Whether you’re heading to Asia for business, the Caribbean for a bit of surf and sand, or Europe for that romantic getaway you’ve long had planned, a trip overseas can be a memorable experience. Jet Linx can take you almost anywhere across the globe!
When you fly with Jet Linx, your local Client Services team works hand-in-hand with our experts in Flight Coordination to make sure that all you have to worry about is whether you’ve packed enough sunscreen and your international outlet converter.
One thing you may notice when booking your trip is that your flight rate may not always vary when booking a trip outside of the United States: this is because of what Jet Linx calls the “primary service area,” or PSA. “The primary service area is for Jet Card members, and we offer guaranteed international rates in these areas,” explained Missy Kemp, Jet Linx Aviation Client Services and Training Manager. “It includes Canada, Mexico, and the islands of the Caribbean, but not Cuba, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Bermudas.”
While Jet Linx can certainly operate in and provide pricing information for areas outside the PSA, it just means that those areas don’t have the same guaranteed pricing – and services like ground handling and fuel may have different prices than in the U.S. “When we’re operating outside of our normal PSA, the permit process is a lot different,” advised Meric Reese, Jet Linx Aviation Flight Coordination Manager. Even though the pricing and timing may be different, Jet Linx is able to provide travel options for clients wishing to visit most of the world; however, there are limited international destinations not serviced by Jet Linx, including Australia and Antarctica.
Permits and planning processes also change outside of the Jet Linx PSA, including a higher likelihood of needing to reserve airport slots. Many popular airports require scheduled time slots for aircraft to land, including La Guardia and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in the U.S.
“We saw this when planning for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,” Reese recalled. Slot times were quick in Rio – any delays could cause travelers to need to divert to a different airport – and while that isn’t normally the case in the United States, it is the norm at busier international airports. “It is of the utmost importance that all passengers are on time when we do international flying,” he said. “The slots that we receive will expire, and the aircraft won’t be allowed to land if you miss your slot time. We have seen slots range from an hour in length to 15 minutes at Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics.”
Additionally, landing and charter permits are required by the destination country’s government. “Each country has different rules and processes to obtain a landing and charter permit, so it’s important to understand that the time it takes to get the permits from the government authorities are different in a lot of places, and the lead time can be lengthy,” he continued.
Most airports outside the U.S. are considered PPR, or prior permission required. “You have to have reservations made, especially in places like Europe where there is such a high density of aircraft,” Reese explained. “Parking reservations are sometimes hard to find, so advanced planning is important to make sure we can go to an airport, land there, and park there for a certain length of time.” While it’s best to make plans as far in advance as possible, there is also a degree of flexibility required when traveling outside of the U.S. “Slots and reservations at different places around the world are typically not confirmed until seven days or sooner ahead of the arrival time,” he said. A flight planned a month before departure wouldn’t be confirmed by the destination airport until a week ahead of time, so sometimes adjustments may need to be made because of availability.
One of the most important considerations when traveling internationally is that not every country will have the same rules and regulations, but we must still respect the rules and regulations of the other countries involved. Many countries follow the international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO. “It’s a group of 191 member countries established in 1944 during the Chicago Convention, and it was a group of United Nations-sanctioned members who said, ‘These are the rules we want to follow when we operate in other parts of the world,’” Reese said. “They adopted some standards and recommend practices concerning navigation, infrastructure, flight inspections, prevention of unlawful interference, how to facilitate border crossing.” ICAO has a long reach, according to Reese: “Almost every country in the world adopts some sort of recommendation based on ICAO recommendations, and it’s important to remember that U.S. operators have to comply with those rules,” he said. At times, the FAA regulations may not line up exactly with international regulations, so the operator follows the more conservative guideline.
Even considerations that are a given in the United States must be carefully considered for international travel. “When we operate in the U.S., we usually take for granted that there is going to be fuel available at some point,” Reese said. “That’s not always the case in other parts of the world.” The Jet Linx team researches fuel availability for the flight during preflight planning, to try to avoid any unforeseen circumstances during travel. “It’s an important consideration, especially for remote locations like island nations. A lot of times their fuel supplies are brought in on barges, so there is the potential for delivery problems,” Reese explained.
