Aug. 29, 2014

Business aircraft operators should be aware that concern about the Ebola virus is beginning to affect air travel in a number of African countries, and may soon spread to more. Flight restrictions of varying kinds are in place for Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Cape Verde, and the nations of Chad and Zambia are also beginning to close their borders to certain aircraft and passengers.

“We strongly urge any business aircraft operators to check ahead when flying to the countries currently being affected by the Ebola virus,” said Susan Mashibe, founder and CEO of VIA Aviation Ltd., an East African FBO with headquarters at Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Mashibe also is NBAA’s Africa regional lead on the Association’s International Operators Committee. “We are already aware of one business aircraft operator that was denied entry to the Ivory Coast because the flight originated from an Ebola-affected country,” said Mashibe.

NOTAMs issued this past week by the civil aviation authorities in Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Cape Verde contain specific flight and passenger restrictions.

Senegal is specifically prohibiting flights to or from the countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with the exception of noncommercial or humanitarian flights, which may transit to these countries via Dakar only. The Ivory Coast has restrictions on flights carrying passengers from the above three countries, as well as from Nigeria, and a temperature check is in place for all arriving passengers. The Cape Verde NOTAM prohibits the entry of any non-resident foreign citizens who have in the last 30 days been in any of the countries affected by the Ebola virus.

According to Mashibe, passenger restrictions may also include aircraft restrictions. “Aircraft operators need to understand that they may experience difficulties in being permitted to land, depending on where they have been and who is on board,” said Mashibe.

In another operational issue affecting flights into some African countries, Mashibe recommended that flights carrying firearms and ammunition on board for hunting trips should avoid listing firearms and ammunition on the permit application to the local aviation authority.

“If these items are listed, the landing permit may be declined, or the flight may be put on alert because the civil aviation authority might assume there is an arms dealer on board,” said Mashibe. “Hunting gear is a customs – not a civil aviation authority – issue. Clearance for all hunting gear should be conducted by an authorized local hunting outfitter through the customs authority, so there is no need for an operator to list hunting gear as part of the aircraft landing permit application.”