Regional Differences Spice Up International Operations

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Think of your favorite chain restaurant. Maybe it’s your favorite because it is the one nearest you, makes great food, offers tremendous service, provides a comfortable atmosphere, or is priced right. Yet, when you visit a different location of that restaurant chain, it’s not the same. Despite similar atmospheres, service cultures, recipes, décor and pricing, the experience is different.

Global flight operations are the same. Despite ICAO acting as the global headquarters for airspace management—with its globalized operating standards, charting, language and structures—you’ll get a different experience flying in Asia than you will in Europe, both of which will vary from Australia. No one experience is better than the other. It’s just that the best ICAO can hope for is to set guidelines. The actual standards themselves are up to each airspace authority.

The Same, Yet Different

The nuances of each airspace authority are too numerous to detail here. However, we thought it worth sharing key operational insights from our own experiences, as well as reports we’ve received from crews flying in these regions:

  • European—With more than 50% of North American BA travel moving to or from Europe, their already crowded skies are getting even moreso. If you want to get in or out of Europe’s population centers (London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, etc.), you’ll need a reservation. The trick isn’t just submitting a flight plan and getting your requested slot; it starts by knowing which airways are being regulated and when. What’s more, the confirmation, not the reservation, is what matters. These often don’t arrive until about four hours before your flight, regardless of when you filed. When your confirmation arrives, be ready for the possibility of edits or outright changes to your flight plan.
  • Australia—A shared language helps flying in Australia feel like flying in the U.S. However, ADS-B is heavily replied upon because of the vastness of its sparsely populated midsection. If you don’t have ADS-B, plan to fly below flight level 290 (you can get a one-time exception) as you move about. Australia offers a list of preferred routes and publishes an updated version regularly. The challenge is finding a government entity that can supply you the latest version. It’s not that they’re unwilling as much as they may be a bit less organized than U.S. operators are used to.
  • China—Nipping at Europe’s heels as the top BA travel destination from North America, Asia (specifically China) works harder than most to keep air traffic organized and monitored. As a result, ADS-B is more of a necessity, especially if you don’t plan to fly prescribed airways or below flight level 290. Speaking of flight levels, don’t plan to go above FL410. The region is also very strict about sticking to your flight plan; deviate, and you’re likely to get an earful.
  • Middle East—The ever-changing geo-political climate of the Middle East should have every operator on alert when flying to, or crossing over, the region. Pay attention to changes in the region and don’t hesitate to change plans. Saudi Arabia requires unique vigilance.  Specifically, the country expects required navigation performance (RNP) certifications to move around most airspaces because of traffic volume, parallel airways, and skies filled with a greater percentage of high-performing heavy iron than most.
  • South America—The 2014 World Cup was an eye-opener for the forthcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Operators who flew into or around the World Cup host cities found many NOTAMs that were quite lengthy as well as new/temporary routings. A list of preferred routes was available, but not always easy to find. All indications are that operators should expect more of the same around the Olympics. Planning will take on extra importance as a result and trusted local handlers are available to help with ATC.
  • Africa—The continent is perhaps most noteworthy for being a group of independently controlled airspaces. Lax airspace regulations in one country could be very strict in the next. Moving over or around the African continent will feel like a string of constant changes.

Preparation: The Best Way To Manage Change

Despite ICAO’s best efforts at creating a homogeneous global airspace, it’s just not feasible. And while the standards for global flight operations are fairly straightforward, the differences can sneak up on you. The snapshot above is a glimpse at a moment in time. Operating philosophies, shifting cultural norms, the impact of technology and changing geo-political climates mean that operators are going to have to know as much about the culture they’re dealing with as they do the operating environment.

We can help. For up-to-the-minute insights into working with the various airspace authorities around the planet, contact Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Service (ITPS). Every day, the planners and schedulers at Jeppesen ITPS help global operators and various airspace authorities work together for smooth operations. ITPS can provide you both the big picture advice and subtle nuances that will make a big difference in your next international flight. Learn more about Jeppesen ITPS by clicking here or calling (800) 553-7750. 

Importation: A Global Issue Decided By Local Officials

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There isn’t a sports fan on the planet who can’t recall, with vivid detail, the time their favorite team or athlete was robbed of sure victory. Often, the win-stealing culprit was the referee on the field who made, in the mind of the fan, a bad call in the moment. Bad call or not, the referee’s interpretation of the rules and decision in the moment rarely gets overturned.

Aircraft importation is much the same. Despite efforts to make the rules clear, oftentimes the decision about whether an aircraft is subject to importation is a judgment call. Like many sporting events, trying to predict the importation status could depend heavily on the official standing on the field when you land.

The Importation Evaluation

Aircraft importation has been around for a while. But it rose to prominence during a time when the recession had aircraft owners looking to save on operating expenses any way they could. And, to a lesser degree, some owners wanted to play down having a corporate jet on the company’s books. They figured if they could legally register their jets in another country, pay lower taxes, keep the aircraft off the home country’s record books and still hangar it at the local airport (occasionally), then why not?

It didn’t take long for governments around the planet to catch-on. And with value added taxes (VAT) running between 12% and 26% of the price of an aircraft, countries knew they were missing out on much-needed tax revenues. The answer was to bring importation regulations back to the forefront, sharpen them up and enforce them.

