French Company Cleared for Single-Engine Charter IFR

Announcement marks big step forward for Europe.

TBM 850 Paris Air Show

At the Paris Air Show, Daher-Socata and Voldirect, a small charter company with six employees, might have made history. The two jointly announced that the French civil aviation authority has officially awarded Voldirect an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) enabling the company to fly commercial passengers on its TBM 850 turboprop single.

As U.S. vice president Joe Biden might say, this is a big … deal. Until now, single-engine IFR commercial ops in Europe were not permitted. True, Voldirect’s IFR round trips must launch and recover on the return leg at the same French airport with all the same passengers, but it’s a start. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is said to be considering adopting the allowance throughout Europe, matching the regulations currently in place in the U.S. and Canada, where single-engine commercial IFR is permitted.

In part, the safety record of the TBM’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-A engine (350 million hours logged) is credited for the approval. Voldirect president and CEO Frederic Caussarieu said, “We must thank the French DGAC civil aviation authority, which understood the value of leveraging economic and fast aircraft such as the TBM 850 and TBM 700 with proven reliability.”