Central America International Flight Cost

Central America is fairly small can be covered with a light single engine aircraft. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that flying isn’t cheap, but when flying across the borders you must consider additional costs for permissions, parking, handling fees, passenger departure taxes, higher fuel prices, and potentially others.

Here are some examples of flights including cost components and approximate amounts. These are based on my experience and might vary any time. I would highly recommend using a handler when flying in Central America. Sure, you can handle everything on your own, but it might take much longer and things might just not go as smooth. My “go-to-gal” is Lei from VM Flight Services. The company is based out of Guatemala and they can point to handlers in other countries. You can contact her via email leimorales(add)gmail.com or mobile/whatsapp +502 4040 0969. Please note that the below handler fees outside Guatemala are from handlers other than VM Flight Services.

Handlers can be expensive and if you are not in a rush, do-it-yourself might just work fine. Please note that not all handling fees might be saved. In some occasions there might be additional cost included that can not be avoided. Please share your experience… i.e. I am wondering if a $100 tow fee can be avoided by taxing to the pane to the parking location.

Return Flight: La Aurora, Guatemala (MGGT) – Ilopango, El Salvador (MSSS)

Location Description Cost
Guatemala Handling Fee $65
Guatemala Approach Fee $21
Guatemala Communication and FBO Coordination $6
Guatemala Passenger Departure Tax $36 per passenger *
Guatemala Agriculture Disinfection Fee $9
Guatemala Agriculture Inspection Fee $7
El Salvador Local Fees (Estimate) $20
El Salvador Passenger Departure Fee (Estimate) $15 per passenger
El Salvador & Guatemala Fuel for your airplane Guatemala Approx. $5.82 per Gallon (January 2018)
TOTAL Fees $179 with 1 passenger

Guatemala Fees can be wire transferred. El Salvador Fees Cash Only.

Return Flight: La Aurora, Guatemala (MGGT) – Roatan, Honduras (MHRO)

Location Description Cost
Guatemala Handling Fee $65
Guatemala Approach Fee $21
Guatemala Communication and FBO Coordination $6
Guatemala Passenger Departure Tax $36 per passenger *
Guatemala Agriculture Disinfection Fee $9
Guatemala Agriculture Inspection Fee $7
Guatemala Overflight Permission Honduras Request $33
Honduras Flight Protection $196 **
Honduras Landing Fee $11
Honduras Parking Fee (Estimate) $26 per 24 hours
Honduras Passenger Departure Tax $47 per passenger
Honduras Handling $60
Guatemala Fuel for your airplane (Note that Roatan doesn’t have Avgas available) Varies with aircraft
TOTAL Fees $517 with 1 passenger

Guatemala Fees can be wire transferred. Honduras Fees Cash Only.

Return Flight: La Aurora, Guatemala (MGGT) – Belize City (MZBZ)

Location Description Cost
Guatemala Handling Fee $60
Guatemala Approach Fee $23
Guatemala Communication and FBO Coordination $5
Guatemala Passenger Departure Tax $33 per passenger *
Belize Handling (handling, landing & parking fee, agriculture and fumigation, Customs and migration assistance) $220
Belize Passenger Departure Tax $40 *
Belize & Guatemala Fuel for your airplane Varies with aircraft
TOTAL Fees $351 with 1 passenger

Guatemala Fees can be wire transferred. Belize Fees Cash Only.

In-country flight Belize City (MZBZ) – Key Caulker

No additional fees applied to the in-country flight. A permit had to be requested in advance to allow for the flight.

Return Flight: La Aurora, Guatemala (MGGT) – Liberia, Costa Rica (MRLB)

Location Description Cost
Guatemala Handling Fee $65
Guatemala Approach Fee $21
Guatemala Communication and FBO Coordination $24 = $6 x 4
Guatemala Passenger Departure Tax $36 per passenger *
Guatemala Agriculture Disinfection Fee $9
Guatemala Agriculture Inspection Fee $7
Guatemala Nicaragua over flight Permit Request $33
Guatemala Nicaragua over flight Permit $270 = 2 x $135
Costa Rica Basic Handling Fee $125
Costa Rica Ramp Special Agent $25
Costa Rica ATC Approach Fee $15
Costa Rica Landing Fee $16
Costa Rica Parking $10
Costa Rica Customs/Agriculture $15
Costa Rica Aircraft Security $25
Costa Rica Communications $15
Costa Rica 10% Service Charge $13
Costa Rica & Guatemala Fuel for your airplane Varies with aircraft
TOTAL Fees $724 with 1 passenger
(To be fair… $300 are for the Nicaragua over flight permit.)

Guatemala Fees can be wire transferred. Costa Rica accepts credit cards. The handling in Costa Rica is by far the most professional.

In-country flight Liberia, Costa Rica (MRLB) – Quepos, Costa Rica (MRQP)

For in-country flights in Costa Rica, a temporary flight permit has to be requested. This permits is valid for 3 months. Only a single 3 month period can be requested every 12 months. The permit costs about $150. There were no additional costs at the Quepos airport.

Return Flight: Liberia, Costa Rica (MRLB) – Panama City (MPMG)

Location Description Cost
Guatemala Overflight and Landing permit Panama Request $33
Panama Landing Fee $15
Panama Parking Fee $20
Panama Flight Protection Entry $40
Panama Passenger Tax $25 per passenger
Panama Approach Fee $10
Panama Flight Protection Departure $40
Panama Handling $250
Panama Towing $100
Panama Fuel for your airplane Approx. $5.94 per Gallon (December 2017)
TOTAL Fees $577 with 1 passenger

Costa Rica accepts credit cards. Panama fees cash Only.

Return Flight: La Aurora, Guatemala (MGGT) – Costa Esmeralda, Nicaragua (MNCE)

Location Description Cost
Guatemala Handling Fee $60
Guatemala Approach Fee $20
Guatemala Communication and FBO Coordination $15
Guatemala Passenger Departure Tax $33 per passenger *
Guatemala Agriculture Desinfection Fee $10
Guatemala Agriculture Inspection Fee $11
Guatemala Overflight Permit Nicaragua $30
Nicaragua Technical Dispatch $7
Nicaragua Approach and Landing Fee $7
Nicaragua Parking Fee (2 days plus 4 hours) $28
Nicaragua Passenger Departure Tax $35 *
Nicaragua Handling $100
Nicaragua International Flight Plan and fees $105
Nicaragua & Guatemala Fuel for your airplane. AvGas not available in Costa Esmeralda airport
TOTAL Fees $439 with 1 passenger

Credit cards were accepted for all payments.

A fuel stop in Ilopango, El Salvador (MSSS) added another $5 in fees to the above. Depending on your aircraft, you might be able to complete the return flight without the additional stop.

Footnotes:
These fees apply to a single-engine Cessna T210 with a 3800lb maximum gross weight. Some fees are based on gross weight and might vary accordingly. Also note that these examples were for a North America N registered planes. Central America registered planes might not have to pay all fees.

* Even in an aircraft that can be flown by a single pilot, other pilots with a valid pilot certificate often don’t have to pay the passenger tax. So, bring your certificate even if you don’t fly yourself!


** So apparently flying below 19,000ft in Honduras costs $196 and flying above 19,000ft costs only about $50 to protect that flight. I would expect it the other way around. Since my aircraft has a turbo and a service ceiling above 19,000ft, I want to trying requesting 20,000ft to see what happens. I would be very interested about what others have been told, please let me know.