Importation taxes and fees, in the broadest sense, have to do with a number of different factors revolving around interpretations of aircraft usage. There are basically two type of importation:

  • Permanent—In a sense, you’re buying dual-citizenship for your airplane by registering it, and paying all related taxes, in another country. In exchange, an aircraft owner/operator enjoys the rights of any other airplane-owning citizen. It’s the more expensive approach, but it buys freedom of movement and peace of mind.
  • Temporary—Usually the costs for temporary importation are nil or very small. And, depending upon the country, may simply be declared orally on arrival. If oral declaration is not an option, then forms can be completed ahead of time merely requiring a stamp after landing. If the airplane is just passing through, or will be making limited trips for a limited time (say for six months of shuttle negotiations), then temporary importation may be deemed acceptable.

So, How Do You Know?

So far, importation seems pretty simple. And, in some cases, it can be. But remember the referee mentioned above, the one who makes the judgment call on the field in the moment? If your goal is to declare temporary importation, understanding the official making the call is as critical as understanding the rulebook they’re using.

The answers to these questions will guide you, and more importantly the customs agent where you land, on the type importation you might be facing: 

  • How is the airplane being used?—If you’re flying charter, or making a sales/demo flight, there seems to be universal agreement that you’re a perfect candidate for temporary importation. However, most Part 91 (U.S.) operations are considered commercial in the eyes of most EU nations (check local regulations). This designation greatly diminishes your option to declare, and receive, temporary importation.
  • How long will it be staying in the country in question?—If you’re temporarily repositioning an airplane to a foreign country, or will see more regular trips to a foreign country for a period, you’ll still likely to qualify for temporary importation. A general guideline seems to be that you’re considered temporary if the airplane will be in the country for less than six months during a given 12-month period. More than that, and you’re likely looking at permanent importation.
  • How much flexibility do you have in your flight plan?—If your flight plan to another region of the world allows for some flexibility, importation can sometimes be more predictable, easily managed, and less expensive if your customs entry can be administered at a location other than your final destination. Or, say you have several options for a fuel stop when your first reach someplace like the European continent from North America. Why not pick the stop that will also make importation easier and less expensive? A bit of research and some creative flight planning can help ease the burden of importation significantly.
  • What is your comfort level?—For some owner/operators, it’s simply not worth the risk to chance a misinterpretation of temporary importation regulations. They’re happy to buy the peace of mind that comes with full importation even though they might not need it. Still others would rather those dollars be invested elsewhere and will do the homework and make the connections required to get full benefit of the temporary importation regulations wherever they go. The choice can come down to your tolerance for risk.

 Some Partial Clearing of The Fog

The European Union (EU) was asked by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to help clarify the rules on importation. At issue was the confusion created by the fact that the EU is considered one customs territory, yet each of its 28 member nations is free to set its own regulations regarding importation. The result was this working paper issued in December of 2014. Despite its attempt to help clarify importation requirements, the paper itself is merely a guideline and nothing in the paper is regulatory or enforceable. The paper itself, along with more detail on the complex issue of importation can be found on the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) website.

One final note, if trips to Australia are in your future, pay special attention to their importation regulations. The authorities in Australia are trying to be as transparent as possible about their importation standards, and they are strictly and diligently enforcing them.

Questions regarding importation are on the rise from owners/operators alike. Everyday, Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Services (ITPS) team works with global operators and aircraft manufacturers to ensure that they have a thorough understanding of importation, flight plans are optimized to reduce importation’s impact and to help connect them with the proper authorities to ease the importation process. They can do the same for you. Learn more about Jeppesen ITPS by clicking here or calling (800) 553-7750. 

Five Ways You Can Better Forecast Global Weather

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If you work in aviation, you likely know The Weather Channel’s (TWC) personality line-up as well as you know the starters for your favorite sports team. For most, TWC is a great place to start planning for a U.S. trip that’s days out, or keeping on top of North American weather. But flying globally requires a longer and perhaps broader view of the weather. In addition to your favorite weather information sources: briefings; satellite images; METAR/TAF reports; winds aloft, icing, turbulence and precipitation forecasts; etc., you might consider adding these to your global weather forecasting resources:

Climatology—Are you making weather part of your long-term strategic plan? You rely on meteorologists to help you plan for a trip later today, tomorrow or next week. Today, a climatologist can help you plan weather for a trip you have in six, nine or twelve months. This Houston Chronicle Story provides a short distinction between the two. Wouldn’t you like weather specifics even though you’re four months away from a trip to a remote area during its rainy season? Or to know that, even though the trip is still a year away, upslope fog tends to close your destination airport during the time you want to land? How about having the ability to advise your passengers, while there’s still ample time, that postponing just a few days will ensure you’re not flying during seasonal winds that have become legend in a particular part of the world? A good climatologist can not only paint a vivid weather picture for you months, even a year, in advance of big trip, he or she can give you the gift of time and the power to plan in order to optimize every part of an upcoming global trip.

Space Weather—Space has atmospheric conditions that change just like the Earth’s weather. Solar flares and the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) are probably its most popular by-products. Especially when flying near the Poles, space weather can wreak havoc with your radio communications and power sources. In addition, the constellation of satellites that make onboard navigation, operation and communications such powerful tools are subject to whims of space weather—especially the sun. Changes in the atmosphere from things like solar flares, radiation and even temperature can impact satellite performance. Knowing when conditions are favorable for these types of outages or disruptions is an easy way to eliminate a potential complicating factor in any already complex global trip. Your favorite source for meteorological information should be keeping its eye on space weather. There are also a number of websites, including NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, which can provide you ongoing space weather forecasting information.

