This is a post by author Jason Hayward. Jason is general manager for Universal Aviation U.K. – London-Stansted. Jason is an expert on business aircraft operations in the U.K. and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Processing of charter permits for the UK underwent significant changes in 2014. It’s important to be aware of the permit request and revision lead time policies. Also, authorities are taking steps to eliminate “grey” charter flights which will affect operators not obtaining necessary authorizations for travel to the UK.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Charter landing permit requirements
Landing permits are required for non-EU-registered charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights. Note that aircraft flying on experimental certificates must obtain a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) exemption permit to operate in UK airspace, but this is a different process from that for a charter landing permit.
2. New procedures took effect in 2014
Until April 2014, landing permits and revisions were processed by the Department for Transport (DFT), but they’re now processed by the CAA. CAA has removed the former requirement that UK-based charter operators have an opportunity to object to charter permit requests, which in turn has eased permit processing. While DFT had allowed for overtime processing of permits, this is no longer the policy with CAA. For example, if you send a request on a Friday evening for a permit or permit revision for a weekend charter operation, you will not receive your permit in time. Also, once approved, UK landing permits are valid for +/- 48 hours.
3. Permit lead times
Official lead time for charter permits is two business days, and this mandates that all applicable and correct documentation be submitted. Shorter-notice permit requests are often possible at CAA’s discretion and only during normal operating hours. CAA’s permit office operates Monday-Friday, 0900-1700 local, and is closed on weekends and bank holidays. Be mindful that, although the DFT originally had allowed extended hours for overtime clearance of permit requests, CAA is not doing the same – except for air ambulance and humanitarian flights.
4. Additional permit considerations
When applying for UK charter permits, be mindful that there’s a long list of requirements – in terms of documentation, information, and statements – that must be submitted. For example you’ll need to provide your air operator certificate, evidence of appropriate EU liability insurance, and a statement that no hazardous material is onboard. Each charter flight to the UK requires a separate permit as no blanket charter permits are possible at this time. More information on the documentation requirements can be found on the UK CAA website.
5. Permit revisions
Landing permit revisions also involve official lead time of two business days, assuming all information provided is correct. Revision requests are often processed in less than two days, but, as with permit requests, this is at CAA’s discretion. All permit requests and revisions, including document submissions, are done via e-mail. Once CAA receives a request, the system sends an auto response to confirm they’ve received it.
6. Short-notice revisions
As CAA’s permit office is closed evenings, weekends, and bank holidays, you may face a schedule change that’s not possible to approve on time. For example if you have an approved permit for Farnborough (EGLF) and a next destination of Le Bourget (LFPB) but want to fly to Geneva (LSGG) over the weekend instead, the change will not be possible due to CAA hours and required lead times. Flight diversions, however, are allowed in certain cases. For example if you’re flying to Northolt (EGWU) and have delays causing you to arrive after the airport closes, you may divert to Stansted (EGSS).
7. Revision requirements
Permit revisions are needed for trip changes if:
- If the schedule extends outside the permit validity window
- The arrival airports in the UK (with the exception of diversions due to closures or weather) or departure/destination airports prior/post arrival in the UK change. For example, a change in departure point from Teterboro (KTEB) to White Plains (KHPN) would require permit revision.
- There’s an aircraft change, operator name change, or applicable documentation change. Changes in crew members and/or passengers do not require permit revisions.
8. Illegal charters
It’s important to note that if you operate a schedule that’s not approved by CAA, this is considered an illegal charter. The CAA is mandated to eliminate illegal or “grey area” charter activity. CAA authorities post all approved charter permits and schedules on their website for any operator to view. Permit confirmations are accessible to all, including the UK Border Force and Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) agencies. If you operate a flight or schedule that differs from your permit approval, your flight could be stopped, or you may be questioned by SAFA. If CAA authorities determine that a flight has traveled illegally, they have the authority to prosecute the operator in the UK.
It’s important that operators be aware of CAA operating hours and the fact that they will not make changes to charter permits outside of normal operating hours. The only exceptions to obtaining or revising permits outside CAA operating hours are in cases of air ambulance or humanitarian flights. As CAA is taking steps to ensure that operators obtain necessary permits, operators need to ensure they are adhering to the requirements set forth.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to the UK, contact me at email@example.com.
Category : Best Practice
About Jason Hayward
Based in London, Jason Hayward, general manager for Universal Aviation U.K. – London, is an expert on ground support and operations into the United Kingdom. He’s been with Universal since 1997 and has more than 17 years’ experience combined in aviation handling and operations. A native of the U.K. and veteran of the Royal Air Force, Jason has been instrumental in helping establish Universal Aviation offices around the globe. Jason is also an expert on coordinating operations and handling for special events and was Universal’s point person for the 2012 Games in London. He’s shared his insight on operations and special events with many industry publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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