Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: Bahrain Grand Prix 2014

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Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: Bahrain Grand Prix 2014

The 2014 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix takes place April 4-6 at the Bahrain International Circuit.The Bahrain International Circuit, which uses a 15-corner configuration, made history back in 2004 as the first Formula One Grand Prix to be held in the Middle East. If you’re planning to attend, or even fly into Bahrain during this time, it’s recommended to begin making arrangements as soon as schedule is known.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Primary airport choice

Primary airport for this race is Bahrain Intl (OBBI), located approximately 35 minutes from the race circuit.

Bahrain Intl (OBBI)

  • Airport of Entry (AOE): Yes
  • Operating hours: 24 hours
  • Prior Permission Required (PPR): Not required
  • Airport slots: Not required
  • Aircraft parking: Available
  • Ground handling: Available
  • Aviation fuel (Jet A): Available
  • In-flight catering: Available

Notes:

If you’re planning to park at OBBI long-term, it’s important to confirm, with your ground handler, that a suitable tow bar for the aircraft will be available. If one is not available, the operator will need to make arrangements to bring one onboard. Note that all aircraft are parked in open areas facing the passenger terminal.

A small departure tax is charged at OBBI for each departing traveler, with the exception of passengers carrying diplomatic passports.

Bahrain customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of items such as firearms, knives, ammunition and other weapons, seditious literature, and habit-forming or hallucinatory drugs. More information on prohibited goods and restricted and controlled items can be found on the Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Interior Customs Affairs website.

There’s only one vehicle entrance to the OBBI ramp, and all vehicles are searched prior to entering airside. Ramp access is controlled via strong steel gates.
All arriving/departing crew members and passengers undergo strict security procedures, and all baggage is subject to screening.

2. Alternate airports to consider

All alternate airport options are located outside of Bahrain. Primary alternate airport is King Fahd Intl (OEDF), located in Damman, Saudi Arabia – about 60 miles away.

King Fahd Intl (OEDF)

  • AOE: Yes
  • Operating hours: 24 hours
  • Prior Permission Required (PPR): Not required
  • Airport slots: Required
  • Aircraft parking: Available
  • Ground handling: Available
  • Aviation fuel (Jet A): Available
  • In-flight catering: Available

Notes:

It’s recommended that full crew and passenger information be forwarded, in advance, in order to avoid possible customs and immigration delays on arrival.
Note that two or three general declarations are required for both arrival and departure.

Saudi customs enforces strict regulations concerning importation of banned items such as alcohol products, weapons, and any item that is held to be contrary to the tenets of Islam which include items such as non-Islamic religious materials, alcohol, and pork products. Any such items may be confiscated, and fines may be imposed on the owner.

3. Landing permit requirements – Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

Landing permits are needed for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights to Bahrain. Official permit lead time is four business days. When applying for Bahrain landing permits, be sure to provide the full schedule, operator and aircraft information, lead passenger data, local business contact details, and Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW).Note that the MTOW on the permit request must match the MTOW listed on the airworthiness certificate. Flights to/from Israel or Iraq are prohibited.

As with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia requires landing permits for both private non-revenue and charter flights. Official landing permit lead time is three business days. Information – including full operator and aircraft information, full schedule, crew and passenger information, and business contact data – is needed to process landing permit requests. Flights between Israel and Saudi Arabia are strictly prohibited.

4. Hotel and local transportation arrangements for OBBI and OEDF

Both OBBI and OEDF have plentiful 4- and 5-star hotel options to choose from, including international chains. It’s recommended that rooms be booked early for OBBI, due to the increased traffic this event will bring to the city. During the time period of the Bahrain Grand Prix, some hotels will increase room prices and extend cancellation policies, so it’s best to check this in advance.

When traveling to either Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, it’s recommended that you arrange pre-paid transport (car with driver). Although rental vehicles are available at both airport locations, this option is only recommended if you’re familiar with the local area.

5. Check online for additional information

Additional information on the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix can be found at the Formula 1 website.

Conclusion

Although we do not anticipate aircraft parking availability to be an issue at OBBI during the time of the Bahrain Grand Prix, it’s always important to be aware of aircraft parking alternates. Working with your 3rd-party provider and local ground handler as early as possible will help ensure the best landing permit, aircraft parking, and accommodation options for this race event. When traveling to the Middle East, it’s always important to be aware and respectful of local cultural norms.

Universal is not associated in any way with the Formula One group of companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX, and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing B.V.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this article or operations into the Middle East, contact us at greglinton@univ-wea.com or christinevamvakas@univ-wea.com.

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An FAA-Licensed Dispatcher, Christine Vamvakas is an expert in all areas of trip support services, including TSA Waivers, international visa requirements, aircraft fuel ranges, operations in Greece, and charter operations throughout Europe. A native of Greece, Christine is fluent in Greek and has more than a decade’s experience working in trip support services with Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. Having served as Master Trip Owner and Team Lead for Universal’s Charter Management Team, Christine has facilitated thousands of international trip legs and uses that experience in her role as Universal’s Operations Communications Manager. Christine holds a bachelor of science degree in business management and a master’s degree in business administration. Her expert commentary has been included in multiple business aviation publications. You can reach Christine at christinevamvakas@univ-wea.com.

About

Greg Linton, Team Lead, ELATE Team, is known as a solutions-oriented problem solver. He’s also known as an expert on operations around the globe, particularly to Europe, Africa and China. Since joining Universal in 2000, Greg has facilitated more than 9,100 trip legs. He has represented Universal at numerous industry tradeshows and conventions including the European Business Aviation Association Conference & Exhibition and the National Business Aviation Association Conference. Greg has also been interviewed for and contributed articles to many industry publications. Prior to joining Universal, Greg served as an aircraft maintenance administration supervisor in the United States Marine Corps. Greg holds a bachelor’s degree in aviation management. He can be reached at greglinton@univ-wea.com.

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