At NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers conference yesterday in San Antonio, an educational session dealt with international operations in South America, presented by Jodi Tanner-Perkins from Jeppesen International Trip Planning, Grant Russell from Bombardier and Ana Paula Martin from Lider Aviation Brazil. Most countries in South America require overflight and landing permits; visa and immunization requirements vary from country to country and can change frequently, according to Tanner-Perkins. She suggests that flight departments heading to the region consult their flight planning provider and/or the U.S. State Department for the latest rules.
In terms of vaccination requirements, travel to Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guinea, Guyana, Suriname and some parts of Colombia would currently involve Yellow Fever immunization, but operators should review the latest bulletins from the U.S. Center for Disease Control before any trip planning.
South America does observe daylight savings time, but on a slightly different calendar than the U.S. so that could be a factor to consider when scheduling, Tanner-Perkins said.
At some high altitude airports such as Cuzco, Peru (11,000 feet elevation), or La Paz, Bolivia (13,000) authorities will require pilots to complete certain preflight safety requirements and/or include the high-altitude performance appendix from the aircraft’s operations manual before issuing a landing permit.
Russell, a member of Bombardier’s demonstration pilot corps, shared other best practices for operating in the area, including carrying all necessary pilot and aircraft documentation in a book for the ground handling agent to present to the local officials. While Brazil requires the original documents on board the aircraft, copies of all should be carried as well, along with a completed copy of the ICAO flight plan form, which documents all the equipment aboard the aircraft.
He cautioned that flight planners should consider a possible diversion airport as carefully as they would the intended destination, as another suitable landing alternative could be more than an hour flight away. He also warned that flight crews should prepare for longer-than-normal duty days, with extra time needed to prepare the aircraft in the face of rigid permit departure constraints. When it comes to any necessary AOG repairs, shipped parts could see delays in reaching the aircraft, and even if a technician accompanies them, the work on the aircraft may be delegated to local mechanics.
While Brazil has the world’s second largest fleet of executive aviation aircraft (nearly 10,000 helicopters, jets and turboprops), there are no dedicated GA customs facilities at the country’s airports, according to Lider Aviation’s Martin. All passengers on arriving private flights must clear customs, immigration and quarantine in the main terminals along with commercial passengers. Local handlers can occasionally slip their clients to the head of the line, depending, she said, upon the mood of the officials that day.
Brazil has pledged a $3 billion investment in its airports ahead of three major sporting events in the next few years and the influx of travelers they will bring. This June, the FIFA Confederation Cup soccer tournament will be held in several cities, and next year one of the world’s biggest sporting events, the 20th edition of the World Cup, will be staged in 12 cities across the country. That event alone is expected to attract an estimated 3.7 billion tourists, said Martin. Finally, in 2016, Rio de Janeiro will be host to the Summer Olympic Games.