Need to know: operating to a new destination (Pt. 2)
When planning a trip to a new destination a number of considerations need to be taken into account. Short notice permits, and last minute arrangement of aircraft services, may or may not be possible for the planned destination(s). But, there are certain steps operators can take to help ensure that the new destination trip is accomplished with few or no issues. Universal Weather and Aviation Foxtrot Team Manager Daniel Crouch explains in this second part overview what you need to know.
1. Pre-trip document considerations
Best practice is to keep a binder onboard with all aircraft documentation as you may be subject to unannounced ramp checks at the your determined destinations. You’ll generally need to provide certain documentation for permit requests and when clearing customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) at destination. Minimum documentation requirements may include airworthiness and registration certificates, worldwide insurance, noise certificate, letters of authorization (LOAs) for various onboard equipment and crew licenses/medicals. Take into account required passports and visas, local sponsor letters, type ratings requirements for the captain and second in command and, for certain locations, aircraft maintenance records. If you have pets or weapons onboard additional documentation will be required.
2. Special considerations
Each country has its own regulations, and it’s important to check and be aware of all requirements. There are, for example, cabotage restrictions to take into account in many regions of the world. Charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators may face particular restrictions and operating limitations in terms of the number of stops they may make in country. Some countries have longer than normal permit lead times and/or may be more stringent on processing requirements. You also need to ensure that the country in which your aircraft is registered in does not have issues with the destination country, as there may be additional restrictions to consider. An aircraft registered in China, for example, must apply for Special Route Authority prior to any operation to the U.S.
3. Short notice trip implications
Short notice or last minute trip requests to new destinations can, at times, be challenging in terms of overflight and landing permits, flight planning and arrangement of local aircraft services. It’s important to understand all the various requirements for the particular destination and what steps must be completed in advance. There will be times when it may not be possible to arrange certain services – including aviation fuel and in-flight catering – with insufficient lead time. Operating hours, curfews and closures at particular destinations often impact short notice missions.
4. Lead time recommendations
When traveling to a new destination it’s usually recommended to plan on at least two weeks lead time for permits, aircraft services and 4th-party service arrangements. For some locations – such as military airports in India, China, Japan and the UK — it’s best to begin the planning/permit process at least 30 days in advance.
5. Lean on your trip support provider
Particularly when operating to a new international destination, it’s recommended to use the services of an experienced trip support provider to facilitate the trip planning process. An experienced trip support provider should know the planning considerations for your particular destination and have extensive data bases on local regulations and service availability. They’ll be able to coordinate with appropriate authorities to look after all aspects of your trip, arrange credit for services and obtain the best aviation fuel prices at your destinations. Furthermore, they usually have resources to assist with planning for potential geopolitical issues at your destination.
The good news is that with appropriate pre-planning it’s possible to operate to virtually any destination without significant issues. Still, it’s best to always plan on appropriate lead times, to be aware of all restrictions in place at your destinations airports and to be careful to provide correct information and documentation. Additionally, it’s always important to check the geopolitical situation at your chosen destinations and to be aware, and respectful of, local cultural norms at international locations.