Thailand Business Aviation Flight Operation Guide
12 January 2024| By Just Aviation Team
Thailand is one of the leading countries in the Asia-Pacific region for business aviation, with a growing demand for air transport services among corporate and private customers. According to the Thailand Board of Investment, Thailand’s aviation industry has seen a steady growth of total air traffic over the past several years, with a 13.54 percent increase in aircraft movements from 2018 to 2020. Thailand’s business aviation sector has a bright future ahead as it continues to grow and diversify its services. It is expected that this sector will contribute significantly to Thailand’s economic development goals as well as its social welfare objectives. It will also play an important role in strengthening Thailand’s connectivity with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as beyond.
Thailand Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK)
This is the main international airport of Thailand, located in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan Province. It serves 98 airlines and 121 destinations worldwide. BKK has two parallel runways, the east runway is 4,000 m long and 60 m wide, the west runway is 3,700 m long and 60 m wide, and two parallel taxiways to accommodate simultaneous departures and arrivals. It has six terminals, four of which are for international flights and two of which are for domestic flights. The terminals have various facilities and services for passengers, such as check-in counters, baggage claim areas, lounges, restaurants, shops, ATMs, currency exchange booths, medical centers, prayer rooms, etc. The airport also has a business terminal that offers various services and facilities for corporate and private customers.
Thailand Don Mueang International Airport (DMK)
This is the second busiest airport in Thailand, located in Don Mueang, Bangkok Province. It serves seven airlines and 48 destinations domestically and internationally. DMK has two parallel runways as well: one is 3,700 m long and 60 m wide, the other is 3,500 m long and 45 m wide. The airport also has two terminals: Terminal 1 for international flights and Terminal 2 for domestic flights. The terminals are connected by a unique glass exterior elevated walkway that allows passengers to transfer between them without going through security or immigration. The terminals have similar facilities and services as Suvarnabhumi Airport’s terminals. It also has a business terminal that offers various services and facilities for corporate and private customers.
Beyond BKK and DMK below airports are also actively serve international business aviation needs, boasting modern facilities and tailored services:
- Chiang Mai International Airport (IATA: CNX, ICAO: VTCC)
- Phuket International Airport (IATA: HKT, ICAO: VTSP)
- Samui International Airport (IATA: USM, ICAO: VTSM)
- Hat Yai International Airport (IATA: HDY, ICAO: VTSS)
- Krabi International Airport (IATA: KBV, ICAO: VTSG)
Overflight & Landing Permits Thailand International Operations
Private non-revenue and charter flights necessitate a 10-day lead time for permits when traversing Thailand’s airspace. However, the Civil Aviation Authority holds the authority to expedite permits with a minimum three-day notice, depending on their discretion. Scrutiny by the CAA is stringent concerning both departure and arrival locations. Any alteration within the country’s borders mandates a permit revision. Changes involving origin/destination, schedules beyond the +/- 24-hour permit window, or route adjustments inevitably demand permit revisions.
Distinct lead times governing landing permits in Thailand are 10 business days for private non-revenue and 15 business days for charter flights. The CAA might consider urgent permit requests, but this discretion remains with them. Typically, securing landing permits takes two to three days, contingent upon confirmed airport slots, which may consume up to three days. After securing confirmation, inclusion of permit details in section 18 of the International Civil Aviation Organization flight plan becomes imperative. These permits are valid within a +/- 24-hour window, necessitating revisions for various scenarios: changes in origin or arrival airport, schedule alterations outside the 24-hour window, route adjustments, or passenger count variations. Permit revisions necessitate a minimum 24-hour notice.
Operating hours of the CAA are restricted to Monday through Friday, from 0800 to 1400 local time. Closure occurs during holidays like New Year’s, Lunar New Year’s, and the Songkran festival, including weekends. Emergency permit processing during these official closed hours remains at the CAA’s discretion. For tech stops without crew/passenger embarkation or disembarkation, mandatory customs, immigration, and quarantine clearance are unnecessary. Despite both landing and overflight permits having a +/- 24-hour validity, notifying any schedule changes surpassing a 20-hour difference is advisable.
The overflight permits documents for Thailand may vary depending on the type of flight, the nationality of the traveler, and the purpose of travel. However, some of the common documents that may be required are:
- A Certificate of Entry (COE) to Thailand, which is a document issued by the Thai Embassy or Consulate in your country that allows you to enter Thailand legally.
- Airworthiness Certificate (AOC), which is a document issued by an aviation authority that certifies that your aircraft meets the safety standards and regulations of your country and destination.
- An Insurance Certificate, which is a document issued by an insurance company that covers your liability and medical expenses in case of accidents or emergencies during your flight.
- A Noise Certificate, which is a document issued by an aviation authority that certifies that your aircraft complies with the noise limits and regulations of your country and destination.
Here’s the list of required documents for landing permits in Thailand:
- Full schedule of the flight
- Purpose of the flight
- Crew and passenger information for each leg of the journey
- Contact details for business purposes
- Confirmed connecting flight information for passengers if landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
When requesting landing permits in Thailand, except for tech stops with no embarkation or disembarkation, a business contact’s details must accompany the application. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will reach out to this contact, necessitating readiness for their call. Providing a detailed flight purpose is crucial; a generic “business flight” won’t suffice.
Thailand’s Major Airport Slot Considerations
Airports across Thailand, like DMK, BKK, and UTP, mandate securing airport slots before obtaining landing permits. DMK and HKT even require Prior Permission (PPR) for parking. Usually confirmed within five days, these slots and PPRs should be arranged early through your ground handler. High season congestion from October to March might limit parking, especially for HKT, which might only allow short-term stays. This complexity can challenge charter operations close to crew time limits.
Thailand Ground Handling Operations
Thailand’s major airports offer ramp access, flight plan filing, worldwide weather briefings, permit coordination, baggage handling, security arrangements, crew hotel arrangements, disability access, refreshments catering arrangements, ground transportation, VIP passenger lounge, crew lounge, internet access, conference rooms, hangarage maintenance. Most Thai airports provide Jet A-1 aviation fuel and accept various payment methods. However, arranging a fuel release in advance is advisable before fuel uplifts in the country.
AOEs like HKT, DMK, and UTP offer full services and jet fuel 24/7, unlike HKT and USM, which require prior requests for AOE status. For non-24-hour airports, overtime services usually come with additional fees, and there are no Stage 2 noise restrictions in Thailand.
Explore a full range of flight support services at Thailand International Airports through Just Aviation. Our offerings include optimized flight planning, cost-effective fuel services, swift permits, and comprehensive ground support. Reach out at [email protected] for smooth trip planning in Thailand’s airports, guaranteeing a hassle-free experience. Rely on Just Aviation for top-tier services at competitive rates.