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The essentials of applying for overflight permits

By Dr. Adnan Branbo –

In accordance with the 1944 Chicago Convention regulating international civil aviation, airlines of each country have the right of overflight of the territories of all other signatory states.

Countries have the right to regulate this overflight right however and require prior notification and authorization in the form of an overflight permit. The issuance of the permit is the result of an application by the aircraft operator or its agents to the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The requirements of such applications – and the rules and regulations governing their submission, processing and issuance – vary from country to country and we will highlight some of the major requirements and differences that apply around the world.

Permit or No Permit

Some countries – for example the European Union countries and Azerbaijan – no longer require a prior application; it’s sufficient for a flight plan to be filed a certain number of hours before the estimated time of departure (ETD). Kazakhstan also cancelled the requirement to apply for an overflight permit recently and now requires only 24 hours notice before the date of operation plus the filing of a flight plan a few hours before actual operation. Many others though still require an application to secure a permit.

Free or Fee

Many countries impose a processing fee for the issuance of an overflight permit which is generally non-refundable regardless of whether the permit is approved or rejected. Examples of the countries imposing these permit processing fees and their charges include:

Saudi Arabia – 27 USD per leg

Ghana – 150 USD per permit

Tanzania – 100 USD per permit

Pakistan – 20 USD per leg

When to Apply

Countries requiring an application for a permit prior to flight have minimum lead times varying from 24 hours (Iran and India) to 72 hours (Turkmenistan). Some are very strict (Turkmenistan and Iran) and deny any request submitted outside their parameters, whilst many others are flexible and accept short notice requests (Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and others). Belarus charges different processing fees depending on the actual lead time during which the permit application is submitted, charging higher fees for applications submitted less than 24 hours and 48 hours than the regulatory 72 hours.

How to Apply

A simple email is sufficient to apply for the overflight permit for some countries (Seychelles, Namibia and Botswana), whilst use of the many years old, aviation-exclusive telex-based network, AFTN, is mandatory for others (Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and others).

Recently we’ve noticed an increasing number of countries introducing online portals requiring registration and the creation of a user account. Airlines and Operators can input their flight data and upload their documents and submit their permit applications online – receiving notification and obtaining the permit via the portal once it is approved. Countries that introduced such portals include: Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kenya, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Colombia, Hong Kong and others.

Direct or through an Agent

Some countries allow Operators to apply directly to their CAA in order to secure the permit, while some others require the appointment of a local agent – most importantly to guarantee settlement of the fee. Countries requiring the appointment of a legal local agent or representative include: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Sudan, Pakistan and few others.


Whilst the name of the aircraft operator; the aircraft type and registration; the flight number and schedule/purpose of the flight are sufficient for most CAAs, others require submission of many of the airline and aircraft certificates in order to issue the permit. These can include: The Air Operator Certificate (AOC), the Aircraft Registration Certificate, the Airworthiness Certificate, the Noise Certificate, and the Insurance Certificate (with various insurance coverage and amounts varying from country to country).

Some countries stipulate more detailed requirements:

  • Saudi Arabia requires the lead passenger’s name in the permit application for business and private flights.
  • Details of territory entry and exit points (Iran).
  • Compliance with various legal commitments relating to the operation, such as the aircraft not being capable of air dropping (India).
  • Settlement of the navigation fees in advance, before the permit can be issued (Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe).
  • Most of the countries deny the aircraft from overflying their territory if previous overflying navigation fees invoices related to the aircraft operator are not settled.

International aircraft operators flying their jets around the world must keep acquainted and updated about the various and rapidly changing requirements and regulations surrounding the applications and issuance of overflight permits, as these permits are regulatory requirements for the actual performance of the flights.

While this task in light of the above mentioned differences seems very challenging and time-consuming, partnering with an experienced professional flight support permits agent makes this web of complexity predictable, seamless and enjoyable.


Dr. Adnan Branbo is the Chief Executive Officer of iJET, a flight support service provider based in Malta and Dubai, with offices and representatives in Russia, India, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Madagascar. iJET services include over-flight and landing permits, credit ground handling arrangements, and aviation fuel at competitive prices. Adnan can be reached at:

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Working in the aviation industry? Stay up to date with the fast-changing aviation regulations, conventions and agreements around the world.

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