Cost sharing flights is the new French ‘plane sharing idea that puts private pilots and passengers in touch with each other, based on the idea of sharing flight hour costs. Just a few clicks, and it’s reserved. However, some consider the practice illegal in France. This is the case of the French airline pilots’ union (SNPL) who considers that these sites circumvent regulations and wants them closed down.
In the case of transporting strangers, the regulations to be applied are those of public transport, which are subject to more stringent rules, including safety. Maxime Coffin, Head of General Aviation at the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC): "We will be more demanding with the pilots, in requiring them to be professional pilots with higher skills, more experience, with better medical fitness, and we will also apply greater constraints on the company, the organization, flights procedures, the aircraft themselves, and how they are maintained."
This level of requirement protects passengers and pilots, because an airplane is not a car, and in cases of accident, who is responsible? Maxime Coffin explains "the company that organizes the flight can itself be held responsible because it has taken part in organizing the flight, and a share of responsibility. From then on, it’s up to the judges to decide to what extent they will blame the pilot in command, the organizer, and possibly even the person providing the link. "
The pilot risks disciplinary sanctions such as the withdrawal of his/her license and subsequent fines. Better to be careful before trying.
Last year, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) banned American cost sharing flight websites, judging that they fell under the domain of commercial services. Up till now in France, no decision has been taken. The DGAC will be setting up a working group on this issue, with conclusions expected by the end of the year.