Applying for an Overflight Permit

by Admin on July 13, 2022

When applying for overflight permits within the regulatory permit lead time of the country in question, are you sure you have submitted all the essential documents with your application? Do you have all the crucial information needed for your application for an overflight permit request?

An overflight permit is a vital part of the operation, without the required overflight permit you might have to re-route your flight, deal with fines and investigation, or worse face a forced landing by military aircraft. In this article, we venture out to highlight the common mistakes aircraft operators commit when applying for an overflight permit.


What is an overflight permit?

Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) grant permission for overflights of their country’s airspace. Depending on the nation, these have different rules and airspace coverage areas. It’s always necessary to confirm with your third-party supplier the overflight permit requirements for the intended flight path in advance.


Requirements for overflight permits

For both private non-profit and charter (non-scheduled commercial) aviation operations, many nations enforce overflight permit requirements. More nations have started introducing these standards in recent years. Brazil and Suriname, for instance, did not previously require an overflight permit but do now. Even if the nation in question does not require a permit for ordinary General Aviation (GA) flights, overflight permits are typically necessary for aircraft operating on experimental or non-full airworthiness certificates. In general, experimental aircraft must submit more paperwork, wait longer for permits to be issued, and are subject to particular operating limitations.


Overflight permits are not usually necessary

For private non-commercial and charter flights, overflight licenses are typically not needed in Europe, unlike the majority of countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. However, the majority of European nations do require overflight permissions if you are flying an experimental aircraft.


Varying lead times for permits

The majority of Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and South America all have three to five business days to process overflight licenses. However, some nations have lengthier lead times for obtaining permits. For instance, the approval process for overflight permission in Mongolia takes 14 business days, compared to 10 days in Togo, 9 days in Myanmar, and 7 days in Indonesia. The local CAAs may allow requests for short-notice overflight permits.


Permit requirements for the selected routes

Once you’ve decided which nations you’ll be flying over, you need to understand the specific criteria for each nation, including things like flight information regions (FIRs), lead times for obtaining permits, and other needs. It’s crucial to check the entire route against flight diagrams to make sure you don’t overlook any required permissions.


No-go routings

There are numerous situations where using a certain route or operating between two nations is prohibited. Here are a few instances:

  • Generally speaking, it is impossible to conduct direct business between Taiwan and China or between Argentina and the Falkland Islands.
  • You are essentially limited to using the PURPA route while traveling between China and India, however, it might be available with enough notice. However, keep in mind that if China rejects this request, you will need to alter your routes and permissions and add more time to your travel schedule.
  • If you owe overflight fees to Venezuela CAA, they won’t let you overfly the country, and they might not notify you of this until you’re about to enter their FIR.
  • Similar to Venezuela, Mexico’s DGAC won’t permit you to fly over Mexican airspace if you have unpaid SENEAM payments. Even if your flight plan has been authorized, they will still deny you entrance, and they won’t let you know if they have marked you or your aircraft for owing unpaid fees.



Choosing a route

Aeronautical Information Publications (AIPs) typically specify the laws, including the prerequisites for overflight permits, for each nation. However, some AIPs can be hard to find or written only in the nation’s local tongue, with no English translations available. It’s crucial to choose a flight path that is both practical and efficient while planning a trip. For instance, choosing a route based on the strongest winds could place you on an airway that is closed, only goes one way, or is not accessible to GA. It is always important to choose a workable route rather than one that passes over nations that might be sanctioned or forbidden for your flight operation due to insurance requirements, business operational requirements, and/or leads passenger preferences.


Common mistakes in Overflight Permits


Don’t miss even a single flight detail

Missing one flight detail can lead to the rejection of your permit. Make sure to provide the complete flight details, including aircraft registration, call sign, flight schedule, ATC routes, and other essential details when you’re applying for an overflight permit.

Do detailed research for the specific documents required by each country to avoid missing any prerequisites for requesting an overflight permit.

Do you require an overflight permit?

There are countries where you don’t need an overflight permit to overfly, there are also, countries that don’t allow you to overfly altogether.  For instance, Israel is not available for overflight. Most of the countries in Asia, Africa, and South America generally require an overflight permit, while it is normally not required in Europe.

Once your route is formulated, you will be aware of the countries you will overflying and can proceed with the basic requirements of the flights, permits being one of the vital requirements.

Varying permit lead time

Permit lead time differs from one country to another. While most of the countries in Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Asia require three to five business days to process the overflight permit, some countries might require more than that to process your request. You must also keep in mind the working days of the country through which you’re flying.

For instance, the majority of countries in the Middle East work from Sunday to Thursday, while applying you’ve to keep in mind not only the required lead time for the permit but also the working business days of the country. Some countries are flexible with the lead time but some countries have stringent rules regarding the time of the submission of the application; they can deny the request if the request is submitted outside the lead time.

Should you go through an agent?

Some countries might allow you to apply directly to the CAA for the overflight permit, but there are others, that require you to go through a local agent. The main reason for countries wanting you to process the permit through an agent is to guarantee the settlement of the permit and the navigation fees.

The processing fee for the issuance of the flight is non-refundable, you’ve to make sure you don’t commit an error that might lead to the rejection of your permit.

Provide the exact entry and exit point

CAA of certain countries are specific about the entry and exit point of the flight. You need to make sure that the exact entry and exit point is provided when submitting your application for the overflight permit.


How Are Fees for Overflight Calculated?

Each nation uses a unique formula to determine overflight fees.

For instance, the Civil Aviation Authority of Canada takes into account both the aircraft’s weight and the length of the journey. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, only the flight distance is taken into account to determine the two primary rates in the USA: $26.51/100 nautical miles for flights over oceans and $61.75/100 nautical miles for flights over US land (FAA). Some nations don’t get too technical because they’ve established a fixed overflight rate that applies regardless of the weight or distance of the aircraft. For instance, Afghanistan costs $950 for each permit government provides for overflight.

A universal form for calculating overflight fees has been established by IATA, which reads: Overflight fees = Unit rate x distance – km/100 x SQRT (MTOW/50).

Different countries, different regulations. The rules surrounding the issuance of flight permits differ from one country to another. Aircraft operators around the world must keep themselves updated with the latest regulation for the issuance of an overflight permit, as it is one of the governing tasks for the actual performance of the flight. But keeping a track of the changes in the regulations of overflight permits is an arduous task.  Thus, to avoid errors when applying for an overflight permit, leave the job to a flight support partner, who has a thorough understanding of the process and requirements for an overflight permit.

Rejection or delay of your overflight permits can cost you heavily. It will also lead to unnecessary delays in your flight, thereby disappointing your valued clients and passengers. To avoid any such rejection or delay of your overflight permit trust your flight support partner to process the overflight permits for you. Obtaining an overflight permit gets relatively easier when you opt for a reliable flight support partner to handle it.

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