This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week entitled "2014 G77 Summit in Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Part 1 – Airport Options."
Permits for Bolivia should be obtained well in advance of the upcoming G77 summit held on June 14-15. Consider requesting blanket permits if you plan to operate to Bolivia on a routine basis. Be mindful, also, of all applicable visa requirements.
The following is an overview of what you need to know if planning to operate to Santa Cruz:
1. Bolivia permit requirements
Overflight and landing permits are required for all private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights. Documentation is the same for both types of flights and includes airworthiness and registration certificates, worldwide insurance, and pilot licenses/medicals. Although not a routine requirement, you may also need to provide a noise certificate and performance charts. Bolivia Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) mandates that a special form be used for all permit requests. Note that blanket permits covering multiple aircraft and crew are available. Max validity is three months for blanket landing permits and six months for blanket overflight permits. Having a blanket permit helps avoid issues with short-notice requests and crew changes.
2. Permit processing
Lead time for overflight and landing permits is a minimum of two business days – assuming all provided documentation/information is correct. During the G77 summit, however, permit lead times may be extended, so operators should plan on providing four-five business days’ lead time. Note that for operators without diplomatic clearances, short-notice permit requests are not possible, and CAA is very stringent on this. CAA processes permits Monday-Friday, 0830-1630 local, and they’re closed on weekends and holidays. Be aware that CAA overtime is not an option, and short-notice permit requests are not accepted. There is an after-hours office available, but this is for air ambulance flights only. Diplomatic permits are processed via the appropriate country embassy, and the military entity that processes these permits shares an office with CAA.
3. Permit validity and revisions
Bolivia permits are normally valid for +/- 72 hours. Schedule changes require notification only if within permit validity window. For landing and overflight permit revisions outside the validity window, lead time is two business days. If there’s a crew change, you’ll need to resubmit crew documentation two business days in advance. Passenger information is not required for Bolivian permits.
4. CIQ clearance at SLVR
Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) clearance in Bolivia is normally done at the main terminal – using the same clearance lines as scheduled commercial passengers. Clearance time depends on the number of people clearing the terminal at the time of your arrival. In the case of diplomatic operations to Santa Cruz (SLVR), CIQ agents usually come out to the aircraft to collect passports and clear passengers. Passengers not carrying diplomatic passports, however, usually have to clear within the terminal, but authorities are still determining how this will be done during the G77 summit.
Be aware that some passenger/crew nationalities require visas for Bolivia. In some cases, these may be obtainable on arrival. If you’re able to secure a visa on arrival, you will be required to provide confirmation of your hotel stay in Bolivia for your full period on the ground, and this must be notarized by a Bolivian citizen. It’s important to confirm visa requirements in advance, and, to avoid unexpected issues and delays, we recommend that visas be obtained prior to arrival.
5. Hotels and local transport
Hotel availability in the Santa Cruz area will be extremely limited during the G77 period. Hotels will be the largest challenge after aircraft parking facing operators. Be aware that many accommodations in Bolivia are local hotels/chains and may not have the amenities that major international chains have. Expect accommodation prices to be higher than normal and for pre-payment and non-cancellable room requirements to be in place. Due to security concerns within Bolivia, arrangements should always be made for crew transport in advance. The recommendation is to use prepaid transport (car with driver).
Crew accommodation options are an important consideration when operating to Bolivia during the G77 summit. If you’re staying in Santa Cruz, higher-quality crew accommodation options may not be available. For those repositioning to alternate airports for parking, be sure to double-check hotel standards/amenities as they may – in some cases – not be what you’re accustomed to.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Bolivia, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Earnest Rocha
Earnest Rocha is Master Mission Advisor on the Bravo Team at Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. He’s been involved in the aviation industry for more than 14 years and, currently, has areas of particular expertise in both Central and South America. Active in the U.S. Navy for five years, and with 6.5 years and counting in the Navy reserves, Earnest enjoys the challenges of helping his clients manage successful and trouble-free operations to all areas of the world. He’s fluent in both Spanish and English and routinely works on resolving any day-of-operations issues that may come up. Earnest can be reached at email@example.com.
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