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MEXICO PERMITS EXPLAINED

In 2008, a new ruling went into effect for Mexico limiting the number of one-shot charter permits operators could apply for to a lifetime total of five before they would have to obtain a blanket permit.

AvBuyer   |   1st January 2011
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In 2008, a new ruling went into effect for Mexico limiting the number of one-shot charter permits operators could apply for to a lifetime total of five before they would have to obtain a blanket permit.

Although not strictly enforced initially, beginning in early 2010, some airports in Mexico started enforcing this rule, creating confusion as to what actually is, and what isn’t allowed for charter operations into Mexico. The following are the questions and answers that all operators should know about Mexico permits, and the enforcement of the ruling.

WHAT TYPES OF MEXICO PERMITS ARE THERE?
Before going into the specific issues regarding the ruling limiting the number of one-shot charter permits, operators should understand the different types of permits there are for operating in Mexico. There are four basic types of permits:

• One-shot private permit;
• One-shot charter permit;
• Annual (multiple-entry) permit;
• Blanket charter permits.

One-shot permits are for single operations into Mexico, and are obtained on a trip-by-trip basis. These permits are easily obtainable, providing the proper documents and enough lead-time are given. One-shot private permits include permits for ambulance, demo-flights, and large aircraft.

The annual or multiple-entry permit for private operations is valid for the calendar year, and can be obtained during the calendar year at anytime the aircraft operates into Mexico. The renewal process for the following year starts in October and goes through the end of the calendar year. Once the New Year begins, the permit can be obtained during any operation in which the aircraft arrives in Mexico.

The charter blanket permit is an indefinite permit for the fleet of aircraft under the operator certificate. Although the permit does not expire, yearly verifications need to be made. The charter blanket permit process is very detailed and extensive.

WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR A ONE-SHOT PRIVATE PERMIT?
One-shot private permits are very basic and easily obtainable. The permit can be obtained within the same day of operations provided all the proper documentation is received. The documents needed are:

• Mexican insurance policy for private use;
• Worldwide insurance policy;
• Registration certificate;
• Airworthiness certificate;
• Pilot licenses;
• A letter on company letter-head paper listing all the passengers and their association with the aircraft. (This letter is not a requirement, but it may be requested on a case-by-case basis, so it is recommended you have one available).

You are strongly recommended to work with a ground support provider on the ground in Mexico to review all documentation prior to sending it to the authorities. Your handler will fax or email the required documents to Mexican civil aviation. The permit itself is actually issued on arrival and is given directly to the captain.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES IN GETTING AN ANNUAL VS. ONE-SHOT PERMIT?
Although there are no limits on the amount of one-shot permits an aircraft or operator can obtain, getting an annual permit may save time and money if an aircraft operates regularly into Mexico. In fact, if an aircraft travels into Mexico more than twice a year, I recommend getting an annual permit.

The annual permit will pay for itself on the second trip into Mexico and can also save time since there is no permit to process. The annual permits are as straightforward to obtain as the one-shot permits, so there are no additional documents needed for this permit.

The only additional requirement for an annual permit is monthly statistical reporting to civil aviation. This is done at the beginning of each month for any activity to Mexico for the previous month. Service providers offer this service for an additional fee, or an operator can submit these reports to CAA directly.

CAN AN ANNUAL PERMIT BE USED FOR CHARTER OPERATIONS?
Private annual permits are strictly for private operations into Mexico. As mentioned previously, the Mexican insurance policy needs to always be presented, and the policy states if it is for private use or charter/commercial use. A private permit holder cannot use a charter/commercial policy at any time when arriving in the country.

CAN AN AIRCRAFT OBTAIN BOTH PRIVATE AND CHARTER ONE-SHOT PERMITS?
Yes. An aircraft can obtain both one-shot private and charter permits so long as it has in its possession both a private policy and charter policy. This is why the letter mentioned in the one-shot private permit-required documents is sometimes requested. CAA needs to confirm whether the operation is indeed a private flight, due to some operators undertaking both types of operations.

CAN AN AIRCRAFT FLY WITHIN MEXICO USING A ONE-SHOT PERMIT?
An aircraft flying as a private operation can fly within Mexico without any problems. The aircraft can make multiple stops in the country on a single permit or an annual permit.

The one-shot permit is issued at the first point of arrival and is valid for up to six months to operate within the country. Once the aircraft leaves Mexico, however, the permit is voided and another permit must be requested if the aircraft returns into the country.

