The Importance of Having a Checklist for International Trips – Part 2
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled: "The Importance of Having a Checklist for International Trips – Part 1."
There are a myriad of planning details to consider – from permits to in-flight catering to weather considerations – for every international trip. Using an effective international checklist will result in more effective and trouble-free global missions for operators. Here are some additional items to add to your trip planning checklist:
1. Consider in-flight catering needs and delivery options
Advance notification requirements for in-flight catering vary by destination, and catering options may be severely limited at certain secondary or remote locations. If it’s necessary to source catering from a hotel or restaurant, rather than an in-flight caterer, determine how that catering will be delivered airside. Be mindful to advise caterers of crew/passengers dietary restrictions and confirm that your catering source can package the catering order appropriately based on your galley configuration and re-heating equipment. When operating to more remote locations, some operators prefer to pre-board catering for the trip home or to an onward destination. In such cases, you’ll need to confirm, with your 3rd-party provider or ground handler, that local customs/agriculture policies allow you to leave catering on board the aircraft or stored at the airport.
2. Be aware of landing and overflight permits, airport slots, PPRs and ground handling requirements
Determine if landing or overflight permits are required, lead time to process these permits and required documentation. You’ll also want to consider Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)operating hours, permit validity times, routing restrictions and lead times for permit revisions. Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid schedule changes that may affect permits. Are airport slots or PPRs required? If so, what lead time and documentation are required, and how will that impact aircraft parking? In terms of ground handling, it’s important to ensure that required services are requested in advance and that credit has been arranged. Confirm ground handling operating hours at all destination airports, as well as any overtime charges that may be associated with after-hour operations.
3. Consider flight plans and weather
On longer routes, especially when multiple permits are involved, it’s always best to run test flight plans, to ensure the operation is possible. Always stay abreast of weather situations that may affect your flight and any permits/services associated with particular flight legs.
4. Be aware of additional considerations
When requesting short-notice permits or services, within normal lead time requirements, you may run into issues and/or delays. In that case, always have a backup schedule. It’s best practice to avoid multiple schedule changes whenever permits are involved. If you’re operating a charter (non-scheduled commercial) flight, as opposed to private non-revenue flights, more documentation may be required with permit requests, and, in some cases, you may need to provide the charter agreement. In addition, cabotage restrictions often impose more severe restrictions on charter operations, and customs/security requirements may be different, and more rigorous, for charter flights.
5. Remote locations and locations with major events often require more pre-planning
When operating to more remote locations, it’s best to begin the planning process at least two weeks in advance. Ground service may take longer to set up, and you’ll need to confirm if appropriate fire protection equipment is available for your type of flight. Travel to international military airports (such as Agra [VIAG]) – typically requires at least 30 days’ lead time and involves additional documentation that must be presented. When traveling to locations with busy events – such as an Olympics venue or the Davos World Economic Forum – permissions and services must be requested as far in advance as possible.
6. Consider other checklist items
Ensure that there are no age limits on crew that may impact your operation to a particular destination. Check that your destination has required ground support equipment (GSE) – including towbars, ground power units and airstairs (if required) – for your aircraft. It’s always good practice to review maintenance capabilities, within your travel region, in case there are aircraft-on-ground (AOG) situations. Also, if you travel with guns or pets, there will be additional pre-planning and documentation challenges to consider. Work with your 3rd-party provider, in advance, to ensure there will be no issues.
7. Additional tools
Here’s an international trip planning checklist to assist you.
It’s recommended to have a checklist for all international travel and to review it from time to time to ensure it encompasses all your planning needs. Best practice is to plan your international trip as far in advance as possible, especially when permits, busy local events at destinations or remote location operations are involved.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance in planning your next trip, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.