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June through September is always peak season for Greece creating congestion. Airports throughout the country – both mainland and islands – are inundated with traffic from all over the world. Due to the congestion, authorities are implementing restrictions to accommodate for the influx, which is affecting general aviation (GA).

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

1. Airport slots are needed for many destinations

Many airports in Greece require airport slots during the summer season. As these are high traffic airports, there is a high demand for services such as slots. Once approved, the slot deviation is +/- 20 minutes, but operators need to be flexible based on slot availability. Additionally, if an operator isn’t going to use the slots, they need to be cancelled at least 12 hours prior in order to avoid penalties.

2. Airport parking is in high demand

Airport parking is always in high demand during the peak summer season. The Greek Islands have limited parking and as of this season some are only permitting a maximum of 60 minutes on the ground. Two such examples are Santorini (LGSR) and Mykonos (LGMK), where for any drop offs or pick-ups, you won’t be permitted to remain more than the maximum 60 minutes on the ground.

Airports on the mainland have traditionally been used as reposition parking for aircraft that can’t remain on the ground. This year, many of these airports have received a large uptick in scheduled commercial traffic. This influx has made parking an issue for these airports, especially for GA aircraft. Many airports are experiencing situations where no parking is available or they are limited the permitted time on the ground. The parking situation is always influx and what is available now may not be an option later that day due to the amount of requests for parking these airport authorities are receiving. Athens (LGAV) airport authorities have now issued a NOTAM for this season advising that any GA operator looking to stay at this airfield for more than two hours will need to apply for a prior permission required (PPR).

For assistance with parking in Greece, contact Universal Aviation Greece.

3. Landing permits are now required for charter operators

This year, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Greece has implemented landing permit requirements for non-European Union (EU) registered aircraft (non-scheduled commercial) operators traveling to the country. Note: EU-registered aircraft do not need this permit.

Charter aircraft with or less than 19 passenger seats can obtain an annual permit, whereas aircraft with more than 19 passenger seats will need to obtain one for each flight. The lead time is a minimum of five working days and documentation such as the company operating license, airworthiness and registration, and the security program approval must be furnished. It’s recommended that you work with your trip support provider to obtain landing permit(s) for travel to Greece.

4. New Mykonos general aviation terminal (GAT)

In summer 2018, LGMK opened a new GA terminal. If you plan on utilizing the facility, it’s important to book in advance to avoid additional fees.

With advance notice, the cost of using the GAT is 300 euros booking fee + 90 euros per departing pax + 24 % VAT. Max charge is 1500 + 24% VAT.

Last-minute booking (three hours prior to use) increases the fee to 390 euros + 117 per passenger with max charge at 1.950 euros + vat.


Operators traveling to Greece during the peak season should be aware of the restrictions and limitations at many of these airports that are inundated with traffic during this time. Also, it’s always recommended to be flexible with items such as airport slots and parking, as these are in high demand and limited.

The post Greece Peak Travel Season for Business Aviation appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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The London area is an easy GA operating environment and a pleasurable experience for crews as all airports have excellent handling facilities and services. When considering airport options be mindful of what part of London you’re heading to along with flexibility implications of airports with restricted operating hours and peak periods of commercial activity.

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

1. Airport options

The London area has eight airports available to general aviation (GA), all with high quality fixed-base operators (FBOs), clearance facilities and VIP handling services. However, there’s no perfect London Area airport, as the best airport for your particular mission will depend upon your destination in the metropolitan area, aircraft operating requirements and operational flexibility in terms of airport curfews and other limitations.

There are many considerations beyond airport location that must be factored into the mix when determining the best London area airport for your particular mission. If your passengers require flexibility for potential schedule changes, it’s best to choose a location with limited curfews and peak commercial activity periods. For example, if the primary passenger is likely to want to depart after midnight it would be best to avoid Luton (EGGW), Farnborough (EGLF) and Biggin Hill (EGKB) as they close in the evening with no airport overtime available.

While the majority of business aviation traffic to the London area goes to Stansted (EGSS), Luton (EGGW) and Farnborough (EGLF) there are five other airports available. These are Biggin Hill (EGKB), Northolt (EGWU) (which is closed until November for runway resurfacing), London City (EGLC), Heathrow (EGLL) and Gatwick (EGKK). All of these airports have pros and cons to consider, depending on your particular mission requirements. Luton is closed between 23:00 L and 07:00L until the end of September and Stansted whilst open 24/7 has very limited night slot availability. The other airports either close late in the evening or have curfews/limitations on late night GA ops.

Location in relation to destination

London is a large metropolitan area, more than 30 miles across, so your meeting or hotel location will likely impact where you choose to land. The financial and Canary Warf districts are on the east side of London and may favor stopping at EGKB or EGSS. If your destination is a tech or automotive company on the west side of the city, EGLF may be a good choice. For access to the north of London, or central London, EGGW is often preferred. However, many operators find there’s seldom much difference in driving time into central London from either EGSS, EGGW or EGLF.

Stansted (EGSS)

EGSS is a 24/7 airport of entry (AOE) with plenty of GA parking and full support services. Airport slots are required and there are restrictions to consider for noisier aircraft. For example, a BBJ may depart 24/7 while a private B747 may not be able to operate after 2330 local due to noise considerations. Aircraft hush kitted to Stage 3 standards are permitted, based on submitted noise certificates, but while they may be able to arrive 24/7, departures may be restricted after 2330 local.

Luton (EGGW)

EGGW is also a 24-hour during the winter period but closed during the summer at night between 23:00 L and 07:00L AOE with full GA support services and two FBOs available. Note that EGGW has very specific noise profiles operators must follow on departure and fines for infractions are routine. This location has less GA parking availability than EGSS and is the most expensive London area airport in terms of parking – which can run over 2,000 USD/night for a Global or larger Gulfstream aircraft.

Northolt (EGLF)

EGLF is a military airfield that’s become more GA friendly over recent years but is currently closed for runway resurfacing until the end of November 2019. In some cases, operators are able to apply for a PPR in the morning and receive approval later the same day. Note that both airport slots and PPR are needed and military operations always take priority here. Your landing/departure permission may potentially be rescinded or delayed due to military or government movements. EGWU has an annual cap of flight movements and while this has not been exceeded over the past couple of years, there are occasional days when no airport slots are available. Note that the runway here is 5,535 ft. and larger aircraft — the size of an ACJ, BBJ or larger– may not be accommodated due to limited fire coverage.

Heathrow (EGLL) and Gatwick (EGKK)

While EGLL and EGKK are 24/7 airports, night slots are not usually available for GA. EGLL is one of the busiest airports in the world, operating at about 98% capacity, and if you need to change a confirmed slot time it may be hours before the next slot becomes available. This limits operating flexibility, especially if you have passengers who do not always keep to schedule. Special customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance is possible within one of two EGLL VIP clearance areas — the Royal and Window suites — for an additional charge of about 1,500 £ per use.

Farnborough (EGLF)

EGLF operates 0700-2200 local Monday-Friday, 0800-2000 local on weekends and bank holidays and is closed on Christmas and Boxing Day. Note that EGLF is a Stage 4 airport and very strict on noise. Stage 3 aircraft that meet Stage 4 noise standards, based on their noise certificate, may operate to this location.

Biggin Hill (EGKB)

EGKB operates 0630-2200 local Monday-Friday and 0900-2000 local on weekend and bank holidays. This location has two FBOs available and full GA support services. Note that GA departures 0630-0730 local and arrivals 2100-2200 local are only possible with prior permission. While EGKB may look closer on the map to certain London destinations, keep in mind that there are no major road connections and drive times may be as long or longer as from other airports.

