170 Timor-Leste

Red with a black isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) superimposed on a slightly longer yellow arrowhead that extends to the center of the flag. A white star – pointing to the upper hoist-side corner of the flag – is in the center of the black triangle. Yellow denotes the colonialism in Timor-Leste’s past, black represents the obscurantism that needs to be overcome, red stands for the national liberation struggle. The white star symbolizes peace and serves as a guiding light.

Flag courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Map courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Google Earth

Traditional Timorese dancers

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Timor-Leste is a member of ICAO.
Last updated on April 19, 2024


According to Britannica, the Portuguese first settled on Timor in 1520, and the Spanish arrived in 1522. The Dutch took possession of the western portion of the island in 1613. The British governed the island in 1812–15. The Dutch and the Portuguese fought for supremacy over Timor, and Portuguese sovereignty over the island’s eastern half was settled by treaties in 1860 and 1893, although the latter became effective only in 1914. Japanese forces occupied Timor during World War II. East Timor province, including the Ambeno enclave, thereafter remained in Portuguese possession until 1975, when one of the major political parties there, Fretilin (Frente Revolucionária do Timor-Leste Independente [Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor]), gained control of much of the territory and in November declared its independence as the Democratic Republic of East Timor. Early in December Indonesian forces invaded and occupied the area, and in 1976 Indonesia declared it to be an integral part of that country as the province of East Timor (Timor Timur).

Over the next two decades, tens of thousands of East Timorese died (some observers claim as many as 200,000 perished) resisting the Indonesian occupation and annexation or as a result of famine and disease. In response to mounting international pressure, the Indonesian government authorized a referendum there for August 30, 1999, to determine the future of East Timor. Almost four-fifths of the voters supported independence, and the Indonesian parliament rescinded Indonesia’s annexation of the territory. East Timor was returned to its pre-annexation status of independence but as a non-self-governing territory under UN supervision. However, the transfer of power was accompanied by violence perpetrated by anti-independence militants. Hundreds of people were killed, and thousands fled to the western half of the island; refugees subsequently began returning home.
In April 2002 Xanana Gusmão—leader of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (Conselho Nacional de Resistência Timorense; CNRT), one of the former opposition groups—was elected East Timor’s first president. The territory achieved full status as a sovereign state shortly thereafter. Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta—who had been a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Peace—was elected president in May 2007 and succeeded Gusmão. Tensions within the country remained high, however, as indicated by the continued presence of a UN security mission in the country. The situation only worsened after Ramos-Horta swore in Gusmão as prime minister of a coalition government even though the CNRT—renamed, with the same acronym, the National Congress for the Reconstruction of Timor (Congresso Nacional de Reconstrução do Timor)—finished second to Fretilin in the July 2007 parliamentary elections.

In February 2008 President Ramos-Horta was seriously injured when he was shot by militant forces in an attempted assassination. He subsequently recovered and served the remainder of his term. Ramos-Horta was unsuccessful in his bid for a second presidential term in 2012, however, and he was succeeded in office by the country’s former army chief, Taur Matan Ruak.

Gusmão’s government weathered the political crisis of 2007–08 and began efforts to improve East Timor’s economy. The country did achieve some significant economic growth during Gusmão’s first term as prime minister, but much of that growth was tied to the heavy dependence on hydrocarbon production. A large proportion of the population still lived in deep poverty, and Gusmão’s government was criticized for having done little to improve conditions for those citizens.

East Timor applied for membership in ASEAN in 2011. When Indonesia’s permanent representative to ASEAN intimated in May 2016 that East Timor would become a member of the organization in 2017, it appeared as if the country’s long wait to join ASEAN was almost over. However, when the Joint Communiqué of ASEAN’s foreign ministers’ meeting was issued in July, it only “looked forward” to “continued discussion” that would take into consideration the results of several feasibility studies, thus leaving the issue of East Timor’s membership unresolved.

The CNRT won a plurality (but not a majority) of seats in the 2012 legislative elections, and Gusmão was again able to form a coalition government. One notable development during his second administration was the departure of the last members of the UN security mission by early 2013. In January 2014 Gusmão announced his intention to step down as prime minister. He delayed that action until mid-February 2015, when he was succeeded by Rui Maria de Araújo of Fretilin, who appointed Gusmão to the post of minister for planning and strategic investment.

With the support of Gusmão and the CNRT, Fretilin’s candidate in the March 2017 presidential election, Francisco Guterres, captured more than 57 percent of the ballots in the first round of voting to exceed the 50 percent threshold necessary to preclude a runoff, and he became the country’s fourth president. A member of the “75 Generation” of resistance fighters who led the struggle for independence, Guterres was better known by his nom de guerre, Lú-Olo. He had run for the presidency unsuccessfully twice before. In 2018 Taur Matan Ruak became prime minister.

Civil / National Aviation Authority (CAA/NAA)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is the government department responsible for designing, implementing, coordinating and evaluating the policy, defined and approved by the Council of Ministers, in the sectors of transport and communications and specifically is in charge or proposing and executing the Ministry’s policy on transport and communications; to formulate, develop and ensure the implementation and enforcement of the legal and regulatory framework of the transport and communications sectors; to develop and regulate the activity of transport and communications as well as optimize the means of communication; to ensure the coordination of the transport sector and to encourage complementarity between its various modes, as well as its competitiveness, in order to improve user satisfaction; to promote management, as well as the adoption of technical and regulatory standards regarding the public use of communications services; guarantee the provision of public telecommunications services and the use of radio-electric space, through public undertakings or the provision of public service to private entities; maintain and develop national meteorological and seismic monitoring and information systems, including the construction and maintenance of their infrastructures; promote and coordinate scientific research and technological development in the fields of civil, land, air and maritime transport; establish mechanisms of collaboration and coordination with other government bodies with oversight over related areas.

Under the Ministry of Transport and Communications are: Administration of the Ports of Timor-Leste – APORTIL; Administration of Airports and Air Navigation – ANATLEP; Civil Aviation Authority of Timor-Leste – AACTL; ANC – National Communications Authority.


SkyVectorGoogle MapsADS-B Exchange

ICAO countries publish an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). This document is divided into three parts: General (GEN), En Route (ENR) and Aerodromes (AD). ENR 1.4 details the types of airspace classes they chose to adopt from classes A through G. Timor-Leste AIP

Drone Regulations

Currently, there is no legal framework for the use of drones.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)


Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of using a drone to film in Timor-Leste.

They need you to mention any national laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in and whether or not you need an airspace authorization.

Does it matter whether or not you are a citizen of the country?

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do you need a certificate to fly UAS?

If so, how do you obtain one?

Are there fees associated with this?

If so, how much?

Question 3

May you operate beyond visual line of sight?

If so, what procedures must you follow?

Question 4

Does the country have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.





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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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