Eddie sez:

Preparation is the key to a successful international trip. With experience the process becomes easier, but preparation is still necessary. Much of the “leg work” is taken care of by handling agents and flight planning services, but the pilot remains responsible for their completion.

When you are handed a trip, there are a few things you need to consider:

  1. Aircraft Range / Crew Duty Limits
  2. Aircraft Performance
  3. Airspace Considerations
  4. Itinerary Concerns
  5. Airport Suitability
  6. Country-Specific Concerns
  7. Costs

This section begins an example G450 trip from Bedford, Massachusetts (KBED) to Rome, Italy (LIRF), to Tokyo, Japan (RJAA), back to Bedford.

It really pays to be diligent about this, even if you are a seasoned pro. I once flew into China with a veteran international ops pilot that hadn't been in a few years. He was stunned to find the Flight Level Allocation Scheme in China was unique to the world. I thought he was an idiot. Years later I flew into London Luton for the one-hundredth time and was stunned to find every single approach into EGGW was deleted from the database. I felt like an idiot. Just because you've been doesn't make you an expert; if you haven't been recently, you need to study up.

Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.

Last revision:


Example: Trip Set Up

From To Distance
KBED LSGG 3203 nm
LSGG RJAA 5312 nm
RJAA KBED 5812 nm
Total 14328 nm

This section looks at an example trip in a G650 from Bedford, Massachusetts (KBED) to Geneva, Switzerland (LSGG), to Tokyo, Japan (RJAA), back to Bedford. The first four chapters deal with the North Atlantic oceanic flight in detail. Subsequent chapters will cover the remaining flights with an eye to covering some of the differences involved for those parts of the world. The trip was originally designed for the ultra long-range G650 which could have made all three legs without a doubt, but he G650 dropped out because of a maintenance issue and the trip has come to you, in a shorter range G450.


Figure: Example routing as requested, from Eddie's notes.
Click photo for a larger image

Aircraft Range / Crew Duty Limits

While aircraft range changes with passenger / cargo load, temperature, winds, and the vagaries of air traffic control, it helps to know what your airplane can do in generic conditions. In the case of the G450: a 4,000 nm trip at Mach 0.80, ISA conditions, no wind, and about a 43,000 lbs operating weight will leave the airplane with 5,000 lbs of fuel remaining at the destination. More about this: G450 Range.

Crew duty limits will vary will operation and may necessitate additional crew members or crew swaps.


Figure: Twin Engine Flight Planning for Mach = 0.80 at ISA, from G450 Performance Handbook, pg. PB-18, with Eddie's crayons.
Click photo for a larger image

Example: Range Issues


Figure: 4,000nm ranges from LSGG and RJAA, from Eddie's notes.

It appears we will have no range issues with the first leg, from KBED to LSGG, but the remaining two legs will both required fuel stops. Using flight planning software or the excellent free resource available at http://gc.kls2.com/, we can examine the areas that are within 4,000 nm of both LSGG and RJAA. As much of this part of the world is troubled, we offer Moscow (UUEE) to our passengers as somewhat along the great circle route, an easy location for a crew swap, and a bit more reliable than many of the other options. Our passengers express an interest in spending a day in Mumbai, India (VABB) which is within the 4,000 nm range of both LSGG and RJAA. So we add VABB to our itinerary.

We run a similar exercise with the RJAA to KBED leg and determine that adding Anchorage, Alaska (PANC) could easily get the trip home in a day with a simple crew swap. Once again the passengers have a better idea and ask about spending a few days in Hawaii. From the standpoint of aircraft range and crew duty days, our itinerary becomes:


Figure: Example routing as modified, from Eddie's notes.

From To Distance
KBED LSGG 3203 nm
LSGG VABB 3630 nm
VABB RJAA 3669 nm
RJAA PHNL 3318 nm
PHNL KSFO 2084 nm
KSFO KBED 2336 nm
Total 18241 nm

Aircraft Performance

Aircraft performance should be considered for each airport and each en route leg:

  • Aircraft takeoff performance for the expected conditions — can the aircraft make it off the ground?
  • When considering maximizing the range of your aircraft, it helps to have a general idea about how much runway is needed under most conditions at maximum weight. A G450, for example, can take off fully loaded up to 105°F at sea level in less than 7,000 feet of pavement. You should also have an idea of where to look for the easiest source of tabulated data. In the G450 that would be G450 Airplane Flight Manual, Appendix A. More about: G450 Performance - Takeoff.

