A government agency of an EU country commissions a private company with a chartered flight from Europe to Africa/Asia/... (e.g. to involuntarily take people to a specific country).

Then it wants to change the time of departure with short notice. How long before the changed departure time do they need to file the new flight plan and what are some obstacles for changing it at the last minute?

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    $\begingroup$ Flight plans change all the time for a wide variety of reasons, up to and sometimes including the moment when the wheels leave the ground. Perhaps you could clarify your question? Certainly the pilot and operations manager at the charter company already know what to do in any specific situation. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ I've read some anecdotal evidence that getting the entry permit is sometimes serious problem. Especially in Africa some coutries take it very seriously and at the same time it is a slow bureaucratic process. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ @GregHewgill it sounds to me like the OP is an anti-deportation activist that wants to be around when some deportation is to happen and now asks himself whether he needs to camp at the airport or if it is enough to have a look at the flight plan every once in a while. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ And this very situation occured between South Africa and Madagascar early in the morning of 13th of October. A former and exiled president were ferried back to his country without the current government knowing him arriving (or they said...) Highly sensible subjects in some countries. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ I think if you want an answer to this question you need to clarify if your question is about the general rules for flight plans on international flights, or the specific case of extraordinary rendition flights. The first has an answer, the second one doesn't (because an illegal government-sponsored operation will probably ignore all the rules and do whatever they want anyway) $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:28

2 Answers 2


The flight plan can be changed by the minute, as long as the two governments and the two airports and the airline agree on this.

As it seems like the government pays the airline to just take off whenever they are allowed to, take the airline out of the equation. Likewise for the airports, since they are either state-operated or have a concession which states that they have to assist in lawful deportations, emergencies or state affairs.

This keeps two governments in, which have to agree on a time and the who-pays-whom-how-much for the deportation to really take place. In fact, I think this is the only reason why the plane is not yet airborne - because of two governments playing their diplomacy games.

  • $\begingroup$ The airline still has to fly by the rules, so you can't take the airline out of the equation. For example duty time regulations will apply. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ @DeltaLima When the government pays an airline to be ready on short notice at any time (and not just in a small-enough time frame), they pay a premium for either pilots sleeping 24/7 in the airport hotel (if available), two sets of pilots or a spare pilot. The airline has a contract to fulfil, which's contents are unbeknownst to us. This contract takes them out of the equation. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ You say the contents of the contract are unknown, yet you state that the contract takes the airline out of the equation. There is no mention of the type of contract anywhere in the question so you are making a lot of assumptions here. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 11:20

I am the US, but here you can amend a flight plan while in air. I have done this several times to change the destination from airport X to airport Y. ATC nicely updated my clearance to the new destination.

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    $\begingroup$ The question is about EU countries $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 23:03

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