Business Aviation Destination Guide: Indonesia
Indonesia has one of the world’s highest populations, at more than 255 million inhabitants. The country spreads over 3,275 miles East to West. There are many popular business and leisure destination stops here, and the island chain is so wide that diverting this airspace would be a challenge for many North to South flight operations.
While relatively few airports in Indonesia are used on a regular basis by foreign-registered general aviation (GA), these are bizav friendly locations. Certain operators travel to smaller and/or more off the beaten path destinations – for resource business or tourism purposes. These secondary locations may have additional considerations to be mindful of.
Historically, operating to or over Indonesia required significant lead time, as the country had one of the longest lead-time requirements within the business aviation operating environment. Those requirements have been streamlined, making short-notice trips, planned tech stops, and schedule revisions now possible. Here’s everything you need to know about operating a business jet to Indonesia.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Popular airports
The airports most commonly used by foreign registered general aviation aircraft are Jakarta Halim (WIHH) and Denpasar (WADD). Locations on the island of Java, including Surabaya (WARR) and Bandung (WICC), are used from time to time as business destinations. To the east of the archipelago, Biak (WABB) is used as a tech stop for shorter range aircraft transiting between Hawaii and western Indonesia.
This location is an airport of entry (AOE) and the preferred GA airport for Jakarta. Jakarta Intl (WIII) is farther out from the city center and, as the main commercial hub, it’s highly congested. WIHH operates 0600-2359 local with overtime potentially possible upon request. WIII, on the other hand, is a 24-hour facility but one that’s not geared toward GA.
A 24-hour AOE WADD is a preferred airport for GA operators with full infrastructure, support services and ground support equipment (GSE) availability. In recent years, the runways and terminal have been redone and there’s no known major construction upcoming at this time. Full services, including ground handling, fuel, and in-flight catering options are available 24 hours.
Operating to smaller airports
While any number of smaller domestic airfields are available for foreign-registered GA operators there are potential challenges to consider:
- Airport hours vary and may only be sunrise to sunset
- The facility may be VFR only or not have runway lighting
- Local credit could be difficult to confirm
- Catering options could be minimal or non-existent
- Security might be a consideration
In some cases, depending upon the destination, you may want to reposition a supervisory handling agent from a larger center to the smaller destination airfield.
All Indonesian airports are now slot coordinated airport. Slots must be applied for and obtained for arrival/departure at any airport in Indonesia. We suggest providing at least 24-48 hours’ notice.
Prior Permission Required (PPR) and airport slots are now necessary for operations to any airport in Indonesia.
Overnight and long-term GA parking is seldom an issue at major airports in Indonesia. WADD may, in rare cases, fill up in terms of available GA parking but only if a major local event – such as the APEC Summit or IMF Summit is in Indonesia.
Ground handling must be pre-arranged at any airport in Indonesia and self-handling is not applicable. All international inbound and outbound aircraft information must be entered into the online Indonesia Customs system and the appointed handling agent is responsible to do the entries.
The most common facilities in the lounge are computer with internet access, fax service, copier machine, coffee/tea and snacks.
Good international chain hotel brands are available at major cities in Indonesia. Both WIHH and WADD have good crew accommodation hotel options close by the airfields. While hotel availability does not generally run out at either Jakarta or Bali, preferred hotels may not be available during peak tourism times or when major local events are underway.
4. Ground transportation
Prepaid transportation (car with driver) is suggested for local transportation in Indonesia. Public taxis are not recommended and should be avoided due to security concerns. We suggest coordinating with a local handler for ground transportation arrangement.
We recommend 24 hours’ notice for fuel uplifts and that operators carry a fuel release. As major aviation and fuel company credit cards are not necessarily accepted on sight, it’s important to confirm credit arrangements prior to day of operation. This is particularly true at smaller airports where obtaining credit might be a challenge without confirmed prior arrangements.
In-flight catering service are available at most international airports. We recommend 24 hours’ notice to place an order. At smaller airport, it is advisable to order the meals from local hotels or restaurants.
Security is very good at major airports in Indonesia with police and/or military presence, surveillance and patrols, adequate fencing and airside access controls. Operators have the option, if they wish, to contract private unarmed aircraft security during their stay. Off airport security varies depending upon the location and local events. Major international hotels are considered safe and many have dedicated guards and/or hard barriers at the entrance.
Security briefs are always recommended when traveling to Indonesia. There are some known high-crime areas where aircraft security and secure transportation for passengers/crew members are recommended. Due to high crime rates, it’s suggested that credit cards only be used at large international hotels.
