Business Aviation in Barcelona Series: Part 2 – Operating requirements

PT 3 M minute read
Business Aviation in Barcelona Series: Part 2 – Operating requirements

This is a post by author Gonzalo Barona. Gonzalo is Managing Director for Universal Aviation Spain, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Madrid, Gerona, and Barcelona. Gonzalo is an expert on business aircraft operations in Spain and can be contacted at

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled, "Business Aviation in Barcelona Series: Part 1 – Airport Considerations."

While charter operations should plan on extra lead time when operating to Spain, private flights face minimal procedural and/or documentation challenges. In most cases airport slots for Barcelona (LEBL) are easy to adapt when schedules need to be changed.

The following is an overview of what operating requirements you need to know when planning a trip to Barcelona:

1. Landing permits

Private flights do not require landing permits for operations to Spain, but charter movements by non-European Union (EU)-registered aircraft do require permits. The Civil Aviation Authority operates Monday-Friday, 0900-2100 local and is closed on weekends and holidays. When submitting all required documentation, plan on a minimum of four days’ advance notification to secure a landing permit for a first-time charter. Be mindful that a special form must be filled out and submitted, along with appropriate documentation. Landing permits are not required for tech stops in Spain, including tech stops involving crew changes.

2. PPR requirements

Prior Permission Required (PPR) is not normally necessary for LEBL. During particularly busy local event periods, however, PPR mandates may be in place for limited periods. Always confirm this with your 3rd-party provider or ground handler in advance.

3. Permit documentation

Landing permit requirements for Spain depend on the number of operations a charter company makes to the country during an International Air Transport Association (IATA) season (winter/summer).

For three or fewer charter operations per IATA season: operators must submit the application form and required documents. Required documents include:

  • air operator certificate
  • aircraft noise certificate
  • aircraft registration and airworthiness certificates
  • insurance certificate, including EU liability coverage for bodily injury to passengers, damage to baggage/cargo, and general 3rd-party liability

For four of more charter operations per IATA season: operators must submit additional documentation and be accredited by Spain’s Air Safety Agency. Additional documentation includes:

  • security plan to deal with acts of unlawful interference
  • letter of approval/acceptance of your security plan from the aeronautical authority of aircraft registry
  • accreditation of your representative (ground handler) in Spain

4. Airport slots

Airport slots are needed for all private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations into/out of LEBL. Slots should be requested as soon as schedule is known, but short-notice slot requests – within a few hours – are usually possible. Slot deviation is -/+ 10 minutes for arrival and -/+15 minutes for departure. Revising airport slots is usually not problematic at LEBL. If passengers are running late, your ground handler will normally be able to coordinate a later slot and will file a "ready" message shortly before the time you wish to depart.

5. CIQ procedures

Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) clearance at the LEBL’s general aviation terminal usually takes about five minutes for arrival and 10-15 minutes for departure, depending on the number of passengers. For tech stops, passengers/crew members normally do not need to clear CIQ but may on rare occasions be examined at CIQ’s discretion. If you need to reclaim value-added tax prior to an international departure, this can be accomplished at the main terminal (ensure you have all accompanying receipts). Onboard pets are permitted so long as the animal has a pet passport and/or is micro chipped, and you have evidence of current vaccinations, as well as a vet letter stating health status. Spain is refreshingly lenient in terms of arriving international food and in-flight catering items. If you wish to bring in catering for the next leg of your travel, it’s best to communicate with a 3rd-party provider and/or ground handler, but it’s usually not an issue.

6. Don’t forget about EU-ETS

Intra-EU flights (flights departing and arriving within the EU) may be required to comply with EU-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) monitoring, reporting, and carbon trading requirements. You can read our series on aviation EU-ETS or visit the EU-ETS Resource Center for more information.

Closing thoughts

To ensure a seamless trip, first-time charter operators are advised to work with their 3rd-party provider or ground handler at least a couple of weeks in advance of an operation to Spain.


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

Got a question for Gonzalo about this article?