  • Airport obstacle analysis — can the aircraft out climb the obstacles near the airport?
  • Obstacles between the airport and your en route altitude can be a factor and should be considered. Simply ensuring your AFM performance numbers are satisfied by meeting SID requirements might be good enough, but it could needlessly reduce your payload (and therefore your range). More about: Departure Obstacle Avoidance.

  • Aircraft en route performance — can the aircraft make it to a divert airport if an engine is lost at any point along the way?
  • You have minimum en route altitude restrictions to meet in the event of an engine failure which could be a factor, especially in mountainous terrain. Unfortunately many aircraft manufacturers do not provide easily understood data to make this determination. Nevertheless, you need to consider this. More about: G450 Performance - En Route.

  • Aircraft landing performance for the expected conditions — can the aircraft stop in the available runway distance?
  • You should know the absolute minimum amount of pavement your airplane needs to safely stop, the minimum your company requires, and the minimum you require. You should also have a handy way of figuring this out without a lot of fuss. In the case of the G450, landing data can be found in five places, but the best source is in the Gulfstream G450 Operational Information Supplement, G450-OIS-02, Table 45c. The book says the aircraft must have at least 2,500' to stop in absolutely ideal conditions. In my opinion you would be crazy to try anything less than 4,000' and I rarely venture to a runway less than 5,000'.

Example: Aircraft Performance Issues

Takeoff and Landing Performance: Our example trip will take place in late March and there may be weather to consider when departing and arriving at KBED. We let our passengers know that if the runway is likely to be contaminated, we may need to reposition the airplane to KBOS to take advantage of the longer runways and the greater number of runways which will minimize the impact of crosswinds on contaminated surfaces. The other airports do not appear to have takeoff and landing performance issues.

Obstacle Analysis: Of the selected airports, Geneva can pose problems. In fact, the common practice of using AFM engine-out climb data when assessing all-engine Standard Instrument Departure (SID) procedures will make the LSGG - VABB leg impossible because the G450 cannot make SID climb requirements engine-out. Using only the data available in the cockpit, a knowledgeable pilot can plan a safe takeoff at maximum gross weight. (Even a less than knowledgeable pilot can do this with the right mission planning software.

More about this: Departure Obstacle Avoidance / Ad Hoc Method Example.

En Route Performance: Since we plan on performance to beat close-in obstacles, keeping minimum safe en route altitudes is rarely an issue. So too with this trip, only the obstacles in Switzerland pose a risk and we have ensured these are beaten early in the flight.


Photo: Pretakeoff Contamination Check, from Eddie's notes.
Click photo for a larger image

Airspace Considerations

Theoretically, ICAO Doc 7030, Regional Supplementary Procedures, is your best source of airspace requirements throughout the world. Unfortunately, as of this writing in December 2013, it hasn't been updated in four years. Airspace rules are changing every year and it pays to have a good international trip planning service to keep on top of this. (You should keep up on it too; sometimes your handler may be blind sided.)

You should consider any special airspace requirements for each leg of the trip:

  • Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out
  • ADS-B Out is becoming required in parts of the world, but work arounds are readily available. You can expect delays and reroutes if you are not equipped and authorized. More Information: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out.

  • Basic Area Navigation (B-RNAV)
  • B-RNAV is required in most of Europe. More Information: Basic Area Navigation (B-RNAV).

  • Extended Operations of Multi-engine Airplanes (ETOPS)
  • ETOPS does not apply to 14 CFR 91 operators and only constrains 14 CFR 135 operators from flying in the most remote regions of the world. It only applies when flying beyond 3 hours of a suitable airport with an engine failed. More Information: Extended Operations of Multi-engine Airplanes (ETOPS).

  • High Latitude and Northern Domestic Airspace
  • Operating in what many simply call "polar ops" requires special certification under 14 CFR 135 and special procedures for anyone venturing the high latitude regions. High latitude operations occur in areas above 78°N, below 60°S, the northern and southern poles, and the Canadian Northern Domestic Area (NDA). The NDA includes the Northern Control Area (NCA), the Arctic Control Area (ACA) and the Area of Magnetic Unreliability (AMU). The NDA, NCA and ACA are depicted on Canadian HI en route charts and encompass the northernmost Canadian airspace. More Information: High Latitude and Northern Domestic Airspace.