London City (EGLC)

EGLC is positioned close to central London and the Millennium Dome but has a short 4,948 ft. runway and there are aircraft performance issues to consider, due to a required steep glide slope. The parking ramp at EGLC is very small and it’s usually not possible to obtain more than a few hours parking. Operating hours are 0630-2130 local Monday-Friday, 0630-1230 local Saturday, 1230-2130 local Sunday, and 0900-2130 on bank holidays. Due to peak hours of commercial activity, restricted hours of GA operation and high costs EGLC is considered inconvenient for many operators.

Airport slots and PPR requirements

Of the eight London area airports available to GA all but two — EGKB and EGLF — have airport slot requirements. In the case of EGWU, prior permission required (PPR) is mandated and it’s necessary to submit full crew and passenger information, as well as a copy of your aircraft insurance, for both arrival and departure. (which is closed until November for runway resurfacing)

2. Handling, equipment & FBOs

All eight London area airports offer first rate handling and support services along with ground support equipment (GSE) for most general aviation (GA) aircraft models. There are multiple world-class FBO options depending on the airport. The London area can be a rather expensive operating environment from the handling, parking and services perspective and we recommend that operators shop around for not only the best airport option but also the best deal. Ground handlers will be happy to provide cost quotes to help you better refine operating options. Click here for more info on handling in the UK.

For more information and assistance on ground handling in the UK, Universal Aviation UK – Stansted can help.

3. Hotel considerations

Good quality crew accommodations options are available close to all eight London area airports with typical prices for 4-star airport area crew rooms run about 125 £/night. For crew who prefer to stay in central London, some of the best 4- and 5-star accommodations in the world can be found, with 4-star rooms often running 180-200 £/night, depending on season and local event activity. Click here for more information on hotel accommodations in the UK.

4. Local transport

For safety and convenience, we recommend that crew consider prepaid transport (car with driver) and having your ground handler suggest a preferred and vetted provider. Although public taxis in London are very good, they’re often not able to find FBO locations easily and some crews, attempting to arrange transport on their own, have become lost in an area they are unfamiliar with. In the case of EGSS and EGLL, public rail links are available directly from the airport to the city center.

You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs.

5. Fuel

Another important consideration is the fuel cost that you will encounter when traveling to the London area. For example, EGGW fuel prices are approximately 37% higher than fuel at EGSS. Note that there may be a considerable difference, so it’s worth obtaining a fuel quote in advance, as this may make one airport more attractive in terms of price.

6. In-flight catering

Some of the best in-flight catering options in the world are available in the London area, including high-end commercial in-flight catering, specialty aviation caterers and restaurant/hotel options. When sourcing catering directly from local restaurants or hotels, be sure to check on any security screening limitations that may impact your ability to bring cuisine through security. Heathrow (EGLL), Gatwick (EGKK) and EGLF have mandatory screening of all passenger and crew luggage — making it difficult for the crew to bring an item such as a gallon of soup out to the aircraft. Other London area airports, including Stansted (EGSS) and EGGW, do not routinely screen passenger or crew luggage if the aircraft maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) is under 45 tons. Should you wish to offload in-flight catering and store it for the next departure, this may be possible with advance arrangement, depending on the food items and handler has access to appropriate storage facilities at the airport.

You can check the free Air Culinaire Worldwide Menu app to see catering options and menus available.

7. Security

Fencing, security cameras, and routine patrols – of perimeter and ramp areas – are standard at all UK airports. UK airports typically have their own airport police take care of security within the airport boundary, and these police forces have armed units. Some airports also have “special branch” police units available for high-profile and high-risk flight activity.

Regulations governing airport ramp side access vary by airport. Airside access for non-airport employees – such as an off-site aviation maintenance technician – is well controlled. For example obtaining an airside employee pass for EGSS requires a background check and five-year employment history. Access for off-site personnel and/or mechanics requires presentation of a passport and assistance of a ground handler in obtaining a temporary airport pass. All access airside by such personnel requires an escort. Private security can be arranged to guard your aircraft while it’s on the ramp, but security personnel due to police regulations may not be armed. Special security procedures are not in place for technical refueling stops in the UK unless crew members/passenger choose to exit the airport.

8. Permit requirements

While private non-revenue operations do not require permits, charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators do. Permit request lead times of 48-72 hours are recommended although charter permits may be processed on shorter notice. Note that permits are processed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) only Monday-Friday 0900-1700 local, and it’s important to supply all required documentation with the first request. Once a permit is approved validity is quite generous with a 48-hour window for arrival/departure. Schedule changes are not really an issue. However, if you need to change origin or destination airports this must be re-approved by CAA before you conduct that leg, and it’s something that occasionally trips up some operators.

In most cases, you’ll have more than one fixed-base operator (FBO) to choose from. All London area airports are highly secure with high fencing, routing patrols, adequate airside access controls and a visible airport police presence. Aircraft guards, if required, can be arranged and hangar accommodation for transient aircraft is often possible. Northolt (EGWU), being a military airfield, is a little different than other locations in that operators must pay all parking, handling and services charges prior to departure.

9. Cabotage

Domestic charter operations within the United Kingdom are strictly prohibited and regulated by Civil Aviation. Head of State and official diplomatic flights are the only operations considered at this time for approval. For example, a schedule request (KTEB-EGPH-EGSS-LFPB) would be restricted due to the internal UK (EGPH-EGSS) leg. In this scenario, the operator would have to limit to one stop in the UK or include a tech-stop outside the UK, i.e. (EGPH – EIDW (Ireland) – EGSS).

For more information on charter requirements, click here.

10. Customs

Customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance in the UK and at London Area airports is usually a very straight-forward procedure but there are certain strict rules to be aware of and that must be complied with. By working with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler in advance, express CIQ processing options are often available.

general aviation report form must be completed and filed for every international arrival to the UK. Your ground handler normally fills out this form and submits it to CIQ prior to your arrival. Passengers are normally cleared first, followed by crew members. Depending on the airport, there may be different clearance procedures and processes to take into consideration. Onboard CIQ clearance may be permitted at certain airports, but this must be requested in advance and is at the discretion of the customs duty officer. If passenger or crew visas are required, you’ll need to have these prior to arrival. These must be UK visas and not Schengen visas, or you won’t be permitted into the country. At some UK airports, private vehicles are permitted on the ramp with advance approval.

11. Flight planning

Eurocontrol regulations apply for all operations into/out of the UK. The earlier a flight plan is filed on Eurocontrol’s website, the better – in terms of achieving preferred departure time. Check Eurocontrol’s Network Manager website to view current flight planning restrictions. Airway slots are issued two hours prior to departure. Restrictions that may be in effect at that time may impact airway slots. Once your airway slot has been issued, your 3rd-party provider will be able to determine from the Network Manager website what issues may be causing delay and whether the flight plan can be changed to avoid such delays. These delays may be caused by weather, strikes, radar failures, or military activity. For more information on UK fight planning, click here.

12. Weather

High wind conditions can happen quickly, so it’s important to be aware of latest weather data on the day of operation. While large international UK airports – such as Heathrow (EGLL) – have equipment to effectively deal with snow, smaller airfields – such as Biggin Hill (EGKB) – may take longer to reopen after a heavy snowfall. Deicing services are available at London airports, but you may experience delays with short-notice requests. During inclement weather conditions, hangar space may be available for transient general aviation. There are, however, capacity issues, and local operators usually have first priority for hangar space.

