Last year saw the introduction of a new customs procedure in Russia that FAI is currently working on successfully implementing. The Import 53 (IM53) regulation affects foreign aircraft looking to perform private flights on domestic legs within the Eurasian Customs Union (EACU).
Members of the EACU are Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. The new regulation proves to be a tricky one – so much so that some of the Customs authorities at airports in Russia are struggling to fully grasp the effects themselves. In order to operate in Russian airspace, air ambulance companies must get a visa upon arrival for their crew members, which can be obtained at one of the airports in Moscow. This has been standard operating procedure for some time, but as a result of the new regulations, there are now extraordinary additional bureaucratic issues for repatriation cases by air ambulance. Domestic medical flights within Russia now appear no longer feasible for foreign air ambulance operators.
As a result, patients outside the Moscow area can no longer be repatriated by a non-Russian carrier, which poses the question: how can we provide help to people in need of an air ambulance repatriation from Russia? FAI is currently working on various solutions and looking into different scenarios to overcome these obstacles. FAI’s lawyers are currently in discussion with the Russian authorities in order to look into opportunities to work with this newly implemented IM53 regulation. One solution could be an exemption for active medical flights. Furthermore, FAI is investigating having permanent Russian entry visas issued for its Challenger CL604 and CL850 pilots.
Why Challenger pilots?
With a range of around 3,200 nautical miles, a Challenger aircraft can reach a large number of destinations in Russia nonstop without having to enter Russian air space through Moscow to obtain visas for our crew members, thus avoiding the domestic internal Russian flight leg. A challenging task which cannot be solved overnight, but FAI is determined to find a solution in order to support all our clients’ requests.