Operating to RPLL – Part 2: Permits, Slots & CIQ

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This is a post by author Rubie Sobremonte. Rubie is the Customer Service Manager at Universal Aviation Philippines, which has an aircraft ground handling facility in Manila. Rubie is an expert on business aircraft operations in the Philippines and can be contacted at rubiesobremonte@univ-wea.com.

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled “Operating to RPLL – Part 1: Airport & Operating Considerations.

For operations to Manila (RPLL) there are a number of important airport slot and permit issues to be aware of, particularly as general aviation (GA) movements are limited to no more than two per hour at this location.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Landing permits

Landing permits are required for all operations to the Philippines and minimum lead time is 72 hours. Normal Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) operating hours is 0800-1700 local Monday-Friday. During after hour periods, the Operations and Rescue Coordination Center (ORCC) will process permit requests, but only for emergency and humanitarian flight purposes.

2. Documentation considerations

Documentation that must be submitted with landing permit requests include:

  • airworthiness and registration certificates
  • pilot licenses and medical certificates
  • a color photo of the aircraft showing aircraft markings and tail number
  • complete crew and passenger information
  • a local business contact (with full contact details)
  • purpose of flight

Based on the stated purpose of your flight CAA may request additional documentation. For example, if you’re a private non-revenue flight you may need to submit proof of ownership. For business-related flights you may need to indicate the relationship of passengers with the aircraft owner/operator. For demo flights you must submit a letter of invitation from your client. In the case of charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) must be provided. Additionally, CAA mandates that charter operators obtain a Civil Aviation Aeronautics Board (CAAB) permit (charges apply) to submit with your permit request. However, a CAAB permit is not needed for tech stops in the Philippines where no passengers/crew embark/disembark.

3. Domestic operations

If you intend to fly domestic legs within the Philippines you’ll need to obtain a Permit to Proceed from Customs and advance notification from Immigration, and Quarantine offices and airport authorities prior to travel to any domestic location. To obtain this you must provide a GENDEC and full schedule approximately 24 hours prior to operation. Your ground handler can assist in this process.

4. Permit validity and revisions

Landing permits for the Philippines are valid for +72 hours. Permit revisions are required for schedule changes outside the validity period, change of aircraft, change of operator name, change of departure point or destination or changes to routing or flight information regions (FIRs). Short notice permit revisions may be possible at CAA’s discretion and subject to additional charges.

5. Cabotage regulations

When operating domestically within the Philippines be aware that cabotage restrictions and regulations are enforced for both private non-revenue and charter operations. If you plan to depart the country with more passengers than you arrived with, CAA will need to be notified and will advise if this is permitted or not.

6. CIQ clearance

When making an international arrival into the Philippines, customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) requires prior notification. Crew, passenger and aircraft information along with the full aircraft itinerary must be submitted at least 24 hours in advance. If you’ve not provided sufficient notice, and/or if traffic volumes are high, CIQ processing delays may be experienced. In such cases, aircraft will need to wait on the ramp with doors closed until CIQ officers show up. If you open any door before CIQ arrives you’ll be subject to fines. CIQ clearance at RPLL is always done on the ramp, at specific CIQ clearance spots. Average CIQ clearance time is about 10 minutes for five or less passengers.

7. CIQ specifics

During the CIQ clearance process your ground handler will offload luggage for customs inspection. Once the clearance process is complete the ground handler will escort passengers to their ground transport. Passports must have at least six months remaining validity from your date of entry and visas may be required, for both passengers and crew, based on nationality. Visas cannot be arranged on arrival and must be obtained prior to traveling to the Philippines, or you’ll be deported. If traveling with a child under the age of 18, in the case when both parents are not onboard, you’ll need to provide a notarized letter from the parent not present and advanced coordination is needed with the Bureau of Immigration.

8. Quarantine and pet considerations

All crew and passengers must fill out health declaration forms for each entry to the Philippines and your ground handler will assist with this process. If arriving from a country endemic for Yellow Fever — including locations in Africa and South America — you’ll need to present vaccination certificates. If you arrive without this certificate, quarantine will interview you and may deport you. To bring a pet into the country you’ll need to provide in advance vaccination records and a pet health certificate as well as fill out an import permit to present to quarantine on arrival. Upon landing quarantine officials will inspect the animal prior to approving your permit. In order to import plant materials into the Philippines clearance must be obtained in advance.

9. Airport slots

Airport slots must be requested and obtained, via a request to the CAA Air Traffic Services (ATS) from your ground handler, for all international and domestic GA operations to and from RPLL. Note that your flight plan must be filed prior to any airport slot approval. For example, if you file your flight plan five days prior to operation, the FOBS may advise slot availability one or two days prior to day of operation or they may revise your assigned slot time. Be aware that FOBS allows only two GA movements per hour and delays can be expected when requesting slots during peak hours of 0700-1800 local. The best time to obtain clearance for departure is between 0630-0645 local on the day of operation in order to avoid delays.

10. Parking considerations

For parking at RPLL only a notification to airport authorities is needed to reserve a parking area. However, there are times when no GA parking is available so it’s always best to request parking, via your ground handler, as soon as the schedule is known.


Landing permits are required for all operations to the Philippines. Note that charter operators need an additional permit for operations to the country. For travel to RPLL, airport slots are required and there is a specific process that must be followed in order to obtain them. Also, be aware of the CIQ process and specifically the fact that the CIQ officers must be present in order for the crew to open the aircraft doors.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to the Philippines, contact me at rubiesobremonte@univ-wea.com.

Got a question for Rubie about this article?