13. Tech stops

Both EGSS and EGGW are recommended tech stops as they operate 24/7 with 24/7 CIQ clearance available. For example, EGSS has a 10,000 ft. runway, a GA ramp located on the other side of the field separate from schedule commercial activity and good airline links for crew repositioning purposes.

CIQ authorities will advise where you’ll clear on international arrival. Clearance may be in an FBO, the main terminal, onboard the aircraft or via a ‘remote clearance.’ CIQ procedures are usually within an FBO and the process is fairly standardized at all airports of entry (AOEs). If you’ve allowed sufficient lead time, you may qualify for ‘remote clearance’ where you do not need to physically interact with CIQ officials on arrival. To request remote clearance, submit crew and passengers’ details to the ground handler who will forward the information to the UK Border Force. They’ll do checks prior to your arrival, confirm all documentation is correct upon landing and release the remote clearance. This option is possible at most London area airports but it’s always important to provide sufficient lead time for the UK Border Force to do its checks.

14. Peak season/high traffic events

Prime tourism season for the UK is June through August. High-traffic events include London Fashion Weeks, Wimbledon and various horse races and football matches. With so many airport options, the primary impact to business aviation operators are hotels, which often sell out during hight traffic events.

15. Regulatory considerations

Keep in mind regulatory considerations when operating to London such as UK Air Passenger Duty (APD).

If you’re an operator traveling to the UK, you must register with HMRC unless you qualify for the occasional operator’s scheme, in which case registration is not necessary, and you will need to account for and pay APD for each passenger departing the UK beginning April 1, 2013. Operators are financially liable for payment of APD to the HMRC. Other options for payment are still unknown at this time, and updates will be made as more information is released.

16. Other considerations
  • Vaccinations – Not applicable
  • Language issues – Not applicable
  • Onboard pets: Temporary importation of personal pets into the UK is possible, but only for certain types of pets at certain airports. GA operations may bring in a dog, cat or ferret but only at three airports in the London area — at Stansted (EGSS), Biggin Hill (EGKB) and Farnborough (EGLF). Be aware that there are strict procedural and health requirements in place and your aircraft must be on an approved operator list. In addition to having up-to-date vaccination and health records, the pet must have had a rabies inoculation within the past six months and treatment for tapeworm 48 hours prior to arrival. Pet health details need to be forwarded to your handler, at least 24 hours in advance, so that they can coordinate the pet clearance process with a local pet processing company. On arrival at EGSS, EGKB or EGLF a ‘pet representative’ will come on board to scan the animal’s microchip and ensure all the records match up.
  • Potential issues with pet importation: While the process of importing a pet into the UK is very doable with proper research and pre-planning, it’s important to follow all the rules. If you land with a pet at a non-approved London area airport you’ll likely encounter issues. Authorities may allow you to be permitted or immediately depart but you run the risk of having the pet taken into quarantine for months.
  • Weapons onboard: It’s allowable to land your GA aircraft in the UK with weapons onboard so long as they’ve been properly declared and approvals have been obtained. If you’re flying to the UK for shooting season, which normally begins in September, you’ll need to have all paperwork in place for your guns along with a hunting license organized by the landowner for the shooting location. If you’re just stopping in the UK with weapons onboard, these can usually be stored at the airport with recommended 24-48 hours advance notification. Some FBOs have contracts in place with local gun dealers who are licensed to transport and store weapons during your extended stay in the UK.

London is one of the premier business aviation destinations in the world. Operators have abundant quality options both in providers and airports. Consider your destination within the London area to create a plan that meets your specific needs.

The post Business Jet Destination Guide: London appeared first on

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Milan Linate Airport (LIML) is scheduled to be closed from July 27 to October 26, 2019.  Because Linate is a major destination for business aircraft, its closure will have an impact on operations to the north of Italy region. The closure will divert several million passengers and thousands of flights to alternate airports – mostly to Milan Malpensa (LIMC). Due to the high number of flights being diverted, combined with part of the closure taking place during Italy’s peak season and several high-traffic events, operators should be prepared for increased congestion and delays.

Here’s what you need to know about the closure and its impact on business aviation:

1. Why is Linate closing for several months?

The closure will allow for significant runway and terminal refurbishments. The project will include re-laying the takeoff and landing runway, installing new underground fuel pipelines, modernizing the baggage handling system and updating the boarding, food and shopping areas. 

2. Milan Malpensa (LIMC) is the primary Linate alternative

During the closure, Milan Malpensa will enact special procedures for business and general aviation.  LIMC is approximately 45 KM northwest of the city center of Milan.

3. LIMC operational details and restrictions

LIMC is open 24 hours. The general aviation (GA) terminal is open from 0600 – 2200. After-hours services are available but requires advance notice.

Due to the influx of traffic, LIMC has put into place restrictions for business aviation. Some of the main restrictions to consider include:

  • MTOW > 2,8 t
  • Aircraft not based with MTOW < 7t are not allowed to land from 08.00Z to 10.00Z
  • 180 kt IAS at 9NM to TDZ ENR
  • 160 kt IAS at 5NM to TDZ
  •  General aviation and business flights are requested to indicate the handler chosen for assistance in item 18 of their flight plan
  • Max parking time is 12 hours for non-based aircraft
  • Refueling with pax on board is not allowed
  • Push back or towing are mandatory on departure when leaving assigned parking area to reach q15, q16, q17 and q27 start point
4. Slot, PPR and ACDM requirements

LIMC does not have airport slots but prior permission is required (PPR), as parking availability has to be confirmed by the airport Authority in advance. Airport Collaborative Decision Making (ACDM) is in place for departures.

5. Fuel Arrangements

Refueling requirement has to be communicated together with the handling request to the handler in order to program refueling in advance.

Major aviation and fuel cards are commonly accepted for fuel credit, as are consumer credit cards.

6. Additional airport alternatives

Additional airport alternatives include:

  • Bergamo LIME
  • Brescia LIPO
  • Genova LIMJ
  • Torino LIMF

Universal Aviation Italy can help identify the best airport to meet your schedule.


With the upcoming closure of Linate Airport, operators who planned on operating to this airport will need to find alternative solutions. Operating to the north of Italy during the closure is going to be very complex, therefore we suggest to submitting your schedule as soon as it’s known along with detailed requirements for arrival and departure (such as catering, fuel, ground transportation etc). September is a very busy month in the Milan area as there are many events – such as the F1 Grand Prix and Fashion Fair,  therefore we suggest to plan operations starting early in the month of August.

The post Best airport alternates during Milan Linate’s (LIML) closure appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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The UK government extended the Air Passenger Duty (APD) to General Aviation (GA) on April 1, 2013. The good news is that 3rd-party providers, and the industry as a whole, have worked with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to find solutions and clarify the processes for operators.

The information below is an overview of what’s currently slated for implementation. Changes to these regulations are expected, and updates will be provided as soon as new information is received and confirmed.

1. Understanding UK APD

The European Union (EU) introduced legislation in 2010 to include business aircraft operators in EU APD collection. The 2011 budget extends APD to business aircraft for the first time. The purpose of this inclusion is to support the EU’s objective of a standardized tax system for business aircraft operators. While some EU countries had already been collecting APD on GA flights, the UK has delayed collection of APD until April 1, 2013. The amount of APD collected varies by country, aircraft weight and length of flight leg. This duty applies only to passengers, and not to crew. Also, this is a tax applicable to departing passengers, and payment may be done on a per-flight, semi-annual or annual basis depending on the circumstances. The important thing to note is that this affects business aviation as a whole, both charter (non-scheduled commercial) and private non-revenue.

