Business Aviation Trip Planning: Barbados
Barbados is an accommodating destination for business aviation. Full-service fixed base operators (FBOs) are available 24 hours, aircraft parking is plentiful, and jet fuel prices are reasonable. Barbados is a well-positioned tech stop between North America and South America or Africa and a good place to disembark passengers continuing on to the Grenadines and other local islands with runways too short to comfortably accommodate larger business jets.
Here’s an overview of what you should know before planning your next mission to Barbados:
1. Barbados is a popular destination/tech stop
Barbados (TBPB) is very popular during high season which runs from late October through February. TBPB is a 24-hour airport with peak operations between 1100-1400 and 1800-2100 local. Business aviation movements may arrive and depart during peak hours, but there may be delays in jet fuel delivery. During high season it’s best to confirm aircraft parking in advance. Barbados is also a quick and efficient tech stop location where aircraft can be fueled and turned in approximately 45 minutes.
2. Landing permits may be required
Landing permits are not necessary for private non-revenue or charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations so long as the aircraft is under ICAO Category B in size. If you’re Category B or larger (a BBJ or ACJ, for example), a landing permit is required, and this can take 10 working days to process. Emergency medical flights also require landing permits, but this permit process can be expedited. Permit revisions are required for change in Zulu date, origin of flight, or registration of aircraft. Notification only is necessary for changes to crew/passengers. Permit revisions may be accomplished within a short time frame during normal Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) hours of 0800-1600 local Monday through Friday. Be aware that overflight permits are not required when transiting Barbados airspace.
3. Know what’s needed to set up ground handling
It’s best to provide your ground handler with the operator name, full schedule, crew/passenger information, tail number, and aircraft type at least 24 hours prior to arrival. An aircraft information form must be filled out to arrange ground handling in Barbados. For high season operations additional lead time is recommended to organize ground handling and confirm aircraft parking. Keep in mind that CARICOM APIS notification (a program requiring advance passenger information sent prior to departure) is required – inbound and outbound – at this location and must be filed no less than 30 minutes pre- departure.
4. Be aware of TBPB aircraft fueling procedures
Fueling is available 24 hours, but advance notification is needed between 2230 and 0630 local and overtime charges apply. Credit can be arranged with advance notice. Fuel delivery is on a first-come-first-serve basis with several fuel providers available. Be aware that fuel uplift delays may be experienced during peak hours. If fuel shortages are anticipated operators are advised in advance.
5. Be aware of CARICOM APIS requirements
CARICOM APIS needs to be filed at least 30 minutes prior to departure and may be filed up to 24 hours prior. Your CARICOM APIS filing will be checked against a no-fly list and customs will confirm that APIS has been completed. Information required for APIS includes full names of passenger/crew, passport numbers and expiration dates, gender, nationality, and place of birth. Operators who have not completed CARICOM APIS are subject to fines and may be denied entry to Barbados.
6. Customs may request additional documentation
Customs clearance is required both inbound and outbound in Barbados. Documents, other than passports and visas (when applicable), are not always requested but may include certificates of airworthiness and registration, aircraft log book, and pilot licenses and medicals. Temporary airman certificates are not accepted in Barbados.
7. There are restrictions on what you may bring into Barbados
Agricultural restrictions limit food items that may be removed from the aircraft in Barbados. Always check with your ground handler, in advance, on food or agricultural items you wish to bring into the country.
Pets may be admitted into Barbados. A current vaccination certificate is required, and it’s recommended that pets be outfitted with records on embedded microchips (see www.barbados.org for more information).
Be aware, also, that arriving aircraft must have cabin sprayed at top of descent with an approved insecticide. If you do not do this a violation has occurred and fines may apply.
8. Be aware of other operating considerations
During high season hotel rates are higher, cancellation policies are stricter, and preferred hotel accommodations may be in short supply. For in-flight catering requirements it’s best to provide ground handlers with at least 24 hours advance notice. For more on this, read our previous article: "Business Aviation Travel in the Caribbean during Peak Season."
It pays off to pre-plan aircraft parking, jet fuel, and services requirements prior to operating to Barbados, especially during high season. Look at relevant websites (www.barbados.org and www.caricomeapis.org) prior to travel and be sure to check any visa requirements in advance.
If you have any questions about this article or operating to the Caribbean, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.