Understanding Customs Requirements — An Important Key To Success In The Aerospace Market
By Gilles Troadec
Global Sales Manager, FedEx Express
A global race against time to ship aircraft parts
Keeping an aircraft grounded while it waits for a replacement part can cost an airline over US$100,000 per day, once lost earnings and the need to accommodate (and perhaps compensate) over 300 passengers are taken into account. This means that the shipping time (including customs clearance) needed to acquire the crucial replacement parts must be as short as possible.
But it’s not just a matter of shipping a few parts across town. Aircraft are incredibly specialized vehicles, with parts having considerable intrinsic worth. Their high cost and extremely specific nature, including compatibility with only certain aircraft types, mean that these parts are also quite rare, and sourced from all over the world. International shipping is invariably part of the aircraft repair equation.
Customs clearance for aerospace: no rule to rule them all
Customs clearance is a complex aspect of the aerospace industry — a range of different customs regimes may apply depending on the circumstances. This means it’s important for aircraft part manufacturers to choose the appropriate customs regime for their requirements.
Aircraft parts may be destined for a plane grounded in a location that is not in its normal country/territory of residence. Such parts are not for local market consumption, in which case, specific rules will apply. If, for example, a part is to be stored within Europe in readiness for a future repair or for reshipment, it may be covered by a different regime.
Tips for aircraft part manufacturers
- Customs brokers should be provided with information well ahead of the shipment.
- For aircraft parts likely to undergo several return trips, it’s important to obtain advice as to the proper shipping regime (temporary or definitive) and to liaise with customs brokers who are properly up to speed with regulations in the field of aerospace. Doing so can save precious time. To avoid any delays due to incomplete information, senders are strongly recommended to provide a full description of the parts being shipped, with the right customs codes, as well as the price, origin and destination.1
- The same part may be intended for either civilian or military aircraft, with different customs regimes applying to each – it’s important to specify the intended use of the part, so as to ensure the correct regime is applied.