Business Aircraft Ops to Peru – Part 2: Destination Tips
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled "Business Aircraft Ops to Peru – Part 1: Permits, Visas & Restrictions."
While the vast majority of business aircraft traffic to Peru is destined for Lima (SPIM), frequent general aviation movements also take place to Cusco (SPZO), Iquitos (SPQT), Arequipa (SPQU), and Pisco (SPSO). It’s important to understand operating restrictions and opportunities for all destinations.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Cusco (SPZO)
Operating hours for Cusco (SPZO) are 0600-sunset (1700-1800 local depending on the time of year). Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) is available 0600-1800 local. There are high winds after 1500 local (2000 UTC), so it is recommended to avoid operations after this time. The ideal time for arriving/departing is 1000 local (1500 UTC). No helicopter services or navigator pilots are available at this airport. Three business days’ notice for fuel arrangements is needed. The rainy season is November to March, and the airport elevation is 10,860 feet.
Visitors to Cusco often like to visit Machu Picchu (the lost Incan City) as well as the Sacred Valley. Your ground handler can direct you to preferred tour companies.
2. Iquitos (SPQT)
Iquitos (SPQT) is the largest city in the Peruvian rainforest and the fifth largest city in Peru. This is a 24-hour Airport of Entry (AOE), with no airport slots or Prior Permission Required (PPR) needed. Full aircraft and support services are available from competent local ground handlers. All services for ground handling can be arranged via credit with prior arrangements. If a crew has the free time available, an Amazon jungle tour is a great way to spend a few hours.
3. Arequipa (SPQU)
Arequipa (SPQU) is the capital, and second most populous city in Peru. It is also the second most industrialized city in the country. The elevation is 7,550 feet above sea level, and the area is surrounded by three volcanoes. After Cusco Arequipa is the second most popular city in Peru and the country’s second most important city, after Lima.
This airport is an AOE that operates 0500-2200 local daily. Overtime can be arranged, and the lead time is a minimum of 48 hours (with additional fees applicable). No airport slots or PPRs are needed for this airport. Weather conditions can be unique at this location, where it’s actually warmer in the winter than in summer (average temperature 58oF).
4. Pisco (SPSO)
Pisco (SPSO) is a 24-hour airfield, but it is not an AOE. The ground handler is the Airport Authority, and there is no credit available for fees and services. Upon arrival the pilot must disembark the aircraft and proceed to the Peruvian Corporation of Commercial Airports and Aviation office in the control tower to complete a handling form before any services can be rendered. This cannot be arranged in advance. There are no English-speaking agents with the Airport Authority. The airport accepts cash only for ground handling charges and airport fees. Note that the Airport Authority only accepts U.S. dollars and Peruvian Nuevo Sol. The ground handlers cannot arrange transportation services. Pisco was formally known for its Brandy (used in the famous Pisco Sour cocktail), but these days it is known for its unique birds and marine life (sea lions, turtles, dolphins, and whales).
5. Fuel considerations when traveling to Peru
Petroperu, a Peruvian state-owned petroleum company, requires three business days’ notification, preferably via fax, for fuel requests. Most airports in Peru will fuel aircraft 24/7, but they’ll need to receive a fuel release from their main office. Main office hours for Petroperu are Monday-Friday, 0800-1730 local, and afterhours contact numbers are available for emergency and short-notice situations.
6. CIQ clearance tips
Customs clearance takes up to one hour during peak periods. Otherwise, clearance is usually 15-30 minutes. For CIQ clearance at most airports in Peru, you will have to arrive at the national entrance to check your luggage, pass immigration and security checks, and then go to a special gate to take transportation to your destination. Note that the luggage will arrive at a later time. For departures, after immigration, you will then clear customs and go to the international exit to get to the aircraft.
Note: In Peru most CIQ clearances are done through the main terminal.
7. Security considerations
Peru is currently at security threat level three (out of five). Lima, however, is considered a level four threat, and other Peruvian cities vary in terms of threat levels from time to time. It’s important to always ensure that you obtain a security brief/assessment prior to traveling to/within Peru. For more on security planning, read our series on security assessments for business aviation.
8. Hotel and local transport considerations
Lima has a good selection of 4- and 5-star crew accommodation options – including large international hotel chains. Larger destinations in Peru offer adequate western-style accommodations, but in some cases options may be limited. It’s best to work with your 3rd-party provider to research available options. Recommended crew transport within Peru is prepaid transport (car with driver) – especially for those unfamiliar with the country. Public taxis should only be considered at the recommendation of your local ground handler or hotel.
When you operate to Peru – particularly if your destination is anywhere other than SPIM – it’s important to plan your schedule well in advance. Ensure that ground handling and fuel arrangements are confirmed in a timely manner, and check to ensure availability of all required aircraft services, fuel, and credit.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Peru, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.