2. Know the regulatory basis for APD in the UK

Legislation setting out what aircraft are considered to be chargeable for the purposes of APD is contained in Section 29 of the UK Finance Act of 1994. Section 30 sets out applicable rates for distance flown (grouped by “bands” [See table below.]), Section 31 sets out which passengers are considered to be exempt from APD, and Section 43(1) defines who is a passenger.

3. Some operations are exempt from UK APD

UK APD exemptions exist for emergency, training, military, humanitarian, search-and-rescue and air ambulance flights. Diplomatic flights must pay the duty, but it may be reclaimed from the Foreign and Commonwealth office by the appropriate government in the same manner as for any reclamation of duties and taxes. Also, aircraft that are operating as Head of State will be exempt, but you must indicate the type of flight in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) portion of the flight plan. UK APD does not apply to cargo flights. There’s a general exemption for aircraft under 5.7 metric tons (12,500 lbs.) Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW), as well as for passengers in transit. It’s best to confirm exemptions, as they may or may not apply in your particular case, with your 3rd-party provider. UK APD is also exempt in the case of tech stops (no passengers disembarking or embarking).

4. Rates for APD are highest in the UK

APD rates vary among EU states and depend on the length of flight and aircraft type, but the highest rates are for operations departing the UK. For example, a G4 traveling from the UK to the US is £450 (€511.00) per passenger, compared to an average of £23.2 (€26.7) for other EU states..

5. Be aware of premium APD rates in UK

The majority of passengers flying aboard business aircraft pay APD at the same rates as passengers aboard commercial flights. The UK, however, has introduced new premium rates of APD for passengers on flights using aircraft of 20,001 metric tons (44,094 lbs.) or more with fewer than 19 seats. Flights in this category pay APD at double the prevailing standard business/first-class APD rate. The following is the rate schedule provided by the HMRC in a briefing:

  • Bands: Each band is the approximate mileage from the UK.
  • Reduced rate: Applies where the passengers are carried in the lowest class of travel on any flight, unless the seat pitch exceeds 1.016 meters (40 inches). In that case, whether there is one or more than one class of travel, the standard rates apply.
  • Standard rate: Applies where passengers are carried in any class of travel other than the lowest or where the seat pitch exceeds 1.016 meters (40 inches), unless the conditions for the higher rate below are met.
  • Higher rate: Applies if passengers are carried on aircraft with an authorized takeoff weight of 20,001 kg or more and equipped to carry fewer than 19 passengers.

Note: For a list of the bands, please download the PDF from HMRC’s Website. In the PDF itself, the band information is on pages 43-52.

6. Know how UK APD will impact your specific operations

APD for the UK is based on MTOW and distance flown and seat pitch. The two MTOW categories are 5,700-20,000 kg and 20,001 kg and above.

For example, if you’re flying a 0-2000-miles Band A, APD will be £13 per passenger for the lower-weight category, assuming the aircraft has fewer than 19 seats and the seat pitch doesn’t exceed 40 inches (in which case the standard rate applies), and £78 per passenger for aircraft over 20,001 kg and equipped with fewer than 19 passenger seats.

When calculating the fees due for a flight, it’s important to note that calculations aren’t necessarily based on your actual destination. Mileage is only calculated from the UK to the appropriate country’s capital city. See examples below:

Example 1: UK APD flight calculation – UK to KLAX
Flight: UK to Los Angeles Intl (KLAX)
  • A/C type: Falcon 50-38,000 lbs. (17,236 kg) MTOW
  • Number of passengers: 3 (seat pitch 40 inch or less)

The following duty calculation is based on the flight information and Table 1, above:

  • Because this aircraft is below 20,000 kg MTOW, it falls into the Reduced Rate Column.
  • According to “Appendix 1 – Destinations by Band” in Notice 550, this flight falls into Band B (U.S.; Washington, D.C.)
  • Duty paid at reduced-rate Band B: £75 per person
  • Total duty to collect: £225

The mileage here is calculated only from the UK to Washington, D.C., and not to destination KLAX. The U.S. is in Band B, and you are only liable for the mileage from the UK to Washington, D.C. For a Falcon 50, its weight falls in the “Reduced rate” category, so the duty needed to be collected for three passengers on that leg is £225, or £75 per passenger.

Example 2: UK APD flight calculation – UK to UUDD
Flight: UK to Domodedovo, Moscow (UUDD)
  • A/C type: Falcon 50-38,000 lbs. (17,236 kg) MTOW
  • Number of passengers: 3 (seat pitch 40 inch or less)

The following duty calculation is based on the flight information and Table 1, above:

  • Because this aircraft is below 20,000 kg MTOW, it falls into the Reduced Rate column.
  • According to “Appendix 1 – Destinations by Band” in Notice 550, this flight falls into Band A (Russia, Moscow)
  • Duty paid at reduced rate Band A: £13 per person
  • Total duty to collect: £39
7. APD adds cost to operations

Extension of APD to GA flights for aircraft above 5.7 metric tons MTOW is estimated to bring an additional 50,000 flights annually within the APD scope. Between 5 and 10 % of these flights are expected to be captured by the new premium tax rate.

8. Understand how this duty is paid

APD is calculated based on departures of applicable flights. It’s not an arrival tax. In some cases, your ground handler may be able to pay APD due. The UK APD collection is governed by the HMRC, and payments should be made to them. The HMRC website contains information on APD regulations. While payment procedures are not yet fully established, APD may be collectable as a per-flight, semi-annual or annual charge based on average passenger loads. In order to qualify for the annual accounting scheme, the operator must have UK APD annual revenue of less than £500,000. There is a special accounting scheme option that allows operators to average the number of passengers carried.

Also, for infrequent flyers, the HMRC has looked at options that will make the process easier. They have developed an “occasional operator’s scheme.” In order to qualify for this option, you will need to have 12 or fewer flights per year and an APD liability of £5,000 or less.

9. What is the next step

As an operator, you are responsible for registering with the HMRC. The operator is financially liable, so appropriate payments need to be levied based on the regulation. Also, when you register for this, you must have a UK representative. 3rd-party providers are seeking more clarity on the different options available that will assist operators in these new changes.


If you’re an operator traveling to the UK, you must register with HMRC unless you qualify for the occasional operator’s scheme, in which case registration is not necessary, and you will need to account for and pay APD for each passenger departing the UK beginning April 1, 2013. Operators are financially liable for payment of APD to the HMRC. Other options for payment are still unknown at this time, and updates will be made as more information is released.

The post UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD) – How it Applies to UK Business Aviation appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I’m thrilled to announce that we have formed a new joint venture with Drivania Chauffeurs to enhance your ground transportation experience. 

Together, we are creating the most technologically advanced and reliable business aviation chauffeur network in the world!  

You can read the official announcement here.

Under this agreement, Universal’s ground transportation business, formally under Universal Private Transport, will combine with Drivania’s business aviation division, Drivania Bizav, to create a new ground transportation company focused on the business aviation industry. 

You asked for more chauffeur and vehicle options and this agreement will provide just that!Combined, we’ll have a larger, more technologically advanced ground transportation network giving you access to an expanded global network of vehicles/chauffeurs and enhanced mobile/digital capabilities. 

What has always set our ground transportation services apart won’t change – every order is seamlessly integrated into Universal’s global trip planning and logistics network so when you make a trip change, the ground transport automatically changes with it. 

What will change is some awesome digital enhancements on the horizon that will provide more “Uber-like” capabilities and further enhance the ground transportation experience for you and your passengers. We’re really excited about what we’re developing!

As always, I welcome the opportunity to have you give it a try, and welcome your feedback and input; so please let me know how we can better support your critical missions.

Until then, safe travels, and thank you for your continued trust and confidence!

