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NBAA Introduces International Flight Plan Format

Unified Planning Structure Eliminates Bureaucratic Pain Points

NBAA now offers a nifty little guide to help operators comply with international flight planning requirements, which should streamline the process of flying overseas.

The publication is called the "International Flight Plan Format Guide", making its way into member's hands at the 2024 NBAA International Operators Conference in Orlando, Florida. The guide was drafted by the NBAA's International Operators Committee to hopefully defray the often onerous chrono-cost of those trying to fly internationally without exposing themselves to delay, fines, or regulatory hassle from the FAA, ICAO, and foreign regulators. 

The guide isn't binding by any means, but acts as a useful, industry-recommended format that isn't bound to a commercial product or service - and the more operators use it, the more commonly accepted it will become around the world. The guide's publication follows an FAA project to streamline the Letter of Authorization (LOA) application process, which put emphasis on the need for a standardized international flight plan format, since a sample international flight plan is a requirement of most LOA applications.

"This document is a guide that operators and flight planning providers can use to align on flight plan format and language," said Clement Meersseman, vice president of strategic partnerships at AviationManuals. He noted that a number of major flight planning vendors participated in the document update, which just goes to show that they recognized the need for harmonization even amongst their competition.

"A standardized flight plan removes one LOA application challenge and could also make demonstrating compliance with international flight planning easier in the event of a ramp inspection," said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations.

"We also are collaborating with the FAA to gather feedback on what inspectors are seeing on LOA applications and with the air traffic office to get data on errors they see, for example, incorrect equipment codes," added Meersseman. "This is not just a guide. We now have a process in place to enhance collaboration with the FAA to mitigate errors and work towards continuous improvement across the industry."



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