Is private air travel becoming affordable?
Facilitated by a new range of travel apps, passengers and pilots are becoming increasingly connected. With just a simple search you can find out if any light aircraft are flying in your local area with available seating. It can be an increasingly cheap mode of transport, and more people are looking at it as an interesting alternative.
Which app should you use?
Wingly stands as the most popular application. Established in France, the app became available to UK passengers back in July 2016. To date, it says more than 400 passengers have used it to join cost-shared flights from UK airports. There are some other alternative sites such as Skyuber or Coavmi, but they are yet to take much of Wingly’s market share.
Just how safe is this process?
Any pilot looking to register with any of these services will need to submit their pilot's licence, medical certificate, details of their experience and the aircraft they will be flying. Once verified, they can publish their planned flights.
Are there many restrictions?
Private pilots can carry up to six passengers if the costs are shared amongst both the pilot and the passengers. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) states costs do not have to be shared equally, but if the pilot were to make any profit the journey would fall under regulations stipulated for commercial airlines. Each flight would require an Air Operator Certificate, and if one wasn’t obtained the flight would be considered illegal.
Is it reliable?
It’s important to be aware that light aircraft won’t deliver a regular mode of transport anytime soon. Most users are quick to point out that most light aircraft can be grounded by even the gentlest of weather. From a business point of view, it could be a while before it delivers viable travel, as cancellations can crop up regularly. However, for the private passenger there is no better way to travel.