IT TAKES TIME TO GET THE PERMITS FROM GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES IN A LOT OF PLACES, AND THE LEAD TIME CAN BE LENGTHY.Meric Reese
Locations like the Cayman Islands, St. Martin, and islands in the southeast Pacific may all rely on barges. Other locations have scheduled deliveries, and may not allow fuel trucks on the road on weekends, like Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport in France (LFMN). “If LFMN runs out of fuel on a Friday afternoon and you’re trying to leave on Saturday morning, you may have to wait until Monday until you can leave.” Additionally, differences in holidays from country to country may cause high-demand situations that don’t line up with the U.S. calendar. Jet Linx crews also follow testing procedures to insure that fuel obtained outside of the United States is up to certain quality standards.
Technical differences from country to country may also come into play. As the United States reaches the 2020 deadline for aircraft to be equipped with NextGen (ADS-B out) technology, other countries are moving forward with similar mandates to ensure better safety requirements for airplanes. As other countries reach their mandates, operators must ensure that an aircraft scheduled for an international trip is equipped to the appropriate standards for that country.
And while some areas of the world are more progressive in their requirements, other places have less access to technology and rely on older methods. “There are still countries with older air traffic systems, and for some smaller countries just a handful of people control the entire airspace,” Reese said. “Some countries require the flight plan to be physically handed to air traffic control.”
Other aircraft-related regulations relate to ensuring the safety of the greater community. Disinsection, aprocedure wherein the interior of an aircraft is sprayed to eliminate the possible presence of disease carrying insects, is required prior to entering many airports around the world. These measures are put in place to prevent carriage of disease from one country to another, and may occur prior to departure or upon arrival depending on the country. “These kinds of measures not only keep the passengers safe, but also the communities into which they travel,” noted Reese.
If a diversion is required, the destination may vary based on the country of your intended destination. Because of the geography of North America, it’s unlikely that someone flying in the contiguous 48 states would need to fly over Canada or Mexico, it’s not the case for every trip. “When you go into places like Africa, Asia, and Europe, there are lots of countries packed into a small area and a lot of these countries require overflight permits,” Reese explained. Availability of overflight permits depends on the country issuing the permit and the origin country of the aircraft: for instance, an aircraft not registered in the United States may not be able to get the same permit as one registered in America.
Some international permitting needs are related to the use of airspace as an aircraft moves from country to country on the way to its final destination. Many countries impose overflight permit requirements – authorizations from Civil Aviation Authorities to overfly
(enter, operate within and exit) that country’s airspace. The need for such permits is not universal – and overflight permit needs have changed over time. Many countries have added new overflight requirements; for example, Brazil and Suriname only started imposing overflight permit requirements a couple years ago. Overflight permits are usually processed within three to five business days – however, there are some countries that take significantly longer, including Mongolia, Myanmar, and Togo (each taking up to two weeks for processing).
Almost all countries in Asia, Africa and South America require overflight permits, while many countries in Europe do not. “Our team stays up to speed on overflight requirements to ensure trips run smoothly,” said Reese. “During the flight planning stages, the Flight Coordination team will determine the route of the flight, and depending on the countries we’ll be overflying, we will research each country’s permit lead times, and any information and documentation necessary to obtain approval.” Overflight permitting is a huge consideration in the flight routing stage, because a route using a best wind consideration might not always work. “Certain international airways may be closed, may be one-way only, or might not be available for private jets,” Reese continued. “It’s also important to remember that sanctioned countries may be prohibited for overflight purposes. There may also be insurance restrictions, or company-specific rules that must be followed, that could prohibit certain routes from being planned.”
Travel between certain countries might also have strict limitations. For example, an aircraft cannot fly directly between Argentina and the Falkland Islands, or between Taiwan and China, even though those countries are adjacent to each other. There is also no overflight available for Israel.
What aircraft types can make a lengthy international journey? One might assume only the largest cabin aircraft can stretch across the ocean – but it is not always that cut and dry. The planning teams at Jet Linx consider a number of factors: does the aircraft have appropriate equipment (HF Radio, ADS-B, etc…) and appropriate insurance? How will crew flight time affect duration of the trip? How much extra cost will be incurred due to needed fuel stops for smaller aircraft, and how much length/time will it add to the journey? “Our teams are able to assess if a light or midsize aircraft can effectively execute the mission, or if a larger cabin aircraft is required,” said Kemp. “Jet Linx can provide anything from a light jet to a BBJ with seating for 26 depending on the requirements of our passengers.”
Jet Linx has a team of experts and a fleet of aircraft ready to ensure your next international journey soars to success. “Our teams are familiar with the right aircraft for longer missions, and we can accommodate anything from small groups to Mexico for a weekend to larger parties criss-crossing Europe for business,” said Kemp. “Everyone on our team is positioned to ensure you enjoy a smooth journey when traveling beyond our borders.”