This is a post by author Edmond Yuen. Edmond is head of Trip Support Services, Asia-Pacific, for Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc., located in Hong Kong. Edmond is an expert on business aircraft operations in Asia and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Hong Kong and continues from our last article: "BizAv Operations to Hong Kong: Aircraft Ground Handling."
When operating to Hong Kong (VHHH), the general aviation terminal (GAT) provides complete and full aircraft handling and support services. This is a one-stop-shopping option with a single invoice at the end of the experience. While costs are high at this location, services provided are among the best you’ll find anywhere.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Aviation fuel uplifts
The GAT has a monopoly on general aviation (GA) fuel services at VHHH. Although various fuel suppliers operate on the commercial side of the field, GA operators cannot access these sources. All fuel uplifts are currently done with fuel trucks. However, in the near future two hydrant fuel locations will be available at the GAT for GA operators. It’s always best to obtain a fuel release and send this to your handler in advance. Aviation fuel cards are not accepted at this location, and the GAT accepts only cash, credit cards, or pre-approved credit arrangements. Fuel is dispensed per gallon and pricing, which includes all taxes, will typically change monthly.
2. Fuel considerations/procedures
Fuel at VHHH is stored in a fuel farm. It’s always best to provide your handler with the required uplift amount to avoid any delay with a fuel truck having to return to the fuel farm to reload. There are currently three fuel trucks owned by the GAT and available for GA uplifts. All arrangements for fuel are made directly with the GAT. No aircraft documents need to be presented when the fuel truck arrives. Fuel uplifts are accomplished after the aircraft is towed to a designated departure or fuel uplift spot. In the future there will be two parking spots with hydrant fuel available at the GAT.
3. Security considerations
Airport security is very tight at VHHH – on both the commercial and GAT sides of the field. It’s not possible to arrange private aircraft security on the ramp and this is not necessary.
4. VHHH access controls
Airside access controls are strict at the GAT, and passengers are not able to access the aircraft prior to day of departure without obtaining a temporary access pass and being escorted by GAT staff. Even crew access to the aircraft prior to day of departure can be a somewhat long and arduous process, involving the airport authority and security.
5. Departure procedures
On the day of departure flight crew usually arrive two hours prior to the estimated time of departure to prepare the aircraft and oversee any required fuel uplift. Aircraft will be repositioned to the departure parking spot only after crew have arrived airside. Meanwhile, passengers wait in the GAT lounge while staff takes the passports and departure cards to CIQ officials. GAT staff will communicate with the crew to determine when the aircraft is ready for the passengers and escort passengers out to the aircraft. In most cases your aircraft will be positioned just outside the GAT lounge, and passengers will walk out. There are no limitations at VHHH on using an auxiliary power unit (APU) on the ramp or at departure positions. When making technical stops at VHHH, where no passengers/crew embark or disembark, CIQ clearance is not needed.
6. In-flight catering considerations
Two in-flight caterers are available 24/7 at VHHH. At least 24 hours advance notification is recommended for in-flight catering requests, with additional lead time for special requests or harder-to-source requirements. If you wish to source your own catering from off-airport – either a restaurant or a hotel – this may be brought through the GAT to your aircraft. Catering menus are available to GA operators, and caterers will accommodate whatever requests, or catering items, the crew has in mind. Upon arrival your ground handler will normally pick up any onboard dishes for washing, submit catering requirements to the caterer, and deliver catering to the aircraft on the day of departure.
7. Transport considerations
Private transport is not permitted airside at VHHH, other than ambulances taking patients to/from an aircraft. Local transport normally picks up passengers/crew in front of the GAT. In the case of diplomatic flights, operations go through a government VIP lounge, and this does not involve the GAT. Rental vehicles are not available at the VHHH GAT. There’s really no need for rental vehicles in Hong Kong as taxis, cars with drivers, and public transit options are available. Drive time from VHHH into central Hong Kong is about 40 minutes. High speed rail options, from the main terminal to downtown, are also available with transit times of about 30 minutes.
8. Additional reading: Business Aircraft Ops to Hong Kong – Series Index
Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.
- Part 1 – Ground handling
- Part 2 – Fuel, security and additional services
- Part 3 – Airport slots
- Part 4 – Permits and PPRs
- Part 5 – Flight planning and weather
- Part 6 – Hotels and local area
All services needed for the aircraft are done through the GAT. Be aware of restrictions accessing the aircraft other than the day of departure. Fueling is done at specific parking spots and the aircraft will only be moved there after the crew arrive at the airport, so it’s recommended to arrive at the GAT at least two hour prior to departure.
Later, we’ll discuss airport slots for Hong Kong and their impact on your trip.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Hong Kong, contact me at email@example.com.
Category : Best Practice
About Edmond Yuen
An expert on operations to Asia, Edmond Yuen has more than 10 years’ experience in business aviation. Edmond, who currently serves as head of Universal® Trip Support Asia, is based in Hong Kong and is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. Prior to joining Universal, Edmond served eight years as an operations manager for a major Asian charter company. Edmond’s expertise in operations is recognized throughout the business aviation industry, and he is frequently requested to speak on panels at events such as the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exposition, as well as by industry publications. Edmond, who is a private pilot, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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