Charter planes operate as air taxis for hire. Companies maintain and operate most charter aircraft, but independent pilots may also privately work as charter operators for hire. The biggest charter airline on earth is a company called Thomson Airways. Other major players in the market include Omni Air International. Million Air, Air Memphis, Eurojet Romania, Ryan International Airlines, and Air Cairo.
Technically, charter plane operators and owners are held to a high standard of safety. In practice, however, charter planes are not as carefully regulated as larger commercial aircraft and international airlines are. Perhaps this is because major carriers have a far stronger marketing incentive to maintain a perfect safety record than do charter operators. A typical major airline crash that kills, for instance, five dozen people, will generate international headlines; whereas a charter plane crash that kills two people might not make it onto the front pages.
“Major carriers have a far stronger marketing incentive to maintain a perfect safety record than do charter operators.”
How Charter Jet Accidents Are Different
- Pilots of charter jets are not regulated to the same degree that commercial airline pilots are, meaning that there are fewer inspections and less stringent regulation standards.
- Charter pilots are answerable to their corporate owners, meaning that they may be forced to work longer hours, have tighter deadlines, or make more difficult decisions than they would otherwise have to. They may also look to cut costs which can increase the opportunities for accidents.
- Charter airlines travel to locations that major airlines cannot access for physical or financial reasons. By traveling to more “out of the way” destinations, charter flights must rely on fewer resources in unfamiliar territory if an emergency occurs.
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