5 Great Tech Stops in Africa for Business Aviation – and Why
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on great technical stops for business aviation.
When flying to or from Africa, tech stop planning will usually be a function of great circle routing. However, there are many options to consider in the tech stop determination equation for business jet operators. All locations in Africa require landing permits (for private non-revenue and charter [non-scheduled commercial] flights) so there are restrictions to consider in terms of short notice flight changes. Additionally, jet fuel may not be available 24 hours a day at certain locations, support services may be limited, and there may be security considerations to keep in mind. Plan for the most effective tech stops, and tech stop alternates, within the African region.
1. What are the 5 recommended locations for tech stops in Africa?
Depending on where you are operating, there may be many good locations for tech stops. These are the 5 we recommend.
Our recommended 5 locations are:
- ✈ Sal Island, Cape Verde (GVAC)
- ✈ Dakar, Senegal (GOOY)
- ✈ Cairo, Egypt (HECA)
- ✈ Nairobi, Kenya (HKJK)
- ✈ Niamey, Niger (DRRN)
Sal Island, Cape Verde (GVAC) offers 24-hour quick turns with reasonable jet fuel cost and is a good stop coming from and going to Africa. No airport slots are required, but you’ll need a landing permit for a private non-revenue or charter (non-scheduled commercial) operation, with official lead time of five working days (Cape Verde Civil Aviation Authority may approve a landing permit within the lead time frame at their discretion). Dakar, Senegal (GOOY) is a good tech stop between Africa and South America or Africa and the Middle East (depending on where you’re flying from/to) with 24-hour services, reasonable jet fuel prices and quick turns. Airport slots are not required, but landing permits are (five working days lead time). Cairo, Egypt (HECA) is a good tech stop, due to its geographic location, but be aware of the local political situation. This is a 24-hour location with more reasonable jet fuel costs than other locations in the area. Airport slots are not required, but all aircraft do require a landing permit (with four days lead time) for tech stops. We recommend Nairobi, Kenya (HKJK) for quick turns and good fuel prices 24 hours a day. No airport slots are required at HKJK, and the landing permit lead time is five working days, but Civil Aviation Kenya may approve it within the required timeframe at their discretion. We’ve also had good tech stop success with Niamey, Niger (DRRN). This 24-hour airport offers quick turns and fairly reasonable fuel costs. The landing permit lead time is five working days and no airport slots are required.
2. What is turnaround time for jet-fuel uplifts?
Turn time averages about one hour at these locations, but this really depends on your type of aircraft, the amount of fuel required and the size of the fuel truck.
3. Do operators need to clear customs or have visas at these locations?
Customs will be notified of your arrival, and information will be provided to airport authorities in advance, but you will not formally clear customs for tech stops. Always check with your 3rd-party provider on visa requirements for tech stops.
4. Can ground handling, jet fuel and other services be arranged on credit?
All services for the above mentioned airport can be arranged via credit with advance notice. Aviation fuel cards are accepted at HECA, but crew must have a jet fuel release with them at other locations. HKJK doesn’t accept the fuel card, so a fuel release is needed. Due to security issues in the region, we don’t recommend carrying cash to pay for services at an airport.
5. Is English spoken well at these locations?
English is adequate at locations in Egypt, Senegal and Kenya. At other locations, you may encounter agents and service personnel with limited English-speaking ability.
6. Are there any complications with these tech stops?
We always recommend that operators be aware of the geopolitical situation at tech stops in Africa. It’s best practice to obtain security briefs for locations you intend to visit in this region. Be aware that jet fuel shortages are possible from time to time, and advance notice of such shortages is often limited.
7. Are there any tech stops to avoid in this region?
We recommend avoiding tech stops in Nigeria due to jet fuel availability issues. Some other locations to avoid include Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, as they may have unreliable communications, jet fuel availability issues, and limited ground handling services. You’ll want to avoid tech stops at certain destinations in Africa due to local political and security issues. While airport security is generally good within the region, the same cannot always be said for security off airport.
When planning tech stops, consider all the variables. Have all your landing-permit paperwork in order, confirm that insurance coverage is adequate for the intended region of operations, and consider impact of landing permit lead times on short-notice schedule revisions. Every international flight is a new adventure. Tech stops and routings that function well on one flight may not work as well on the next. Take the time to work effectively. Consider and pre-plan all tech stops and alternate options.
If you have any questions about this article, contact Christine Vamvakas at email@example.com.
Later, we’ll discuss great technical stops for business aviation in Europe.