Luxaviation Group is optimistic industry-wide solutions will be found to business aviation’s post-Brexit challenges.
George Galanopoulos, Luxaviation Group’s head of charter sales, Europe, and CEO of Luxaviation UK, says: “We all want to help UK-based owners keep their aircraft flying commercially within Europe post-Brexit. Ourselves and our colleagues, including the members of the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA), are working hard to ensure a positive outcome in negotiations. At Luxaviation Group, we believe the regulators will come to the most productive agreements for everyone.
“The industry is fully, and in some cases painfully, aware of the jet charter legislation which changed because of Brexit on January 1 2021. Aircraft registered under a UK Air Operator Certificate (AOC) can now fly commercially to and from but not within the European Union [EU], and aircraft registered under a European Union Aviation Safety Agency [EASA] AOC can fly commercially to and from but not within the UK.
“As an AOC is the approval granted by a national aviation authority to use aircraft for commercial purposes, these new restrictions could prove costly for UK owners who rely on charter business within the EU, so the industry and regulators are working hard to find the best possible solutions.
“At the moment, we can operate to, from and within the EU with non-objection applications or block permits some states are prepared to issue. But this paperwork takes time and can be rejected. We all want more straightforward, permanent solutions.
“We hope there will soon be bilateral agreements between EU member states and the UK, improving the current situation and making operations easier.
“Until those developments, though, we can continue seamless management of our clients’ aircraft despite the changes caused by Brexit. If the new regulations are proving prohibitive, we have flexible options to keep flying.
“We have acted quickly with a clever process of merging certain AOCs within Luxaviation Group. If necessary, therefore, ownershave the opportunity to change their AOC registration from the UK to Europe.
“We’re explaining to the UK owners whose aircraft we manage that we can move them from a UK to a European [EASA] AOC registration, allowing commercial flights within the EU. Owners can choose any one of eight European AOCs within our Group. Only the AOC moves, the aircraft base can remain the same.”
Galanopoulos stresses there is no obligation for UK-based aircraft owners to change their AOC registration. “An owner might, for example, choose to remain on a UK AOC if only flying commercially directly into and out of Europe. And owners who only operate their aircraft privately do not need to respond to these new commercial rules.”
Across Europe, Luxaviation Group’s portfolio includes AOCs for Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, San Marino and Switzerland.
In October 2020, Luxaviation Group revealed the company’s Portuguese entity had become the first business aviation operation to come under the safety oversight of an EASA European AOC, in a first step toward obtaining EASA regulatory supervision for all Luxaviation’s European group businesses.