Cabotage In Asia Pacific

Cabotage – the carriage of passengers or cargo within a country by a foreign-based operator – is outlawed in most nations. Foreign charter operators are generally forbidden to carry a country’s nationals within its borders, although private non-revenue operators may. But cabotage laws and the definition of commercial aviation vary worldwide, and penalties for violating these rules can include six-figure fines or aircraft impoundment. If you are operating internationally, you should be aware of cabotage laws in every foreign country you operate. This overview highlights basic cabotage rules of key Asia Pacific nations.


China – Prohibited by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for both charter and non-revenue private operations.

Japan – Allows cabotage for business aircraft and charter operators, although rules and documentation are strictly enforced for charter operators. Charter operators must submit a document with their application that clearly shows the domestic portion of the itinerary is free of charge. Submit the application at least five business days prior to flight.

ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) – The 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) ratified an Open Skies agreement in May 2016. However, this agreement did not change cabotage rules in any of these countries.

Thailand – Recently revised cabotage rules to ensure that the same passengers who leave by business jet also arrived by business jet. Passengers who travel via commercial flight to Thailand cannot leave via private jet. However, if you arrive in Thailand via private jet, you may leave via commercial flight. No additional passengers can be added for domestic or international outbound flights on private jets.

South Asia

India – Flights (including non-scheduled, non-revenue flights) are not permitted to pick-up passengers at any place in India and disembark/discharge at any other place in India. However, an application for a series of non-scheduled flights may be made at least a month in advance to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Pakistan – Prohibited for both commercial and private operations.


Australia – No restrictions for non-revenue private operations. Prohibited for charter operations, but permission for cabotage can be requested through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Australia via the landing permit process. The government released an Aviation Green Paper in 2008 indicating the country’s intention to retain cabotage restrictions on commercial flights.

Australia and New Zealand allow each other to operate commercial flights within their borders. Australia and the U.S. also have an open skies agreement easing cabotage restrictions on charter flights operated by their respectively registered aircraft.

Cabotage regulations are found in the Aeronautical Information Publications (AIP) of individual countries, but may not be complete. Contact your Jetex representative if you have additional questions or need assistance with cabotage issues in the Asia Pacific Region or elsewhere.

Get in touch with us today.

Jetex China
+86 10 6454 2688

Jetex Dubai
+971 4 2124000

Alternatively, read more about other permits and permissions required when flying to Asia Pacific.