter and ground services companies. He is a past director of the NATA and Corporate Angel Network.