Aircraft Parking Complexities – Top Considerations
There are often assorted challenges and considerations that come into play when planning for aircraft parking at different airports around the world. At some locations overnight parking for general aviation (GA) will not be available or may be highly restricted. At other locations parking may be very expensive, difficult to obtain, or lack adequate security. It’s always best practice to be aware of all potential parking challenges and opportunities before setting out to any international location.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. General aircraft parking tips
It’s best to try to plan your trip well in advance. The sooner you’re able to make your aircraft parking requests the more availability you’ll likely have. At some locations, if you revise your schedule any confirmed parking arrangements may be cancelled, and you’ll move to the end of the wait list. If overnight parking is not an option at a particular airport you may need to consider a drop, go and reposition. This, of course, may impact crew duty day, cost of operation and crew accommodation arrangements.
2. Documentation requirements
Depending upon the airport, your type of flight, and the country of aircraft registration, varying aircraft and crew documentation requirements may exist. Generally speaking, charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights require more documentation and lead time than private non-revenue in arranging landing permits. Basic documentation requirements normally include airworthiness and registration certificates, worldwide insurance, noise certificate, pilot licenses and medicals.
3. Research in advance
Well in advance of your day of operation, verify aircraft parking restrictions, airport operating hours, and hours of peak scheduled commercial operations—as well as any major local events that may put pressure on available parking. At certain times of year and depending upon destination, you may want to consider availability of hangar space. Know permit, airport slot and prior permission required (PPR) lead times, and how and when to request these.
4. Alternate airport considerations
When aircraft parking is not available at a preferred airport – due to a large local event or airport restrictions – you’ll need to consider parking alternates. In this case, it’s important to know permit/slot/PPR requirements for the alternate as well as hours of operation and CIQ availability when the destination is in another country. Ask yourself: Is jet fuel available at the alternate, can credit be arranged, is the fire category acceptable, and will crew duty limits accommodate a reposition to/from the alternate? Also, it’s usually best to hold off on finalizing crew hotel accommodations until aircraft parking is confirmed as rooms may be non-refundable or have extended cancellation policies.
5. Be prepared to change your schedule
Understand that for some locations, even though your parking request may have been submitted well in advance, you may not receive parking confirmation until a few days prior to ETA. Some airports will only accept parking requests a certain number of days in advance. In the case of Hong Kong (VHHH), parking may only be requested up to 30 days in advance. Additionally, due to congestion at VHHH, overnight parking is difficult to obtain, even with advance notice. So, you’ll need to be prepared to change your schedule depending upon what the airport approves or disapproves. This is typically a larger issue for charter operators as additional planning, or an augmented crew, may be necessary considering duty day limitations. While you’ll almost always be permitted to drop and go – with two to three hours permitted on the ground – it’s best to brief passengers so that they’re aware of possible upcoming parking/relocation issues.
Always do your due diligence in terms of determining aircraft parking availability, and potential challenges, at your preferred destinations. Try to obtain as much information as possible in advance. Be aware that changes to schedule may greatly affect your ability to park at your desired destination.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip, contact me at email@example.com
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers more aircraft parking considerations.