An operator flying under Part 135 charter cannot make more than one stop within Mexico, regardless of number or nationality of the passengers on board, or repositioning of the aircraft. The only exception to this rule is for an aircraft arriving into Mexico from the south, or the Caribbean.

ALL aircraft arriving from south of Mexico or from the Caribbean must first stop at either MMCZ (Cozumel) or MMTP (Tapachula). In this case, a charter operator may then proceed to its destination within Mexico, but must leave the country after that stop. Under very rare circumstances CAA may allow a charter operator to make a fuel stop in the country, but this is on a case-by-case basis.

WHAT TYPES OF PERMITS ARE THERE FOR CHARTER OPERATIONS?
Charter operators can obtain either a one-shot charter permit or a blanket permit. The one-shot permit would be valid for the single operation into Mexico (only valid for a single stop in Mexico, unless the aircraft is coming from an origin point south of Mexico or the Caribbean).

The blanket permit is an indefinite permit obtained for the fleet of aircraft under one operator. Although the blanket permit does not expire, yearly verifications must be made with CAA to ensure all conditions are met and the operator is still compliant with those conditions. There are six different types of blanket permits an operator can obtain. They are:

• Passenger;
• Ambulance;
• Cargo;
• Fletamento Passenger (for aircraft with more than 15 passenger seats);
• Fletamento Ambulance (for aircraft with more than 15 passenger seats); and
• Fletamento Cargo (for aircraft with more than 15 passenger seats).

WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR A ONE-SHOT CHARTER PERMIT?
One-shot charter permits are easily obtainable as long as all the proper documentation is obtained and enough lead-time is given. The permit requires a 24-hour lead-time and before close of business day on Friday for weekend operations or holidays. The documents needed are:

• Mexican insurance policy for charter use;
• Worldwide insurance policy;
• Registration certificate;
• Airworthiness certificate;
• Pilot licenses; and
• OST 4507 (298 Exemption).

Again I recommend using a handler to submit these documents to CAA. Once CAA gives the approval, the operator will receive a verbal approval for the aircraft to land. The permit itself is issued on arrival, and is given directly to the captain.

IS THERE A LIMIT ON THE AMOUNT OF ONE-TIME CHARTER PERMITS?
The ruling establi
shed in 2008 states that an operator can only get five charter one-shot permits; this limit is per operator, not per aircraft, and is not set on any time-limit. This is to encourage all charter operators to apply for, and obtain a blanket permit.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF OBTAINING A BLANKET PERMIT?
The process of obtaining a blanket permit is extensive and requires a great deal of paperwork. The general time required to be granted a blanket permit depends on the work load of CAA, and the approval of all the documents presented to it. The list of required documents is lengthy.

I encourage operators to contact their service provider for the most current information since it slightly varies depending on the type of blanket permit desired and the list of aircraft that will be on the permit. The process is also quite detailed. The general order of obtaining the permit follows:

• Once all the documents are reviewed they are presented to CAA to obtain the Mexican AOC (Air Operator Certificate).
• The insurance policies are presented to CAA for registration and authorization.
• Certain documents are submitted to a legal translator so they may be translated into Spanish. This translator is an approved entity by CAA.
• Once the AOC, the insurance policy authorization, and the translations are received, then the permit is requested.

Again, the amount of time necessary to obtain the blanket permit depends solely on CAA. It may vary from a minimum of 90 days up to a six-month period.

I HAVE A BLANKET PERMIT. CAN I USE IT FOR PRIVATE OPERATIONS?
The blanket permit is exclusively used for charter operations into Mexico. The permit cannot be used for any private operation; either a one-shot private permit needs to be arranged, or the aircraft must have an annual permit.

As stated before, the Mexican insurance policy needs to always be presented - and on the policy it states if it is for private use or charter/commercial use. A charter permit cannot use a private policy at any time when arriving in the country.

I HAVE A BLANKET PERMIT. CAN I MAKE MULTIPLE STOPS IN THE COUNTRY?
A blanket permit does not allow an aircraft to make multiple stops within Mexico. When an aircraft is operating under Part 135 it cannot fly between two airports within Mexico.

As stated above, the only exception to this regulation is when the aircraft is coming from a location south of the country or the Caribbean. The aircraft must first stop in either MMCZ (Cozumel) or MMTP (Tapachula), and they may then proceed to their destination.

WHERE CAN I GO FOR MORE ASSISTANCE WITH THE MEXICO PERMIT PROCESS?
Universal’s Regulatory Services department continues to monitor the very latest developments and changes to the Mexico permit process. The team can be reached 24/7, 365 at Tel: +1-713-378-2734.

Read more about: Mexico

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