Business Aircraft Operations to Singapore for the Grand Prix
The 2012 Formula 1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix takes place 21 – 23 September on a race circuit in the heart of the city. Two convenient airports are available for business jet operators wishing to attend. Best alternatives, in terms of aircraft parking and hotel accommodations, will be available to those who book as early as possible. If planning to fly your aircraft into Singapore for this event, here’s what you’ll need to know:
1. Two close-in airports are available
Changi (WSSS) is located east of the city with a convenient rail link (the MRT) running on a frequent schedule, from early morning ‘til close to midnight, to the central business district. Drive time is about 30 minutes to downtown. Seletar (WSSL), located north of the city, has limited access to public transportation but is also just a 30-minute drive, by taxi or pre-arranged transport. Aircraft parking for both airports should be requested as soon as a firm schedule is known, due to increased business aviation demand over the Grand Prix period.
2. Seletar is a user-friendly business aviation airport
WSSL has very little commercial traffic, and the airport is geared to General Aviation (GA). Keep in mind that WSSL has only a 5223 foot runway and no ILS approach is available. Operators need to be aware of curfew hours at this location. Runway closures occur between 0001-0700 local on the first Saturday of every month, or on the second Saturday if the first Saturday is a public holiday. The runway also closes between 0001-0200 local every Wednesday and Saturday. During these curfew periods, WSSL is closed to all traffic, with the exceptions of medevac and emergency flights. Also, please note that noise restrictions at this airport limit operations to Stage 3 and above.
3. Changi is primarily a commercial airport
WSSS is a 24/7 Airport of Entry (AOE) dedicated mainly to commercial traffic. Airline movements take up the majority of arrival/departure airport slots, and both ATC and fuel services give priority to scheduled commercial operations. Best practice is to avoid peak hours of commercial activity. Peak arrival hours are between 0305 – 0400, 0805-1000, and 1305-1500 UTC, while peak departure hours are 2205-0300 and 1205-1400 UTC. Also, please note that noise restrictions at this airport limit operations to Stage 3 and above.
4. Airport slots and Prior Permission Required (PPR) are necessary for WSSS
Operators must have airport slots when flying to or from WSSS. Be aware that airport slots will not be approved during peak hours of operation. It’s important to adhere to approved airport slots times. Failure to do so may result in the operator being put into a holding pattern or told to divert. Due to limited parking availability, PPRs are needed for all non-scheduled operations, regardless of aircraft size. PPR approval is granted on a case-by-case basis and subject to parking availability.
5. Landing permits are required for charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights
All charter and medevac flights into Singapore (both airports) require landing permits. Landing permit requirements involve a minimum of seven days’ lead time and specific documentation, including worldwide insurance and Air Operator Certificate (AOC) in an ICAO format. No landing permit is needed for WSSL, and no landing permit is necessary at WSSS in the case of tech stops (jet fuel uplifts and/or crew changes) so long as no passengers board or disembark the aircraft in Singapore.
6. Be aware of aircraft parking limitations
WSSS has an aircraft parking area behind the freight terminal (called S.A.D.A) for aircraft up to the size of a Bombardier Global Express or Gulfstream G550. There’s a separate aircraft-parking area at WSSS for larger aircraft. Keep in mind that WSSS aircraft parking slots may not be favorably located, and last-minute repositioning may be difficult. Aircraft parking at WSSL is normally limited to three hours, but always confirm this in advance with your ground handler. Aircraft parking arrangements can often be extended with advance notice and subject to availability.
7. Plan hotel and local transport arrangements as early as possible
Many excellent hotel options, including popular large chain hotels, are available in Singapore. It’s recommended that crews try to book 4- or 5-star hotels as early as possible, due to high demand over the Singapore Grand Prix period. You’ll also need to make local transport arrangements when visiting the circuit and it’s important to book early due to increased local demand. Rental vehicles are available at both airports but should be coordinated in advance. It’s recommended that rental vehicles be avoided in Singapore if you’re not familiar with the area, due to traffic issues and possible road closures during the event period. Prepaid local transport (car with driver) is the preferred option for many business aircraft operators. However, Singapore has excellent taxi services and public transport options that may be worth considering.
8. Additional information
Information regarding the circuit diagram, date and timetable, ticket purchases, and more can be found on the Formula1 Web site. You can read our earlier post, titled Which Airport to Pick in Singapore for Business Aviation Flights. It includes information on customs, in-flight catering, and some other topics not covered here.
While your 3rd-party provider and local ground handler will be able to provide you with many options, the earlier you book, the better. Last-minute aircraft parking and hotel accommodations may be sourced for those wishing to attend the 2012 Singaporean Grand Prix, but preferred options may be limited or unavailable. Charter operators should plan on appropriate landing permit lead times and have all required documentation assembled well in advance.