July 21, 2020

Operators traveling to the most-visited city in South America, Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, can ensure a smoother flight experience by reading up on procedural expectations ahead of time.

Advice on navigating South American flight operations is the focus of the latest NBAA GO International Operators Conference 2020 session, “Regional Review – South America and Brazil,” which includes a detailed segment from a veteran Brazilian handler about best practices for flying into that country’s two biggest cities – São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The full session is available at 11 a.m. (EDT) on Thursday, July 23, and is followed by an interactive Q&A session.

Avoid PIC Authorization Confusion

Documentation that may demand additional pre-flight attention is the statement on company letterhead indicating the PIC is authorized to fly the aircraft both in Argentina and internationally.

For companies that register their aircraft in an LLC, particularly one that may not match the company’s name, Gary Dietz, chief pilot, flight operations with AT&T, recommended sending those documents to an international service provider (ISP) well ahead of time to ensure all parties clearly understand the ownership situation.

“I’ve made sure the ISP is aligned with the local handler, who cleared it with local customs and proper aviation authorities so that everybody understood, in their local language, how the registration and the letterhead lined up,” said Dietz. “On occasion, we’ve had to go back and forth before it’s clearly understood.”

Company IDs Can Avert Headaches

Making sure each crewmember has a company ID can simplify the documentation process. For crewmembers such as flight attendants or maintenance engineers who may not have an FAA pilot license, placing their name on the general declaration (GENDEC) as crew will be sufficient provided they have a company ID. Dietz advised having crew ID badges be ready for inspection to save time upon arrival.

“Company IDs are just as important as a passport,” said Dietz, noting that visas are not required for crew if they are listed on the GENDEC. “Having that ready makes the process seamless.”

Know Requirements at Alternate Airports

Among alternative airports to Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza International Airport (EZE/SAEZ), San Fernando International Airport (FDO/SADF) stands out as a prominent option but is a weight-restricted airport, while others can present issues such as limited parking or controllers that only speak Spanish.

Dietz noted that nearby Carrasco International Airport (MVD/SUMU) – located near Uruguay’s capital Montevideo, only a 45-minute flight across the Rio de la Plata – is a popular alternative that features convenient ferry and driving options to Buenos Aires. However, operators need to work with their handler in advance to prepare for Uruguay’s specific processing requirements.

“Do you know their customs rules? Do you have the right documentation available?” asked Dietz. “Don’t assume that if you have the paperwork for Buenos Aires, you’ll be fine in Uruguay.”