New passenger-entry requirements are coming for flights into the European Union (EU). All carriers flying into the EU must register for two programs: Entry/Exit System (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which go into effect in September 2022 and May 2023, respectively. EES is similar to the U.S. visa program, and ETIAS is like the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or visa waiver program.
These new EU entry requirements apply to Part 125, 135 and certain Part 91 operations, but do not apply to individuals who own and pilot their own aircraft into the EU or operate under NCC/NCO (noncommercial) rules, even if they use professional paid crew members.
“All business aircraft operators should stay tuned for more information on EES and ETIAS, as requirements and methods of compliance are very fluid at this time.”
Brian Koester CAM, Director of Flight Operations and Regulations, NBAA
“These programs will more efficiently administer the EU’s visa and visa waiver programs,” said Johan Glantz, senior manager of safety and regulatory affairs at the European Business Aviation Association.
Experts recommend that operators register as soon as possible to avoid delays, since the agency that administers the new entry programs – the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA) – says that registration will take a few months, not days or weeks.
“If you are a Part 135 operator in the U.S. and you don’t normally fly to Europe, you will have to plan ahead,” said Glantz. “This registration will not be quick.”
However, carriers not intending to fly in the next 12 months to the 26 European nations that are included in the Schengen Area should not register for these programs. In fact, the new rules prohibit an operator from registering without a known trip in the Schengen Area within the next year, limiting on-demand and short-notice trips.
The registration process is somewhat airline-centric, requesting names of handling agents at each “station” and establishing and testing dedicated connections at each station. This requirement is impractical for most business aircraft operations.
“The F01 Carrier Registration Form can look intimidating to complete, as it asks for all official information of the aircraft operator and requires supporting documents identifying the official capacity of the aircraft operation,” said Michael Ouellette, senior director of global operations at World Fuel Services.
However, experts say that eu-LISA is likely to eventually offer a mobile app that will enable operators to scan a passport and receive verification of a passenger’s status.
Nevertheless, “all business aircraft operators should stay tuned for more information on EES and ETIAS, as requirements and methods of compliance are very fluid at this time,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA’s director of flight operations and regulations.
New passenger-entry requirements to the EU require a lengthy registration process more geared to airlines than to business aviation.
NBAA and EBAA are working with European officials to guide EU entry policies and procedures that are more practical for business aviation.