Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: South Africa Operations

PT 3 M minute read
Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: South Africa Operations

Business aircraft traffic to South Africa has increased in recent years. While airport and aircraft service options are generally good in this part of the world, it’s always best to provide your 3rd-party provider and ground handler with as much advance notification as possible. In addition, you need to ensure you have all required documentation on hand.

If you are planning a trip to South Africa, the following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. South Africa landing permits are required

A landing permit is needed for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights, and the official lead time is five business days. Landing permits are processed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) during normal office hours of Monday-Friday, 0800-1600 local. Short-notice permit requests may be possible at the discretion of CAA. Note that permit processing by CAA is normally not possible on weekends and holidays.

2. Consider permit validity

Landing permits are valid for +72 hours. Revisions are not required for passenger or time changes within this 72-hour period. Permit revisions are, however, necessary for a change of destination, or if passenger/time changes are not within the 72-hour time frame.

3. Additional permits may be necessary

A special form must be filled out, in advance, when operating to South Africa with more than eight passengers onboard. Note, also, that a special permit from the African National Park is needed for all operations to Skukuza (FASZ). Your 3rd-party provider can supply both of these forms.

4. Know documentation requirements

When applying for a landing permit, you’ll need to provide airworthiness and registration certificates, Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) if applicable, flight log, worldwide insurance, noise certificate, Federal Communications Commission radio licenses, maintenance release certificate, and crew licenses. Visas may be required for passengers and/or crew members, and it’s always best to check on this in advance to avoid issues.

5. There are several popular stops in South Africa

Common general aviation stops in South Africa include Cape Town (FACT), Johannesburg (FAOR) or Lanseria Johannesburg (FALA), and George (FAGG). All are airports of entry, with the exception of FAGG. Full services are available at all of these locations; however, 24 hours’ advance notification is necessary to arrange services at both Johannesburg airports.

6. Take into account FACT considerations

Departure and arrival slots are mandatory for all flights at FACT and should be requested at least 24 hours in advance. Prior Permission Required (PPR) is not necessary. Arrival slots are allocated based on Estimated On-Block Time (EOBT), which takes into account arrival + taxi time. The departure slot is the time at which the pilot must ensure he/she is ready to start and taxi. There are no changes to the standard International Civil Aviation Organization flight plan, which notes flight time in the usual manner. Operators, however, must calculate EOBT as follows:
Estimated Time of Departure (which is EOBT off block as opposed to on-block departure slot) + taxi time + Calculated Takeoff Time (CTOT, within a 5-minute tolerance) + flight time + arrival taxi time = EOBT or arrival slot.

7. Note items for FAOR

Departure and arrival slots are mandatory for all flights at FAOR with deviation +/- one hour. Arrival slots are allocated as EOBT (see above).

8. Be aware of FALA and FAGG information

FALA is set up primarily for business aircraft operations, has a full-service general aviation terminal, and does not require either PPR or airport slots. This airport is centrally located between the business district and major Johannesburg hotels.

FAGG does not require either airport slots or PPR; however, operators must be aware of airport curfew hours. FAGG operating hours are Monday-Thursday, 0630-1900 local; Friday, 0630-2000 local; Saturday, 0830-1500 local; and Sunday, 0830-1900 local as per permanent notice to airmen. Note that customs, immigration, and quarantine can no longer be arranged at FAGG.

9. Know other general considerations

Cabotage is not an issue for operators traveling to South Africa. Yellow fever vaccination is required when traveling from a country that’s known to have yellow fever issues. This applies even to tech stops in South Africa. Note that yellow fever vaccinations require a 10-day incubation period, and a proof of vaccination is valid for 10 years. Obtain a security briefing prior to flying to South African destinations, and consider secure transportation – or at least prepaid transport (car with driver) – within the region. Public transport should be avoided due to general security and theft issues.


There are several items to consider when traveling to South Africa, such as landing permit requirements, airport slots, PPRs, and proof of yellow fever vaccination. It’s recommended that you provide as much advance notice as possible to your 3rd-party provider to make the needed arrangements for your travel to South Africa. Also note that there are some airports that may have restricted hours of operation, so schedule revisions may be needed.


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