Business Aviation and the London International Boat Show – Part 2: Permits, Airport Slots & CIQ

PT 3 M minute read
Business Aviation and the London International Boat Show – Part 2: Permits, Airport Slots & CIQ

This is a post by author Jason Hayward. Jason is General Manager for Universal Aviation U.K. – London-Stansted. Jason is an expert on business aircraft operations in the UK and can be contacted at

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week entitled “Business Aviation and the London International Boat Show – Part 1: Airports, Parking & Ground Handling.

When traveling into London for the London International Boat Show (Jan 6-7, 2017), or any other time of year, you’ll need to be aware of requirements for permits, documentation, slots, customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) and more.

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

1.Landing permits

Landing permits are required for non-EU registered charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. However, they are not needed for private non-revenue flights. While official lead time for a charter permit is five business days it’s often possible to obtain one within 24 hours, assuming all required documentation is assembled and submitted, and subject to CAA’s approval. Note that you must have your UK charter permit approved before your trip may begin.

2. Documentation

Required documentation includes: full schedule, passenger and crew manifest per flight leg, certificates of registration and airworthiness, worldwide insurance and air operator certificate (AOC). At this time operators are not required to submit a Third County Operator (TCO) certificate when applying for UK charter permits. Obtaining charter landing permits in the UK has become more of a user friendly and efficient process. For example, CAA often allows operators to list up to five aircraft registries on one permit, to avoid issues/delays should you need to substitute an aircraft day of operation.

3. Airport slots and PPRs

No London-area airports have prior permission required (PPR) mandates in place. However, airport slots are required for arrival/departure to all London area airports with the exception of Biggin Hill (EGKB) and Farnborough (EGLF). In most cases operators are able to get the slot times they want, although this is not always the case at London City (EGLC) during mid-morning and early evening peak periods of scheduled commercial activity.

4. CIQ processing

UK Border Force accommodates expedited customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance at all London-area airports, so long as operators provide basic information prior to international arrival. At no later than four hours prior to arrival, it’s important to forward full names of passengers/crew, dates of birth (DOBs), passport details and where each person onboard will be staying locally to your handler which will provide this to the agency. Note that you may encounter clearance delays if this information is not submitted in advance and/or if an additional passenger shows up on the aircraft. Also, note that expedited CIQ is considered a premium service for which you will be billed.

5. Passports and visas

For entry to the UK, passports need only be valid for intended length of stay. EU citizens, and many nationalities including U.S. and Canadian, do not require visas for the UK. For those nationalities requiring visas these must be obtained prior to arrival. Note that visas on arrival are never an option in the UK. Crew, regardless of nationality, may enter the UK for up to seven days without a visa. However, this only applies if you’re arriving and departing as active crew. If you’re flying in as crew but departing on a scheduled commercial flight a visa will be needed for any nationality requiring one. Should circumstances change and cause the aircraft to remain in the UK for more than seven days crew traveling without visas may need to depart the UK and return with visas.

6. Cabotage

Since CAA took over the GA permit process a couple of years ago we’ve seen no cabotage issues or enforcement within the UK. Therefore, it should be possible to pick up and transport UK nationals on domestic legs within the UK, aboard foreign registered equipment, without cabotage concerns.

7. Pets on board

Traveling with a pet can cause delays and issues at the best of times and has potential to present a real dilemma. Note that only specific London-area airports accept temporary pet importation such as Stansted (EGSS), EGKB and EGLF. And, unless you have all applicable pet necessary health documentation verified and available don’t risk attempting to bring a pet (defined as a dog, cat or ferret) to the UK.


The landing permit process is straightforward and less onerous compared to a few years back. However, it’s important to submit your requests with the recommended lead time and accompanied by the appropriate documentation. Depending on your airport destination, airport slots are needed for arrival and departure. To take advantage of the UK Border Force premium and expedited CIQ services, at any London area airport, it’s essential to coordinate with your handler and CIQ authorities at least four hours prior to the estimated time of arrival.

Got a question for Jason about this article?