Repatriation from Ireland to East Timor

Situation Analysis

A leading funeral director company in Northern Ireland had been working closely with a freight specialist in order to repatriate a number of human remains from Northern Ireland to East Timor.

Because of a number of difficulties, particularly concerning the management of the airline transfer in London Heathrow, the company approached TCB Repatriation to determine if there was an alternative solution to repatriation from the UK to East Timor.

The main difficulty scheduling a repatriation between these two jurisdictions is that there is no single airline offering a through service from Belfast to East Timor.

As a consequence an airline transfer was required in either London Heathrow or Singapore Changi.

Any airline transfer is a very risky procedure and not recommended for the transportation of human remains unless you are able to personally manage the transfer, i.e. collect from the arriving airline and deliver to the outbound airline.

Leaving this to the airline handling agent to manage introduces a significant risk.

Taking account of the issues with the previous Agent in Heathrow we decided the best routing was via BA ex Belfast to Singapore and to transfer airline in Singapore. However with a schedule of only 2 flights per week ex Singapore to Dili, even this option was extremely limiting.

TCB Repatriation Solution

The team at TCB Repatriations were able to offer a couple of alternative routes, but transferring in Singapore and using our team in TCB Singapore to check all relevant documentation, manage physical transfer and ensure a smooth and seamless transfer proved to be the better option.

In addition to managing the physical transfer, our TCB Singapore team were able to manage all documentation including:

  • Death certificate
  • Free from infection
  • Embalming certificate
  • Photo page of passport
  • Out of country order 


TCB Repatriation has a team dedicated to finding solutions to our clients’ problems and through our office in Singapore we were able to check documentary requirements locally, plan and manage the physical transfer from one airline to another and eliminate risk.

Remains repatriation often takes place against a backdrop of sadness and pain for the families, colleagues and friends of those bereaved. It is our goal to ensure that the repatriation is handled professionally, with dignity and respect and that any risk is reduced or removed fully.


“Over the past couple of years we have been using the services of the TCB Group in relation to the repatriation of human remains from Northern Ireland.

They have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in this field that we quite simply have not found anywhere else.

Their friendly and courteous staff are incredibly efficient in dealing with all relevant legal paperwork including customs clearance and local protocols at each stage of the journey. And as a customer we are regularly kept up to date with events the whole way through the repatriation process, and have received excellent feedback from our client’s families.

We would have no hesitation at all in highly recommending the services of the TCB Group to any potential interested parties”.

Hugo McArdle.
J.J. McArdle & Sons Ltd. Funeral Directors. Armagh. Northern Ireland