Document Intensive Charter Destinations for Business Aviation: Part 2 – European Region

PT 3 M minute read
Document Intensive Charter Destinations for Business Aviation: Part 2 - European Region

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled "Document Intensive Charter Destinations for Business Aviation: Part 1 – Basic Considerations."

Europe is an operating environment where charter aircraft operators typically require permits, but private operators generally do not. This can impact flexibility of operations and last minute schedule change possibilities for operators on charter.

The following is an overview of what you need to know when planning charter operations in Europe:

1. Germany Charter Aircraft Permits

To operate charter flights to Germany, you must complete a long (60+ page), very detailed questionnaire covering the security protocols of your company. Plan on two days or so to complete this questionnaire and at least five business days to have it approved, assuming all documentation submissions are correct. For each charter to Germany you’ll need to provide a copy of your charter agreement and fill out a questionnaire listing your entire schedule and operating dates. Schedule changes require permit revisions, with at least 24 hours lead time during weekdays and longer on weekends. Note that you may operate to Germany on charter up to three times once your security plan has been submitted, prior to it being approved. Be mindful that aircraft insurance requirements for Germany mandate European Union (EU) and worldwide liability insurance, as well as specific insurance coverage for Germany.

2. France Charter Aircraft Permit

France can be particularly challenging for charter operators with larger size aircraft – typically ACJs and BBJs and above. In this case you must provide specific documents showing that all required equipment is installed in the aircraft. Not only must you provide a letter and documentation stating that you’re in compliance with equipment requirements (as you must also do in the UK), but you’ll also need to provide an equipment list of makes/models of actual equipment onboard, as well as the last time equipment was inspected. France, for example, recently denied a BBJ from coming in on a charter because it did not have a reinforced flight deck door. While it was possible, in this case, to arrange a onetime exemption, this operator will not be allowed to enter France on charter again without the mandated reinforced door.

3. Italy Charter Aircraft Permits

Italian CAA changed the rules for charter permits in 2013, and the changes have been mostly positive. Previously, you needed a charter permit for each trip. Now the requirement is a blanket charter permit that is renewed annually. Permit approval involves submission of various documents and forms with approval taking up to 20 business days. You’ll be issued a permit number, listing all the aircraft on your application, as well as an approved list of Italian airports. With this permit, all aircraft in your flight department are good to fly as charter to Italy without additional notification needed. While this eases charter operations to Italy, there’s still the 20+ business day permit lead time to be mindful of. To keep your Italian permit active, it’s necessary to renew it every 12 months and there’s a fee involved with renewals.

Additional reading:

4. UK Charter Aircraft Permits

In early 2014, the processing of charter permits moved from the Dept. for Transport (DFT) to the UK CAA. With this change, short notice UK charter permits are no longer possible. CAA will only process permit requests Monday-Friday with a minimum 48 hours lead time. Documentation requirements have not changed with this move to the CAA; you’re just submitting documentation to a different authority. The good news, with recent permit changes, is that local UK operators are no longer “challenging” foreign charter permit requests, as they had in the past.

Additional reading:

5. Additional reading: Document Intensive Charter Destinations – Series Index

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.

Closing Thoughts

Always take special consideration when operating a charter flight and be aware of all permit requirements and processing lead times. Various countries in Europe can be more process-intensive than other areas of the world. In addition – although not covered above – you also want to carefully research cabotage restrictions to ensure there are no red flags with your mission. Italy, for example, is very strict on enforcing cabotage rules even if the charter operator has a blanket charter permit.

Stay tuned for Part 3, which covers more charter documentation requirements for other regions in the world.


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

Got a question for Larry about this article?