Top In-Season Caribbean Destinations for Business Aircraft Operators – Part 2: CIQ, Permits, and Curfews

Top In-Season Caribbean Destinations for Business Aircraft Operators - Part 2: CIQ, Permits, and Curfews

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week entitled, "Top In-Season Caribbean Destinations for Business Aircraft Operators – Part 1: Operating Considerations."

While permit; Customs, Immigrations, and Quarantine (CIQ); and operating curfew issues are seldom problematic for the Caribbean region, it’s important to pre-plan to avoid complications and to smooth the regulatory/operational process day of operation. Work with your 3rd-party provider and/or ground handler to fully understand all local requirements.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Consider operating curfews

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the top five destinations in the Caribbean during high season are usually St. Maarten (TNCM), Nassau (MYNN), Exuma (MYEF), Grand Cayman (MWCR), and Anguilla (TQPF).

While MTNN operates 24 hours, TNCM’s normal operating hours are 0700-2100 local, TQPF’s are 0700-1900 local, MWCR’s are 0700-2100 local, and MYEF’s are sunrise to sunset. Note that there are no airport slot requirements or noise restrictions in place for these top locations and for the Caribbean in general. Prior permission required (PPR), however, must be obtained for TNCM and MWCR.

2. Be aware of documentation requirements

Some islands require arrival/departure cards to be completed. Your 3rd-party provider or ground handler can provide you with these forms. Your ground handler will pre-fill these out for you, but be sure to specifically request this service.

3. Don’t forget CARICOM APIS

CARICOM APIS must be pre-filed for all operations to/from the Caribbean region. Just like eAPIS in the US, CARICOM APIS requires electronic notification prior to departure. It’s important to ensure that full crew and passenger information and passport details are submitted. Be sure that middle names on passports are correct and included.

4. Know that charter aircraft need permits

Charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations, but not private non-revenue, require landing permits for Caribbean ops. Advance notification for permits ranges 24-48 hours, but 48 hours’ notice is preferred. Short-notice permit requests or permit requests over the weekend are possible but at the discretion of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Documentation requirements are fairly standard: certificates of registration and airworthiness, air operator’s certificate, evidence of liability insurance, and crew medicals and licenses. Charter permits are generally valid only for the specified Zulu date; however, some offer validities of three+ days. In almost all cases, permits are aircraft-specific and do not cover an entire operator’s fleet. Permit revisions are seldom an issue in this region. Most CAAs require just notification for changes to schedule or crew, but some mandate a more formal permit revision process. In the case of the Bahamas, it’s possible to obtain a blanket charter permit to cover your entire fleet. At least seven days’ lead time is recommended for a Bahamian blanket permit.

5. Know CIQ procedures

CIQ clearance at MYNN and MYEF is done at the Fixed-Base Operator. It’s a straightforward and quick process but may require 24 hours’ advance notice. At TNCM customs is in the main terminal, but your ground handler in most cases will be able to take passports to the customs office and clear crew members and passengers remotely. In rare cases, customs officers at TNCM will request to see crew members and passengers in person. TQPF CIQ is accomplished at the main terminal, where commercial passengers are processed, but your ground handler will escort you. In the case of MWCR, CIQ is cleared at the general aviation terminal during its 0700-2100 local operating hours. After-hours clearance at MWCR is done within the main terminal.

6. Know that age restrictions may impact some operations

For French territories – including Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique – a Pilot in Command (PIC) may not be over age 60 for charter operations. It’s always best to check these particular requirements in advance with your 3rd-party provider or ground handler. If a PIC is over age 60, he/she must act as the Second in Command and the PIC must be under the age of 60 for operations to French territories in the Caribbean.

9/18/2014: We’d like to thank Bill for correcting the above section.


When you operate to the Caribbean during high season, it’s important to stay on top of requirements for travel including operating curfews and landing permits. Work with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler to reconfirm all local documentation and regulatory requirements.


If you have any questions about this article or about operating to the Caribbean, contact me at