Indonesia has made significant changes in lead times for overflight and landing permit requests and no longer has one of the longest overflights and landing permit lead time requirements within the international operating environment. Short-notice trips, planned tech stops, and schedule revisions are now possible
Overflight and landing permits
Official lead time for Indonesian overflight or landing permits is three business days. The permit approval process continues to involve three different agencies — the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Security and Defense, and the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC). While it may be possible to obtain a permit in short notice, it is at the discretion of the responsible agencies.
The above departments operate Monday-Friday 0800-1700 local. Permit approval process starts with the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Security and Defense. Only after those two departments have approved the permit request will it be submitted to the Civil Aviation. Regardless of this lengthily and involved process, it is still possible to obtain last-minute and short-notice the permits.
The following documents are required when requesting a permit for Indonesia:
- Airworthiness and Registration Certificates
- Pilot licenses
- Aircraft Insurance Certificate
- Aircraft operator certificate (AOC) in the case of charter
- Lead passenger name
Currently Indonesian permits have a maximum validity of five days.
If you make revisions to date or time of operation within the validity period, it’s considered just a revision of the same approval. You must, however, submit the revised information. Should you wish to make a schedule change to outside the permit validity period, a new permit approval must be obtained. Additionally, any change to airport of landing in Indonesia, or the airport you’re coming from/ going to, requires application for a new permit. Be mindful that each time a new approval is applied for the operator will be charged the full cost of obtaining a new permit.
A few years ago, Indonesia began permitting GA operators to fly multiple flight legs in country. This, however, requires a special permit in addition to the regular landing permit. Lead time for a special permit application is 3 – 4 business days, and your application will be reviewed and approved by the DGAC. The maximum validity of the special permit (domestic permit) is 30 days. Note that the domestic permit requests must be on company letterhead. Your trip support provider can supply a template.
Cabotage was not an issue in the recent past for foreign-registered aircraft as only a single stop was allowed within Indonesia per permit. Under current regulations, allowing domestic movement within country, private operators are not generally restricted in terms of picking up passengers and flying them locally. However, charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators do face restrictions. Foreign-registered charter aircraft may not pick up and fly Indonesian nationals within Indonesia unless that person has arrived in country aboard the aircraft or will depart Indonesia with the same aircraft.
At Denpasar (WADD), GA operators may clear customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) within a dedicated general aviation terminal (GAT), separate from the main terminal. At Jakarta (WIHH) clearance for passengers and crew is within the main terminal however VIP options are available. At smaller airports, CIQ is cleared in main terminals, often alongside scheduled commercial passengers. Note that passports must have at least six months remaining validity and visas are required for most nationalities.
Foreign nationals from countries which are included in the 169 Visa Free Country List are entitled for visa exemption, may enter Indonesia from 124 immigration checkpoints and are granted a 30-days stay that cannot be extended. Mandatory requirements include: passport with minimum six months’ validity and return/through tickets.
Visas on arrival
Visas may be processed on arrival at Jakarta Intl (WIII/WIHH), Denpasar (WADD), Surabaya WARR, Medan (WIMM), Padang (WIEE), Pekanbaru (WIBB), Manado (WAMM), Biak (WABB), Balikpapan (WALL), Pontianak (WIOO), Kupang (WATT) and Batam (WIDD). Visas on arrival are valid for up to 30 days and cover either tourism or temporary business purposes.
U.S. crew members entering Indonesia must have passports valid for a minimum of six months with visa requirements varying depending on the airport. It’s best to contact your trip support provider or local handler to determine if visas are needed for crew at the particular location and/or if they may be obtained upon arrival.
APIS is not applicable in Indonesia, however, the immigration authority requires the operator or trip support provider to provide the General Declaration prior to departure of any inbound or outbound flights to ensure safety and security.
11. Flight planning
Note that information on International Civil Aviation Organization flight plans must include captain’s name, emergency equipment onboard, and aircraft color/markings. If this information is not included, your pre-filed flight plan will not be accepted, and the agent or captain will be called in to re-file. Note that no Indonesian resident may travel out of the country on a non-Indonesian-registered aircraft unless he or she arrived on the aircraft. Also note that when you overfly Natuna Island on airway M758 or Matak Island on airway N884, an Indonesian overflight permit is needed. Although these islands are within Singapore’s airspace, both are Indonesian territory.
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is required in Indonesia. For more information on the requirements and the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) supplement, please click here.
