August 01, 2012
Situated on a desert coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Lima reigns as the capital and largest city of Peru and a major South American financial and business center. As such, it is a frequent destination for business aviation, especially flights originating from North America and Europe.
International flight crews will find operations into Peru based on familiar ICAO Pans Ops directed by English-speaking controllers, QNH altimetry measured in feet, RVSM vertical separation and cartography that is WGS 84-compliant. The most popular destination airport, Jorge Chavez International (SPIM), boasts two FBO/handlers — Swissport and ATSA.
“You will be directed to a general aviation parking area and then taken by van to the FBO,” said Craig Mariacci, vice president, sales, at Skyplan Services in Calgary.
Peru requires visas for the conduct of business (for tourism, no visas are necessary for up to 90 days). Crewmembers, including cabin attendants, will need visas only if planning to travel within the country (i.e., on flights to multiple destinations). A local rep or sponsor will be necessary if business flights are bringing articles or products into the country. Landing permits are required for all flights. “We normally give three to five days lead time when requesting permits for Peru,” Mariacci said.
At Chavez International, fuel is available in quantity, sold by Repsol at generally better prices than those found north of the equator; early this summer, Jet-A prices averaged $3.70/gal. Most fuel cards are accepted, and credit can be arranged in advance by handlers. Operators should be prepared to pay fees for landing, handling and parking, the last which was running $25/hour this summer. Mariacci recommended that visiting operators hire private security to guard their aircraft if remaining in Lima for extended stays.
Operators versed in ICAO Pans Ops procedures should find no surprises entering or exiting Peru. Mike Powell, who flies for Quikrete International in Atlanta, operated a Gulfstream III into Peru three times in 2009. “Once we left Bogotá control and entered Lima airspace, the radio quality and the controllers' English were poor,” he said. “However, when we got over the Andes and into the Lima terminal environment, everything got much better.”
On his arrival at Jorge Chavez International, Powell was given radar vectors to the ILS for Runway 15/33. “It was very straightforward,” he said, “always radar vectors.” One procedural difference Powell noted was that “they slowed us to final approach speed 7 or 8 mi. out, allegedly for spacing, but after we landed we didn't see any other traffic. So expect them to slow you down early and to drag it in!
“We were parked on a convenient hardstand,” he continued, “and they shuttled us to the airline terminal where we cleared customs in a special section apparently reserved for general aviation. The handlers recommended fueling on arrival, as the airlines receive priority. [SPIM is the fourth largest airline hub in South America.] We got in there in the middle of the afternoon and immediately received great service. The local handlers [arranged through a U.S. flight planning service] were extremely good, very competent and professional.”