Charter Flights in Colombia – All You Need to Know

Todo lo que Deberías Saber Acerca de los Vuelos Chárter en Colombia

Last updated on September 1st, 2023 at 10:04 am

Dear readers

My name is Frank and I run a travel agency in Bogota, Colombia. Have fun while reading!

We will be happy to help you organize a charter flight in Colombia, just contact us.

Charter flights in Colombia

What to consider for charter flights in Colombia

In Colombia there are various companies in all regions that offer charter flights. Due to the size and the topography, the terrestrial traffic routes are slow and blocked again and again. One should keep in mind that Colombia is crossed by 3 Andean mountain ranges. Therefore, flying is probably the safest and fastest way to get to your destination in Colombia.

There are airports in all regions of Colombia. A distinction can be made between commercial airports and simple runways without any additional infrastructure. Added to this is the peculiarity of corruption and political incompetence in Colombia. This means that in some regions there are runways or entire airports that are not in operation for commercial civil aviation.

One of the best examples is the airport at San Gil in the Santander region. Although this airport would greatly benefit tourism to this spectacular region with direct connections to major cities in Colombia, the airport was never completed and put into operation. However, the airfield exists.

When does it make sense to book a charter flight in Colombia?

If you value your privacy, optimize your time and have the wherewithal, you probably already have charter flight experience.

However, Colombia is not exclusively a market for affluent customers. Charter flights don’t always cost thousands of dollars. An example are the Llanos, the eastern plains of Colombia. The infrastructure in this area is poor and many hatos (large fincas) have a landing strip. The time saving is immense and the additional comfort enormous. In addition, large areas of the Llanos are flooded during the rainy season and terrestrial connections are blocked. Chartering a small plane for 5 people is possible for less than USD 1,000.

The Amazon region occupies around a third of Colombian territory. Many places are very difficult and can only be reached after a journey of several days, usually only by boat. A charter flight is therefore the ideal solution for excursions in the Amazon rainforest.

To give some more context, Colombia is the size of France and Germany or California and Texas combined. It is therefore a very large country.

These are just two examples of the sensible use of charter flights in Colombia. However, the list could easily be extended.

How to book a charter flight in Colombia

Most charter companies in Colombia are very small businesses and you will hardly find them on the internet. You can consult the country’s Aerocivil for a complete list.

However, the bigger problem is the language barrier. If you don’t speak Spanish, you can save yourself a direct inquiry. As a foreigner, you should also consider that the service culture in Colombia does not correspond to that in Japan or Switzerland. E-mails are also usually not given much attention.

For us as a travel agency, personal calls or visits are standard practice. This is the only way to make binding agreements. If you try it yourself, you should consider that in Colombia services are always promised and declared possible, even if this does not correspond to reality. This is part of the culture. Colombians understand these practices. Foreigners, on the other hand, usually react with a great deal of incomprehension when a transaction ultimately fails.

I therefore recommend all foreigners without the necessary experience and language skills to organize a charter flight through a travel agent and professional.

I also warn against booking via an internet platform. If you search the internet, you will find them first. These platforms work in a similar way to Airbnb or Booking, but are less direct. First of all, the price will be many times higher, you communicate through a middleman, but not a professional and special requests or details can hardly be organized.

Furthermore, there are very specific climatic conditions in some regions of Colombia, which must also be included in the planning before a trip.

What is a charter flight?

A charter flight refers to a type of air service where an entire aircraft is rented by an individual, group or company, as opposed to a scheduled flight where passengers book individual seats on an aircraft.

With a charter flight, the aircraft is usually chartered for a specific period of time and to a specific destination in order to meet the specific needs or desires of the passengers. Charter flights can be used for a variety of purposes, including business trips, vacation trips, sports teams, group outings, or even medical evacuations.

Charter flights offer the advantage of greater flexibility in terms of flight times, routes and departure locations compared to regular scheduled flights. Passengers can also often select the type of aircraft that best suits their needs, be it a smaller private aircraft or a larger commercial aircraft.

It is important to note that charter flights are usually more expensive than regular scheduled flights as the cost of exclusive use of the aircraft and services is passed on to the passengers.

For whom are charter flights suitable?

Charter flights are suitable for a variety of people, groups and situations that have specific needs and requirements. Here are some examples of individuals and groups that charter flights might be particularly suitable for:

Business Travelers: Companies can use charter flights to efficiently get their employees to their business destinations. This allows for flexibility in travel times and the ability to hold multiple meetings in one day.

Leisure Travelers: Groups of friends or families vacationing together can choose charter flights to personalize their travel experience and enjoy the convenience of customized flight schedules.

Sports Teams: Sports teams may use charter flights to travel to games or competitions as they often need to take a large group of people and possibly equipment with them.

