Traveling to Mexico for Raiders vs. Patriots Game – Part 2: Flight Plans, Permits, CIQ and Security Inspections
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled “Traveling to Mexico for Raiders vs. Patriots Game – Part 1: Airports, Handling and Local Area.”
This is a post by author Manuel Girault and Jana Lopez. Manuel and Jana are based at Universal Aviation Mexico, which has an FBO facility in Toluca and aircraft ground handling facilities in Cancun, Los Cabos, and Cozumel. Manuel and Jana are experts on business aircraft operations in Mexico and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Mexico is a relatively easy and unrestricted operating environment for private non-revenue flights but becomes more restrictive when it comes to foreign-registered charters. Be mindful that authorities are on the lookout for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators who appear to be operating as private flights.
If operating to Mexico City for either the Formula 1 Gran Premio de México 2017 race (October 27-29), or the Raiders vs. Patriots game (November 19), the following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Slots and PPRs
Toluca (MMTO) has no airport slot or prior permission required (PPR) mandates. We do not expect airport authorities to put in place any special airport curfews or operating restrictions during the Grand PrixTM or Raiders/Patriots football event periods.
2. Flight plans and APIS
Flight plans should be filed at least one hour prior to flight. Be mindful that for international legs flight plans cannot be filed online. In this case you’ll need to physically take the flight plan to the airport comandante to prove customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) departure procedures have been completed. Your ground handler can help assist with this process. Note that Mexican advance passenger information system (APIS) filing is required for both arrival and departure. This should be completed at least two hours prior to departure.
3. Mexico landing permit requirements
Both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations require permits for Mexico. For private non-revenue flights you can obtain one-shot permits within one to two business days lead time. These are valid for stays of up to six months. Multi-entry permits are also available, with one year validity, but require five to seven days lead time. Charter operators must obtain blanket permits, after they’ve operated a maximum of five charter entries into Mexico. This process can involve several weeks lead time. For more information on landing permit requirements see:
- More Mexico Permit Changes: Part 1 – Positive Developments for GA
- More Mexico Permit Changes: Part 2 – Potential Issues and Penalties
4. Permit documentation
For private non-revenue permits you’ll need to provide certificates of airworthiness and registration, worldwide insurance specifying that it includes Mexican Territory, pilot licenses and medicals, a letter confirming that you’re operating as a private non-revenue flight, and a power of attorney letter to allow your handler to represent you (in obtaining the permit).
Cabotage rules are strictly enforced in Mexico for charter flights. Operators need to ensure that local authorities have complete passenger information for each leg of the charter flight within Mexico. If something changes regarding the manifest, authorities need to be notified. Note that operators who do not strictly adhere to cabotage rules may be fined or have aircraft detained.
6. International arrival procedures at MMTO
Upon international arrival aircraft must park on the customs ramp for inspection. Following inspection the aircraft may proceed with crew to the designated fixed-base operator (FBO). Passengers are typically picked up at the customs ramp by FBO staff and driven to the general aviation terminal (GAT) for immigration/customs formalities.
7. Arriving from the south
If you’re flying to the Mexico City area from the south, Central or South America, or from the Caribbean you’ll need land at either Tapachula (MMTP) or Cozumel (MMCZ) for a mandatory security check before proceeding onward to any other destination in Mexico. Federal police and Army inspections of aircraft, crew, passengers and cargo are performed at both locations. This inspection requires at least an hour on the ground and may involve additional checks by detector dogs. Special exemption permits, to avoid theses mandated stops, are only available for Mexican-registered aircraft.
8. SENEAM fees
Information on SENEAM fee requirements and calculation of these mandatory fees can be found at:
- SENEAM Fees for Travel to or over Mexico – Part 1: Calculating Fees & Managing Payments
- SENEAM Fees for Travel to or over Mexico – Part 2: Dealing with a SENEAM Suspension
Once inside the GAT, each passenger must present their passport along with an Immigration Card to the immigration officer. As passenger/crew information must be forwarded in advance, your handler will normally pre-fill out these immigration cards. Note that these cards will be required again for each passenger and crew when departing Mexico, so be sure to keep then. If the card is lost, immigration will perform special outbound clearances which may take one to two hours pre-departure. For international departures crew and passengers always clear departure customs and immigration within the MMTO GAT.
10. Visa requirements
Visa requirements for arriving crew and passengers depend upon nationality. If you require a visa for Mexico this must be obtained prior to arrival as no visa on arrival options are possible. For more information on Mexican visa requirements see the official Mexico immigration site for visa needs:
When traveling to Mexico, as either private non-revenue of charter, it’s important to ensure you have originals of all your required documentation in order. a landing permit is required for all operators traveling to the country and appropriate lead time is needed. Authorities are strict on cabotage regulations, so ensure that you verify no such infraction is committed on any trip to the country. Last, be aware of CIQ procedures, and especially requirements when arriving to the country from South America, Central America, or the Caribbean.