Did you ever apply for overflight and landing permits and got rejected? This is probably because the process of application is quite complicated. This guide is presented by iJET to make you understand the requirements of processing flight permits.
A flight permit is a document that confirms an aircraft has permission to overfly the airspace of a specific country, or to land in an airport at a specific country. The issuance process and requirements of overflight and landing permits differ from one county to another. Also, the flight type affects the flight permit issuance process. Flight permits issuance is usually a payable service in most countries. Overflight fees are also different according to each country’s regulations. Although the most common types of flight permits are overflight and landing permits, there are also other types such as special flight permits for ferry flights (which are called ferry permits).
In 1944, the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation was held. This convention made a great achievement. It was the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO is The United Nations Agency that manages the standards of international air transport and navigation. This organization is recognized by almost every country in the world.
The convention has also issued several aviation principles that are still effective today. One of these principles is the airspace sovereignty. It is what mainly introduced the different types of flight permits and overflight fees.
Chicago convention defined five rights for each signatory state to operate air flights into or across the airspace of other states. These rights apply to both passengers and cargo airplanes. Those rights are also known as the five freedoms of the air.
The five freedoms are granted to almost all international airlines worldwide. However, that does not mean airlines do not have to apply for overflight and landing permits or pay overflight fees. The freedoms provide only a guaranteed approval of your overflight and landing permits.
The five freedoms of the air:
Interestingly, the third and fourth rights are usually granted together. If a plane is permitted to fly somewhere, it is also allowed to fly back with new passengers.
Later, these freedoms were extended to nine by adding up four unofficial freedoms:
Overflight permits are permissions to enter, pass, and exit the airspace of any sovereign country across your route. These permits are payable in most countries worldwide, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Tanzania, and Ghana.
Officially, there are no international separation measures between a country’s airspace and outer space. However, there are some common considerations among countries to set the vertical boundaries of airspace. For example, some countries take 19 miles (30 km) above sea level as the outer space separation line, because it is the highest altitude planes or air balloons can reach. Other countries consider 99 miles (160 km) above sea level as a separation line, because it is the lowest stable earth orbit.
Every country has its own specific method of calculating overflight fees.
In Canada, for example, the Civil Aviation Authority takes into consideration both the aircraft weight and the flight distance. While in USA, only the flight distance is considered to set two main rates: $61.75/ 100 nm if the plane is flying over US land, and $26.51/100 nm if it is flying over the ocean, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some countries do not go too deep into calculations, as they have set a fixed overflight rate, regardless of the aircraft weight or the flight distance. For example, Afghanistan charges $950 for every overflight permit it issues.
Additionally, IATA has set a global form for overflight fees calculation that states:
Overflight fees = Unit rate x distance – km/100 x SQRT (MTOW/50)
Are you operating a short or long-haul flight?
If your flight is long, so will be the list of overflight permits you need to obtain, thus the higher your overflight fees!
Quick tip: With the assistance of an experienced flight planning company, like iJET, you can choose the flight route that minimizes your overflight fees the most and receive an accurate calculation of what you’ll be paying.
The lead times for applying to overflight permits vary from one country to another. Generally, lead times range between 24 hours, like India, and 72 hours, like Turkmenistan. It is noteworthy that the faster you apply for the permit the better. Some countries charge more for overflight fees if you apply 24 hours before the flight date, and less if you submit your application 72 hours ahead.
In most cases, to grant an overflight permit it is sufficient to provide: the details of the aircraft operator, the flight number, the schedule and purpose of the flight, and aircraft type and registration. However, some CAA’s of other countries also request air operator certificate (AOC), airworthiness certificate, noise certificate, aircraft registration certificate, and insurance certificate.
The process of imposing and collecting flight permit fees differs according to each country. In general, the civil aviation authorities in most countries are responsible for the process. In some other countries, other entities involve in the process as well. For example, the airport authority, or specialist local government or military agencies.
As for the fees collection process, usually, the same authority that imposes the fees also collects them, like in Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Tanzania. However, there are countries that depend on international or regional organizations to collect the fees as an outsourced service. Such organizations include IATA, Euro Control, and ASECNA.
Landing permits are authorizations for an airplane to get landing approval in a specific airport at the destination country. A Landing permit asserts that the aircraft type complies with the safety measures and noise restrictions. It also affirms that the operating airline has permission to operate commercial flights for revenue.
There are some countries that do not require landing permits for private flights. Submitting a flight plan instead before the flight would be enough. This applies in the United States and European countries. While other countries may request different documentations for private non-revenue flights.
Landing permits are essential for traffic landing in any airport of a foreign country, whether the aircraft is transferring passengers or cargo, or when the airplane must make a technical landing for refueling or maintenance. Generally, applying for a landing permit due to technical reasons is faster and easier than applying for a traffic landing permit.
Each country has its own regulations concerning landing permit application lead time. On average, international lead times for landing permits vary between 72 hours to 7 working days for traffic landing permits.
Most civil aviation authorities require the following documents for landing permits application:
Certificate of Airworthiness, Aircraft Operator Certificate, Certificate of Registration, Insurance Certificate, Noise Certificate, Airworthiness Review Certificate
Special flight permits enable aircraft operators to fly an airplane that does not hold an airworthiness certificate or other necessary documents but is still capable of flying safely.
When requesting a special flight permit, an applicant should provide the following information:
Processing fees are generally non-refundable regardless of whether the permit is approved or rejected WHY?
Many aviation professionals find no sense in imposing such fees, but countries CAAs says yes to them! and day by day CAAs that were not imposing processing fees, are raising the hand to it and starting to request it as well…
Aviation Industry has a lot of charges and fees that are imposed to allow the aircraft to operate; like the fees of landing, parking/ landing slots, passenger service, terminal navigation, boarding bridge…
If we look into all these fees, we find them all convincing as they all come for a purpose and in return of a service that needs tools, space, or human resources, but WHY? to pay for overflying a country?
Especially that ICAO Chicago Convention regulations says: “No fees, dues or other charges shall be imposed by any contracting State in respect solely of the right of transit over or entry into or exit from its territory of any aircraft of a contracting State or persons or property thereon”
And this goes against imposing processing fees for the issuance of overflight permits!
If you decide to avoid the efforts and challenges, Contact us or fill the form below. Our professional team can secure your short-notice flight permits. Also, our flight planning service helps you to choose the best route for your flight to reduce your overflight fees to the minimum.