Music and Entertainment Groups: Bands, artists, and entertainment groups that tour touring might choose charter flights to quickly move between performance venues and to transport their equipment safely.

Emergency and Medical Evacuations: In emergency situations where medical attention or rapid evacuation is required, charter flights could be a life-saving option.

Wedding parties: For destination weddings, charter flights can be a practical way to bring a larger group of guests to the venue.

Business and Incentive Travel: Companies could use charter flights to take their employees to team building events, conferences or incentive trips.

Government and Diplomatic Travel: Government officials or diplomatic delegations might use charter flights to attend important meetings or negotiations.

Individuals with Special Requirements: Individuals with specific requirements, such as special dietary needs or mobility impairments, might choose charter flights to ensure their needs are met.

In principle, charter flights are suitable for anyone who is looking for greater flexibility, individuality and comfort when traveling by air and is willing to bear the associated costs.

Requirements for Colombians and foreigners

All persons, whether Colombian or foreign, wishing to book charter flights must meet the following requirements, according to the Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority of Colombia:

For Colombians

In principle, the following documents are required:

  • Original ID documents
  • Certificates of the relevant payments

For foreigners

The following requirements apply to foreigners:

  • Original identity and migration documents (ID card, passport, visa)
  • Corresponding migration documents at the destination airport

Types of charter services

There are different types of charter flights that can vary depending on the needs and requirements of the passengers. Here are some of the most common types of charter flights:

Ad hoc charter flights: This type of charter flights are carried out on individual request. Passengers or groups rent an aircraft for a specific flight to a specific destination at a specified time.

Empty Leg Flights: Empty leg flights occur when an aircraft returns with no passengers on board, having previously performed another charter mission. These flights are often offered at a reduced price as the airline attempts to offset the cost of the return flight.

Wet lease charter: In a wet lease charter, not only is the aircraft leased, but crew, maintenance and often fuel are provided by the aircraft supplier. This type of charter flight is often used by airlines to temporarily gain additional capacity.

Dry Lease Charter: In a dry lease charter, only the aircraft itself is chartered, while responsibility for crew, maintenance and operations rests with the charter customer. This type of charter flight is often used by companies that already have the necessary crew and infrastructure.

Group Charter: A group charter is the chartering of an aircraft to transport a larger group of people, for example for a conference, event, wedding or other group activity.

Aircraft Type Specific Charter: Here passengers select a specific aircraft type for their charter trip that suits their needs and preferences, be it a small private aircraft or a larger commercial aircraft.

Medical Charter Flights: These flights are used to quickly and safely transfer patients in need of medical care to specialized medical facilities.

Cargo charter: In addition to passenger flights, there are also charter flights for the transport of cargo or goods. Here, the plane is rented to transport cargo from one place to another.

These different types of charter flights allow customers to customize air travel according to their specific requirements, schedules and preferences.

Advantages of charter flights

Charter flights offer a number of advantages that make them an attractive option for certain situations. Here are some of the main advantages of charter flights:

Flexibility: Charter flights offer great flexibility in departure times, flight routes and destinations. Passengers can customize the flight schedule according to their needs, which is particularly useful when it comes to business appointments, events or personal preferences.

Individual attention: Because the entire aircraft is chartered, passengers receive individual care and attention from the crew. The service can be tailored to the needs of the passengers, resulting in increased comfort and a better experience.

Convenience and Time Saving: Charter flights can often depart and land from smaller airports that are closer to actual destinations. This saves time as long journeys to major international airports can be avoided.

Faster check-in: Since the number of passengers is usually lower than on scheduled flights, check-in at the airport is faster and more efficient. This means less waiting and a smoother process.

Privacy: Charter flights offer passengers more privacy compared to scheduled flights. This can be especially beneficial for business travelers, celebrities or people who want to travel discreetly.

Customizable Aircraft: Various types of aircraft can be selected for charter flights according to the needs of the passengers. This makes it possible to choose the right type of aircraft for the number of passengers and travel requirements.

Special Needs: Charter flights can accommodate special needs, whether it be pet travel, medical facilities or the provision of special meals. This is often more difficult to implement on scheduled flights.

Group Travel: For groups of people, whether for business or pleasure, charter flights can be more cost-effective and easier to coordinate travel.

Additional Destinations: Charter flights make it possible to visit remote locations or airports that scheduled airlines may not serve.

Availability in emergencies: In emergencies or unforeseen situations, charter flights can be organized quickly to allow for urgent travel or medical evacuation.

However, it is important to note that charter flights are often more expensive than scheduled flights due to the exclusive use of the aircraft and the bespoke services. So, the choice between a charter flight and a scheduled flight depends on individual needs, budget and circumstances.

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On our Blog you will find information about our past experiences as well as useful tips for planning your trip to Colombia.