Warmest regards, 


The post Chairman’s Note * Universal and Drivania to form new ground transportation joint venture appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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For a successful and trouble-free trip to Mexico, it’s always best practice for business-aviation operators to plan for a range of logistical issues that may impact a flight. Documentation requirements, as well as operating restrictions, need to be anticipated. It’s also advantageous to plan in advance for jet fuel uplifts, ground handling, hotels and ground transportation. Over recent years, security has become a concern in certain areas of Mexico, and it’s important to be aware of and to mitigate potential risks.

1. Understanding documentation requirements

Mexico regulation requires operators to carry original aircraft documents on board when arriving into Mexico. Although some ports may not ask for them, it is still required for them to be available when requested. If original documents are not on board, you may experience delays and even penalties from the authorities. Passports are required for all nationals entering Mexico (including U.S. nationals, effective January 2007.) Because these requirements can change without much notice, always check with your ground handler or 3rd-party provider to determine if your passengers require visas for Mexico.

2. Stopping in MMCZ or MMTP when coming from the South or the Caribbean

Any aircraft coming into Mexico from the South or the Caribbean will need to first make a stop at either Cozumel, Mexico (MMCZ) or Tapachula, Mexico (MMTP) for security and customs clearance. This is a mandatory stop. The only exception to this regulation is for diplomatic flights with prior approval. During this stop, please prepare your passengers for possible delays, as airport authorities must inspect the aircraft, crew and passengers. This means that local authorities will require that the aircraft be parked and the engines shut down for the airport authorities to complete their process. For more information pertaining to the exact procedures for each airport above – as there are differences between the two – please contact your 3rd-party provider.

3. Planning jet fuel uplifts

We always recommend using a jet fuel card when traveling to Mexico. The added value of using a jet fuel card is that you will be given the contracted price with any applicable discounts and not just the posted price. Without a jet fuel card, arrangement of jet fuel uplifts in advance is required. This means that you will need a letter on company letterhead stating the information that Mexican fuelers require in order to set up fueling in advance. Some of the information required on this letter would be the operator name, tail number and aircraft type. Cash will not be accepted at many locations and if using a credit card you will pay the full posted price.

One easy tool you can use to get fuel pricing is to request a jet fuel price estimate online from the UVair® Fuel Program.

4. Arranging ground handling

In Mexico, you must use a recognized ground handler for all intended destinations, or your permit will not be issued. Arrange in advance for assistance with all services needed on arrival. If you require that all services and fees be arranged via credit, we recommend giving your 3rd-party provider prior notice to make those arrangements.

5. Planning hotel and local ground transportation logistics

We recommend staying at 4- or 5-star hotels, as they provide better safety for your crew and passengers. Arrange pre-paid transportation with a private transport company, to maximize safety for crew and passengers. It’s also advisable to obtain the driver’s name, cell phone contact and vehicle license number in advance.

6. Considering security

We recommend security briefings for all planned destinations within Mexico to gain a better perspective of the local situation. Depending on threats, you may want to consider security for aircraft, crew and passengers. Take precautions, especially in the northern region of the country, and limit your time on the ground. For instance, crew should remove uniforms and company ID before departing the airport and keep a low profile in order to avoid being targeted.

7. Preparing for random checks and aircraft searches

Random aircraft searches by the Mexican army or customs agents are occurring more frequently. There are cases where operational delays do take place and can be substantial, so it’s recommended that you prepare passengers for this possibility as they are unannounced. These checks happen more frequently when the aircraft is entering from the south.


Private non-revenue operations to Mexico seldom run into permit or handling issues with adequate advanced planning. However, charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators are under additional scrutiny. Mexican authorities have been rigorously reviewing charter permit compliance. Work with your 3rd-party provider to arrange correct permits, obtain fuel and services credit and for timely security updates.

The post Operating to Mexico: 7 Logistical Tips for Your First Trip appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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Over the last few years, Argentina has become an increasingly popular destination for business aviation, particularly among operators who travel regionally between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. While Argentina is a relatively straightforward operating environment for business aviation, with manageable permit processes and no cabotage issues, it’s best to have at least one week’s notice when planning a trip to the country. This gives you time to plan permits and ground services, as well as to obtain needed overflight permits for surrounding countries: Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

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

1. The flight plan filing process

In Argentina, flight plans must be submitted in person at least two hours prior to international departure. Your ground handler will fill out the ICAO portions of the flight plan with all required information and will physically hand it off to the flight planning office for review, along with the flight plan form – prior to a flight plan being issued. Note that flight plans are only valid for 30 minutes after ETD.

Universal Aviation Argentina supports airports across Argentina and can assist with this.

2. Flight plan revisions

If you do not depart within the 30-minute validity window, the flight plan must be refiled. A maximum of three times using DLA FORM revisions are permitted. Flight plan revisions (DLA) can´t be done via phone and must be done by a licensed flight dispatcher or PIC at the flight planning office (who must provide dispatch license information). In practice, it’s often difficult for a PIC to submit/refile flight plans directly, as flight plan office personnel in Argentina do not usually speak English, and flight plans must be filed in English or Spanish. Also, flight plan offices are in restricted areas, and prior permission is needed to enter these areas. For these reasons, it’s best to have your ground handler file and revise flight plans. It’s important to ensure, for compliance reasons, that your ground handler has an appropriate dispatch license.

3. Language considerations

If you’re operating with non-Spanish-speaking crew members, be aware that the only airport in Argentina that has Air Traffic Control (ATC) with English-speaking capabilities are Buenos Aires – Ezeiza (SAEZ), Aeroparque (SABE), San Fernando (SADF) , Iguazu (SARI), Rosario (SAAR), Neuquen (SAZN), Bariloche (SAZS), Salta (SASA), Tucuman (SANT), Mar del Plata (SAZM), Mendoza (SAME), Comodoro Rivadavia (SAVC). When you operate to other airports, it’s recommended, but not officially required, to have Spanish-speaking crew members or a local navigator onboard. Your ground handler may have personnel on staff who would qualify to travel onboard your aircraft to translate. There are extra costs involved, but this person will also be able to supervise ground handling at the destination.

4. Standard documentation requirements

Standard documents, including registration and airworthiness certificates and worldwide insurance, should always be carried onboard the aircraft. Both pilot and first officer must have appropriate aircraft type ratings and licenses issued by the country in which the aircraft is registered and medical certificates. In lieu of this, you must have an original letter of authority from that governing authority (i.e., Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] or Federal Aviation Administration [FAA]) authorizing the pilot to fly the aircraft. Authorities have been known to enforce this regulation randomly at different airports. On international arrivals, the aircraft cabin must be sprayed with insecticide (specifically, DDT) at top of decent.

5. Permits

Instituto Nationale de Aeronautica Civil (INAC) is the approving authority in Argentina for landing and overflight permits. Note that landing and overflight permits aren’t required if the first airport of entry (AOE) is an international airport.

Permits are valid -/+ 12 hours from approved date/time. If date/time changes beyond the approved window, a permit revision is required. Passenger changes involve just a notification; however, changes to crew require a permit revision, and new documentation will need to be submitted to INAC.

Argentina landing permits are required only for flights on scheduled commercial or large aircraft (C class or above) – for which individual tickets are sold – not for military flights, and flights to the Falkland Islands. Official lead time for a charter flight landing permit is seven days, but permits can often be obtained within 48 hours at CAA’s discretion. Keep in mind that if you’re operating very large GA aircraft – such as a BBJ, Airbus 340, etc. – CAA may consider your aircraft commercial equipment due to its size. Best practice is to forward aircraft configuration in advance to indicate that the aircraft is private non-revenue and not commercial.