  • North Atlantic High Level Airspace (NAT HLA)
  • The NAT HLA applies to most of the North Atlantic and the Canadian Arctic Control Area. More Information: North Atlantic High Level Airspace (NAT HLA).

  • Precision Area Navigation (P-RNAV)
  • P-RNAV is used to fly RNAV departure and arrival procedures in European Civil Aviation Conference countries (most of Europe) and some other areas throughout the word, i.e., Hong Kong. Terminal procedures will have "P-RNAV Required" annotated. More Information: Precision Area Navigation (P-RNAV).

  • Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM)
  • While RVSM is now the standard just about everywhere, there are country-specific rules for flight level selection and contingency procedures. More Information: Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM).

  • Required Navigation Performance-4 (RNP-4)
  • The Required Navigation Performance-4 (RNP-4) applies to parts of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, but all of these still allow RNP-10 as a substitute. In theory, ATS can monitor aircraft with RNP-4 more closely and will have traffic priority. More Information: Required Navigation Performance-4 (RNP-4).

  • Required Navigation Performance-10 (RNP-10)
  • RNP-10 is required in the Central East Pacific (CEP) between Hawaii and the west coast of the United States, and portions of the North Pacific (NOPAC) require RNP-10. There are other areas of the world that have adopted RNP-10, such as parts of Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, and some parts of South America near Recife. More Information: Required Navigation Performance-10 (RNP-10).

Example: Airspace Considerations

Our trip takes us through the NAM, NAT, EUR, MID/ASIA, and PAC regions. A review of ICAO Doc 7030 reveals:

  • Europe: our routes of flight will take us over regions where B-RNAV, P-RNAV, RVSM, and 8.33 kHz spacing are termed "mandatory," though some exceptions are allowed. If you don't have any of these capabilities, you may be restricted to non-optimal altitudes or routes, or you may not be able to fly the routes at all. See ICAO Doc 7030, §EUR, for more details.
  • Middle East / Asia: our routes of flight will take us over regions where RNP-4, RNP-5, RNP-10, and RVSM are either "mandatory" or recommended. You may be restricted to non-optimal altitudes or routes, or you may not be able to fly the routes at all. See ICAO Doc 7030, §MID/ASIA, for more details.
  • North America: the only airspace requirement listed for us here is RVSM. See ICAO Doc 7030, §NAM, for more details.
  • North Atlantic: our route of flight will take us over regions where MNPS, RVSM, as well as ACAS II are mandatory, though exceptions are allowed. See ICAO Doc 7030, §NAT, for more details.
  • Pacific: our routes of flight will take us over regions where RNP-4, RNP-10, and RVSM are either "mandatory" or recommended. You may be restricted to non-optimal altitudes or routes, or you may not be able to fly the routes at all. See ICAO Doc 7030, §PAC, for more details.

Note that some of these requirements are changing back and forth rapidly. RNP-4, for example, was supposed to be mandatory over much of the ASIA region by December 2013, but many countries are showing increasing flexibility as their air traffic has been slow to equip. You need to ask prior to every trip if you are lacking a requirement they classify as mandatory.

Note also that ICAO Doc 7030 is quiet on the subject of ADS-B Out, which is becoming required in parts of the world. As of December 2013, ADS-B Out not yet required for our routes of flight, but that will change. More Information: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out.


Figure: ICAO Regions, from ICAO Doc 7030, Page xiii.
Click photo for a larger image

Itinerary Concerns

[AC 91-70B, ¶5.2.1] Preparing the itinerary is one of the most important aspects of your international flight. You may want to consider the following questions when developing your itinerary:

