U.S. Southern Overflight Exemption Changes Take Hold

 - June 20, 2013, 2:05 PM

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) introduced changes this week to its Southern border overflight exemption process, which will save Part 91 and 135 operators money and lighten their administrative burden. Recently introduced CBP reporting requirements such as the Electronic Advanced Passenger Information System (eApis) make available to the agency information that CBP previously required for approval for Southern border overflights, eliminating the need for duplicate information reporting for both programs.

The program modifications came after two years of negotiating between CBP officials and NBAA’s security council. “The collaboration involved in developing the enhancements exemplifies the best of government-industry collaboration efforts because it produces real cost savings and valuable process efficiencies for everyone involved,” said Doug Carr, NBAA’s vice president of safety, security, operations and regulation.

As a result, Carr noted, the new overflight exemption will no longer require that operators carry an “approved passenger” on board, and aircraft can now depart any foreign airport south of the U.S. border, not only those already included in the operator’s overflight exemption. Other restrictions such as the need to obtain landing permission from the CBP remain in effect.

The exemption will still apply only to aircraft listed on the exemption letter (a copy of which must be carried on board), and an IFR flight plan must be followed with a minimum altitude of 12,500 feet.