6. Charter requirements

Landing permits have to be arranged with ANAC (Civil Aviation National Administration). The following documentation needs to be apostilled in the country of origin, and then translated in Argentina (airworthiness, registration, insurance, crew licenses, and medical certificates), also you’ll need a legal representative in the country to issue a letter of legal representation. We will have to estimate all that procedure, however, if the aircraft has come during the course of one year this procedure will not be necessary.

7. Buenos Aires airports

Buenos Aires is the most popular destination in Argentina. The most congested airports in Argentina are SAEZ and SABE. Prior Permission Required (PPR) is currently in place for general aviation at SABE – a joint-use civil/military airfield – due to airport and aircraft parking congestion and due to the fact that this is a primarily domestic airport. Currently, no other airports in the country have PPR requirements.

The four primary airports that serve Buenos Aires are:

  • Buenos Aires – Ezeiza (SAEZ) – is an international airport open 24/7 with no restrictions. It is located 35 km southwest of the city with an approximate drive time to downtown of 40-45 minutes.
  • Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (SABE) – is open 24/7 but is not an AOE and requires PPR. No parking is available, and the airport can only be used with special permission from the government. The airport is located in the Palermo Ward along the Rio de la Plata northeast of the city. It is nine km from city center with a drive time of 20 minutes.
  • San Fernando (SADF) – is an international airport open 24/7 but only for aircraft with MTOW less than 30 tons. It is located 21 km north of the city with an approximate drive time to downtown of 25 minutes.
  • El Palomar (SADP) – is an international airport with Spanish-only ATC with parking available on request. The airport is located 32 km west of Buenos Aires with an approximate drive time to downtown of 40-45 minutes.

Universal Aviation Argentina can support you at any of these airports.

8. Other popular destinations

Other popular stops in Argentina include Cordoba (SACO), Mendoza (SAME), and Ushuaia (SAWH) – the most southern point in Argentina.

9. Tech stops

Argentina does not consider any stop as a tech stop only. All standard CIQ procedures must be followed – including customs/immigration clearance. Note that the clearance process takes approximately three minutes per person, and all luggage must be removed from the aircraft to be scanned and cleared. After CIQ clearance is completed, crew/passengers will be escorted by the ground handler back to the aircraft.

10. Falkland Islands operating restrictions

If you use Argentinean airspace, a permit is required to operate into/out of the Falkland Islands (known as “Islas Malvinas” in Argentina). Permit lead time for this destination is seven business days, with documentation requirements similar to those for a charter permit, and the permit is processed through the Argentinian Air Force. In the past only aircraft of Argentinean or British registry have been able to obtain landing permits for the islands. If you do not use Argentinean airspace when traveling to/from the Falkland Islands, you’ll need to obtain landing permit and PPR from the British military. Recommended routing to the Falkland Islands involves a departure from Uruguay with a modified routing to avoid Argentinean airspace.

11. Remote airports

Many secondary locations in Argentina are domestic-only airports. This means that you’ll have to clear customs, immigration, and quarantine inbound/outbound from an airport of entry. Airport hours should be considered at more remote locations. Be aware that airport overtime can be requested in Argentina with at least three business days’ advance notification. Best practice is to send a ground handler in advance to secondary locations in Argentina to supervise the ground handling.

Universal Aviation Argentina can support you with this.

12. Parking

Aircraft parking in Argentina is generally not separated into commercial GA. The exception is San Fernando (SADF), where there is only GA parking, and aircraft of 30 metric tons (GLF3) or less must park at a private apron or hangar because the airport concessionary (airport authorities) may not have parking positions available.

Across all airports, tow bars are seldom needed as GA aircraft usually power in/out of parking stands. It’s rare for a parked aircraft to need to be repositioned at any airport in Argentina, but crew must always be present for such moves. If you do need to access the ramp to supervise movement of your aircraft, be aware that you’ll need a letter from police authorizing airside access, and you’ll be escorted by a ground handler at all times. Airside access arrangements prior to day of operation normally require at least 24 hours’ notice.

13. Argentinean reciprocity fees

No reciprocity fees are required for any citizen.

14. Visas

Crew members, regardless of nationality, do not require visas for Argentina. Passengers who need visas, however, must obtain visas in advance as visas cannot be obtained on arrival.

For passengers, here is the official link to determine whether visas are required.

Although vaccinations are not officially needed for this country, it’s important to note that if you travel to Brazil after Argentina, Brazilian authorities will want you to obtain a yellow fever vaccination.

15. In-flight catering

Be aware that in Argentina all open and non-shelf-stable catering will be removed and disposed of. In some cases, your ground handler may obtain permission to store onboard in-flight catering at their facility, but this is not always possible, and permission will not be known until the aircraft arrives. For this reason it’s best to arrange in-flight catering for departure rather than bring additional catering onboard for the return/onward leg.

You can check the free ACW Menu app to see catering options and menus available.

16. Weather

At larger airports in Argentina, flight planning offices have the capability to provide full weather reports, weather updates, and Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) in English. NOTAMs in Argentina are issued in both English and Spanish. At many smaller airports, however, weather and NOTAMs may only be available over the phone in Spanish, as authorities don’t have the means to send this information to you via e-mail or fax. In that case, your ground handler will need to translate the weather data.

As Argentina is well into the southern hemisphere, winters run from June to August, while summer is from December to February. Snow removal and de-icing equipment is in good supply during the winter; however, no hangar space is available for transient aircraft. Busiest season for GA in Argentina is typically summer.

In the Buenos Aires area, summer temperatures can be high – in the mid-30- to mid-40-degree Celsius range – and humidity is often high. During winter, early-morning fog can be an issue at Buenos Aires (SAEZ), but this usually does not shut down the airport. In Southern Argentina there can be snow and subzero temperatures during June through August, and this impacts locations such as SAWC. There’s a pronounced rainy season in the area of Iguazu (SARI) during summer months. From time to time, there may be volcanic ash considerations close to the border with Chile, and this may affect operations at San Carlos de Bariloche (SAZS).

17. Fuel

Aviation fuel releases should be forwarded at least 24 hours in advance (Monday-Friday) in order to arrange for fuel uplifts in Argentina. This is critical for all operations other than air ambulance, diplomatic, or emergency flights. If you have not arranged your uplift in advance, with a fuel release, you’ll need to pay posted price with cash or credit card. Always copy your ground handler on fuel releases, so they can follow up with the appropriate fueler and update any schedule changes.

There are three aviation fuel companies at Buenos Aires (SAEZ) and two at Cordoba (SACO). At most other airports in Argentina, there’s only the government fueler available. Be aware that a few airports in Argentina do not have any aviation fuel available. Airport fuelers are available the same hours that the appropriate airport is open. Note that fuelers give priority to scheduled commercial aviation, so delays are possible. As fuel delays can be one hour or more depending on airport congestion, it’s recommended that aviation fuel be uplifted as per ground handler’s suggestion either on arrival or departure.

Aviation fuel prices in Argentina are per liter, and there may be additional into-plane and other charges associated with uplifts. Depending on the nature of your flight – international or domestic – different taxes will be applied. The captain, or another crew member such as the Second in Command or flight mechanic, must be present during fueling and will need to present both crew ID and the appropriate fuel card.

18. Ground transportation

For security purposes it is recommended to avoid public transportation and consider vetted pre-paid transportation (car and driver). If you’re bringing hunting weapons to Argentina, always provide prior notification – and complete a “Temporary Authorization of Arms” form which can be downloaded here – to avoid delays and problems on arrival.

You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal Private Transport.