  1. To which destinations do I intend to fly (or overfly)?
  2. Via what routes and altitudes?
  3. Are there any terrain clearance concerns along those routes at those altitudes?
  4. Have I identified any concerns with suitable equal time point (ETP) alternates along those routes and altitudes?
  5. Are there any pitfalls I should be aware of from each State’s AIP?
  6. What communications, navigation, and surveillance equipment and authorizations must I have in order to fly my intended routes and altitudes?
  7. Will I be operating in Special Area of Operation (SAO)? Do I have the necessary operational authorization(s) to do so?
  8. With regard to my Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipment, are there any WGS 84 compliance issues in countries I intend to transit?
  9. What survival equipment must I have on board in order to fly my intended routes?
  10. Are there suitable en route and destination alternates available in the event of an emergency diversion at other than my intended en route altitude? Are there terrain clearance or oxygen considerations at those divert altitudes?
  11. Does my preferred destination have instrument approaches and arrival and departure procedures that are compatible with my aircraft equipment and authorizations?
  12. What crew rest requirements will I have for each destination?
  13. Do I intend to use a flight planning or dispatch service for my trip?
  14. If my routes take me through oceanic airspace, have I reviewed the following:
    • Oceanic error mitigation procedures?
    • Oceanic flight planning, plotting charts, navigation, and waypoint procedures?
    • My oceanic checklist?
    • Strategic Lateral Offset Procedure (SLOP) procedures?
    • En route procedures for each airspace I will pass through?
    • Oceanic contingency procedures?
  15. Are there specific pilot certification, type rating, and/or medical certificate requirements for the countries I’ll be visiting? Are single-pilot operations authorized?
  16. Will my intended route take me through areas of volcanic activity?
  17. If my route takes me through polar areas, have I researched the unique risks inherent to operations on polar routes?

Airport Suitability


Figure: Airport Directory, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Airport Directory, Airport Data, Europe, Airport Directory, Switzerland, 13 Dec 2013.

Each ICAO member is free to make exceptions to ICAO rules but they must post these exceptions in their individual Aeronautical Information Publications. These are usually issued in host nation languages and rarely available in English.

The Jeppesen State pages attempt to compile the notable differences and are your best "go to" source of these individual country differences. The Airport Directory for each destination airport and likely alternates are good places to start when researching airport suitability. A legend and explanation appears in the Jeppesen Airway Manual text pages under Airport Directory, Airport Data General, Legend and Explanation. Note: these pages often have errors and you should double check on anything critical or anything that just doesn't make sense. For example, I've found they don't do a good job of keeping up with WGS-84 status on these pages, though their web site on the issue is excellent.

Airport of Entry


Figure: Airport Directory, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Entry Requirements, State Rules and Procedures, Europe, Switzerland, National Regulations and Requirements, 17 May 2013.

The first and last airports visited in a foreign country must normally be designated as “Apt of Entry” in the Jeppesen Airport Directory and AIP. In some countries, any declared alternates must also be airports of entry. You need to check each's country's pages to be sure.

Airport Hours of Operation


Figure: Mumbai Airport Directory Example, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Airport Directory, Airport Data, Middle East, Airport Directory, India, 27 Dec 2013.

Will the airport be open at the necessary times for arrival and departure? The Airport Directory provides UTC-to-local time conversions, the airport hours of operation, and other items of interest.

Having a trip handler with a presence at the airport will be helpful, as the times in the JeppView pages may not be up-to-date. If you do not have anyone with local knowledge, the page does provide phone numbers you can call.

Runway Suitability


Figure: Maun Airport Directory Example, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Airport Directory, Airport Data, Africa, Airport Directory, Botswana, 25 Oct 2013.

Are the runways long and strong enough? Are the ramps adequately stressed? The Airport Directory Pages are a good source of the following information:

  • Runway Data. This is more than just the length of the runway: the Airport Directory provides runway length, TORA, LDA, TODA, and ASDA when available. It could be that you have far less than the published distances available to you. More information: Runway Data.
  • Runway Load Bearing. Runway strength is given in a variety of systems. Common methods, such as LCN/PCN may be explained in individual AFM or POH, as well as the Jeppesen Airport Directory, Legend. The airport directory does not always list runway load bearing information and it never lists data for associated taxiways and parking areas. If you are taking a large aircraft into an airport you aren't familiar with, it may be worth the phone call to find out if they've had aircraft of your type land and park where you intend to put your airplane. More information: ACN vs. PCN.
  • Lighting. Given in a variety of systems, each explained in the Jeppesen Airport Directory, Legend.
  • More information: Approach Lighting System.

Don't forget to consider fuel loading when computing ACNs. I was once scheduled into Maun, Botswana as the last stop in Africa and then on to Paris. A fully loaded GV exceeded the only suitable runway's PCN so we had to reorder the trip so Maun wasn't our last stop in the area.



