Business Aviation in Venezuela Series: Security Planning
This is a post by author Walter Lindo. Walter is Managing Director for Universal Aviation Venezuela – Caracas. Walter is an expert on business aircraft operations in Venezuela and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Singapore and continues from our last article: "Business Aviation in Venezuela Series: Fuel, Security, and Additional Services."
Off-airport security should be top of mind for all visiting passengers and crew to Venezuela. Your ground handler and hotel will be able to arrange appropriate and safe local transportation.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. What sort of security is in place at airports?
Major airports in Venezuela have adequate airport security, including fences, cameras, and routine armed patrols. Private security for aircraft can be arranged at Caracas (SVMI) with 72 hours’ notice. Only one on-airport security company – "CAI" – is licensed for SVMI, and agents are unarmed. Other airports don’t offer official security services, but your ground handler may be able to arrange private aircraft security with airport authorities. It’s recommended that such inquiries be made in advance in order for the ground handler to inquire about availability for such services at airports throughout Venezuela.
2. How is airside ramp access restricted?
If a vendor or aviation maintenance technician does not have ramp access authority, your ground handler will need to arrange a ramp access pass. Visiting aviation maintenance technicians for example need to provide passports for ramp access, and the ground handlers must escort visiting personnel at all times. The same permit must be obtained for crew members or passengers who want to enter the ramp other than on day of arrival or departure. Crew and passengers must always be escorted when airside. Your ground handler will advise airport police each time they escort an aviation maintenance technician, crew member, or passenger airside.
3. What sort of screening is in place at airports?
Crew members, passengers, and luggage are screened on both arrival and departure in Venezuela. Crew members typically arrive at the airport two hours prior to the estimated time of departure and clear outbound customs in preparation for departure. Passengers are escorted to the aircraft by the ground handler for departure, after clearing outbound customs.
4. What about off-airport security?
Personal security arrangements are not necessary for passengers or crew members in Venezuela, but some operators prefer to use such services. Pre-paid secure transportation, however, is recommended for travel off-airport. Never use public transportation. This includes taxis that are not vetted by the ground handler or the hotel in Venezuela as taxi regulations are lax, and there may be security issues. If crew members go out to a restaurant or travel around the city, it’s best to use local transport arranged either by the hotel or the ground handler.
When operating to secondary airports in Venezuela, particularly uncontrolled airfields, additional on-airport security precautions are in order.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Venezuela, contact me at email@example.com.
Later, we’ll discuss flight planning, weather, and NOTAMs for Venezuela and their impact on your trip.