Volcanic Ash—There are few things that can destroy an airplane like volcanic ash. Yet, a lot of global flight departments treat it like a skin rash. They don’t think about it until it flares up. By then, it’s too late. According to the USGS, there are about 1,500 volcanoes in the world, of which between 500 and 600 are active (depending on your source). The most active volcanoes are in the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire.” However, nearly everyone in aviation recalls how the April 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano created a sulfuric blanket over Europe. With active volcano activity in the Pacific and northern Atlantic Oceans, it’s worth getting a volcanic ash forecast when planning a trip across either water body. The only thing worse that having to turn back due to volcanic activity would be to be grounded away from home because of it. Like space weather, your trusted meteorological partner will be watching volcanic activity, either through their preferred volcanologists or seismologists, or through NOAA’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Offices, to advise you on any forecasted volcanic activity.

Tropical Storms—It doesn’t take a lot of hours in your logbook to figure out that flying in a hurricane or extreme tropical storm is a bad idea. But what about the one that isn’t front-page news? Maybe it’s not even a tropical storm, but more like a collection of thunderstorms. And, the odds of it falling apart may be just as good as it holding together. The boss wants to go, and since the weather isn’t the leadoff story on network news, you don’t feel like you have much choice. If you’re based in North America, you probably have a good sense for how a tropical storm creeps onto the Florida coast or up from the Gulf of Mexico. But how about the one headed for the coast of Japan or forming in the Mediterranean Sea? While the basic ingredients that form tropical storms are largely the same, how they combine differs depending on where you’re flying. Err on the side of caution for those questionable storm systems forming in unfamiliar parts of the world. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will you get a handle on global tropical storm activity around the world.

Microclimates—Some may view global weather the same way they do the long par five at their favorite golf course. They spend so much time worrying about the first 450 yards, the last yard to the hole is but an afterthought. But, looking small, really small, at weather can be as critical as the big picture. In short, microclimates are small areas where distinct weather patterns can form that may be different from surrounding areas. Winds, ocean currents, topography and other seemingly small factors can mean big changes in aviation weather. Your chart will show you that a field has the right runway length, ground handling services, and easy access to the final destination. What it might not show you is that the mountain valley it sits in is slammed with upslope fog almost daily during your landing slot. Or, that nearly every afternoon about 16:30, thunderstorms render the airport essentially useless for about 90 minutes. Taking a minute to understand the microclimates of the airports you’re planning to use (destination and alternate) will help you ensure that the last four miles of your trip go as smoothly as the previous four thousand.

Nothing creates more doubt, changes more flight plans or grounds more aircraft than weather. It’s the most dynamic force on the planet and should never be underestimated. When you fly globally, weather impact and unpredictability grow exponentially. The weather professionals with Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Service (ITPS) are the best in the business. We not only understand the nuances of global weather forecasting, we have access to even the most hard-to-get weather information and appreciate the money and time that are saved with an accurate weather prediction. The next time you’re trying to forecast global weather for an upcoming trip, let Jeppesen’s ITPS meteorologists help. Learn more about how we can offer a second opinion, or forecast and plan your next trip, by clicking here or calling (800) 553-7750.

2015 Global Business Aviation Outlook is Looking Good

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With the Super Bowl seeming to serve as the unofficial opening for the business aviation travel season, we found ourselves asking, What should global operators be thinking about in 2015?  When considering global operations this year, here are few things we’re keeping our eyes on, and you might, too:

  • Look Out Cuba, Here We Come—As of part of President Barack Obama’s ongoing efforts to open up travel between Cuba and the U.S., trips to the formally travel-banned country can be made for purposes that fall under one of 12 approved categories, including “professional research and meetings.” For every pundit who questions the ability to travel for business, there is one who says the government isn’t concerned and personal travel to Cuba is imminent. As for business aviation, longtime Cuba expert and author Julia Sweig noted in a washingtonpost.com story, “The next thing they're going to do is negotiate a civil aviation agreement so charters can carry more people. And once you have more Americans going to Cuba without the sort of bureaucratic hassle there has been in the past, that's going to create a real impetus for officially lifting the travel ban once and for all."
  • Drinking from the Right Informational Fire Hose—With the amount of information we amass doubling every 13 months (and IBM predicting that number could jump to every 12 hours when the “Internet of Things” concept hits its stride), getting information is no longer an issue. Global business aviation in 2015 will be about getting the right information at the right time. For smart operators, this is good news. Yes, that will mean putting an extra emphasis on knowing exactly where to look, and then asking precisely the right questions at the right moment. But it will also mean that more critical decision-making information will be available for planning, operations, navigation, etc. than ever before. Stay connected during all phases of your trip, have trusted partners and sources at the ready and treat all information like a banana you just brought home from the store—it’s ripe now, but you’re never really sure for how long.
  • How Low Can It Go?—With fuel as one of your biggest budget items, what’s not to like about fuel rices in 2015? The IATA (International Airline Transport Association) price analysis reported that as of January 9, 2015, jet fuel prices are 46.7% lower than they were a year ago. Before you go spending your new fuel windfall all in one place, plan for a bit of a fuel price correction in 2015. A 2015 Global Economic Outlook story on businessweek.com suggests that crude oil prices will steadily climb to $90 per barrel throughout 2015. Unless you’re locked into a fuel contract, lower fuel costs could mean more and/or longer trips, equipment upgrades, growing your fleet, adding staff, upgrades of operations hardware/software or just being able to save for a rainy day. The most important thing is to be smart about where you invest the fuel windfall that comes with 2015.
  • Aluminum Overcast Predicted—We’re seeing firsthand how lower fuel costs mean increased chances of aluminum overcast in 2015. That not only means more trips per aircraft, but more aircraft might be taken on each trip. Watch for:
    • Things like slots, fuel, parking, ground handling and others logistics services being in higher demand. Plan in advance and put extra emphasis on getting confirmations from those you are counting on to help manage every aspect your global air and ground travel.
    • The differences in how other airspace governing bodies, like EUROCONTROL, operate compared to the FAA. The differences may be subtle, but they’ll be magnified if you don’t know them during peak travel times.
    • Requests to fly to new destinations (see “Cuba”). Whether you’re landing, refueling or merely flying-over, be sure you fully understand the new regimes and regulations you may encounter.
  • Be on Regulatory Reconnaissance—A quick peek at the regulatory horizon doesn’t indicate any significant changes pending in 2015. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the details residing in many current regulations could get a bit of quiet tweaking. Make sure you stay up on the regulations that impact you the most so you don’t find out about any small, and potentially painful (fines) changes after it’s too late.
  • Emission Remission—In April of 2014, the EU ETS (European Union Emissions Trading Scheme) provided a temporary exemption on CO2 emission fees for flights performed by non-commercial operators with total annual emissions lower than 1,000 tons/tonnes. This is for flights into, out of, or between the EU’s 28 member nations. While there are a number of nuances and complexities to the EU ETS, all signs seem to indicate no changes to the regulations in 2015. In fact, it appears that things will remain relatively unchanged until ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) comes out with its 2016 emission guidelines that are to be implemented by 2020.

