Business Aircraft Ops to Chile: Ground Handling & Additional Services

PT 4 M minute read

This is a post by author  Mauricio Castillo. Mauricio is the FBO Supervisor at Aviasur, a Universal Aviations® Certified ground handler, which has an FBO in Santiago, Chile and provides ground support throughout the country. Mauricio 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 operating to Chile and continues from our last article: “Business Aircraft Ops to Chile: Airport Operations.”

Chile stretches almost 2700 miles in length, between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, and is one of the most prosperous countries in South America. When setting up ground handling here we recommend 24 hours advance notification to ensure customs, immigration and agriculture (CIQ), airport authorities, and service providers are advised of your arrival. However, short notice handling requests are possible and can be accommodated.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Handling procedures

To set up ground handling services you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Full itinerary
  • Aircraft information — tail number and type
  • Full crew and passenger information
  • Services required

Private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights are handled the same way in Chile. However, for aircraft with more than 19 passengers, different authorizations and approvals are needed. Once your ground handler receives flight and schedule details, this is forwarded via email to CIQ and airport authorities. Note that international arrivals into Chile require arrival cards for customs and agricultural but not for immigration. The cards will be filled out by the handler in advance. The passengers are only requested to read and sign them upon arrival.

2. Chilean landing permits

All aircraft traveling to Chile require landing permits, and these are generally processed quickly. The permit process involves submitting certificates of registration and airworthiness along with worldwide insurance. Note that if your aircraft has more than 19 passengers you’ll need special permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), with at least 48 hours notification, to obtain a landing permit.

3. Airport slots and parking

Generally, airport slots aren’t needed for travel to airports in Chile. The exception to this rule may be large events, where airport authorities may impose airport slots due to high traffic excepted at the particular airport. General aviation (GA) parking availability is generally adequate at airports in Chile. Santiago (SCEL) is the only airport in Chile with fixed-base operators (FBOs) and private parking ramp areas. At other airports you’ll be parked on public ramp areas.

4. CIQ clearance

At SCEL, CIQ clearance is performed in the FBO while at all other airports it’s cleared within the main terminal. Other than for diplomatic,
head of state and air ambulance flights, CIQ clearance onboard the aircraft is never an option.

5. CIQ processing

Clearing CIQ in SCEL’s FBOs takes no more than 15 minutes for passengers and crew. However, if you’re traveling with more than 19 passengers, clearance will be in the main terminal, via a separate line, and may take 30 minutes to complete. For airports other than SCEL, handlers escort passengers and crew to the main terminal where CIQ is cleared via a separate line. Crew listed on the gen dec, regardless of nationality, do not require visas for Chile. Passengers who do require visas must obtain these prior to arrival or face deportation.

6. Local fees and charges

Landing fees in Chile include parking, use of airport lighting and aeronautical charges. On top of this, you’ll pay an airport fee, based on the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and time on the ground. Additionally, there are per passenger fees of about 30 USD, usually paid by your ground handler and billed to you later. Upon request ground handlers in Chile provide advance cost estimates of all charges/fees applicable for your stop in the country.

7. GSE and service considerations

At larger locations, such as SCEL, ground handlers own their own ground support equipment (GSE) and can fully support most GA models. At smaller airports, fewer GSE options are available and equipment may need to be brought in or sourced from 3rd-party providers. Note that at some smaller domestic airfields even basic services, such as lav/water/fuel, may not be available. So, it’s always recommended to check in advance to confirm that all equipment and services you require will be available at your destination.

8. Fourth-party services

Your ground handler will assist with 4th-party service arrangements, such as in-flight catering and local transport, and can establish credit with advance notification.

9. Rental car options

Rental cars are available at most larger airports in Chile and can be brought out to the FBO at SCEL. If you land at a smaller airport without a rental car outlet, your handler can make arrangements to bring a vehicle to the airport. Both manual and automatic transmission vehicles are available and larger locations have good selections of specialty vehicles, including SUVs. Rental cars are recommended for crew familiar with the local area.

10. In-flight catering possibilities

SCEL has in-flight catering available. However, at most other airports in Chile the recommendation is usually to source catering from local hotels or restaurants. There are no security issues with crew, or handlers, bringing catering through security and out to the aircraft. Removing catering from the aircraft, to store for the next flight leg, may or may not be possible depending on the food type and how it’s packaged. If you plan to store certain onboard food items at the airport it’s important to ensure appropriate storage facilities and refrigeration are available.

11. Additional reading: Business Aircraft Ops to Chile – Series Index

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.


GA ground handling can be arranged at any airport in Chile. However, keep in mind that service and support options are limited at smaller outlying airport locations. Also, be aware of the landing permit and CIQ requirements for your particular destination.

Later, we’ll discuss customs, immigration and quarantine for Chile and their impact on your trip.


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

Got a question for Universal about this article?