An investigation into Emiliano Sala’s doomed flight will focus on the validity of the pilot’s licence.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which released an interim report on Monday, noted further work is required to “consider the regulatory requirements surrounding the flight including airworthiness requirements, aircraft permissions and flight crew licensing.”
Its latest document stated the type of licence held by pilot David Ibbotson meant he could only fly passengers in the European Union on a cost-sharing basis rather than for commercial flights.
According to investigators, pilots with his licence “must have a bona fide purpose for making the flight”.
Mr Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire flew Sala from Cardiff to Nantes the day after the Argentine striker signed for Cardiff City.
The flight crashed in the Channel on January 21 and Sala’s body has since been recovered from the wreckage.
Mr Ibbotson’s body has not been found. This latest report also gave more details on the fatal voyage.
The AAIB stated the Piper Malibu aircraft took off at 7.15pm GMT and flew on its planned route at an altitude of 5,500 feet until it was around 13 nautical miles south of Guernsey at 8.02pm.
The pilot requested permission from air traffic control to fly at a lower level to maintain visibility and was cleared by the controller to fly at 5,000 feet.
Asked if a further descent was required, Mr Ibbotson responded: “Negative. Just avoided a patch there but back on heading 5,000 feet.”
The last radio communication received from the aircraft was at 8.12pm when the pilot asked for and was granted permission to reduce altitude again.