International Business Aviation operators flying into Europe can expect to find a sophisticated infrastructure, thanks to efforts by EASA. But that’s no reason to relax trip planning, as Keegan Coutinho of Click Aviation Network highlights…
Having been involved in trip support operations and flight planning for seven years prior to joining Click Aviation Network shortly after its inception, Keegan Coutinho is a current FAA dispatch license holder.
As an integral member of the Click trip support team, Coutinho focuses his expertise mainly on flight planning and communicating with flight crews on international trips around the world, preparing flight plans tailored to an operator’s specific needs.
AvBuyer caught up with Coutinho to seek his best advice to operators flying into Europe.
AvBuyer: What are some of the complexities regularly encountered by international operators flying to, or over Europe that justifies hiring a trip planner?
Coutinho:Thanks to the network built by EASA (the European Aviation Safety Agency), the process of transiting or operating to Europe has become fairly easy today.
But international operators should continue to use a trip planner when flying there, primarily because of the regulations that are continually being developed to help ensure European airspace becomes safer and facilitates a growing volume of air traffic.
A trip planner will help provide clarity, assisting with the feasibility of an international operator’s trip. As an example, it’s crucial to have the operator clarify the purpose of flying to their preferred European countries and ensure the appropriate documentation is available.
AvBuyer: What aspects of travel to Europe do you find often surprises international operators flying there?
Coutinho:There are definitely areas that could catch an international operator out without adequate planning. One prime example is where international operators sometimes assume that because operating within European airspace is relatively easy (compared to flying in other continents) they don’t feel the need to acquire the necessary documentation.
Items such as a third-country operator certificate establishes that the operator and aircraft are compliant with the international safety standards and are therefore fit to operate within Europe.
Failure to secure such a certificate prior to flying into European airspace will lead to problems for the operator.
AvBuyer: Does the fact that a country is a member of the European Union necessarily mean a uniform set of procedures are required of operators traveling to that country?
Coutinho:The procedures laid out by the governing bodies of the EU nations are relatively similar. However, with Brexit in motion, and the uncertain political and economic climate of the eastern EU countries, it’s imperative a trip planner offers as much support to an international operator as possible.
This will help ensure the authorities are provided with all the documentation required for clearing a flight to operate into the region.
AvBuyer: What are the three main things for an international operator to keep in mind when planning a successful trip to Europe?
Coutinho: Of all the elements of trip planning, compliance ranks top. You’ll have picked it up already within this interview, but it’s essential to have all your documents verified and in place before flying so as to avoid delays or complications to your trip.
Safety is another key consideration for international operators. The standards set by EASA are stringent when compared to the safety regulations implemented by some less-developed countries. Many international operators will therefore need to ensure due diligence is carried out relating to aircraft equipment checks and upgrades.
Finally, EASA (and other related bodies) have been working extensively to reduce aviation carbon emissions (and thus reduce the carbon footprint on our planet).
Measures such as route optimization, fuel-efficient engines, and development of biofuel as a fuel source are some of the many items EASA would like operators to co-operate with and implement. So international operators seeking to operate into Europe should be thinking about how their flight plan will minimize the carbon footprint of their trip.
More information from www.click.aero