Planning BizAv Operations to Thailand – Part 2: CIQ and Aircraft Services
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled "Planning BizAv Operations to Thailand – Part 1: Permit Planning."
When planning operations to Thailand, please ensure that all applicable visa and Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) requirements are checked in advance. Also, airport service availability is an important consideration as the airport may not have all the services you seek.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. CIQ clearance
CIQ clearance in Thailand is usually a short process – under 30 minutes. Your ground handler will process all required paperwork for the crew and passengers – including the gen dec and passenger manifest. Note that clearance may take longer at Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok (VTBS) as transport to the customs terminal from the aircraft can take up to an additional 30 minutes.
2. Visa requirements
Crew members, regardless of nationality or intended length of stay, do not require visas for Thailand. They must, however, present a passport and valid crew ID on arrival. Passengers, depending on nationality, may require visas. In some cases visas may be obtainable on arrival. When visas are required, however, it’s always best to obtain them prior to arrival.
3. Full support services available
Phuket (VTSP), Don Muang, Bangkok (VTBD), and Rayong (VTBU) are 24-hour Airports of Entry (AOEs) with jet fuel, full services, and credit available. Note that both Krabi (VTSG) and Ko Samui (VTSM) are AOEs only upon request. Additional lead time is required for customs arrangements at these airports, and it’s best to confirm any specific aircraft services you may need in advance.
For airports that are not 24-hour operations, overtime can usually be arranged with the associated additional overtime fees. There are currently no Stage 2 noise restrictions in effect for Thailand.
Aviation fuel is available at most airports, and aviation fuel cards, consumer credit cards, and cash are accepted. For fuel uplifts in Thailand, a fuel release, forwarded in advance, is always recommended.
4. Hotels, transportation, and security
Crew accommodations throughout Thailand are readily available. At larger destinations and resort areas, selections of large international hotels are plentiful. For local transport it’s best to use prepaid transportation (car with driver) rather than public transportation and/or taxis. Rental vehicles are not recommended unless crew members and/or passengers are very familiar with the local area.
Thailand is considered a moderate level security threat, and it’s always best to obtain airport and city/area security briefs pre-trip. Aircraft security is recommended in Thailand due to political activity and events that may take place from time to time.
5. Weather considerations
Thailand has a tropical climate with a rainy season June-October. During this season monsoon activity is typical and should be considered as local flooding may impact your trip. During the rest of the year, it’s dry, which closely coincides with high season for the airports (October-March).
The climate differs in northern and southern Thailand. The northern region has three seasons (cool, hot, rainy) while the south has only two seasons (wet and dry). Southern Thailand experiences almost double the rainfall compared to the north, and this is where monsoon activity is primarily experienced.
Thailand is a user-friendly operating environment from the general aviation perspective, and full services are available throughout the country. Still, it’s best to avoid schedule revisions that may affect your ability to travel to an airport requiring additional lead time for overtime arrangements.
If you have any questions about this article or have other questions about operating to Thailand, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.