Bizav Ops to Santiago, Chile for FIDAE 2016 – Part 1: Airports & Parking

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Bizav Ops to Santiago, Chile for FIDAE 2016 – Part 1: Airports & Parking

This is a post by author Mariana Tsymbalista. Mariana is the FBO Assistant at Aviasur, a Universal Aviation® Certified ground handler, which has an FBO in Santiago, Chile and provides ground support throughout the country. Mariana is an expert on business aircraft operations in Chile and can be contacted at

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operations to Santiago, Chile for FIDAE 2016.

FIDAE 2016, the International Aerospace and Space Exhibition, is a six day event held March 29 – April 3 in Santiago, Chile. Started back in 1980, FIDAE is the largest airshow in Latin America and attracts strong international attendance during a time that’s also peak tourism and travel season for Chile. Business aircraft operators planning to attend FIDAE 2016 should begin making general aviation (GA) parking, accommodation and support services arrangements as early as possible.
The following is an overview of what you need to know.

1. Event venue

FIDAE 2016 takes place on the northern part of A. Merino Intl (SCEL), on the Chilean Air Force base area. All static displays and exhibits will be located on the military side of this joint use civil/commercial airfield. Aviation, defense, and space technology exhibits always attract high volumes of professional trade attendees.

2. Primary airport

SCEL is the preferred airport as this is the location where the event takes place. This is a 24/7 airport of entry (AOE) with around the clock customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ), aviation fuel and handling services available.

3. SCEL aircraft parking options

Although GA parking is not usually an issue here, we anticipate potential parking challenges during FIDAE, beginning a couple of days prior to the start of the event and ending a few days after its conclusion. For this reason it’s important for all operators traveling to Santiago during this period to make advance arrangements for aircraft parking, crew accommodations, local transport and required support services. While there are hangars at this airport, they will not likely be available during FIDAE.

4. Alternate airports

If parking becomes an issue at SCEL, the closest recommended alternates are Concepcion (SCIE), Puerto Montt (SCTE), Antofagasta (SCFA) and Iquique (SCDA). These are all 24-hour AOEs will full GA support services with the exception of SCIE and SCFA which are only AOEs upon request. For both SCIE and SCFA, at least 72 hours advance notification required for CIQ arrangements.

5. Aviation fuel uplifts

Aviation fuel uplift delays occur at SCEL from time to time, so it’s often best to fuel on arrival rather than prior to departure. It’s recommended to pre-specify required fuel volume and to confirm that appropriate sized fuel trucks are scheduled as some fuelers don’t have large trucks. The process may take longer with smaller capacity fuel trucks as they may need to return to the fuel farm to reload.

6. Aircraft disinsection

Prior to international arrival into Chile, crew should disinsect the aircraft, usually at top of descent, with an approved spray. Upon landing, a form verifying that disinsection has been accomplished must be filled out, signed by the pilot in command (PIC), and presented to CIQ. If disinsection is not carried out prior to arrival, the procedure must be done on the ground. In this case, passengers will be permitted to deplane, and crews will complete the disinsection process, using approved spray cans available from local ground handlers.

7. Hotel and local transport considerations

Preferred hotels and local transport options will be in high demand during FIDAE. There are only three airport hotels – all 3-star properties –, and these are expected to sell out early. Downtown Santiago has a good selection of 4- and 5-star hotels, but many are expected to sell out, with strict cancellation policies in place. Expect to pay 250-300 USD/night for 4-star crew accommodations in central Santiago during the event period. For local travel, prepaid transport (car with driver) is recommended. There are also rental vehicle and vetted public taxi options to consider. Uber is also available, although English-speaking drivers are not the norm. In either case your ground handler will need advance notification to secure and vet preferred transport options, due to high demand.

8. Additional information

For more information on FIDAE 2016 Air and Space Fair see the official site.


While we anticipate that GA parking will be available at SCEL during the FIDAE 2016 period, all operators to Santiago during this time should be prepared for potential parking challenges and restrictions. Many good alternate airports, if required, are available. Also, services such as hotels and transportation will be in high demand so arrangements in advance are recommended.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers landing permit, customs, immigration, and visa information for your trip to FIDAE 2016 in Chile.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Chile, contact me at

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