Tony Coe, chairman of the Baltic Air Charter Association since early 2013, has driven policies and practices while positioning BACA at the forefront of key issues that impact the air charter industry. BACA is the world’s largest air charter organization, formed in 1949 and closely associated with London’s famous Baltic Exchange. The work carried out by Coe and the BACA council has already led to an increase of 10% in the membership in a very short time.

A recent positive ruling for brokers under the so-called tour operator margin scheme means that air charter brokers shall not be liable for VAT provided there are contracts in place between the broker and operator, and between the broker and customer. For a number of years it has not been clear how the scheme, and VAT liability, applied to air charter brokers.

In addition, Coe led BACA work toward achieving industry standards through an accreditation process and has initiated strategies to increase the number of training opportunities for the younger generation. “BACA is really interested in training and it’s also something I’m very passionate about too,” he says. A one-day training event for junior brokers was held just before EBACE. “It’s a very simple day but covers events from the moment someone has phoned up for a charter, the contract, the role of the airport, the FBO, catering and the operator.” Also included, he says, is “a day in the life of a crewmember.”

With some 220 members, BACA is recognized by official aviation bodies and government departments as the voice of the air charter industry.

“Membership has an interesting split – we have about 90 aircraft brokers with the rest probably evenly split between aircraft operators, FBOs, fueling companies and one or two insurance brokers,” Coe says. “We don’t actually know how many brokers there are in Europe but we think it may be over 450. It’s a very hard figure to pin down.”

The largest number of members are UK- and mainland Europe-based. “We only have two members in the U.S. because primarily they have their own association and it’s a very different marketplace. BACA’s idea is to spread our net further across Europe and possibly to the Middle East as this market is very strong.”

Coe is optimistic about the aircraft charter business in Europe and thinks more people will travel by business aircraft, probably even sharing airplanes.