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Aviation Industry
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Don’t be wet

Following previous articles on the subject I have had some queries, which proves that the position is still very foggy.

The problem is that if the flight is deemed to be a rental one then there is no problem about the airfields. If it is a charter or commercial flight then there is a big problem in that the aircraft cannot use an unlicenced airfield if the aircraft is over 5700 kg MTOW.
One area that is giving concern is the hiring of aircraft for the use of government staff and ministers who often require to use a military airfield and the question has been raised as to whether the flight is legal or otherwise.
What it boils down to is that if an aircraft is hired complete with crew it is known as a wet lease even though the question of fuel is not even discussed. It has been settled in law many years ago that the provision of aircraft with crew is the provision of an air service and therefore a commercial flight.
If the aircraft is provided dry, i.e. without crew, which is provided by the lessee, then it is not a commercial flight.
As to Military Airfields – these seem to be catered for under the Aerodrome Regulations rather than the Air Services Licensing Act, which is where the complications creep in. My reading of the Aerodrome Regs is quite simple – chapter 139.01.02 allows the use of military airfields provided that permission to do so is granted in writing. I would not recommend that anyone tries to sneak in to a military airfield without formal permission – you may find that contrary to public speculation the defences actually work! Also don’t bang in to Water-kloof AFB until they have put the runway back properly!
As I have said previously, you can get round the wet lease situation if you have to by making separate contracts for the aircraft and the pilot. And always keep in mind that while the military are basically above Civilian Law, Government Ministers and their acolytes are not, even if they like to think they are. By Henry Tours, The Aviation Consultant and claims negotiator

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:21.3 1st April, 2008
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