Operating a Business Aircraft through Nicaragua – Part 1: Permits
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operations to Nicaragua.
For business aircraft operators, Nicaragua overflight permit and landing permits requirements are straightforward. However, an additional level of permit complexity must be considered when planning domestic operations in Nicaragua.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Permit requirements
Landing and overflight permits are required by Nicaragua for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights. Landing, overflight and domestic permits are requested from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) via email (English is accepted) with official lead time of 24 business hours. Permits are valid for the Zulu day only. CAA operating hours are Monday-Thursday 0730-1530 local, and CAA closes on public holidays. The permit processing department, however, remains open 24/7. Short-notice permit requests may be possible, at the discretion of CAA. Landing permit documentation is normally submitted via email. However, no document submissions are needed for overflight permits. While local business contacts are not required for landing permits, the purpose of your flight is needed.
2. PPR and slots
No airport slots or prior permission required (PPR) is necessary for general aviation (GA) operations to Nicaragua.
3. Domestic permits
If you intend to fly to more than one location within Nicaragua you’ll need a domestic permit. This permit is obtained upon arrival, after you advise airport authorities of your planned flight legs and supply appropriate documentation. Domestic permits are usually approved immediately. Be aware, however, that if you then decide to operate to an airport not listed on your domestic permit application, five business days lead time must be given.
4. Nicaraguan overflight permits
Effective April 9, 2014, operators must provide full schedule, operator name, aircraft information, planned altitude and airspeed, and crew/passengers details for overflight permits. Note that overflight permits are only required if you’re overflying the Nicaraguan landmass. In the case of a flight over the landmass above flight level (FL) 195, you’ll need both Nicaragua and CENAMER overflight permits. When passing Nicaragua offshore you’ll only require the CENAMER permit.
CENAMER is a coalition of CENtral AMERican countries that work together as one for ATC Service. The controlling Authority is COCESNA. The actual controllers are in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, but control the airspace of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
5. Landing permits
For landing permits you’ll submit the same information mandated for overflight permits plus aircraft registration and airworthiness certificates, pilot licenses, and medicals. Charter operators do not need to supply any additional documentation.
6. Permit revisions
Official lead time for permit revisions is 24 hours. In practice, however, revisions can usually be processed on shorter notice. Permit revisions are necessary for all schedule changes outside the permit validity period as well as for changes in operator, aircraft or crew/passenger information. If you won’t be using your permit there’s no need to cancel. The system does this automatically if you do not land or enter into Nicaraguan airspace.
Always ensure that appropriate documents are submitted with landing permit requests. Be mindful, also, of the newly implemented and additional information requirements now in place regarding Nicaragua overflights.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Nicaragua, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers more operational tips for travel to Nicaragua.