Figure: Narita Airport Directory Example, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Airport Directory, Airport Data, Pacific, Airport Directory, Japan, 20 Dec 2013.

Does the airport offer the required grade of fuel, if refueling is necessary? If you are planning on a full load of fuel, remember fuel densities often preclude that in some parts of the world. A G450's fuel capacity, for example, can vary over 2,000 lbs at allowable fuel densities. The best place to put on a full load of fuel is the west coast of the United States. The worst? Southeast Asia.

More information: Fuel Density.

Rescue and Fire Fighting System


Figure: Bedford Airport Directory Example, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Airport Directory, Airport Data, United States, Airport Directory, Massachusetts, 27 Sep 2013.

When given a choice of airports in a city, it may be advantageous to select the airport with appropriate airport rescue and fire fighting capability.

More information: Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting System.

A G450 has a U.S. ARFF code of "A" and an ICAO code of "5."

Other Considerations

You should also consider the following:

  • Landing Permit. Is a landing permit needed? The country’s Airport Information Publication, the International Flight Information Manual, and the Jeppesen Entry Requirements pages may be consulted to determine if a landing permit is required. Your flight handling services should be consulted to ensure you have the best, up-to-date, information about landing permits. [Jeppesen Entry Requirements]
  • Aircraft and Crew Support. Can the airport and the handling agent adequately support the aircraft and crew? Your familiarity with each airport will determine your need for a ground handling agent. In many cases language difficulties and coordination between stops will make a ground handling agent a necessity.
  • Ramp space. Can the airport provide space for the aircraft for the duration?
  • Hangar space. If needed, is hangar space available? You should consider the possibility of needing aircraft hangar facilities, battery and freezable liquids removal, and other overnight issues.
  • Fueling, oxygen, potable water, de-icing, lavatory service, catering needs. Do the handler or other agents on the airport provide these necessary services?
  • Aircraft security. State Department notices, the IFIM, and the Jeppesen Airway Manual State pages may suggest the level of security needed for the aircraft during its stay at each location.
  • Hours of operation. You should insure the airport, FBO, and handlers will be open for business during planned arrival and departure times.
  • Payment methods. You should know what forms of payment are accepted by each agency you will be dealing with at each airport.
  • Maintenance availability. It may be beneficial to identify authorized repair facilities near your routing as well as know what services are available at each airport.
  • Ground transportation. The handler may be able to provide adequate transportation to and from the hotel or recommend rental car and taxi options.
  • Hotel Reservations. Overnight accommodations should be secured.
  • Special Airport Qualification. Does the applicable State require special airport qualification? These may be found in the country’s Airport Information Publication, the International Flight Information Manual, and the Airport Briefing page in the Jeppesen Airway Manual terminal chart series. For example, Innsbruck, Austria considers previous experience in VMC essential prior to IMC approaches at LOWI. The Airport Briefing details training requirements and simulator options. [Jeppesen Airway Manual, Terminal Charts, Innsbruck, Austria, Page 10-1P]

Example: Airport Suitability

Airports of Entry (AOE) — The JeppView pages do not list PHNL or KSFO as airports of entry, but they are. Each of the other destinations are listed as AOE's. When we flight plan, we should ensure that any declared weather and ETP alternates are also AOE's While this isn't always a requirement, it simplifies trip planning in case a particular country does mandate it.

Hours of Operation — Each of our airports is listed as H24 but LSGG is PPR, so that merits a phone call by you or your handler.

Runways — Each airport on our itinerary has runways of adequate length, load bearing strength, and lighting.

Fuel — Each airport has the correct type of fuel but Japanese fuel is notoriously weak in terms of fuel density. We know from a Gulfstream study that a G450's total fuel capacity can be reduced from 29,500 lbs to just 28,230 lbs at the lowest available densities. Contrary to popular belief, jet engines derive thrust from the fuel in terms of weight, not volume. So warned, we run flight plans for the RJAA to PHNL range and find our worst case winds requires only 23,000 lbs of fuel, including reserves.

More about this: Fuel Density.

Rescue and Fire Fighting System &mash; Each airport has good rescue and fire fighting capability. Note that this is rarely a show stopper for most operators.

