BizAv Ops to Northern Africa: Part 2 – Operator Tips
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled “BizAv Ops to Northern Africa: Part 1 – Regional Considerations.”
Northern Africa is a part of the world where trip pre-planning is critical and should be done with extra attention. Geopolitical situations can change at a moment’s notice, and operators must be aware of all their options, potential risks, and aircraft service limitations. If, for example, you experience an aircraft on ground (AOG) situation in this region it may be days, or weeks, before you obtain the parts that you need.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Landing/overflight requirements
Landing and overflight permits are required for private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to all Northern African countries. On average, seven business days lead time is recommended for permit requests. Be mindful of permit revision requirements as these vary by country. At least 24 hours notification should be provided for any permit revisions. For a Libya permit you must submit a letter of invitation from your local business sponsor. For Egypt, you’ll need to specify the exact purpose of the trip. Be aware that Egypt has restrictions on issuing permits, depending upon the passengers’ nationality.
For locations that may be volatile, it’s recommended that a Plan B be set in place. This will allow the operator to have the needed permissions to depart at a moment’s notice if such a situation becomes an eventuality.
2. Ground support considerations
Always check with your ground handler, in advance, on availability of tow bars for your model of aircraft as well as any ground support equipment (GSE) you may require at the destination. It’s often good policy to carry an enhanced fly-away spares kit – especially when operating to more remote airports. Due to blowing sand, at some airport locations, consider using engine covers or, alternatively, putting the aircraft into a hangar if one is available.
3. Country restrictions
Always check your worldwide aircraft insurance to confirm there are no restrictions for travel to, or over, any country on your planned itinerary. Additionally, you may have company standard operating procedures (SOPs) that restrict where you may overfly and land the company aircraft. When operating to or over any countries under sanction by your state of aircraft registry, be aware that permit lead times may be much longer, if they can even be obtained at all. It’s recommended that you speak to your 3rd-party provider if you are planned on traveling to a sanctioned country to determine requirements for such a trip. Countries currently under U.S. sanction in this region include Sudan, South Sudan, and Libya.
4. Additional operating tips
Several airports of entry (AOEs) are available at all of these Northern African countries. In most cases, full aircraft support services can be obtained with prior arrangement. Be sure to double check airport operating hours, if they’re not 24 hour operations, and be aware of airport overtime policies. Languages spoken in this region include French, English, Arabic and local versions of Arabic. It may be necessary to have a local representative assist with any language barriers. When requesting local transport always ensure you have a driver who speaks your language. Confirm fuel uplifts in advance when traveling to this area and plan credit arrangements for fuel, handling and 4th-party services including in-flight catering and local transport.
5. Support options
Be aware that support capabilities may be limited at certain airports throughout the region. In-flight catering possibilities may be restricted, so it’s best to plan on 48 hours lead time for these requests. Trip success, in most cases, will require working with experienced, well-connected ground handlers. Prior to any general aviation (GA) movement to the region it’s recommended that operators do their due diligence in terms of pre-planning. Consider if and how current events may negatively impact the success, or schedule reliability, of your mission. You may want to use security tape, after the aircraft is shut down, to ensure no one opens any hatches. It’s recommended to order security briefs – for the airport, local area and hotels – to help ensure safer and better informed decisions regarding upcoming travel.
Northern Africa is a region where operators must be somewhat flexible in terms of support and airport/handler infrastructure expectations. It’s important to have Plan B contingency arrangements – with appropriate permits, transportation and other such services to be able to depart with the aircraft quickly if needed.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to northern Africa, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.