Indonesia’s weather is tropical, and it is considered to only have two seasons: dry and wet. Due to the width of the country, weather may vary in the different regions, like between Jakarta and Bali. But generally, most of the country’s dry season is from April to October and the rainy season is from November to March.
13. Tech stops
The following are recommended tech stops for quick-turn fuel uplifts: WIHH, WATT, WABB, WAMM, WALL and WIMM. To help ensure quick turns it’s best to forward your fuel release to the location and to be sure your local handler is kept updated on your schedule.
14. Peak season/ high traffic events
Peak Season for Indonesia is during the dry season (May through September) and around Christmas and New year (December/January). This coincides with the drier weather and end-of-year holiday break. Take note also of peak seasons, which are July and August during the summer vacations of Europe and mid-December to late January for the Australian school holidays. This is especially true at tourist destinations like Bali, Lombok, and Gili Islands.
15. Regulatory considerations
Please take note as per Regulation of the Minister of Transportation of Indonesia, that foreign registered aircraft can only land or take off at or from an international airport within Indonesia territory. To operate domestically within Indonesia, the special permit (domestic permit) from Indonesia DGCA must be obtained in prior. The special permit is not required for technical stop purposes (to refuel and crew rest) due to aircraft performance limitations.
16. Other considerations
- a. Vaccinations. The generally recommend vaccinations for Indonesia for the standard tourist include Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Poliomyelitis. Travelers planning a more rural or extensive trip may need to consider vaccinations for diseases like Hepatitis B, Japanese B Encephalitis, and Rabies. Note: These are not mandatory.
- b. Language issues: For travel to secondary and domestic airports, always confirm prior to travel service availability and language capabilities at the airfield. In most cases, it’s best to have a supervisory ground handling agent repositioned to the airfield to assist with local handling.
- c. Special documentation: Documentation must be submitted in advance for landing permits, and this includes aircraft airworthiness and registration certificates and worldwide liability insurance. Charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators must also provide an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). Originals of all these documents must be carried onboard the aircraft. While CAA processes all permit requests, there are three different departments within CAA that review requests, and the military also looks at all applications. It’s important to note that operators using 3rd-party providers must provide authorization for the provider to act on their behalf. Overflight and landing permits remain valid for five days, and confirmation numbers are provided with permit approvals. All permit confirmations must be noted in Remarks section 18 of your ICAO flight plan.
- d. Operating close to Singapore Be aware of requirements for Indonesian overflight permits when operating on airways M758 and N884 close to Singapore. This airspace is controlled by Singapore CAA, but you’re flying over Indonesian territory, and Indonesian overflight permits are needed which involve standard lead time requirements.
- e. Pets Dogs or cats require import permits issued by the Directorate General of Livestock Service together with good health and rabies vaccination certificates issued by an authorized government veterinarian in the country of origin. Vaccination must be performed at least 30 days and not more than one year prior to travel.
Pets must be at least 90 days old at time of travel. Pets should not be pregnant nor in breast-fed condition.
Pets are subject to quarantine upon arrival. The Animal Quarantine Office should be notified two days before departure and an application for quarantine inspection should be submitted.Birds require import permit issues by the Directorate General of Livestock Service, a copy of the letter of approval for a temporary quarantine facility issued by the Director of the Center for Agricultural Quarantine, a health certificate issued by an authorized government veterinary surgeon/quarantine officer at country of origin. The Animal Quarantine Office should be notified two days before arrival. Import and export of pets through Denpasar – Bali (DPS) is prohibited, with the exception of transit.
- f. Weapons Indonesian law forbids visitors from bringing weapons, illegal drugs, or pornography into the country. Penalties can be severe and include death for weapons or drugs. Weapons such as antique firearms, swords, knives and similar items may be accepted as checked baggage at the country’s discretion, but will not be permitted in the cabin of the aircraft. For such weapons to be accepted as checked baggage, they must be treated as security items based on the applicable laws and regulations.
The Indonesian operating environment seems to be progressively becoming more business aviation friendly, with the ability to fly domestic legs, obtain visas on arrival and take advantage of improving GA infrastructure. It’s best to work with your trip support provider in advance to ensure appropriate lead time to obtain needed permits.
The reduction in official permit lead time from seven days to three days is good news for GA operators. The overflight and landing permit process lead time is now relatively fast, with the exception of domestic operations, which still require the special domestic permit. Operators should be prepared for the additional lead time when planning to visit to more than one airport within Indonesia.
While airport parking and GA services are seldom issues at major Indonesian airports smaller locations often have curfews, credit issues or limited GSE availability to be mindful of.