Other Considerations — On our example trip we could run into problems with getting adequate ramp space for the aircraft, hotels for the crew, and we may want to consider hiring aircraft security at one of the locations. I recommend having a good trip planner who has recent experience with each airport. Failing that, call upon your network of pilot associates to get up-to-date intel.

Country-Specific Concerns

There are a lot of things to consider here and if you don't spend a lot of time in the areas you will be visiting, you may miss something. It helps to have someone with local and recent knowledge, a good trip planner can be invaluable. But you should be aware of at least the following issues.

[AC 91-70B, ¶5.2.2] Country-Specific Issues and Requirements. As part of your itinerary preparation, asking the following additional questions can help you determine the country-specific issues/airspace requirements that might affect your international flight:

  1. Do I require overflight and landing permits for any of the airspace/airfields I will transit?
  2. How much will overflight and landing fees cost, and how do I pay for each airspace and destination I intend to transit (e.g., credit card, cash, local currency, U.S. currency)?
  3. How much advance notification do I need to provide prior to arrival?
  4. Note: All countries require some form of advance notification of arrival. You should carry a copy of the advance notification, as well as confirmation that the notification was sent. This is particularly important for countries that do not normally return approvals.

  5. What are the availability, types, and duration of visas, tourist cards, and other required entry documents for all countries I intend to visit, as well as those with potential alternate airports (in the event I have to divert)?
  6. Note: Some countries require that you have a visa for the next country of entry before departure, as well as proof of required immunizations for that country. You can obtain this information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

  7. Are there prohibitions, restrictions, and/or applicable notices for countries I intend to visit?
  8. Note: The FAA’s Web site includes a special section on prohibitions, restrictions, and notices applicable to foreign countries at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/us_restrictions/. You should pay particularly close attention to this aspect of your flight planning.

  9. What is the normal work week for countries I intend to overfly/enter?
  10. Note: Understanding this will help you coordinate for visas and overflight/landing permits. You can obtain this information from the DOS.

  11. Are there any import regulations I need to consider, given the amount of time I intend to remain in the countries on my route?
  12. Note: Aircraft that remain within the territorial limits of a country for an extended period of time may become subject to import regulations and impoundment. Determine in advance the number of days that an aircraft may remain in any country where the aircraft will land.

  13. What hours are customs, immigration, and other services operational?
  14. Do I intend to conduct any operations that might be considered “cabotage?”

The anticipated routing should be checked for security concerns and any special airspace requirements.

Are there any US State Department Warning regarding the routing? International Notice to Airmen are available biweekly and provide international information and special notices which could affect a pilot’s decision to enter or use certain areas of foreign or international airspace.

International NOTAMs are available from flight planning providers and from http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/notices/


There are quite often restrictions on what food, plants, and animal products you can bring into a country, including the United States. Within the United States, there are also restrictions into and out of the State of Hawaii.

  • Entry into Other Countries. Check the Jeppesen Airway Manual Entry Requirements pages for a primer on any restrictions.
  • Entry into the United States. The best source of information is available in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Traveler’s Page, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/resources/travelers-int.
  • Entry into the State of Hawaii. In general, foods that are cooked, canned, frozen, or commercially processed and/or packaged can be brought into the state as long as the product originates from the U.S. There are strict importing regulations for all animals. Refer to the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture web site for more details, at http://www.hawaii.gov/hdoa/.
  • Export from the State of Hawaii. The best source of information is available in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Traveler’s Page, http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wps/portal/aphis/resources/travelers-int.


Generally speaking, you cannot fly to some foreign countries, pick up local citizens and transport them within that country. Not all countries have cabotage restrictions and many that do will allow exceptions if the citizens are employees of a company associated with the airplane. The rules vary by country and you need to ensure you follow them.

See: Cabotage.

Customs and Immigration Requirements

Customs requirements vary by country of departure and arrival. You should check with your handler, and the Jeppesen Airway Manual Entry Requirements pages. It may be helpful to have customs and immigration phone numbers available.

More information: Customs.

  • Passport & Visa. Is a passport and entry Visa required? Rules can vary between passengers and crewmembers, can depend on the duration of stay, and in some cases can be waived. The Jeppesen Entry Requirements pages will summarize the rules.
  • Entry Airports. Do the first landing and final departure airports have to be from airports of entry, international airports, or certain gateway airports? The Jeppesen Airway Manual Entry Requirements pages will summarize the rules and the Airport Directory will list which airports qualify.
  • Forms for Entry and Exit. Are special forms required upon arrival and departure? Your handler may have an up-to-date list of what is needed at each country.
  • See the Customs section for more details.

