Operating your business flight to Algeria
Algeria is the largest country in Africa, and is among the top five largest economies in the continent. Algeria is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and its economy is reliant on oil and gas.
Arabic is the national language of Algeria, but French is widely spoken, as Algeria was colonized by France for more than 130 years, from 1830 until 1962.
Algiers, the capital of Algeria, is a beautiful coastal city on the Mediterranean Sea. The city is called “Algiers the White”, due to the white color of its buildings as seen rising from the sea.
Due to economic importance of the country, many business aviation flights operate to Algeria. Additionally, due to the country’s strategic location in the north of Africa, many aircraft that do not have the necessary range to complete the flight from Europe to the Southern countries of Africa and vice versa, often choose to make a technical stop for refueling in Algeria.
It is important for the operators of these flights to comprehend the operational, logistical, and regulatory aspects of operating into the airports of Algeria.
Whenever your destination is the capital Algiers, Houari Boumediene Airport (DAAG/ALG) is the main airport to operate to. It is an international airport, and it’s the hub of Air Algerie, the national carrier of Algeria. The airport has two runways.
Due the size of Algeria, aviation is important for transportation within the country, so there are many airports in Algeria. International airports in the north-western side of the country include Oran (DAAO/ORN), Tlemcen (DAON/TLM), and Adrar (DAUA/AZR), while international airports in the north-eastern side of the country include Annaba (DABB/AAE), Biskara (DAUB/BSK), Batna (DABT/BJL), and Constantine (DABC/CZL).
Whenever landing for a technical stop with the purpose of refueling, most aircraft operators land in Tamannrasset Airport (DAAT/TMR) in the south of Algeria.
Operations for visiting the oil and gas fields take place at Ghardaia Airport (DAUG/GHA) and Hassi Messaoud Airport (DAUH/HME).
All of the mentioned airports are international airports of entry (AOE), operating 24 hours (with the exception of DAUB which does not operate at the night) and they have customs and immigrations around the clock. The Algerian airports are not slot coordinated.
A landing permit is required to operate to the Algerian airports for all type of flights, including charter, cargo, private, air ambulance, and technical landings. The same applies for overflight permits.
The Authority for Civil Aviation and Meteorology in the Algerian Ministry of Transport is responsible for issuing the landing permits. The official lead time is 72 hours, but could be delivered in less time at the discretion of the civil aviation authority, if all the information required are submitted on time, and if the aircraft operator has no overdue unsettled navigation fees invoices to the National Establishment of Air Navigation (ENNA – Establissement National de la Navigation Aerienne).
The landing permit application should include all information about the aircraft and the flight, besides the purpose and the names of passengers.
Air Algerie, the national carrier of Algeria, is the main ground handling company in Algeria. The Swiss ground handling group Swissport has obtained a second license to provide ground handling services in Algeria. Swissport currently provides ground handling services in DAAG, DABC, DABT, DAAO, and DAON.
Air Algerie is the only ground handling company in the other airports, with the exceptions of some domestic airports, which are operated by the petroleum company of Algeria SONATRACH as they are mainly used for the transportation of its staff.
There is no dedicated general or business aviation terminal in Algeria as of the date of writing of this article. The lack of the business aviation infrastructure and the FBO in Algeria makes it desirable to appoint a supervisory flight support agent.
Operation into Algeria requires the payment of a royalty fee to Air Algerie for the cargo transported, and a passenger tax as well.
NAFTAL is the only jet fuel supplier in the Algerian airports. Fuel is normally available at all times with no fuel shortage recently experienced. AVGAS is only available in DAAG and a few other airports, such as DAAO and DABC. If required in other airports, the AVGAS fuel can be transported in drums from DAAG providing enough notice is given.
Credit cards are not accepted for payment of aviation fuel in Algeria. Fuel releases by reliable fuel resellers are accepted. Payment can also be done in cash in both USD and Euro, although cash payment is not normally desirable by business aviation operators.
When operating domestically, VAT will be added to the fuel price purchased.
Flight and cabin crew from all nationalities can enter Algeria with visa upon arrival. Unless they remain in the transit area in the airport, passengers are required to obtain a visa from the Algerian diplomatic missions in their countries of residence, with the exceptions of the countries that have special visa agreements with the Algerian government.
Catering is available in the majority of the international Algerian airports, such as DAAG, DAOO, and DABC. The main inflight catering provider is Air Algerie.
In other airports, such as Hassi Messaoud DAAT, catering can provided from the hotels, like Tahat Hotel, and while in Ghardaia DAUG, it can be sourced from Belvedere Hotel.
Many four and five stars hotels exist in the capital Algiers. If you would like to stay near the airport, then Grand Hotel Mercure is a good hotel to be in. Hilton Hotel is also near the airport and is directly on the sea. Sofitel Hotel is a very good hotel, located nearer to the city center and has excellent restaurants. Sofitel is located within walking distance from the park “Le Jardin d’Essai”, which is a very large garden that dates back to 1832 and was crated for the preservation and propagation of all the country’s indigenous plants.
If you would like to stay in a hotel that has one of the most amazing views in your life, then stay in Hotel El-Aurasi hotel, which overlooks the whole city of Algiers and the Mediterranean Sea, with Algiers airports in the horizon.
If your stay is long enough and you would like to stay in an excellent hotel that has access to an amazing beach, swimming pool, and restaurants, then Sheraton Club des Pins is the place to stay.
It’s recommended to arrange your private chauffeured transportation in advance, rather than using public taxis, for service quality, security, and language barrier reasons. Traffic in the city of Algiers is congested, so it’s recommended to allow enough time for the commute back to the airport.
As for the general security level of the country, many countries have recently issued Travel Alerts to their citizens relating to the travel of Algeria, warning them from travelling to the remote areas in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country.
The main cities and airports of Algeria are mainly secured by the Algerian security forces and airport police. No private security can be arranged for the aircraft while parking on the ramp. Armed guards in the city can’t be arranged either. However, there are some security companies that can provide what can be called “Tour Guides”, who are well trained in security measures and martial arts, but with no arms.
Operating to Algeria can be challenging, but planning the trip thoroughly with the assistance of your expert flight support provider will ensure the trip is successful and rewarding. Algeria is a great country to visit and do business in. With a population of almost 40 million people, rich natural resources, and great location and climate, it really has a great economic potential. I have visited Algeria myself several times before, and it has special place in my heart. Visit it, enjoy it, and do not forget to eat from its amazing dates.
Originally published at Bluesky News at: