The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC’s) 2015 CEO Summit and Economic Leaders’ Meeting takes place November 16-19 in Manila, Philippines. The event brings together top business leaders, high level government officials, intellectuals, and media personalities from throughout the region and is considered one of Asia-Pacific’s premier business events. Operators traveling to Manila during this time period should anticipate considerable congestion at both the airport and within greater Manila.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airport
Manila (RPLL) is the preferred airport for this event. RPLL is a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) offering full general aviation (GA) support services and credit, with advance notice. Due to the large influx of traffic during this event, aircraft parking may become an issue at RPLL, and increased congestion could cause service delays on the ground.
2. Parking arrangements
Overnight parking at RPLL is on a first-come-first-serve basis, and availability will be limited for operators planning short-notice or last-minute trips. GA parking will be in a remote area of the field, and airport authorities only began assigning these parking approvals on October 5th. Hangar space for transient aircraft up to the size of a B747 is possible at RPLL, but subject to availability. Be mindful that if you’re operating to Manila and not attending the APEC meetings, airport authorities will likely not allow you to park overnight at RPLL. Although drop and goes will be possible at RPLL you’ll likely need to reposition to another airport such as Clark Intl (RPLC) for longer term parking.
3. Operating considerations
We anticipate NOTAMs and assorted restrictions to be issued and implemented at RPLL during the event period. This may include brief airport closures due to airfield congestion and head of state movements.
4. Alternate airports
RPLC is a 24-hour AOE located 52 NM away from RPLL. Full GA support services are available at this location, and helicopter transfers are possible to RPLL and certain hotels in Manila. Another alternate airport to consider is Baguio (RPUB). However, RPUB has limitations: it’s not an AOE, support services are limited, the runway is 5,912 feet, and airport operating hours are 0600-1800 local. Another option is Subic Bay (RPLB) which is an AOE but has limited hours of operation of 0600-1800 local. If you choose to reposition outside of the Philippines, airports in Taiwan — such as Kaohsiung (RCKH) — may be considered.
11/6/2015: We’d like to thank one of our readers for this recommendation.
5. Landing permits
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) requires landing and departure permits for all private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. Note that CAA operates only Monday-Friday 0800-1700 local. Official permit lead time is 72 working hours prior to the flight, and the cutoff time for landing permit applications each day is 1400 local. Permit requests received after 1400 local will be processed the next business day. This means that if you apply 72 hours prior to the estimated time of arrival, but after 1400 local, this will effectively cost you an additional day of lead time. Short notice permits for the Philippines are normally only available for emergency and air ambulance flights. Be mindful that CAA charges fees for processing all permit requests, and this must be paid in full before permit are issued. Permit validity is +/- 72 hours based on the approved time on the original landing or departure request. Permit revisions are necessary for origin or destination changes and if your schedule changes to outside of the permit validity period.
6. Permit documentation
To process landing or departure permits for the Philippines you’ll need to provide:
- aircraft registration and airworthiness certificates
- worldwide insurance
- a legible color photo of the aircraft showing the tail number
- proof of aircraft ownership i.e. a letter stating that the owner is onboard or a letter of association if the owner in not present
- a local business contact
- complete crew and passenger information
- confirmation of who will be fueling the aircraft
Note that charter flights must also provide an air operator certificate (AOC) and insurance certificate, but it’s not necessary to provide a letter stating that the owner or a party associated with the aircraft owner is onboard.
7. Arrival documentation
Upon arrival in the Philippines you’ll need to have a gen dec stamped from the previous port of departure, valid passports for all crew/passengers, customs/immigration declaration cards. and quarantine health declaration cards. Note that customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) is strict on requirements for all crew/passengers to complete health declarations. Note that the ground handler will complete the arrival/departure cards and the health declarations prior to the aircraft’s arrival. Ensure that all passports have at least six months remaining validity after the estimated date of departure from the country. Also, be aware that certain nationalities require visas for the Philippines, and these requirements should always be confirmed in advance with your 3rd-party provider.
8. CIQ clearance
When operating to the Philippines, it’s necessary to provide a flight advisory notification to both CIQ and airport authorities 24 hours prior to the aircraft’s arrival/departure. CIQ processing at RPLL is done either planeside or in the main terminal which is a short shuttle ride from the remote parking area. Note that planeside clearance must be requested in advance, and it’s at discretion of CIQ to confirm this service. Note that during the APEC period this may not be an available option for all operators due to congestion at the airport. Planeside clearance always requires prior arrangement and approval. If it’s approved you’ll be directed to proceed to a designated parking bay and met by CIQ officials. The clearance process usually only takes a few minutes, but this may involve the aircraft being inspected by police and airport authorities. Passengers may then proceed to their destination while the crew reposition the aircraft to the long-term parking area. Be mindful that CIQ processing fees can either be paid in cash by the captain or via credit through the ground handler.
9. Departure clearance
For departure from RPLL passengers will board the aircraft at a designated parking bay, after clearing CIQ in the terminal or planeside, assuming permission has been obtained in advance. After the aircraft has been cleared and released by CIQ, police and airport authorities will inspect the aircraft before the operator is permitted to depart.
10. Local considerations
It’s possible to set up aircraft security at RPLL. If you do pre-arrange aircraft security, your security officer will only be permitted airside after CIQ clearance has been completed. We recommend that operators to the Manila area during this event period, whether attending APEC or not, confirm hotel accommodation and local transport arrangements as soon as schedule is known. During the APEC event we anticipate very high demand for GA support services and all ancillary services such as crew accommodations, in-flight catering, and local transport.
If you’ve not already done so it’s recommended to request aircraft parking, required services, and crew accommodations for the APEC Summit period without delay. As we expect assorted NOTAMs and closures to be announced closer to the start of this event, contingency planning and aircraft repositioning options should also be considered. Also, ensure that the landing permit is requested based on CAAP’s lead time requirements to ensure there aren’t any issues for the operation.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to the Philippines, contact me at email@example.com.
About Stephen Bober
As a Senior Mission Advisor, Stephen Bober has established a wide range of expertise – covering many parts of the world – during his six plus years in the industry. The recipient of three “Stellar Customer Service Awards” Stephen is recognized as both knowledgeable and effective by both his clients and associates. No matter what corner of the world you are planning an operation to Stephen has the capabilities and can-do attitude to help ensure the success of your trip. Stephen can be reached at reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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