Tips from the Pros
For corporate (Pt 91 and Pt 135/121) aircraft flying into Mexico for the first time (or returning after a difficult previous trip), touchdown at the destination airport doesn’t necessarily mean the flight is back on solid ground. Missing or incorrectly filed documents, unanticipated charges and fees, or a misunderstanding of Customs/entry/multiple destination protocol and cabotage can spark or contribute to an interrupted and delayed trip.
And then there is catering. Bad catering can create havoc on the trip and be more damaging to a career than a botched check ride. Assume nothing: a savvy flight attendant might opt to sample the catering (or try it out on the co-pilot) before ordering for the passengers.
Requirements for foreign (US) aircraft operating into and within Mexico are established by the Mexican Government (DGAC) and its US counterpart the FAA, to manage and address legitimate security and safety issues – some generated by trans-national and some born of domestic situations. Many of the fees required by Mexico and other countries in the region are what US operators would refer to as user fees- and reasonable, really, in countries with smaller economies with less revenue available for aviation infrastructure. One thing all governments – big and small – have in common: a funny habit of changing (read: raising and creating) fees quietly—sometimes these “pop-up” fees create frustrating trip delays along with unexpected expenses. Staying current on foreign fees can be daunting when done from afar.
Julio Real Ortiz, CEO & General Manager of Real Alfa Flight Aviation Services (RAF), a full service FBO and Ground Handling Agent specializing in Mexico, Central and South America-based at Toluca’s Lic. Adolfo Lopez Mateos International Airport (MMTO) warns, “Part 91 crews should ALWAYS carry their Single Landing Authorization, issued to them on the first port of entry.
This document should be turned in before departing Mexico.
(Note: Part 135 flights, the equivalent to the PT91 Single Landing Authorization document is on file having been obtained on your behalf by our legal department in Mexico City and is on file in our office at MMTO).
Part 91. Operators should be aware that if they need to swap crews while in Mexico, there is a charge of $91.00USD per crew member, but this charge can be avoided if the pilot can prove his flight duty working hours are over, or with a letter on company letterhead explaining why the crew swap is required.”
He goes on to say, ”When applying for Part 91 Multiple Entry Authorization (valid for one year) we highly recommend including a list of all crew members from your company rated in the aircraft that might cover or relieve crews while the aircraft is in Mexico. This should help avoid extra fees for crew swaps.”