Charter FAQ

Air Safety Regulations and Fleet/Pilot Capabilities

Shoal Air is fully compliant with Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations. The following explanations may help you understand the many complex rules and limitations on particular aircraft, operations and aircrew.


Twin Engine Aircraft

Our twin fleet is equipped for all weather operations (under the Instrument Flight Rules – see below) and at night. Twins are generally faster, more stable in turbulent conditions, and are equipped with more sophisticated instrumentation and avionics.

Single Engine Aircraft

SE aircraft can be used for passenger charter operations under the Visual Flight Rules (see below) and in daylight hours. They are most economical but are generally slower and with reduced cabin space and payload.

Visual Flight Rules (VFR)

Under the VFR, all aircraft must navigate by visual reference to the ground and must not fly in cloud or poor visibility etc. Charter single engine aircraft must only be operated in accordance with VFR procedures.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR)     

Under the IFR an aircraft can be flown by navigational reference to instruments and radio or satellite aids. Pilots must also be specially trained, endorsed and regularly checked for application of these skills.

The IFR enables passenger carriage in twin engine aircraft in poor weather or visibility conditions, and at night. Higher costs and charges apply to IFR sectors when necessary.

Night Flight

Passenger charter operations at night must be conducted in a twin engine aircraft and with an IFR rated pilot in command. Ferry flights (without pax) and freight only charters are permitted in SE aircraft.

Aviation Weather Service           

All air charter operations must pay heed to official aviation weather forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.  During the wet season some flights  may be precluded by low cloud, coastal fog, or poor visibility in rain etc…

Weather forecasts may not always be accurate, and actual weather may be different to that forecast, and may be unpredictable and changeable.  Adverse weather is an acknowledged safety hazard. Our aircrew are trained in tropical meteorology, and are required to always err on the side of safety.

Pilot Flight & Duty Limitations

Pilot fatigue is another well known and very obvious safety issue. Therefore there are limits on daily, weekly and monthly flight hours and on pilot roster and duty periods.  Early starts, long days and late finishes therefore must be carefully managed.

Aircrew sign-on an hour before departure and sign-off half an hour after landing. All pilot wait time at a remote destination is regarded as duty time for the pilot.

We cannot roster for more than an 11 hour duty day, therefore some flight requests may not be possible without a change of crew or aircraft, thereby incurring further charges.

Aircraft Fuel Requirements

All charter flights are planned with sufficient fuel for the flight plus prescribed reserve fuel. When adverse weather is forecast then we must carry up to an hour of additional fuel (for holding or diversion). This extra fuel on board will reduce the available payload for the flight.


All aircraft are individually weighed and certified with a maximum safe Take-Off or Landing Weight. Shoal Air does not compromise safety by overloading an aircraft. To avoid inconvenience and delay, please provide accurate weights of all passengers, baggage and freight.

Safety Management System

Shoal Air maintains an active SMS which encourages open discussion and reporting of safety issues. All clients, passengers, staff and suppliers are encouraged to report any observed or perceived safety concerns