19. Peak travel seasons

Peak travel season in Argentina is June through August. Other upcoming periods of high traffic, include:


Traveling to Argentina is fairly straight forward, but it’s best to allow at least a weeks’ lead time to make arrangements for permits, services, navigators, etc. We strongly recommendation you work with an experienced trip support provider when operating into this region, and of course, our team here at Universal is always ready to assist you! You can request a trip cost estimate for your next mission online.

The post Operating a business jet to Argentina appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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The 46th edition of the Copa América, the quadrennial international men’s association football championship organized by CONMEBOL (South America’s football committee), will take place from June 14 to July 7, 2019 at five sites in Brazil.

Although the event is not on the scale of tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup, it may will still attract a large quantity of local business aviation, putting a strain on airport parking, hotels and slot arrangements. If you plan on attending Copa América or will be operating to one of the venue cities, here’s what you need to know.

1. Venues

The event will take place at five different cities in Brazil: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre and Salvador.

2. Match schedule

The match schedule can be viewed here.

3. Planning Lead times

If you’re attending Copa América, here are the lead times you need to consider:

  • Two days: Permits require 48 business hours (for domestic permits) or one day for single stops at international airports.
  • One day: After the permit is issued, it is time to register the aircraft in the slot system. It can take up to one day.
  • Five days: Slots become available five days prior to the ETA.
  • Eight days: Lead time is ideal for domestic flights / 7 days for international flights.
4. Slots

Slots will be required at airports in all five host cities, so it will be vital to provide adequate lead times.

  • Slot window: Slots are available between 120 hours and one hour 30 minutes from the proposed time.
  • Cancelation policy: Slots can be cancelled up to four hours prior to the proposed time. Cancellations that take place after this period may be subject to notifications and eventual fines.
  • Opportunity slots: If the slot correspondent to your intended schedule is not available, you’ll be able to apply for an opportunity slot. Opportunity slots are available for application from four hours to one hour prior the intended time.
  • Departure slots: Applications are made by phone by an operator’s service provider.
  • Arrival slots: Applications are made by phone if the aircraft is still on the ground. If the aircraft is already airborne, slots can be coordinated with the APP.
  • Slot updates: Tail changes or airport changes will need to be done by phone and may take some time. An alternative is dropping the slot and obtaining it again with the proper information. This is risky, however, because once dropped, it may be available to anyone.
  • Slot deviation: The slot deviation is -15 min / 30 min, except when the operator has the clearance but there are delays caused by weather, ATS service delays, and airport infrastructure.
  • Number of slots daily: Each aircraft is allowed to have no more than two arrival slots and two departure slots at the same airport.
  • SBSP is the priority: If you’re flying to São Paulo/Congonhas Airport (SBSP) from a coordinated airport, you’re exempt from needing a departure slot, as long as you have an SBSP arrival slot. This is also the case if you’re flying from SBSP to another location. If you have a departure slot from SBSP, you’re exempt from needing an arrival slot at the next location.
  • Schedule changes are possible, but you’ll always need to take into consideration the 45 minutes lead time, unless your local supplier is able to file and manage the plan for you. In case the supplier has access to the native ATC system, their lead time for CHG and DLA will reduce to 30 minutes.

If you need assistance with slot applications, Universal Aviation Brazil can help. Contact us for the complete slot schedule.

5. Airport options

All major airports at the venue cities are options for landing and parking. Below is a quick breakdown on airport options:

  • São Paulo
    • SBGR – AOE: Yes / Slot: For selected periods / Fuel: Available / VIP Lounge: Private only / Parking: Private parking / Operations: 24/7
    • SBSP – AOE: No / Slot: Required / Fuel: Available / VIP Lounge: Hangar / Parking: Private Hangar / Operations: between 06h00 until 23h00 local
    • SBKP – AOE: Yes / Slot: Not required / Fuel: Available / VIP Lounge: Not available / Parking: Available – Few positions available. / Operations: 24/7
  • Rio de Janeiro
    • SBGL – AOE: Yes / Slot: Only for the selected periods / Fuel: Available / VIP Lounge: Private Only / Parking: Available / Operations: 24/7
    • SBRJ – AOE: No / Slot: Requested for the period / Fuel: Available / VIP Lounge: Hangar / Parking: Not available / Operations: between 06h00 until 23h00 local
  • Belo Horizonte
    • SBCF – AOE: Yes / Slot: Only for the selected periods / Fuel: Available / VIP Lounge: No / Parking: Not many spots available / Operations: 24/7
    • SBBH – AOC: No / Slot: Required for the selected periods / Fuel: Available / VIP lounge: Available: / Parking: Available / Operations: 24/7
  • Porto Alegre
    • SBPA – AOE: Yes / Slot: Only for the selected periods / Fuel: Available / VIP lounge: Affirmative / Parking: Available / Operations: 24/7
  • Salvador
    • SBSV – AOE: Yes / Slot: Only for the selected periods / Fuel: Available / VIP lounge: Affirmative / Parking available / Operations: 24/7
6. Hotels

All the locations are served by major hotel networks. Most are full, but not all are sold out yet.


The Copa América is a high-traffic regional sporting event in Brazil, impacting operations in five cities. Slots and services will be in high demand, so it’s best to check with your service provider as far in advance as possible.

The post Operating to the 2019 Copa América appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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Paris Le Bourget (LFPB) is one of the most business aviation-friendly airports in Europe in terms of operating flexibility, available services, and maintenance support. There are, however, other airport options to consider when operating to Paris. A 3rd-party provider can help determine the best options for your particular mission.

1. Paris Airports

Paris has three airports, but two of them – Charles de Gaulle (LFPG) and Orly (LFPO) – are mostly dedicated to scheduled commercial operations. LFPG allows General Aviation (GA) operations for passengers with airline connections only, and aircraft may only stay on the ground for a few hours. LFPO is reserved almost exclusively for commercial traffic, except for diplomatic flight movements and passengers with airline connections, at which point the aircraft transporting them may only stay on the ground for a few hours.

LFPB accepts private non-revenue flights and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. LFPB is a user-friendly facility with plenty of aircraft parking and full support services available. LFPB and LFPG are located northeast of Paris, while LFPO is to the southeast. Driving time to central Paris from either airport can range from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

2. LFPB operating environment

LFPB does not have scheduled commercial operations, and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights are limited to 25 seats or less (unless permission is obtained in advance from the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA]). This capacity restriction does not apply to private (non-revenue) flights. LFPB is an easy and straightforward operating environment without the arrival, departure, ground taxi, and customs delays common at LFPG and LFPO.

3. Airport curfews

LFPB is open 24 hours for arrivals, but jet engine departures from apron are prohibited between 2215 and 0600 local. Permission for late departures is possible with prior approval for medical evacuation flights only. LFPG allows departures 0500-2359 local and arrivals 0530-2359 local. All departures 0001-0459 local and arrivals 0030-0529 local are specified to scheduled commercial operators (GA nighttime operations are not possible after midnight). LFPO is open 0600-2330 local, but only GA flights with commercial airline connections are permitted to land at LFPO, and Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed. All aircraft with a configuration of fewer than 25 seats require permission to operate into either LFPG or LFPO.

4. Noise restrictions?

Operations to Paris airports are generally restricted to Stage 3 operations and above.

5. Slots and PPRs

No PPRs or airport slots are required for LFPB. LFPG requires airport slots (deviation -5 minutes / +10 minutes) and a PPR (at least 24 hours’ notice is required to obtain this). The airport slot confirmation number must be included in field 18 of the flight plan. You must notify the ground handler, or the airline if you’re dropping off or picking up passengers with confirmed seats on commercial flights. LFPO requires airport slots (deviation -/+ 15 minutes) and a PPR (24 hours’ notice is required to obtain this). Restrictions at LFPO are similar to LFPG.

