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What are the Five Most Difficult BizAv Destinations?

There are some attractive, yet difficult destinations for Business Aviation users in equal measure. What are some of the most difficult, and how should an operator seek to overcome the hurdles? Jetex’s Bernard Ratsira explores…

Bernard Ratsira   |   8th May 2018
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Bernard Ratsira Bernard Ratsira

Bernard Ratsira enjoyed a long career with Jet Aviation, opening an FBO at Seletar in 1997 and...
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There are some destinations that are attractive, yet difficult to Business Aviation users in equal measure. What are some of the most difficult, and how should an operator seek to overcome the hurdles? Jetex’s Bernard Ratsira offers his insights…

There are certain truths all business travelers accept as they negotiate their way through the world, among them: Travel light, few things go according to the original plan, and some places are more difficult to travel than others.

We’re not just talking about that white-knuckle landing at the Lukla airport in the Himalayas. More often, the touchdown is the easy part. It’s the regulatory, security and financial considerations that require some careful planning.

Flying to Sudan, for instance, presents a different set of challenges than flying to Cuba or Myanmar, both of which don’t accept American-issued credit cards.

In fact, there are a few airports in Africa that only deal in cash. For Sudan, American cards are fine but there’s security on the ground to think about.

So, how can you make traveling to a difficult business destination a little easier?

Do some research and have a plan in place. If that plan changes, it’s important to have a process to fall back on. Talk to people who’ve already been to the area and learn from any of their mistakes. Finally (and if all of this sounds like too much trouble), you can hire a flight support company that has the knowledge, experience and resources to make even the most complicated trips run smoothly.

So where are the five most difficult business destinations, and how can you anticipate the problems associated with these places ahead of your arrival there? Our pick of destinations follows…

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is undoubtedly one of the most popular business destinations in the world. It’s the congestion that makes it difficult to travel there. With more than 68 million passengers traveling through the HKG airport, space is a luxury.

To help alleviate the difficulty of travelling here:

  • Ground handling must be confirmed before parking is confirmed.
  • Understand that long-term parking is always unavailable (parking stands are always full).
  • Runway slots are always difficult to come by. HKG is an extremely busy airport where priority is always given to the Scheduled Airlines.
  • If you are lucky to get the slots you want, parking may not be available. You’ll likely need to drop off passengers and reposition to another airport (the best choice for repositioning and long parking would be in Taiwan).

Caracas, Venezuela

Photo: Caracas, Venezuela


This country on the northern coast of South America, presents many problems for business travelers. The US State Department currently warns of crime, civil unrest, poor infrastructure and arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens. They advise against all non-essential travel to the country. If your travel is essential, then the following steps would be well advised…

  • Be aware that the Caracas airport is located in a high-risk area for armed robbery and kidnapping.
  • The airport has suffered from power outages, which forced the suspension of all operations for several hours.
  • Venezuela has on more than one occasion closed its airspace to all overflying aircraft.
  • In 2017, the country stopped sending out NOTAMS entirely.

Beijing cityscape
Photo: Beijing, China


According to several journals, business prospects in China are increasing. This is the world’s most populous country, but business travelers will find a lot of regulations to deal with in order to obtain permits, slots and parking. Business travelers here should consider the following:

  • Airport slots and parking policy, especially at ZBAA, is very strict.
  • Short notice travel requests are even more difficult and more expensive.
  • During the country’s many public holidays, the CAA is closed and won’t attend to a flight that isn’t an emergency.
  • Landing permits take three days to process. Slots are approved and assigned with the landing permit. Shanghai airport is more flexible than Beijing, however.

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Photo: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second-largest country in Africa with the third-largest population. Not only that, it has some of the largest mineral deposits on the continent. Exports account for 68%, and imports 78% of its GDP. Business travelers here would be well served to note the following advice…

  • Apply for landing permits at least three days before the flight.
  • You’ll need a local business partner for sponsorship and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) needs confirmation of this from the sponsor.
  • Kinshasa airport is secure, but some travelers prefer additional or dedicated security for the aircraft while it’s at the airport. Beyond the airport, security for travelers should also be arranged.

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Photo: Ashgabat, Turkmenistan


Although the government of Turkmenistan encourages foreign investment and business, it doesn’t conform to business norms. Nor do they make it easy to travel to this destination on business. Nevertheless, some businesses do respond to the encouragement for foreign investment and business. If you’re flying here, you need to know the following:

  • Visas are hard to come by (for citizens of non-CIS countries visas are always difficult if not impossible).
  • Visa should be applied for well in advance of any planned travel. Application processing can take 20 days or more.
  • If you are staying more than three days, you must register with the State Migration Service.
  • There are few English speakers in the airports or the Civilian Aviation Association (CAA).
  • Landing permits for business and tourist flights have to be approved through the diplomatic channels (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

In Summary

These are merely a handful of the destinations that have cumbersome requirements. With any of them, the process gets easier with experience. Requirements, though, can change from one trip to the next. Be sure to check.

Experienced trip support companies plan for thousands of trips to difficult destinations every year, filing the paperwork and arranging for fuel and catering, while also being on hand to provide solutions should problems arise. They should also have local connections or staff on the ground to arrange for payments on your behalf.

Ultimately, regardless of the difficulty of the destination, you should acquaint yourself with the potential problems and hurdles and act accordingly, seeking the right help to ensure you can focus on your business at hand.

More information from www.jetex.com

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Read more about: BizAv Trip Planning | Flight Planning | International Flying | International Flight Planning

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