The good news for 2015 is that, as things appear today, the year brings the kind of good news business aviation hasn’t seen in a while. That doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. Quite the opposite. The opportunities that seemed lost over the last 5+ years are budding again. 2015 is the year to nurture them, invest wisely, be smart and hope that this good news is the beginning of a sustainable and predictable trend—and not just a glimpse into “someday.”

It’s the job of Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Service (ITPS) professionals to understand the challenges and opportunities facing global business travelers at any given time. One of the best ways to ensure you and your operation get the most from the opportunities of 2015 is to work with a partner who knows the new places you’ll be flying over and visiting, who is connected to the best support teams around the world (whatever the need), and who is watching the regulatory climate around the globe to ensure smooth operations no matter where your next trip takes you. Learn more about Jeppesen ITPS by clicking here or calling (800) 553-7750. 

Consider a Partner for Your Next International Trip

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Think about your last home improvement project. Maybe you replaced a light switch, unclogged a sink, patched a bit of drywall or simply mowed the lawn or shoveled the driveway (check your local forecast). The project was simple, low-risk, and you likely had all the tools you needed.

But what if you’re faced with refinishing your basement or significant landscaping? Even though you could probably figure it out on you own, you call professionals. Why? The project complexity goes up, along with the risk of failure, and you’ll need more tools than you have.

Fly Global. Act Local.

The same is true when preparing for an international trip. Yet, despite a knowledge base that manages complexity, access to all the right tools, and the ability to minimize risk, many don’t think to call a professional dispatcher and/or international trip planner when flying abroad. After all, you plan domestic trips in your sleep. How hard can planning a global trip be?

If you’re new to global travel, or only take the occasional international trip, here are a few reasons to consider help from an international trip planner and dispatcher on the next flight out of your comfort zone.

  • Resources—There are a myriad of web sites, databases and other planning tools available to everyone. But do you know which can be trusted to give you the best information? If so, do you know how to mine the data you really need? Whether it’s for routing, weather, regulations, clearances, customs, ground handling, fueling, catering, lodging, and the list goes on, who do you know who can help? More importantly, who can you trust? The right trip planning partners and dispatchers have the digital and human resources to make it all work, and they will support you during the entire trip.
  • Time and Focus—Your job is to ensure that the right people, airplanes and crews are where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there. Do you have time to study what the change in a particular European government means for an upcoming trip? How about which Middle Eastern nations are better fuel stops than others? Are you able to monitor volcanic activity and know its potential impact on your trip? A good ITP and dispatch partner is monitoring these situations, and so many more, with the knowledge of how they may or may not connect to your next trip. That’s what they do, allowing you to focus on what you do.
  • Flexibility—There’s a great deal of responsibility moving executives, multi-million dollar airplanes and flight crews safely and efficiently around the world. Many flight operations aren’t comfortable handing over trip planning and dispatch duties to someone who doesn’t understand their culture, equipment and operating philosophies/rules. A good ITP/dispatch operation knows this and takes the time to get to know you. Then, they’ll offer options that allow them to supplement your operation in the manner that’s best for you. Have them perform the tasks that make sense for your trip—it could be anything from one very specific part of the planning or ground logistics, to the entire journey. Their approach should be focused on understanding your needs, tailoring their services and ensuring you remain in control.
  • Experience—You’ve seen firsthand the difference between what the textbooks and manuals say and what really happens in the air or on the ground. When it comes to things like EUROCONTROL validation, geo-political impact, overfly and landing regulations, airport suitability, global weather patterns, customs, etc., you can go with what the websites, guides and circulars say. Or, you can benefit from the real-world experience that can only be gained by people who have planned and dispatched countless global trips.
  • Relationships—A good international trip planning/dispatch service knows the most trusted organizations to keep you moving around the world. A great one knows the people inside those organizations (customs officials, ground handlers, fuel stop managers, ground transportation drivers, caterers, etc.) and has with worked them one-on-one on behalf of its clients over the years. And, should the trip not go as planned, a reputable organization can combine their relationships and clout to facilitate quick resolution much better than any one flight department can.

Get the Big Picture

The right international trip planner and dispatch partner will give you a global perspective tailor-made for each trip, provide options and advice that give you confidence/control of key decisions and frees you up to focus on your passengers, airplanes and crew. Next time your’re flying internationally, consider partnering with Jeppesen International Trip Planning Service (ITPS). You may find the experience worth its weight in gold…or euros, dollars, rupees, drachmas or yen.