6. Charter permits

Non-European Union (EU) charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators, and EU charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators flying to/from non-EU countries require landing permits. If you’ve never operated a charter (non-scheduled commercial) flight to France, allow time to process your landing permit. If you are holding a TCA, CAA will likely have your documentation and completed questionnaire on file, thereby expediting the charter permit process.

7. Aircraft parking, extended stays, and maintenance availability

LFPB has plenty of parking, with the only exception being during the Paris Air Show (held biennially in odd-numbered years). Extended stays are not a problem at LFPB on ramp areas controlled by ground handlers. Notification is required for wide-body aircraft, and you’ll be parked in a different area. Aircraft hangar space is available at LFPB but limited during winter months. On-field aircraft maintenance support includes Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Raytheon, Embraer, and Gulfstream service. LFPG allows GA parking for only a few hours. Overnight stays may also be possible with prior arrangement. LFPO also restricts GA ops to a few hours on the ground, with no arrivals before 0930 and no departures 1900-2100 local. No hangar space or maintenance options are available for GA at either LFPG or LFPO. If you have maintenance issues at either LFPG or LFPO, it may take 72 hours to obtain ramp access for a mechanic. If the aircraft can operate, it’s best to reposition to LFPB.

8. Relocating aircraft

Notification is always provided before moving a large or wide-body aircraft. Smaller GA aircraft may, however, be relocated by the ground handler without prior notification, unless crew specifically asks to be notified.

9. Customs

Passengers and crew clear customs in the main terminal (with commercial passengers) at both LFPG and LFPO. You’ll have to arrange van transport to the terminal, and clearing customs could take 30-60 minutes. A VIP terminal is available for diplomatic flights at LFPO & LFPG. Clearance is an easier five to 10-minute procedure – within the Fixed Based Operator (FBO) 24 hours a day – at LFPB. There are no charges or fees associated with customs clearances at any Paris airport. Planeside (or on-aircraft) clearance is available, without prior notification, only at LFPB. If you have passengers connecting to a commercial flight – particularly at LFPG – it’s advisable to land at LFPB and arrange ground transport (10-15 minutes) to LFPG. This results in cost savings due to lower landing and handling fees at LFPB. Also, it is quicker as a result of the time savings that crew, passengers, and luggage have clearing customs.

10. Arrival documentation

When arriving from a non-Schengen country, have all standard documentation (airworthiness certificate, registration, insurance, noise certificate, copies of crew licenses and medicals, Safety Management System [SMS] Program, and general declarations) available in case of a ramp check. Ramp checks are occurring more frequently and are mostly focused on charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators flying international sectors.

11. Quarantine and agricultural requirements

Certain prohibited items (and foods) may not be offloaded from the aircraft while in France. Dogs and cats (except racing dogs) may be brought into France if they are at least three months old and fitted with permanent identification and have valid health/rabies certificates. Catering may be left onboard in Paris, and any refrigerated items may be stored at your FBO /ground handler.

12. Local transportation

Pre-paid transportation with a driver is recommended, but rental cars are available at all three airports if requested. Due to heavy traffic in the Paris area, many people are not comfortable with rental car options, but this service is not possible at LFPG or LFPO.

13. In-flight catering availability

In-flight caterers are available at all Paris airports and can provide menus upon request. Catering is usually delivered directly to the aircraft, and in-flight caterers have ramp access approval. If the crew is bringing catering from restaurants, this must go through security screening (with associated “liquids” restrictions).

14. Short notice vs. advanced arrangements

While many services like in-flight catering, jet fuel, and transportation can be arranged on short notice, it’s always best to inform your ground handler of your requirements in advance to avoid potential issues.

15. Airport security

All three Paris airports are secure facilities, with police patrols and surveillance on ramp areas.


While it’s rare for business aviation operators to utilize LFPG – and even less common to operate into LFPO – there may be times you’ll want to consider these options (particularly if operating a diplomatic flight). A 3rd-party provider can help review in advance the limitations of these scheduled commercial-focused Paris airport options.
The customs process into Paris is straightforward for private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) aircraft operators. Documentation requirements are not onerous, and business aircraft operators can look forward to a full range of support facilities and services at Le Bourget (LFPB) once the customs process is completed. The other airports in Paris – Orly (LFPO) and Charles de Gaulle (LFPG) – don’t cater to business aviation flights.

Operations to all of the airports in Paris are straightforward from a flight-planning perspective, but one must consider the documentation needed, airport procedures, and services available at each location. For this reason, a 3rd-party provider may assist you in reviewing requirements and arranging services required for your trip.

The post Tips on Picking an Airport in Paris for a Business Aviation Flight appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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Please note that this article and the materials available herein are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice before operating to Cuba.

The U.S. Department of Commerce through its Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and the U.S. Department of Treasury through its Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) have issued updated U.S. sanctions rules applicable to Cuba, published in the Federal Register and effective June 5, 2019.

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

1. How do the changes impact business aviation?

General aviation N-registered aircraft operating under FAA Part 91 are no longer authorized to travel to Cuba, directly or indirectly, from the U.S. or another country. N-registered private and corporate aircraft in general aviation are no longer eligible for the license exception AVS to Cuba, and a Temporary Sojourn license will be required from BIS for travel to the country.

However, and most importantly, the final rule states “such licenses will be issued only in extraordinary circumstances. Thus, non-commercial aircraft and non-cargo vessels generally will be prohibited from going to Cuba.”

2. Ending Group People-to-People Travel

In accordance with the newly announced changes to non-family travel to Cuba, OFAC is amending the regulations to remove the authorization for group people-to-people educational travel. OFAC’s regulatory changes include a “grandfathering” provision, which provides that certain group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized will continue to be authorized where the traveler had already completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 4, 2019.

Note: This applies to people only and does not apply to the aircraft – which would not be authorized to travel without a Temporary Sojourn license from BIS.

3. Ending Exports of Passenger Vessels, Recreational Vessels, and Private Aircraft

BIS, in coordination with OFAC, is amending its EAR to make passenger and recreational vessels and private and corporate aircraft ineligible for license exception and to establish a general policy of denial for license applications involving those vessels and aircraft.

4. Scheduled and chartered flights can still operate with BIS license exception AVS

A company that has an Air Carrier Operating Certificate issued under Part 135 and is considered a commercial operator and remains eligible to conduct operations to Cuba under the BIS license exception AVS (meaning that a separate BIS license is not required).

Note: Passengers on Part 135 operated aircraft must comply with OFAC’s travel restrictions and must fall into one of the following 12 categories of authorized travelers to Cuba:

  1. Family visit
  2. Official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations
  3. Journalistic activity
  4. Professional research and professional meetings
  5. Educational activities (as noted herein)
  6. Religious activities
  7. Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions
  8. Support of the Cuban people
  9. Humanitarian projects
  10. Activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes
  11. Exportation, importation, or transmission of information or informational materials
  12. Certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing Department of Commerce regulations and guidelines with respect to Cuba or engaged in by U.S.-owned or –controlled foreign firms
5. Air ambulance flights

The AVS exception is still available for air ambulance services to Cuba.


With the updated provision from OFAC, this may allow crew more leeway for travel to Cuba. However, note that it clearly doesn’t define the maximum length of stay. It’s recommended to always be diligent and checking with your legal department in determining the length of stay.

Please note that this article and the materials available herein are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice before operating to Cuba.

The post New Cuba sanctions: how they impact business aviation appeared first on Universal® Operational Insight Blog.

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