BizAv Ops to Russia: Part 2 – Permits, Visas, and Documentation
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled “BizAv Ops to Russia: Part 1 – Airports & Operating Restrictions.”
When you conduct business aircraft ops to or through Russia, there are several top-of-mind-considerations – such as permits, documentation, and visa requirements – to be mindful of. Mistakes in these areas can be costly in terms of delayed operations and regulatory repercussions.
Here is a general overview of what you should be aware of:
1. Verify visa requirements and consider options
Crew visa requirements depend on your type of operation and number of stops in Russia. A visa is not normally required for a single tech stop in the country but is needed for any additional stops. At some locations, however, visas are required even for single in-country stops, so always confirm requirements with your 3rd-party provider. Crew visas must be obtained prior to arrival. You may receive a warning when landing without a visa, and additional landings without crew visas may lead to escalating fines – and, ultimately, a ban on travel to Russia for five years. Best practice is to always arrange visas in advance.
2. Have all required documents available
Landing permits are required for all aircraft traveling to Russia. In order to obtain landing permits, you’ll need to have aircraft airworthiness and registration certificates, insurance, crew licenses and medicals, and – in the case of charter operations – an aircraft operator’s certificate. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will accept temporary registration certificates on a case-by-case basis when operators apply for permits. Note that French-registered aircraft will need a letter from CAA. When traveling to an airport in Russia – such as Surgut (USRR) – that doesn’t have fire coverage, you’ll need to have a “crew crash card” available. This document needs to be sent in advance, in order to obtain a landing permit. Lead time for landing and overflight permits depends on number of trips you make to Russia within one month. For one-four trips per month, the lead time is one business day. If you travel to Russia five or more times in one month, the lead time for landing permits is 14 business days. Short-notice requests may be considered at CAA’s discretion. For more information on this, see our article entitled “Coming Soon: Russia Landing Permit Changes – Effective May 30, 2013“.
3. Overflight permits are necessary
Overflight permits are necessary for traversing Russia with the exception of certain airways where permits are not required. For example if you fly through Russian airspace over the Black Sea, overflight permits are not needed. Note that permit confirmations must be noted in remarks section 18 of the flight plan. If you don’t have the permit on the flight plan, or air traffic control confirms that you don’t have a permit, your flight plan will be denied. CAA operating hours are 0500-1400 UTC during summer and 0600-1500 UTC during winter. Be aware that CAA shuts down on public holidays. Start the permit process earlier so that your permit is processed prior to a holiday closing.
4. Certain flight information regions and airways do not require overflight permits
For international flights over the neutral waters in an area of responsibility of the Russian Federation – without entry into the sovereign airspace of Russia – no permit is required, but flight plans should be submitted at least three hours prior to the estimated time of departure. For example the following routes do not require permits. However, flight plans must be on file:
|UMKK FIR:||URRV FIR:|
|LATMI UB65 TIGNU||GAMAN A277 BANUT|
|BALIT G805 KUNER||GAMAN A805 KARAT R114 TUDEK|
|RANOK UB/B73 TIGNU||TUDEK R114 LAMET A277 GAMAN|
|IPLIT UB/B74 TIGNU||OLENA R230 LAMET A277 BANUT|
|KUNER B60 G805 TIGNU||BANUT A277 LAMET R230 OLENA|
|TIGNU UB65 G805 KUNER||BANUT B147 TISOM|
|SOBLO B143 IDLER|
5. Cabotage rules are taken seriously
Russia enforces cabotage rules very strictly. For example, if you’re operating an aircraft with fewer than 19 passengers, all passengers must arrive/depart Russia internationally on the aircraft in order to travel domestically, and the same passengers must be on each leg. They are also very strict on adding passengers (regardless of nationality) on inter-country operations even for non-revenue flights. Please work with your trip support provider to ensure all regulations are known and followed in these circumstances.
6. You may need a Russian navigator
For travel to most domestic airports in Russia, you’ll need to arrange for an onboard navigator to accompany you. This needs to be requested in the landing permit process, and the navigator must be obtained through an approved supplier. This means you’ll need to travel to an airport of entry to pick up the navigator, travel to the domestic airport, and then return to an international airport to drop off the navigator. Keep in mind that there are additional costs to consider when taking on a navigator.
7. Consider geopolitical constraints
Be aware that direct travel between Russia and Georgia is not permitted. While you may transit from one airspace into the other, for landing you cannot operate directly between Russia and Georgia.
Visa, permit, cabotage, and documentation requirements should all be taken into account well before setting off for Russia. With adequate pre-planning, trips to Russia go very smoothly. Take full advantage of the resources of your 3rd-party provider and ground handlers, to ensure a trouble-free mission to this part of the world.
If you have any questions about this article or need assistance with an upcoming trip to Russia, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.