Through its International Trip Planning Service (ITPS), Jeppesen leverages decades of international trip planning and dispatch experience across thousands of trips for hundreds of clients. Combined with its Part 121 certified dispatchers, flight departments of all sizes, with varying missions and destinations, trust Jeppesen to help facilitate worry-free global travel. You can, too. Learn more by clicking here or calling (800) 553-7750. 

Make Holiday Travel To The Caribbean A Breeze

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Caribbean. The word, let alone the senses it conjures up, just relaxes you. Unless you’re a flight department with a trip scheduled during the holidays. For most, there is nothing relaxing about trying to get a landing slot on a crowded airfield, securing parking space (much less a hangar) on some of the world’s most prime real estate, or wondering if/when fuel will be available for the trip home.

Traveling in and out of the Caribbean between mid-November and late-March is a challenge. But, if your trip falls between late November (around American Thanksgiving) and New Years, it can be downright nightmarish. If the Caribbean is in your flight plans this winter, here’s how to make your trip a day at the beach:

Planning, Planning, Planning

Planning every detail as far in advance as possible is the single best thing you can do for a smooth trip. When doing your homework, look at flight planning, slot reservations, ground handling services, fuel, parking, eAPIS/CARICOM submission and approval, maintenance contingencies, lodging reservation requirements and cancellation policies, ground transportation, financial arrangements, etc. While several of these are covered in more detail below, you should take nothing for granted.

Airplane Accommodations Are Harder To Get

 Islands, by their very nature, have limited real estate. One of the first steps you should take is to get an airplane parking reservation and confirm it. Many airfields won’t even let you land if you don’t have parking reserved.

 

Then, communicate your travel schedule, as well any changes, to your ground handler. You don’t want to arrive for departure only to find 15 airplanes have to be moved first. Don’t be afraid to get the details about how many airplanes will be parked around yours. If it feels too crowded, remember that you can drop your customers/passengers on one island and park on another.Don’t come home with sunburn or hangar rash.

Finding Fuel

Fuel is the perhaps the biggest unknown. Essentially, there are two fuel suppliers in the Caribbean, and limited quantities of fuel arrive daily by barge. Consider these options when securing fuel:

  • Plan for a fuel uplift fuel immediately after you land. It ensures you get fuel and minimizes delays at departure time. Don’t worry about filling up your tanks and then letting your airplane sit in the Caribbean heat. The temps are very moderate and don’t fluctuate much that time of year.
  • Confirm how the fuel will be paid for when you make your reservation. If a release is required, get a hard copy to show the local handler and fueler.
  • If you can’t fuel after landing, ask about peak hours at the field (around commercial arrivals and departures). Trucks will be operating then and you can make arrangements to uplift fuel to your airplane after the rush is over.
  • Understand that environmental and mechanical issues could delay fuel deliveries—even cancel them on a given day. Build in some flexibility.

Technician On Stand-By

Service capacity and parts availability will be limited and overrun. Have a plan in place in the event a mechanical issue occurs. You may want your trusted technician on standby. Remember, aircraft service people that travel to an island may require a valid work permit before they can start. Work permits can be obtained upon arrival at the airport and costs vary by location. If a local handler is required, make your specific repair, tooling and parts requirements known as soon as possible. This is critical especially if after hours, weekend or holiday work may be necessary.

Saturation Everywhere

The airspace around the Caribbean will be saturated with increased general and business aviation traffic, and higher volumes of commercial activity as well. Requests to hold or divert should be anticipated. As part of your flight planning, factor in plenty of fuel and try to anticipate where you might be diverted. Planning for holds and/or diverting will alleviate a lot of stress.

Along with the air space, Customs will also be saturated. Plan for lines and delays. Make sure your documents are in order upon arrival, or you and your customers/passengers will be asked to holdor divert as well.

Experience Is Standing-By

You’re likely used to doing your own flight planning, dispatch, scheduling, etc. Perhaps even when traveling to the Caribbean. However, with so many uncontrollable variables impacting your trip, an international trip-planning partner could more than pay for itself.

For starters, they’ve planned hundreds of trips and know the ins and outs that only come from experience. For example, Grand Case Airport (TFFG) on the French side of St. Martin could be a good alternate to St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (TNCM) located on the Dutch side of the island. A knowledgeable partner can offer thousands of insights like this.

They’re also likely monitoring the entire Caribbean. This can be immensely helpful in quickly securing alternate parking or available fuel (for example). You’ll also have an advisor available during the entirety of your trip that can make finding “Plan B” options a snap. Finally, the right partner has vetted all the ground-based resources. The relationships they’ve established can help smooth over any potentially sticky situations. They’ll also recommend trusted providers who value your business, not just your money.

If you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean this winter, learn more about how Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Services can help make your trip a breeze by clicking here or calling (800) 553-7750 or +1 (303) 328-4244.

 

Caribbean Travel Checklist

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Even if you’re a veteran at flying into and out of the Caribbean during peak season, here is a quick checklist to help your trips go as your customers/passengers envision:

  1. Plan ahead, have back-up plans and be flexible.
  2. Request aircraft parking immediately and provide your flight schedule to ensure a good parking location.
  3. Arrange for fuel in advance and provide the amount of fuel to be uplifted. Be clear on payment terms and fuel the aircraft upon arrival.
  4. Book hotels once airplane reservations are confirmed and be aware of cancelation policies.
  5. Don’t wait. Book ALL transportation with rental car and third-party transportation companies.
  6. Ensure the proper pet documents are completed—and onboard—for the proper country/island destination.
  7. Double-check that all customs arrangements— eAPIS/CARICOM—are submitted and approved.
  8. Catering requests made upon arrival will be too late. Make them now.
  9. Communicate any special requests — such as passengers connecting to a commuter or charter aircraft, yacht or ferry to another island location—to key parties before departure to the islands.
  10. Confirm that crew and passengers have all the proper travel documents (like passports and visas, if required) in hand when boarding the aircraft.

