APEC Vietnam 2017 – GA Operating Tips

PT 3 M minute read

APEC Vietnam 2017 is a year-long hosting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, wrapping up with the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting November 6-11 in Danang. As the upcoming Leader’s Meeting will attract heightened general aviation (GA) movements to the area, it’s recommended that operators begin trip planning as soon as possible.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Preferred airport

Danang (VVDN) is the primary airport for this event and it’s a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE). Basic GA ground handling services are available at this location along with limited overnight parking options. GA is typically parked on the ramp but an additional 3-4 parking stands may also be available on the military side. VVDN is currently undergoing maintenance activity to expand parking for this event, but this additional parking area may not be completed in time. Hangar space for transient GA aircraft is not available at VVDN.

2. Airport alternates

The closest parking alternate for this event is Hue (VVPB), which is about 40 NM away. You may also consider parking at Cam Ranh (VVCR), Ho Chi Minh City (VVTS) or Hanoi (VVNB) at 250, 325 and 340 NM away. These are all AOEs with overnight parking and basic handling services available.

3. Permit requirements

Overflight and landing permits are required for all operations to and over Vietnam. Your local handler will be able to assist in terms of permit processing. The recommended permit lead times are four business days for private non-revenue flights and 15 business days for charter (non-scheduled commercial). Permit documentation includes certificates of airworthiness and registration, worldwide insurance (including war risk) and a Letter of Authorization (LOA). The LOA must state the operator’s choice of handler in Vietnam. The named handling agent takes responsibility for the aircraft during the stay and processes all handling/permit requests.

4. ADS-B mandates

Please note that ADS-B is required for all operations at or above flight level (FL) 290 on airways L625, L628, L642, M765, M768, M771, N500 and N892. For more information on this see AIP SUP A09/13-1.

5. CIQ

Although there’s no general aviation terminal (GAT) or fixed base operator (FBO) at VVDN, most handlers are able to facilitate VIP customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) clearance, at an extra charge. With this service staff members collect passenger passports and take care of immigration and customs clearances. Passengers are fast-tracked to collect their luggage without having to stand in line with scheduled commercial passengers. Within five minutes or so, passports are returned and passengers can be on their way. A similar VIP clearance process is available on departure. If VIP clearance is not pre-arranged, passengers and crew clear CIQ in the normal scheduled commercial lines.

6. Visa requirements

Depending upon nationality and length of stay in Vietnam, visas for passengers and crew may or may not be required. Certain nationals are exempt from visa requirements within specific time periods. It’s recommended that operators check with the ground handler to confirm visa exemption options.

Crew and passengers who are not among exempt nationalities must obtain Vietnam visas. Visas on arrival (VOA) are possible for Vietnam and can be coordinated by way of a pre-visa approval letter confirmation, something your local handler can assist with. For VOA arrangements, a scanned copy of the passport(s) must be submitted a minimum of one to two business days prior to arrival. Once you receive your pre-visa approval letter you’ll present this upon landing. It normally takes just 5-10 minutes to obtain your visa upon arrival.

7. Hotels and local transport

A selection of good 5- and 4- star hotel options, including major international hotel chain brands, are available in Danang and along the coast. Lower cost crew accommodation options are also possible within the city. As preferred hotels in this area can sell out in high season and during high profile events, such as the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, it’s recommended to book early and to confirm hotel cancellation policies. For local travel we recommend prepaid transport (car with driver) to ensure the highest level of service and to avoid potential language barriers. However, public taxis are fitted with meters and can also be reliable options.

8. Security considerations

Vietnam is not a high threat environment. While petty crime does happen, as in most regions of the world, major crime events are rare. To mitigate petty crime risks maintain awareness of your surroundings and avoid flashing jewelry, expensive watches and cash in public.

9. Additional information

For more information on APEC 2017 and the Danang Leaders Meeting see the official site.


Vietnam is a straight-forward GA operating environment with high quality handling services at all AOEs. Please allow sufficient lead time for your permit application, be sure to provide the required Letter of Authorization, and ensure all passengers and crew have made the appropriate visa arrangements. Also, due to the traffic expected, it’s recommended that hotel arrangements are made in advance. Lastly, please be sure to check with our local handling agent to secure parking for the duration you need, and be open to the possibility of having to reposition.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Vietnam, contact me at alexandraferullo@univ-wea.com.

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