Charter Flight Operations to Germany: Landing Permits 101
When you operate to Germany as charter (non-scheduled commercial), it’s important to ensure that appropriate landing permits are in place. Government authorities mandate specific documentation and lead times to process permit requests. For this reason, it’s recommended that charter operators keep all required documentation on file with their 3rd-party provider, just in case a short-notice trip comes up.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Adhering to strict lead times
The government authority that processes charter landing permits for Germany is "Luftfahrt Bundesamt" (LBA) – the national civil aviation authority. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 0800-1400 local. Lead time for charter permits is four working days. For permit revisions, a minimum of 48 working hours is needed, and revisions received without this lead time will not be granted. No permit revision is required if only a time change is involved within a 24-hour window of the approved date.
2. Aviation security plan requirements
Be mindful that an ASP can take up to three weeks for LBA to process/approve once the application has been submitted. As charter trips may be requested at a moment’s notice, it’s recommended that this ASP process be initiated as a preventative measure – even if no charter trips are currently planned – in order to avoid delays. Your 3rd-party provider can assist in the ASP process for Germany.
3. Germany charter permit documentation requirements
Certain documents must be submitted for any charter permit request to Germany. Be aware that LBA is very diligent in ensuring that all required documents are correct. For this reason, it’s important to begin the permit process as early as possible, in the event document revisions are necessary. Besides European Union insurance, for example, specific insurance coverage is mandated for Germany. A particular form must be used by your insurance provider in order to comply with required LBA verbiage. Other documents needed for a charter permit include: Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) with operations specifications, charter agreement between the charter operator and passengers, declaration of competency (a U.S. operator can use the U.S. Department of Transportation Part 298 Certificate), and a completed operating permit questionnaire. Please contact a 3rd-party provider to obtain a full list of required documentation.
4. Operating permit questionnaire
This five-page document must be filled out by the operator and requires specific information on the operator, aircraft equipment, flight, and maintenance department personnel, along with a list of all aircraft in your fleet. Information on the operating permit questionnaire must be clear, and without errors, to avoid later revisions that may delay the permit process. A completed operating permit questionnaire must be signed by someone in the flight department.
5. Documents that must be onboard at arrival
LBA requires all necessary documents, originals or certified copies, to be onboard when arriving in Germany. A copy of the charter landing permit must be available, and onboard, for review by airport authorities on landing. A current noise certificate needs to be available, as this is used to calculate landing fees based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 16 requirements for Stage 1/2/3. Without all of this documentation ready and available, you may find landing charges per metric ton to be considerably higher.
Obtaining a charter operating permit for Germany requires exacting documentation, and it’s not possible to obtain permits in less than the official lead time of four business days. If you anticipate that a charter to Germany may be in the cards, it’s important to begin working with your 3rd-party provider as soon as possible in order to avoid a range of potential, but avoidable, operating glitches.
If you have any questions about this article or filing an aviation security plan in Germany, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.