 

New Perspective: Cut Fuel Costs By Thinking Bigger, Not Smaller

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If you’re like most global corporate flight departments, you’re likely thinking “small” when it comes to fuel savings. How can we cut a bit more here? Squeeze out a bit more performance there? What if the answer to fuel savings isn’t thinking smaller, but BIGGER? There’s a new approach to fuel savings that is proving itself in commercial aviation today, and will be making its mark in business aviation very soon. 

“We’re doing everything we can.”

This phrase is used, often more than once, every time operational expenses are reviewed with a CFO or an airplane owner. And it’s true. Whether a flight department operates one airplane or one hundred, everyone is involved in analyzing how his or her role or department (planning, operations, maintenance, dispatch/scheduling, air traffic, ground handling, etc.) can do more to ensure less fuel is used.

And it doesn’t stop there. Flight planning decisions and equipment choices are being driven by the need to save fuel:

  • Altitudes—Remember when the best altitude was the one that would get you there faster and offered the smoothest ride?
  • Fuel Stops—No longer are they optimized for passenger comfort or operational efficiency. Today, fuel prices, and taxes that are often higher than price of fuel, dictate where many refuel or call their final destination.
  • Equipment Choice—The right airplane for the mission is no longer the one that carries the most people, safely, comfortably and efficiently. Instead, flight planning feels more like organizing a college student road trip—Which car gets the best mileage and how many people can we squeeze in it?
  • Modifications—While there are credible and qualified fuel-savings modifications out there, they can be expensive and come with their own set of risks. Will the modification deliver as promised? How long before costs savings are realized? How will the mod impact structural integrity, handling, and other systems? What impact could the mod have on the warranty? Is there an STC? Do I even need one?

You, armed with a spreadsheet, are doing everything you can. Soon, you’ll be able to add a new column to your spreadsheet labeled ‘Culture’ with a dollar value assigned to a list of behavioral changes in your operation that will save fuel.

Change Your Culture, Not Your Equipment

As perhaps the biggest consumers of fuel in the world (outside the military) commercial airlines, with the help of a UK-based company called ETS Aviation, have looked at, and perfected, a holistic view of fuel operation. And the savings are averaging anywhere from 2.5% to 7%, depending on the operation, with a 4.5% average fuel savings cost year over year. When you consider the razor thin margins of airlines, the unpredictable cost of fuel, and the fact that fuel is 40% of an airline’s operating expenses, these savings cannot be ignored.

To get these savings, they looked at the same data you have (planning, operations, maintenance, dispatch/scheduling, air traffic, ground handling, etc.), but they coalesced the data into a big picture. They didn’t study how individuals or siloed facets of a flight department function, they studied the interdependent relationships of the all the key areas of a flight operation. Guess what they found? 

Specific cultural changes can garner significant fuel savings. Small changes in the way people think and act—even if they’re not directly involved with fuel expenses—can have the kind of ripple effect that will reduce fuel costs and may positively impact the bottom line in other ways, too.

What’s more, the analysts who discovered that specific cultural changes could save fuel were able to project, in real dollars, the savings each change would bring. To help track and prove their claims, the same analysts developed a dashboard that not only offers real time tracking of the fuel savings, but it provides tools to further manage and optimize the variables of flight operations.

That thinking, and those tools, are working their way into business aviation operations today.

Imagine being able to report to CFOs or airplane owners—with specificity—that a new way of thinking about fuel savings and tracking could save an average of 4.5% in annual fuel costs. Hopefully, you’re doing the math in your head right now. Better yet, imagine reporting, We’re doing the best we can knowing you’re backed by industry-leading fuel optimization tools and thinking.

Fuel in. Emissions Out.

Now, we cannot forget that what goes in as fuel comes out as emissions. Emissions reporting, already a requirement for most European flight operations, has become a reality for U.S.-based flight operations traveling overseas. If you don’t automatically equate the cost of fuel with the cost of emissions, it may be time to start.

ICAO is eyeing 2020 to have global emissions reporting standards and regulations in place that include the U.S., China and other countries holding out against today’s regulations. Are you preparing? If you’re a small operator who doesn’t meet the annual 1,000-ton CO2 reporting requirement, and resulting carbon credit purchases, you’re likely not worried. But you should be. When the regulators come calling, it will be as important to prove you don’t meet the requirements, as it will be to detail if and how you do.

The good news is that using the same dashboard tools that help optimize fuel consumption can track and report emissions. More importantly, the tools that help you save fuel, by extension, help lower emissions and thus the cost of carbon credits.

ETS Aviation, the company that pioneered the dashboard that many airlines rely on to help them optimize fuel consumption and track emissions, is now a part of Boeing/Jeppesen. That same team from ETS is working today with members from Jeppesen’s ITPS team, to make that dashboard a reality in reducing fuel consumption and emissions for global flight departments. Learn more by clicking here.

Boeing’s Acquisition of ETS Aviation Brings New Fuel-Efficiency Capabilities to BA Market

As a global leader in partnering with militaries, commercial and corporate aviation operations, Boeing (Jeppesen’s parent company) recently acquired of ETS Aviation, the industry leader in creating new innovations in fuel management and emissions reporting.

The need to save on fuel costs and reduce emissions will soon be a single idea that sits atop most corporate flight department’s list of key concerns. As the market leader, serving more than 120 commercial airlines and corporate flight departments, ETS Aviation’s innovation, experience and vision represented the type of solutions that Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Service (ITPS) clients expect. This acquisition was the best way to deliver on those expectations.

