International Charter Flights – Things you need to know
Internationals charter flights are a bit more complicated than your typical interstate charter flight. When travelling internationally, there are customs procedures, restrictions on travel items and International fees. The FAA has numerous rules governing charter flights that enter or leave the United States. Dependent upon which country or geographical area you are entering or leaving from could determine your flight plan. For those planning to travel outside the United States, it would be wise to brush up on some of the rules governing international charter flights.
For those thinking of or planning to charter a jet to the US or British Virgin Islands, Mexico, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Coast; those charter flights will be subject to Customs Special Landing Requirements. In an effort to prevent drug smuggling, the US Customs Service has established reporting procedures for all private aircrafts arriving in the United States from a foreign location in the Western Hemisphere south of the 30 degrees latitude and for those charter flights entering the United States from the Pacific Coast south of the 33 degrees North Latitude will also be subject to these rules. The rules for charter flights of this nature, is that they must furnish notice of their intended arrival to US Customs and MUST land at one of thirty-one designated airports that are nearest to the border or coastline. Aircraft operators may apply for an “over-flight exemption”, which allows you to bypass this requirement.
International charter flights are subject to unique tax reporting requirements and thus international charter flights are defined by the IRS as – any charter flight that does not begin or end in the United States or the “225 mile zone” or is uninterrupted international air transportation. For inbound and outbound charter flights that meet the above definition of an international charter flight are not subject to the 7.5% FET that is standard on all US domestic air charter flights. International fees imposed by foreign governments, may apply to international charter flights outside the United States. The previously mentioned “225 mile zone” only applies to air charter flights entering into either Canada or Mexico and does not apply to the Caribbean Islands. Therefore, an air charter flight from the United States to Jamaica or Grand Tortola would not be subject to FET. Whereas a flight from Monterrey Mexico, which lies within the “225 mile zone” would be subject to the domestic Federal Excise Tax. International air charter flights require travelers to carry with them their valid government issued Passports or Visa. This law holds true even for international charter flights that happen to be within the “225 mile zone”.
There are also special rules governing the operation of charter jets for all US and non-domestic charter flights. International law governs the operational aspects of charter flights travelling between two or more countries. This means that US registered charter jets must comply with the laws of the country in which airspace they fly. It is important for operators who fly internationally to observe the laws governing international charter flights as a violation could result in the seizure of the aircraft. One violation that could result in the seizure of a charter jet would be “cabotage”. Cabotage occurs when a non-domestic aircraft is used for commercial transportation or for the industrial benefit of business between two points within a foreign country. Each country has their own specific rules governing cabotage restrictions, so it is important that the pilot and crew know the rule of the particular countries before they fly.
To ensure a hassle free international jet charter flight, one should book their charter flight from a knowledgeable and reputable private flight advisor or charter flight provider. With so many companies capable of providing jet charter service, it is wise to select a reputable firm with experienced and knowledgeable private flight advisors that you can trust. Stratos Jet Charters have extensive experience with international air charter flights and would be happy to become your resource for your domestic and international air charter flights.