Canada Permit Requirements for Bizav Operators

PT 4 M minute read
Canada Permit Requirements for Bizav Operators

For business aircraft operators requesting landing or overflight permits for Canada, it’s best to work with a 3rd-party provider. Rules and regulations can be confusing, particularly in terms of what is and what is not permitted for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. Adequate pre-trip planning is essential in order to avoid potential cabotage and/or licensing issues. Here is what you’ll need to know:

1. Are overflight permits required for Canada?

Overflight permits are needed for experimental aircraft only. Such requests are processed by Transport Canada (TC). Lead time for overflight permits is normally five working days, and permits remain valid for 10 days after their issue dates. It’s necessary to provide Air Traffic Control (ATC) with a firm schedule and to notify of any schedule revisions. Overflight permits are required whenever an aircraft on an experimental certificate crosses Canadian airspace, over either landmasses or water.

2. What documentation and information are needed for overflight permits?

You’ll need to provide ATC with your certificate of aircraft registration, special airworthiness certificate and worldwide insurance. An original copy of your worldwide insurance must be kept onboard the aircraft, in the event the flight must divert or the aircraft is ramp-checked. You’ll also need to provide a certificate of limitations from your governing authority. Additionally, an operator must supply the aircraft tail number, operator name and Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) of the aircraft, as well as a full schedule.

3. Are landing permits required for private non-revenue or charter flights into Canada?

Private non-revenue flights do not require landing permits for destination or tech stops in Canada. Landing permits are not necessary for charter flight tech stops or overnight stops for purposes of crew rest, with or without passengers onboard. In addition, landing permits are not necessary for charter operators with an "exemption license," similar to a blanket charter permit. All charter operations over 35,000 lbs. MTOW require charter landing permits for each operation into Canada, unless the operator has an exemption. If the aircraft is less than 35,000 lbs. MTOW, you will not need a landing permit for trans-border operations under certain conditions. For example, if you’re flying from the US to Canada and back to the US with the same passengers into and out of the country, a landing permit is not necessary for aircraft of less than 35,000 lbs. MTOW. If, however, you’re flying from the US to Canada and then to another international destination, a Canadian landing permit will always be required. Due to the complexity of when a landing permit is required, it’s recommended that you contact your 3rd-party provider.

4. What’s involved in obtaining a Canadian landing permit?

In order to operate to Canada as a charter, you’ll need a Canadian operator license and a Canadian foreign air operator certificate. A Canadian foreign air operator certificate must be obtained before a license, and the license process takes about two weeks once the application is complete. Licenses are obtained from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), while foreign air operator certificates are issued by TC. Information must be submitted separately to each agency, and landing permit requests will not be approved if the information (including operator name) is not the same on all documents.

5. What are ongoing reporting requirements associated with operating charter flights to Canada?

In all cases, charter operators must submit monthly reports of charter activity to Canada to appropriate addresses on the foreign operator certificate. If this periodic reporting is not done, your ability to operate to Canada may be compromised, and you may face losing your license or certificate, along with heavy fines.

6. Are there restrictions in terms of moving passengers within Canada?

Private non-revenue operators may move passengers, including Canadian citizens, to and within Canada, so long as the passengers are associated with the operator’s company and are not providing compensation for the flight. Rules are stricter for charter operations. While charter operators may make multiple stops within Canada, and there are no restrictions regarding nationality of passengers, there are Canadian cabotage-related restrictions on movements within Canada. Canadian authorities want to know the lead passenger on each flight leg, and they’re strict on passenger count per leg. To avoid issues with cabotage, be sure to check with your 3rd-party provider on restrictions in terms of picking up and dropping off passengers intra-Canada.

7. What are permit request guidelines and recommendations?

Charter operators should plan on 15-30 days lead time when requesting the Canadian operator license. Shorter-notice requests may be possible at the discretion of the CTA, which is open 24/7. All landing permit requests must be sent via fax or e-mail. When a permit is confirmed, the original request will be faxed back to you with a stamp and an approval number on it. Charter permits are valid for the requested day of operations. If the date changes, a revision is required. A revision is also necessary if the destination in Canada, departure point prior to Canada or destination after Canada changes. Note that no revision is necessary if the tail number changes, so long as the aircraft type is the same.

It’s also important to note that depending on the type of charter flight, different types of charter landing permits are required. The following is a list of permit lead times by charter flight type:

Type of Charter Flight Permit Lead Time
TUSP (Trans-border U.S. Passenger Charter Flight) 48 hours
TUSC (Trans-border U.S. Cargo Charter Flight) 48 hours
TPNC (Trans-border Passengers Non-Resalable Charter Flight) Post facto (i.e., after the fact)
TGC (Trans-border Goods Charter Flight) Post facto (i.e., after the fact)
CEP (Canadian Entity Passengers Flight) 48 hours
CEC (Canadian Entity Cargo Flight) 48 hours
CEPF (Canadian Entity Passengers Fifth Freedom Flight) 30 days
FEPF (Foreign Entity Passengers Fifth Freedom Flight) 30 days
CECF (Canadian Entity Cargo Fifth Freedom Flight) 30 days
FECF (Foreign Entity Cargo Fifth Freedom Flight) 30 days


Charter operators need to ensure that they have a Canadian operating license and Canadian foreign operator certificate in place, when required, prior to making a charter trip to Canada. Lead times and documentation considerations for licenses and certificates take some coordination. It’s best practice to confirm that all required documentation is available and to begin working early with your 3rd-party provider.


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