What Is Cabotage Aviation and Does It Impact My Travels?

PUBLISHED ON 10.11.2021

Cabotage is a term that is not used very often in daily conversation. However, it is used frequently in the aviation and maritime industries and can play a role in your next international trip. In the past, cabotage applied solely to coastlines. Today, it refers to rail, air, ship and road transportation. When referring to private jets, cabotage is the movement of passengers from one point to another within a country for hire.

Cabotage is an important factor in international flights, particularly when traveling for additional legs inside the country. Cabotage regulations inside different countries have the potential to impact your travel plans, which is why it is important to fly with an established flight operator who is well-informed on international regulations.

What is Cabotage?

Cabotage refers to private jet companies operating within the borders of another country. This means that if you fly from one country to another through a private jet charter, you may have to consider cabotage laws if you want to add additional legs to your trip inside the borders of that country. Generally, these laws are put in place to protect the domestic industry of countries from foreign airlines bringing in competition.

Cabotage is only a concern when flying within the borders of another country. Generally, flight operators have the freedom to fly over a foreign country, stop in a foreign country for maintenance issues and transport passengers to or from a country, based on the Chicago Convention of 1944 that set standards for international flights.

Different countries have different laws and regulations surrounding cabotage. In the EU, for example, cabotage rights are extended to all member countries, meaning that airlines from any EU country can operate within any other EU country. Some countries may impose large fines for flights that come within their borders and do not properly report their flight information or follow cabotage regulations.

Altogether, some countries are more restrictive on their regulations, while others are more liberal, which can impact your travels. This means it is essential to have a competent and informed flight operator that will be able to operate your trip without concern.

How Could Cabotage Impact My Travels?

If you plan to fly to another country and then travel within that country through your private jet charter, you may need to reconsider your plans. Cabotage regulations are complex and depend on the regulations of each country, which is why it is important to be well-researched before each trip.

In the United States, cabotage is monitored by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP will review the information for the legs of a flight to ensure that a charter operator is following US regulations surrounding cabotage. A charter flight operator is responsible for providing CBP with information about the crew and passengers for each leg to obtain permission to continue with the next legs of a flight.

As long as regulations are followed for each country and information is properly reported to the appropriate country’s agencies, travel can typically continue without issue. By traveling with an established flight operator that is informed of each country’s regulations, you can ensure that your travel will continue uninterrupted.

Booking with an operator like Charter Flight Group will ensure that your airline provider is well-versed in the cabotage regulations inside the countries you plan to travel to. If you have any questions on cabotage or how it may affect your itinerary specifically, contact your flight operator for answers.

Are There Exceptions to Cabotage Laws?

Exceptions to cabotage rules do exist. Each country has different regulations, of course, so exceptions are not one-size-fits-all. However, there is still plenty of likelihood that your planned trip can carry on without interruption as there are several instances of cabotage exceptions.

For example, some countries have agreements to allow special privileges to other countries, as is the case in the EU. In another example, Chile has very liberal cabotage rules, allowing foreign airlines to operate within their borders as long as Chilean airlines are granted the same opportunity in the other country.

Some countries allow foreign airline companies to travel within their borders, as long as they follow the regulations surrounding cabotage in their country. Some examples of cases where countries may allow cabotage are when:

  • The passengers do not leave the airport before traveling to an additional destination on a connecting flight
  • Passengers board the connecting flight on the same day
  • The passengers remain the same from when the flight enters the country throughout the duration of travels

With all of the possible confusion that can come from cabotage, you can trust Charter Flight Group to keep your trip on schedule. Charter Flight Group and our flight team pay careful attention to cabotage laws and regulations to ensure that your trip goes smoothly. We know the regulations that are in place in each destination we fly to, and we provide all necessary information while following all regulations within these destinations.

Book Your Next Private Charter Flight Today

Charter Flight Group will work with you to avoid running into cabotage issues on your trip. For a safe, comfortable and convenient trip, book with Charter Flight Group. Our airline is committed to the highest of safety standards. Every aircraft is ARG/US certified, is WYVERN authorized, meets strict standards and is carefully inspected between each trip. Meanwhile, every pilot is extremely qualified, having WYVERN approval and an FAA-issued commercial pilot license.

We also offer multiple membership opportunities to give you all the benefits of flying private. Charter Flight Group offers a Jet Card Membership program that allows you to book flights at a per-hour rate so that you do not have to stress about comparing prices or changing rates. For those that frequently fly between two destinations, we offer a Fixed Route Program that allows you to lock in a fixed rate for flights between them.

Charter Flight Group is dedicated to providing passengers a holistic private flying experience to get you to your destination comfortably. We strive to provide you a smooth, uninterrupted trip every time you fly. Book with us today!


Jordan Brown


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