This is related to the recent escape of Carlos Ghosn from Japan. While we don't know the details yet, M. Ghosn allegedly boarded a private plane from a small airport near Osaka [and probably in a kind of "luggage"!].

In this event, it seems the private plane was aimed to travel internationally. But that brings the question anyway:

Would the pilot of a private plane be authorized to change their destination after take-off, and, more specifically, request to travel to a foreign destination, while initially, (before take-off) the plane was supposed to reach a domestic destination?

Probably not the case in this escape story, but since there is much less passengers verification on domestic flights, allowing the flight-path change (for a private plane) would make things much easier for someone (wealthy) who wants to evade a country.

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    $\begingroup$ This may depend on the destination. For example to enter the US, the pilot must fill out (in advance) information on every passenger, port of entry, etc at least 60 minutes prior to departure. Crossing the ADIZ requires an IFR or DVFR flight plan filed at least 15 minutes prior to entry (which may be done from the air). Getting out of the US ADIZ is a similar process. I'm not sure about the Japan ADIZ procedures. This is, of course, assuming the pilot does everything legally to get an illegal passenger out of a country, which is a big "if". $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jan 2 '20 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ The question is more about the ability to change the destination from domestic to international after take-off, not the formalities to enter this or that country. I guess if it is possible, the pilot will want to reach first any country where the illegal passenger will not be arrested. $\endgroup$ Jan 3 '20 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ @RingØ, if the crime is not political, but something most countries agree on being a crime like fraud, the illegal passenger will probably be arrested anywhere if found. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jan 3 '20 at 6:50

Generally speaking, ATC doesn't care who you are or where you're going. Their only job is "a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic." If you request to amend the destination on your flight plan, they'll just type it into their computer and give back the new clearance it spits out. Diverting is a fairly routine thing, actually, especially when bad weather is afoot. If they even ask why, it's to make sure it's not due to an emergency or urgency. What (if anything) happens once you're safely on the ground at that new destination is someone else's problem.

That said, the militaries of many countries may take exception to someone flying into their airspace without prior permission, which is a much more complicated topic.

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    $\begingroup$ And congrats in reaching 10k 😃 $\endgroup$ Jan 3 '20 at 7:03

It depends entirely on which country the pilot is coming from, and which country he's planning to go to.

If you're leaving a country that has more controls on its populace, like China or North Korea, I'm sure that it would be pretty difficult to just fly out of the country whenever you feel like it. But, in the US and a lot of other first-world countries, it's a lot less of a hassle. In the US, you do need a flight plan to leave the country, but you can file one in just a few minutes on the phone or with a tablet. In fact, you can take off without a flight plan, and as long as you file and activate your flight plan more than 15 minutes before you reach the ADIZ, you're good.

It's getting into a country that's more difficult. As mentioned in the comments, the US requires customs information to be filed at least an hour before departure. I'm sure that other countries have more stringent requirements. So, unless you plan on requesting asylum, you really need to plan ahead for your international flight.

  • $\begingroup$ The country you are leaving has a limited say in the matter. It takes 10 minutes to scramble a fighter jet, and the surface-to-air missiles are normally not ready either, so if your intentions don't become obvious too soon, they basically can't stop you any more. Instead countries that try to prevent people emigrating will try to make sure you can't fly together with your family and they'll take revenge on them (there was defection, sometime in the 60s IIRC, where three airline pilots in Czechoslovakia managed to their their families on each other's flights and diverted). $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Jan 3 '20 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec the OP asked if the pilot would be authorized to do it, not if they would get away with it. $\endgroup$ Jan 6 '20 at 22:28

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