Presentation on theme: "The Schengen Convention and its relevance to cross-border Microlight Flying The situation in Malta."— Presentation transcript:
The Schengen Convention and its relevance to cross-border Microlight Flying The situation in Malta.
What is the Schengen Convention? The Schengen Convention allows the free movement of European citizens across national borders without the need for visas or passport checks. This was designed to be a simple liberalising measure to promote trade and integration between different nationalities.
How does it work? EU citizens can travel between or through the 25 states in the Schengen area without having their passports checked. Meanwhile, the EU has one external border at its outer limits. Under the Convention all members of the area share responsibility for policing the external borders. Under the Schengen Information System (SIS) customs, police and justice authorities in the member states share information about suspected criminals trying to enter the EU.
How is it regulated? Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) states that:
Extract pertaining to aircraft movements 2.3. Checks on persons on private flights 2.3.1. In the case of private flights from or to third countries the captain shall transmit to the border guards of the Member State of destination and, where appropriate, of the Member State of first entry, prior to take-off, a general declaration comprising inter alia a flight plan in accordance with Annex 2 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation and information concerning the passengers' identity. 2.3.2. Where private flights coming from a third country and bound for a Member State make stop-overs in the territory of other Member States, the competent authorities of the Member State of entry shall carry out border checks and affix an entry stamp to the general declaration referred to in point 2.3.1. 2.3.3. Where uncertainty exists whether a flight is exclusively coming from, or solely bound for, the territories of the Member States without stop-over on the territory of a third country, the competent authorities shall carry out checks on persons in airports and aerodromes in accordance with points 2.1 to 2.2. 2.3.4. The arrangements for the entry and exit of gliders, micro-light aircraft, helicopters, small-scale aircraft capable of flying short distances only and airships shall be laid down by national law and, where applicable, by bilateral agreements.
The process of flying out of Malta -Flight Plan is filed with Malta Air Traffic Services (normally one day prior) -Aircraft is boarded and taxied from Apron 5 to Apron 1 -Pilot & Passenger are picked up by car and driven from Apron 1 to Airport Terminal -Pilot & Passenger hand in general declaration form and is driven back to the aircraft on Apron 1 -Pilot requests start-up clearance from tower and confirms that immigration clearance has been received -Flight departs Malta to destination -Same process is repeated upon arrival back in Malta
Charges for transfer to & from the terminal Malta International Airport charges us € 70 each time we visit the Immigration Police Office, since they drive us from our aircraft to the terminal and back. Hence a day-trip to Sicily will involve paying € 140 in charges, simply to present a general declaration upon departure from and arrival in Malta, when in actual fact this should not even be required since we are travelling within the Schengen area and at no point are we leaving it.
In Conclusion A flight plan is filed for each and every flight leaving Malta, containing information about passengers onboard and destination of flight. No uncertainty is present with respect to our destination since this is always clearly declared and reported. Flight is operated in a controlled airspace environment; hence air traffic control is aware of our position at all times. We phone the respective Air Traffic Provider/s to report arriving at our destination and to close the flight-plan after each flight. All flights are performed within the Schengen area, in conformity with international air regulations. Immigration Police at the airport have told us on several occasions that it is not necessary for us to file a general declaration when travelling to Italy, however we must do so since Air Traffic Control will not clear us for departure without prior immigration clearance. Meanwhile Malta International Airport state that the Immigration Police do require the procedure to be in place, and they simply charge a fee (albeit a highly inflated one) to transport us to the terminal building and back to the aircraft.