12 Ways Your Bizav Trip Can Go Wrong – Part 1
This business aviation blog post is part one of a two-part series on ways your trip can go wrong.
While most international operations go smoothly, there’s always potential from time to time for things to go sideways. One or two mistakes in the trip planning or execution process may be all it takes to initiate a ripple effect of issues, which may lead to operational delays or inability to complete a trip. “Know before you go” is always best policy before taking off to the other side of the world.
Here are six things that can make a trip go wrong:
1. Not having proper passport and visas
It’s always important to have valid passports when operating internationally. Some locations require a period of remaining validity on passports – typically six months from the time of arrival. Valid and appropriate visas for intended destinations are also critical considerations. Not having a visa, or having an incorrect visa, can lead to fines or deportation. Ensure that visas are appropriate for both your destination and purpose of travel. For example, crew members traveling to China must have C-type visas and not business or tourist visas. Also, if you require a visa for entry to France, ensure that it’s a Schengen visa. (Schengen visas are valid for European Union [EU] locations.) Additionally, note that Electronic System for Travel Authorization does not work for travel to the U.S. when the aircraft you arrive on is not a visa waiver program-authorized carrier.
2. Missing airport slots/PPRs
Operating to highly congested airports or locations with very limited aircraft parking often brings into play airport slot and/or Prior Permission Required (PPR) considerations. If you don’t have a required airport slot, or the slot time has expired, this can result in fines or the aircraft being grounded. Be aware of airport slot validity as slots may only be valid for five, 10, or 20 minutes. Airport slot situations become more complex at locations – such as Narita, Tokyo (RJAA) which closes at 23:59 local – with operating curfews. If you’re operating close to curfew time, you may need to reposition to another airport, and this may lead to slot availability and permit issues. PPRs are needed for many locations in order to secure permission to use the airport and to park.
3. Not complying with regulations – whether inadvertently or not
Compliance with regulatory mandates is critical in orchestrating a smooth and successful trip. For example a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) waiver may not be needed for a single stop in the U.S., but you may need one if you intend to make additional stops. While typical lead time for TSA waivers is five business days, it’s at the discretion of governing authorities to process requests within that time.
4. Not following permit procedures
Not submitting full and complete information with landing and/or overflight permit requests can cause delays or permit denials. Incorrect or missing information always creates issues. Many Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) – including those of India and Saudi Arabia – require operators to provide a local business contact. Authorities will often contact this “sponsor” before a landing permit is approved. It’s important to be aware of permit lead times for your chosen destinations together with CAA operating hours.
5. Missing documentation
Ensure that you have all required documentation – in correct format – when traveling to foreign locations. Many locations – including EU destinations and Hong Kong (VHHH) – have very specific liability insurance requirements. If insurance coverage/verbiage is not exactly correct, permits will not be issued. This is a particularly important consideration for charter operators. Also, ensure that all pilot licenses and medical certificates are in order. For example Brazil and Mexico mandate that both pilots and copilots be type-rated in the aircraft. And, when operating a charter to France or French territories, the PIC may not be over age 60.
6. Trying to do it all by yourself
When you travel to unfamiliar international destinations, it’s important to enlist assistance of a capable 3rd-party provider. Many international destinations require additional pre-trip and day-of-operation coordination – in terms of lead times; regulations; curfew hours; customs, immigration and quarantine procedures; fuel availability; and slot/PPR coordination. Having an experienced 3rd-party provider on your side is all the more important when operating to remote locations and/or domestic-only foreign airports.
Give yourself sufficient lead time to prepare for an international mission and always work closely with your 3rd-party provider, especially when planning a trip to an unfamiliar location. Rushing through the trip planning process or requesting permits without all required documentation has potential to open up all manner of downstream complications.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers more information on things to consider so your trip doesn’t go wrong.
If you have any questions about this article, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.