Planning for a Successful International General Aviation Mission
Planning a successful international general aviation mission can be challenging due to a lot of details to consider, in this blog, we will take a look at what you should put into consideration while planning for such missions.
1. Aircraft documentation
Each country requires specific documentation for aircraft operating through its airspace or landing in its airport as a destination. You should always keep an up-to-date version of these documents scanned and ready in advance. This can help avoid delays in securing services for your trip it is vital for flight permissions, ground handling and parking.
Examples of required aircraft documents are; aircraft insurance, aircraft noise certification, registration certificate, and maintenance logs. A good international trip support partner should keep secure records of your frequently used aircraft documentation.
2. Crew & passengers documentation
keep the required travel documents and certificates for both your crew and passengers in hand. It is essential to have a copy of your crew and passengers passport.
Check the required crew certifications, and keep an up-to-date record of pilot license, medical insurance, and vaccination certifications.
A good international trip support partner should notify you of visa requirements for your destination and should inform you of the possibility of obtaining pre-arrival visas or clearances for your crew. You might need to arrange special sponsor letters for your crew in some destinations.
You should arrange it ahead of time to avoid delays during CIQ (Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine) procedures.
The number one rule for choosing an airport is checking if it is an Airport of Entry (AOE). Airport operating times should be also put into consideration. Make sure to arrive within the airport operating hours, else you might need to wait for processing or even alter your plan and land in an alternate airport.
Checking and carefully reading the destination airport NOTAMs (Notice to Airmen) is essential and will keep you far from unplanned surprises.
There may be issues to consider in terms of customs, operating times and closures.
A good example is operating from (MYNN) Nassau, Bahamas to (SBSP) Congonhas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. As (SBSP) is not an airport of entry, you will have to land first at (SBGR) Guarulhos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, or at another AOE airport where customs and immigration can be cleared.
Overflight and landing permits
Permits are required for overflying and landing, these required clearances depend on your flight route and final destination. Lead time should be considered when scheduling a flight, an alternate route plan should be ready if it is not possible to obtain the necessary permits on time, some countries require a 24-hour window for obtaining the permission even for short notice flights.
You should also keep your flight support partner up-to-date with your flight schedule changes, they should be able to determine whether you will need to validate your permits or not, a good flight support partner should assist you with the best suitable scenario based on your revisions, and should keep you in the knowledge of the lead time required for each clearance and ground service.
Arranging airport services can be tedious if done without proper planning, there are many things to consider, for example, aircraft parking, slots, and Prior Permission Required (PPR).
These services should be requested earlier and confirmed before landing, obtaining a good parking slot can solely depend on the request time, so the earlier you request it the better chances are to obtain a good place. A good flight support partner will clarify the airport lead times, limitations and restrictions have limitations and will help you minimize the impact on your operational flexibility.
Arranging for fuel ahead of time is key for optimal flight planning. Make sure of the availability of the same fuel type in the intended destination. At times fuel might not be available due to high demand or shortage of supply in remote locations.
To minimize overall fuel costs, consider uplifting fuel in tech stops. You can get the best fuel pricing through a reputable fuel reseller, your flight support partner might also offer good prices, a good partner might offer fuel taxes reduction opportunities some also offer fuel tax exemption programs especially in Europe.
Timing is critical for planning accommodation for the crew and passengers, hotel rooms are harder to book during peak times and during international events or venues in the intended destination, for example, if you are planning a trip during the summer to a Mediterranean tourist attraction destination, you will not be able to find available rooms, and in case of rooms were available expect to pay an extra on the usual price tag. Try to avoid last-minute arrangements, it is always recommended to book hotel rooms in advance when possible, you will avoid unnecessary complex last-minute pricy arrangements.
Safety and security briefing
It is important for the safety of your aircraft, crew, and passengers to check the political and security situation before departure. Political and security situations can escalate rapidly. Take the recent tension between India and Pakistan as an example, always check the websites of government agencies for a security briefing, the website of the U.S Department of State is always a good source for such information.
Timing is critical when planning international trips, try to plan as early as possible, the choice of trip support provider is also a key factor in the success of your mission, consider working with a reputable and experienced trip support provider, a good partner should be always ready to guide you through the requirements, and tackle the different issues or complications at each location.
Our team is always happy to support you in all of your trip planning needs, we are available around the clock 7 days a week to support you. Contact our flight specialists team directly or send us a request online.