How to Get Started
An air charter service does not begin or end when passengers board an aircraft or when cargo is loaded and delivered. Here is a general overview of what you may need to get your feet off the ground. Decide on the size of the charter company you are establishing. Will you be operating a single aircraft and flying locally or will you be running a fleet of aircraft flying globally?
Once the research is complete, you need to write a business plan. A plan for an aircraft charter company needs to include a sales forecast, cash flow forecast and a projected profit and loss account for three years. The figures used must be reasonable – avoid being over optimistic.
Registering the business
The next stage in the process is to set up the company that will be the legal entity for the business, i.e. CC or PTY.
Costs and finance
The costs associated with planes, not to mention skilled pilots to fly them, can be a large investment. It may be possible to obtain a business loan if you have exceptional credit, but business loans are rarely large enough to start a charter business from scratch. It is best to look for partners.
Once the business plan and finance is in place, contact the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). You need to make contact with the senior manager of flight operations who will appoint an inspector to help you through the application process.
“Although the Department of Transport is involved, the application process starts with the SACAA. They will guide you in terms of the Department of Transport’s requirements and help you submit the correct documentation to them. This will save a great deal of time,” explains SACAA inspector, Arthur Dowens.
“Once your application is approved you will have to go through a demo stage and an inspection stage. The SACAA will help you through all of this,” says Dowens. “The application process can take anything from six months to over a year to complete.”
Insurance plays a vital role in air charter business; everything and everyone involved should be insured including your passengers, and whatever cargo you are transporting.
Air Charter Regulations
You have to become well versed with all the South Africa Aviation Regulations and know which permits and licenses to secure. Contact the Department of Transport for details. Other organisations which will be able to help you are: The South African Civil Aviation Authority who regulates the civil aviation industry to ensure security and safety by complying with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).