  • APIS. The U.S. requires APIS for all trips leaving and returning to the U.S. See the APIS section for more details.
  • Return to the U.S. From Areas South of the U.S.
    • All private aircraft arriving in the Continental U.S. via the U.S./Mexican border or the Pacific Coast from a foreign place in the Western Hemisphere south of 33°N latitude, or from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Coasts from a place in the Western Hemisphere south of 30°N latitude, from any place in Mexico, from the U.S. Virgin Islands, and from Puerto Rico (in some cases) may be required to land only at certain specially designated airports. Exemptions are given, depending on crew and passengers.
    • Special restrictions cover flight to and from Cuba.
    • If the trip does return from one of these locations, check the requirements covered in the “US Customs and Border Protection Guide for Private Flyers,” [19 CFR 122.23 - 122.27]

Import Concerns

Are there aircraft import or other taxation issues? In some cases, these duties and taxes can make the planned trip prohibitively expensive. The solution once available in Europe to plan a free import no longer exists, you need to talk to your international planner about this prior to every trip.


Does a State Department warning exist for health, security, or other precautions? This information could prevent travel to the country or limit access to the airport only. International Notice to Airmen are available biweekly and provide international information and special notices which could affect a pilot’s decision to enter or use certain areas of foreign or international airspace.

International NOTAMs are available from flight planning providers and from http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/notices/.

Example: Country-Specific Concerns

Our example trip will be concerned with multiple country-specific concerns:

  • Local support will depend on a handler who speaks the language and can negotiate on our behalf with agriculture, immigration, customs, air traffic control officials in Switzerland, India, and Japan.
  • Agriculture concerns are expressed in the States pages for India and Japan, as well as unique issues in Hawaii.
  • Cabotage will not be an issue, since all crew and passengers are U.S. citizens. It would not be a concern even if we had foreign nationals on board, since we are not making flights within any one particular foreign country's borders.
  • Customs and Immigration requirements apply to all our foreign stops. A good handler will either have the paperwork completed for us when we arrive, or will forward the necessary forms ahead of time to speed our arrivals.
  • Import issues are problematic in Europe, though Switzerland hasn't been a problem area. Our handler assures us that they have not been pressing the issues.
  • Security concerns exist in India so we have our handler contract a local security company to provide guards for the aircraft during our stay.


The cost of flying internationally includes things you may not have considered, even above and beyond the cost of passports, shots, and those sorts of things. Here, just for an example, are the costs we incurred for a trip from KBED to LPFB and back:

  • Fuel out of KBED: 2,887 gls @ $3.61/gal(inc tax) = $10,419.18
  • Fuel out of LFPB: 3,037 gls @ $1,91/gal(plus tax) = $10,221.35
  • EuroControl(Belgium)
    • KBED - LFPB: $949.86
    • LFPB - KBED: $981.56
  • EuroControl (Shanwick)
    • KBED - LFPB: $76.46
    • LFPB - KBED: $76.46
  • NavCanada
    • KBED - LFPB: $371.19
    • LFPB - KBED: $362.24
  • Air Terminal Charges (France): $237.72
  • Ground agent supervisory fee: Approx $1000

See Also:

Advisory Circular 91-70B, Oceanic and International Operations, 10/4/16, U.S. Department of Transportation

Gulfstream G450 Aircraft Operating Manual, Revision 35, April 30, 2013.

Gulfstream G450 Aircraft Service Change 016A, Maximum Takeoff Gross Weight Increase, May 30, 2012

Gulfstream G450 Airplane Flight Manual, Revision 35, April 18, 2013

Gulfstream G450 Operational Information Supplement, G450-OIS-02, Contaminated Runway Performance, Revision 1, August 3, 2011

Gulfstream G450 Performance Handbook, GAC-AC-G450-OPS-0003, Revision 20, November 30, 2011

ICAO Doc 7030 - Regional Supplementary Procedures, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2 2008

ICAO Doc 7030, Amendment 1, International Civil Aviation Organization, 8 January 2009

Jeppesen Airway Manual