In a letter to customers, ETS Aviation’s founder and CEO David Carlisle explained, “As our relationship progressed, it became clear that a closer relationship would be beneficial to both parties and more importantly to our customers and the industry as a whole.” Carlisle concluded the letter by noting that, “…under the Boeing banner, (our products will) start to realize their full potential all over the world.”

What started as a business relationship to, among other things, support Jeppesen’s ITPS clients with emissions reporting quickly turned into a full-fledged partnership to help corporate flight departments save on fuel consumption as well. It didn’t take long for the two organizations to see new opportunites as one combined entity. To learn more about ETS Aviation and the role it will play in enabling the Jeppesen ITPS team to offer a new level of comprehensive global operational support, click here or contact your customer service representative.

Ensemble Prediction System

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A 100% Chance of Better Aviation Weather Forecasting

Even the most seasoned business aviation flight crews pay heed when they hear they’re flying abroad. Yes, there are support systems, processes, and other resources to help manage the man-made uncertainties of global flight operations—regulations, ground handling, fly over permits, etc. But no one has yet figured out how to successfully manage the most unpredictable part of any flight—weather.

 Until now.

In the last 20 years, since the introduction of NEXRAD, there hasn’t been much breaking news in weather forecasting. Most weather predictions were based on Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) modeling, combining environmental factors, satellite imagery, observations, historical data, and good old-fashioned physics to create a model from which a weather forecast is made.

But here’s how a single weather model has led you astray. Imagine that you were one degree off the heading of your last flight. Not a big deal if you catch it within a few minutes and correct. But, it’s a much bigger deal if you don’t catch it for a few hours. Weather models work the same way. If one variable is just slightly off in a new forecast, then the forecast is less accurate and reliable with each passing minute.

Since weather is not an exact science, each of the variables and algorithms used to make a particular forecast model vary. In the end, flight crews are left to sort out different models making different predictions. But what if there was a way to combine all the models, and all the factors that went into those models, into a single prediction?

A Better Batting Average

Say your favorite baseball player is coming to the plate. How do you know if he’s likely to get a hit? His batting average. A statistician divides the number of his hits by his number of at bats and derives the probability he’ll get a hit. While that number is somewhat accurate, it could be moreso when additional factors are considered. How well does he hit against left-handed pitchers? How well does he hit with men on base? How well does he hit on the road versus his home ballpark? When different factors are considered, and more data is included, a batter’s hitting “forecast” is far more accurate.

In a very oversimplified sense, weather forecasting has moved to the same kind of approach using something called the Ensemble Prediction System (EPS). Used by many forecasting organizations around the world, the EPS approach begins with a traditional forecast model, then slightly “perturbs” (or alters) different factors of that model, running 50 additional models to get a range of possible forecasts. Now, forecasters have 51 different models to analyze to make a final prediction. Imagine the power of running 51 different flight plan scenarios, factoring changes in weather, traffic, or wind speed/direction, before creating your final flight plan. It’s powerful.

Since EPS-based weather forecasts provide more reliable information, forecasters can offer flight crews more:

  •          Narrow ranges in forecast predictions
  •          Detailed and specific data
  •          “Certainty” with each forecast

EPS forecasting will have a ripple effect on your operations, especially for international travel, including:

  •          Weather Alerting Systems
  •          Decision Support Systems
  •          Mission Profile Support
  •          Optimization Systems

One Last Unanswered Question

Great, you think. I’ll start looking for EPS-based weather forecasts. But if everyone is going to start using EPS, how do I know which forecast is best? Look for forecasts based on the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) model. Formed in 1975 and based in the United Kingdom, this organization leverages the resources and forecasting intelligence of 34 European member states. Over the years, its global forecasting has proven to be the most reliable. The ECMWF gained public notoriety in 2012 when it predicted the nearly exact path of Hurricane Sandy four to five days before other models. The ECMWF forecast offered the kind of ample time and specificity that helped local and state governments along the Eastern Seaboard a chance to warn its citizens earlier and better prepare for the worst.

Jeppesen believes so strongly in the EPS-based forecasts provided by the ECMWF, that it incorporates their data in the weather forecasting services it makes available to business aviation operators like you. Through Jeppesen Weather Alerts (JWA), Jeppesen offers you a dashboard system, customized for your operation, to help you fully utilize this new level of weather forecasting information. Learn more by clicking here.

APIS Doesn’t Have To Be An Obstacle

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In 2005, the current Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) requirements were cemented with the publication of the APIS Final Rule. On the eve of its tenth anniversary, we thought it was important to remember why APIS, which can seem like nothing more than another governmental hoop you have to jump through, is in place. APIS helps those charged with security and border enforcement to better identify potential threats. More importantly, it helps keep your crew, passengers and airplane safe during international travel.

Currently, the United States, CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) and, most recently, Mexico have implemented APIS requirements. The list of countries considering APIS is growing. We thought the list of flight departments that better understood how to use it should grow, too. Details,

Details, Details

Despite its benefits, there’s no question APIS can, at times, feel like an obstacle. The U.S. has the most stringent requirements, so here are a few things to consider next time you need to submit a U.S. APIS:

  •          Flight Type Matters
  •          Lead Times Vary
  •          Passports Can Be Pesky
  •          Wait For Confirmation
  •          Avoid Fines

 

APIS Assistance is Available

The regulatory complexities of business aviation are getting worse, not better. That’s why several third-party flight department support companies have taken up APIS submission services to help relieve some of the stress.

