Business Aircraft Ops to Ethiopia: CIQ


Business Aircraft Ops to Ethiopia: CIQ

This is a post by authors Stanley Joseph and Tigist Aberra. Stanley and Tigist work for Kilimanjaro Aviation Logistics Centre (KALC), a subsidiary of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. which is headquartered in Mwanza, Tanzania. Stanley and Tigist are experts on permits and handling aircraft for the African region and can be contacted at and

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Ethiopia and continues from our last article: “Business Aircraft Ops to Ethiopia: Fuel, Additional Services and Security.

Customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) requirements for general aviation (GA) crew are minimal in Ethiopia. Authorities, however, are stringent on passenger documentation and procedural requirements.

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

1. CIQ for crew

Upon arrival in Ethiopia crew are not required to have visas, regardless of nationality. As long crew members are listed on the gen dec and have appropriate crew IDs, they do not need to complete the standard CIQ process. After landing, the crew will be escorted by the ground handler or supervisory agent through the main terminal and through security, where they can use the crew clearance line. In the main terminal your handler will show the gen dec to authorities, and the crew will present their IDs and move on. Note that CIQ clearance is never possible onboard the aircraft in Ethiopia.

2. CIQ for passengers

In the case of Addis Ababa (HAAB), passengers will be escorted by the handler to a government-operated VIP lounge in the main terminal if arranged in advance. Alternatively, passengers will clear at the main terminal along with scheduled commercial arrivals. For other airports in Ethiopia passengers clear through the main terminal, along with scheduled commercial passengers, as there are no VIP lounge options other than at HAAB. Passengers must personally fill out arrival cards – airport authorities do not want handlers to do this for you. Passengers will present their arrival cards, visas when needed and passports at immigration. The CIQ process generally requires no more than 10-20 minutes, depending upon luggage and passenger count.

3. VIP clearance requests

Passenger clearance via the VIP lounge at HAAB is only possible with advance arrangement. Note that this service can only be requested by the party in Ethiopia that’s receiving you. The receiving party will communicate with the ground handler, or supervisory agent, who will guide them through the process.

4. Passenger visa requirements

Be mindful that passengers must generally obtain visas prior to arrival, depending upon nationality. For some nationalities it’s possible to obtain visas on arrival, for stays of up to 30 days. If passengers require visas prior to arrival it’s imperative that this not be overlooked as they’ll not be permitted into the country without appropriate visas.

5. Documentation and fees

No fees are collected at the airport level for CIQ clearance except when passengers are eligible and obtain visas on arrival. Note that the passport needs to have at least six months remaining validity.

6. Agricultural considerations

Ethiopia is somewhat unique in that bringing food into the country is not an issue. You’ll be able to offload food and/or catering and, if you wish, keep it under refrigeration at your hotel for the onward flight leg.

7. Day of departure planning

It’s recommended that crew arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to wheels up. This allows crew sufficient time to sign for the flight plan, pass through security, and oversee aircraft services prior to departure. It’s best to obtain any required catering from the airport in-flight caterer as they’ll be able to deliver it to your aircraft. Your ground handler will not transport catering, other than from the official in-flight caterer, out to the aircraft. Be advised that if you source catering from any other supplier crew will need to personally carry this out to the aircraft.

8. Additional reading: Business Aircraft Ops to Ethiopia – Series Index

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.


To obtain VIP lounge CIQ clearance at HAAB it’s important to make arrangements well in advance of day of arrival. Arranging this express/private CIQ clearance option is well worthwhile and improves the clearance experience for passengers. Also, be aware of the entry requirements for passengers.

Later we’ll discuss permits for Ethiopia and their impact on your trip.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Ethiopia, contact us at or


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Tigist Aberra is the Senior Universal Aviation Representative – Ethiopia. After working for several years in the customer service sector, Tigist moved into the aviation handling world. Prior to joining Universal Aviation she was Customer Service Agent for Ethiopian Airways with responsibilities including charter flight handling supervision and cargo import/transit. Tigist has a Bachelor degree in Management, is a member of the AIESEC Ethiopia Alumni Association and fluent in English as well as the local Amharic and Oromiffa languages. Tigist looks forward to welcoming general aviation (GA) operators to Ethiopia – the second most populous nation on the African continent. She can be reached at


Stanley Joseph is general manager of Kilimanjaro Aviation Logistics Centre (KALC) – an subsidiary of Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. Based at KALC headquarters in Mwanza, Tanzania, Stanley is an expert in the permit requirements for all 56 countries of Africa. Stanley has a degree in business administration, education management, and psychology and worked in Poland, Italy, and Ethiopia prior to his current position. He can be reached at

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