How Safe Are Chartered Flights? All Are Not Created Equal

How Safe Are Chartered Flights? All Are Not Created Equal


How Safe Are Chartered Flights? All Are Not Created Equal


One of the most common questions potential private jet charter clients ask is “how safe are chartered flights?” Charter jets are a wonderfully convenient way for private leisure travelers, executives, VIPs, sports teams and others to travel, but what safety features should you look for when you charter a private jet?

chartered flights safety
A Gulfstream G-400 during takeoff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Overall, the industry is exceptionally safe. U.S.-registered business jets experienced significantly fewer total accidents and fatalities in 2013 versus 2012 according to a preliminary report from Aviation International News. U.S.-registered corporate jets were involved in 14 accidents last year, compared with 34 in 2012. Although there were six fatal accidents in 2013, none were Part-135 chartered flights.  All six fatal crashes occurred with Part 91 private “owner flights” (in small non-commercial aircraft). In comparison, an average of 93 people are killed every in car accidents on U.S. roads.

In fact, safety is one of the primary reasons that clients choose chartered flights for personal and business travel. Not only can you fly on your own schedule from over 5,000 convenient airports in the U.S. alone, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that charter airline pilots are regulated by the FAA and have qualifications that are very similar to commercial airline pilots.

FAA Regulations

The FAA regulates and controls the operation of all aviation in the United States – commercial, private and chartered – and they have a lengthy investigation and certification process. In the case of private charter aircraft, the regulations are found in FAR Part 135 which is often more stringent than Part 119, the section that governs large commercial aircraft. 

Front side of a United States pilots'...
Front side of a U.S. pilots’ certificate, issued by the FAA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The FAA also imposes strict requirements for pilots of private charter aircraft. They have to be U.S. citizens,  have spotless police records, be medically certified by an FAA examiner, and meet minimum training and flight-hour requirements. Pilots of chartered flights must meet many of the same requirements as pilots of commercial airlines. They need an Airport Transport License which requires more hours of flying time than a commercial certificate/ pilot’s license (at least 1,500 hours).  It takes a non-military pilot an average of four to six years of regular flying and testing before they are qualified to carry passengers.

Other Factors That Affect the  Safety of Chartered Flights

The safety of chartered flights is also affected by the type and age of the charter aircraft, weather conditions, air traffic control experience, maintenance of the charter plane and equipment, and the internal policies of the private jet charter operator or agent. 

Every charter company must have an FAA-approved flight manual to outline flight procedures. Checklists must be completed before and after every flight to make sure the aircraft is mechanically sound and ready to fly. And they have to be ready at all times for surprise inspections by the FAA.

Ask About Safety Audits

Many charter operators and brokers hire outside experts to oversee, rate and provide critical safety information for chartered flights.  Two of those expert companies are:

  • WYVERN – The WYVERN Standard is the most restrictive aviation safety standard in the industry and is stricter than the FAA Part 135 minimums.  A Wyvern Pilot & Aircraft Safety Survey (PASS) report is evidence that crucial safety information about the private aircraft charter operator, the aircraft and the flight crew has been checked and verified.  If your charter company is not WYVERN Authorized and does not display the WYVERN seal, they may not be able to accurately verify the safety of your business jet charter.
  • ARG/US – Aviation Research Group/U.S. (ARG/US) performs safety audits and ratings on 1.5 million charter operators, pilots, aircraft and safety records around the world through the TripCHEQ program. This is the most accurate and detailed third-party due diligence system for charter operators, buyers and passengers around the world.

Charter Flight Group analyzes every important detail – from the airports you selected, to the weather on takeoff, in the air and upon landing, to the ARG/US and WYVERN-verified safety reports about your aircraft and crew to ensure the safety of your chartered flights.

When you are looking for a safe and reputable company, build a relationship with one you trust, one that will provide the aircraft and level of service you deserve. Charter Flight Group is dedicated to supplying clients with professionally maintained private charter aircraft and the finest, most highly trained flight crews. 


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