International Air Charters: A Guide

Table of contents

Introduction

This guide is for airlines licensed by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to provide non-scheduled services to and from Canada ("licensees"). It explains the CTA's requirements for licensees that want to operate international charter flights. The guide covers both passenger charters and goods charters.

Requirements to operate an international charter

If you want to operate a passengers or a goods charter flight between Canada and another country, you may have to apply to the CTA for a permit, notify us in advance, or send in a report after the flight. Your requirements depend on:

  • your home country;
  • whether the charter flight will carry passengers or goods;
  • the origin and destination of the flight;
  • for passenger charters, whether the charter flight is resaleable or non-resaleable; and
  • whether the charter flight will be operated using a large aircraft or a small aircraft.

Licensees must always respect each term and condition of their licence, as well as the Canada Transportation Act, related regulations, and any international agreement, convention or arrangement respecting civil aviation to which Canada is a party.

Small aircraft

(MCTOW of less than 15,900kg)

In almost all cases, if you want to operate an international charter flight using a small aircraft, you do not have to apply for a charter permit or send us any notices or reports.

The only exception is if you are a foreign licensee that wants to operate a charter flight between Canada and a country that is not your home country. In this case, you will need to apply for a charter permit.

Large aircraft

(MCTOW of 15,900 kg or more)

If you want to operate an international charter flight to carry passengers or goods using a large aircraft, the following tables describe whether you must apply for a permit, give us notice before the flight or provide a report after the flight. Permits are needed to operate charter flights that are not covered by your international non-scheduled license, such as resaleable charters and charters between Canada and a country other than your home country.

Further details about these requirements are provided in Parts 3, 4 and 5 of this guide.

Passenger charters
Resaleable charters
  Requirement
Starting in Canada, to any destination Permit
Starting in a country other than Canada Notice before flight
Non-resaleable charters operated by Canadian licensees
  Requirement
Between Canada and the United States (US) Report after flight
Between Canada and a country other than the US Notice before flight
Non-resaleable charters operated by US licensees
  Requirement
Between Canada and the US Report after flight
Between Canada and country other than US Permit
Non-resaleable charters operated by other international licensees
  Requirement
Between Canada and home country Notice before flight
Between Canada and a country other than their home country Permit
Goods charters
Charters operated by Canadian licensees
  Requirement
Between Canada and the US Report after flight
Between Canada and a country other than the US Notice before flight
Charters operated by US licensees
  Requirement
Between Canada and the US Report after flight
Between Canada and a country other than the US Notice before flight
Charters operated by other international licensees
  Requirement
Between Canada and home country Notice before flight
Between Canada and a country other than their home country Permit

Notice before flight

If you are required to provide the CTA with advance notice of an international charter flight, you must:

  • send us all the information in Annex A in writing; and
  • make sure we get the information before the date of the proposed charter flight. If you are planning a series of charter flights, you must send us the notice before the first flight in the series.

Report after flight

If you are required to send us a report after a charter flight between Canada and the US, you must:

  • send us a monthly written report about all the international charter flights that you operated during the month that you operated the flight to or from the US;
  • include all the information shown in Annex A; and
  • make sure we get the report within 30 days of the end of the month you are reporting on.

Permit

Your application for a permit to operate an international flight must include all the information in Annex A. A permit will make the necessary changes to the conditions of your non-scheduled international licence.

If you are applying to operate a passenger resaleable charter beginning in Canada, you will have to provide us with additional information, including a copy of the signed charter contract(s) for the flight(s) and a financial guarantee from a Canadian financial institution. This protects the money paid by the company or person who charters the aircraft in case the flight does not happen. You must also follow the requirements in the Air Passenger Protection Regulations. For more information about requirements for passenger resaleable charters, contact us at: licence@otc-cta.gc.ca.

Timelines

Passenger resaleable charters: You must send us the application as soon as possible after you and the company or person chartering the aircraft have signed or amended the charter contract. You must send it at least 15 days, but not more than 1 year, before the date of the proposed flight or the first proposed flight in a series.

Passenger non-resaleable and goods charters: You must send us the application as soon as possible – but at least two working days before the date of the proposed flight or the first flight in a series.

If you cannot meet the deadline, your application should explain why. We will only consider late applications in extraordinary circumstances, such as an emergency or other unique situation.

How we process permit applications

A CTA Member or Members will consider your application and decide whether to give you the international charter permit. When assessing your application, the Member(s) must consider:

  • the terms and conditions of the applicant's licence;
  • the requirements in legislation and regulations (for example, insurance requirements, aircraft requirements); and
  • any relevant international agreements, conventions or arrangements.

The CTA can refuse an application if any of these requirements are not met.

For foreign applicants, the Member(s) will also consider whether the airline's home country allows Canadian airlines to operate charters to and from that country and if there are any reciprocity concerns. The Member(s) would base this decision on consultations with other Government departments and information provided by Canadian licensees. The CTA could refuse an application because of reciprocity concerns.

We will provide a final decision (through a CTA determination) as soon as possible after receiving a complete charter permit application.

Contact information

All notices, reports and permit applications must be sent to: mlicence@otc-cta.gc.ca. Please also e-mail us at this address for further information about charter requirements.

Annex A: Required information

If you are sending us a charter permit application, notice before the charter flight, or a report after a charter flight, you must include the following information:

  • the name, postal address, email address, and telephone number of each company or person who is chartering an aircraft;
  • the airport at the point of departure and the airport at the point of destination of each flight, and any other airport the licensee proposes to use;
  • the dates and times of departure and arrival of each flight;
  • the aircraft type;
  • for passenger charters, the number of available seats; and
  • for goods charters, the type, quantity and total weight of the goods to be carried on each flight.

Glossary

Charter flight
One-way or round-trip flight that is not part of the airline's regular schedule, but is arranged with an airline under a charter contract. The flight can carry either passengers or goods.
Passenger resaleable charter
A passenger charter on which the company or person who charters the aircraft sells seats to the public.
Passenger non-resaleable charter
A passenger charter that does not offer seats for sale to the public.
MCTOW
Maximum certified takeoff weight stated on an aircraft's Certificate of Airworthiness. This is the maximum weight at which the aircraft is allowed to fly.

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