If you haven’t considered third-party assistance for APIS, here are a few reasons you should:

  •          Built-in Validation
  •          Stored Profiles
  •          24/7 Support
  •          Reduced Ripple Effect
  •          Global Differences
  •          Relationships

One Simple Trick

Perfection, while the goal of every APIS submission, is often its worst enemy. When working with a third party, you can submit incomplete information well in advance of a trip. They will help you track what information they have, what they need and by when. It’s much easier for a third party to submit a few last-minute details instead of creating a new profile from scratch while a passenger waits to board.

Remember the point above that said that erroneous passport details are one of the, if not the, biggest source of departure delays? Here’s a simple trick to minimize them. Get passport details early in the trip planning process. Don’t wait. That gives your flight department, or third party provider, ample time to vet passport details before the trip.

The key to getting passport information early? Remind passengers that getting passport details to you during initial planning is the most important thing they can do to help ensure they can depart on time.

Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Services (ITPS) team acts as an extension of flight departments of all sizes in support of international travel, including APIS submissions. We help hundreds of business aviation clients travel to some of the most remote locations in the world—efficiently, predictably, safely and in compliance. Learn more about our ITPS by clicking here or calling +1-877-JEPP-ITP (+1-877-537-7487).

 

A New Level of Compliance Care

The always-evolving world of compliance in business aviation operations is more complex than it has ever been, and the signs are that it will only get more so. To ensure our flight department clients are operating within the myriad regulations impacting global flight, Jeppesen recently assigned Kate York the responsibility of regulatory oversight for its customers.

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kate also lived part of her life in La Paz, Bolivia. She is uniquely attuned to the cultural differences and regional regulations that exist around the world. Kate received an Aviation degree from San Jose State University and has worked at Jeppesen since 1992. She has held various positions within Jeppesen including supervising the International Trip Planning Department. Her passion for training led her to create an advanced training program at Jeppesen, which she continues to help enhance. However, her personal and professional experience also make Kate the best choice to ensure our clients are operating within regulations, no matter where in the world they are flying.

Jeppesen Partners With Amelia Rose Earhart to Recreate Transglobal Flight

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Amelia Earhart. The mere mention of the name evokes a sense of adventure, personifies one of aviation’s most storied eras, and reminds all of us that role models aren’t defined by their gender, age, or size as much as by their heart and soul.

Born in the early 1980s, Amelia (Rose) Earhart’s parents chose her name because they wanted their daughter to carry with her the traits of the famous aviatrix. But the name brought with it unexpected responsibility and opportunity as well.  “Every single day of my life, the conversation comes up, ‘Are you a pilot?’” explained Earhart. “I got tired of telling people ‘no’ and seeing the disappointed looks. So, in college, I saved up enough money to take my first flight lesson, and I haven’t stopped since. It’s been great.”

So great, in fact, that Amelia Rose Earhart is recreating the solo around-the-world flight that her namesake attempted in 1937. That trip resulted in the disappearance of one of aviation’s most celebrated pioneers and is still the center of intense debate 77 years later.

 Amelia Earhart's flight attemption in 1937

Finishing a 77-Year Journey

Departing from Oakland, California, on June 26, 2014, from the same hangar location that began the 1937 trip, Amelia Rose Earhart will embark on a 17-day journey to do more than retrace the flight of her namesake, but to “symbolically close her flight plan.” When she completes her journey, Earhart will be the youngest woman to fly around the world in a single-engine airplane.

Closing that historic flight plan will be nothing short of grueling. The trip involves over 24,000 nautical miles, 98 hours of flight time, and 16 stops in 14 different countries. What’s more, 80 percent of the flight is over water. If all goes as planned, Earhart's final touchdown will be July 12, 2014 back in Oakland.

During the early stages of trip planning, Earhart realized that the complexities of international flight can quickly get overwhelming. It began with a mindset change from years of flying in the United States. As Earhart noted, “The planning perspective went from ‘We’re coming’ to ‘May we arrive?’”

 

 

Experience Trumps Exasperation

Soon, Earhart turned to Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Services (ITPS) experts for help. For starters, the specialists of ITPS team reviewed her initial flight plan. According to TJ Orth, the account specialist assigned to Earhart’s flight, “We went over the positives and negatives of certain stops. We made some suggestions of stops that might be potentially better considering the political situations, security, and things of that nature.”

Over the next 18 months, members of our ITPS team have helped Amelia with the details at each location, including ground handling/FBO services, fuel, slots for arrival and departure, parking, customs, and landing and overflight permits. And, the ITPS team hasn’t stopped there. Their assistance for Earhart has included other details such as recommending trusted hotels and transportation providers at each location where she’ll overnight.

Apart, But Not Alone

According to Earhart, Jeppesen is providing more than global experience and expertise. The ITPS team has given her peace of mind. “If you’re going to fly out of the country, especially to a country you’ve never flown into before, you have to have their expertise. Jeppesen has the history of knowing that hundreds of pilots have gone into these individual countries, using Jeppesen’s connections, and they’ve come back and given them real world accounts of how it went.”

Orth concluded that the planning has truly been a team effort. “When coordinating trip details, we want to provide options and the pros and cons of each. Then, Amelia makes the decision. She is the captain. She is the PIC. She’s going to be the one out there actually flying.” Our ITPS team will be there to support Earhart every leg of the trip should details change due to weather or mechanical issues, just like the service we offer all of our customers.

 

To learn more about Amelia Rose Earhart’s trip about the world, track her progress, or donate to her foundation, visit www.flywithamelia.org.

If you’d like world-class service and unparalleled expertise on your next international flight, learn more about Jeppesen’s International Trip Planning Services.