Business Aviation Operations to Hong Kong: Airport Slots
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: Fuel, Security & Additional Services.”
Obtaining airport slots for the times you desire can be a challenging proposition in the case of Hong Kong (VHHH). There are particular periods – including late at night and during long weekend and holiday periods – when slot availability is even more limited. For the most successful operation to VHHH we recommend that business aircraft operators be flexible with schedules and willing to make schedule adjustments in order to obtain best available slot times.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Airport slots, landing permits, and PPRs
VHHH no longer requires that airport slots be obtained before a landing permit may be requested. Today, airport slots, landing permits, and prior permissions required (PPRs) are all separate requests and independent of each other. PPRs are issued by the airport authority, landing permits are processed by CAA, and slots are obtained either via an online system or directly from the slot coordinator.
2. Airport slot requirements
Every arrival and departure to and from VHHH requires an airport slot, with the exception of emergency landings, Head of State, military, and qualifying humanitarian flights. Slot priority goes first to scheduled commercial operations, then to cargo flights, and lastly to general aviation (GA). Locally-based GA operators have the same slot priority as transient GA operations. Lowest slot priority is for training/demo flight requests. Requests for training/demo slots must be done manually, via the airport slot coordinator. Once a slot is approved you’ll need to contact Air Traffic Control (ATC) to finalize operating approval. Note that ATC will give you the routing you’re permitted to fly. It is very unlikely they will approve flights during peak operating hours. For training/demo flight purposes, the best time to request operating clearance from ATC is typically mid-afternoon – around 1500-1600 local.
3. Difficult slot times
Due to congestion at VHHH there are times when no airport slots may be available for an entire day. The most difficult times of day to obtain slots are typically during morning departures (0700-1100 local) and evening arrivals (1700-2200 local). This is due to high levels of scheduled commercial movements. Note that between 2359-0600 local slots are not possible for GA operators, due to reduced runway movements. During the day, up to 67 movements per hour are permitted, but this reduces to 42 movements per hour or less between 2359 and 0600 local.
4. Slot verification
The office that processes slots for VHHH always checks to ensure aircraft have valid slots for the aircraft’s time of operation. If there’s no approved slot for the estimated time of departure, your flight plan will not be filed, and you’ll be unable to depart.
5. Slot requests
VHHH slots are available in five minute intervals. Arrival/departure schedules should always be rounded up to the next five minute interval. Slot requests may be submitted to the slot coordinator as soon as you have your schedule. Note that if you request an airport slot online the site only indicates slot availability for the next seven days. If you wish to request a slot more than seven days out you’ll need to do this manually via the slot coordinator.
6. Online slot requests
Airport slots for VHHH may either be requested online or manually from the slot coordinator. To use the online system you must be a registered user and pay an annual fee for this service. Once you’re in the system you’ll be able to view and request slots for the next seven days. This can present issues for operators as there may be times when you have a confirmed arrival slot, but are not yet able to request a departure slot. Note that once you’ve obtained a slot online this can be modified online by the person who obtained the original slot.
7. Manual slot requests
VHHH allows operators to request slots manually, via the slot coordination office and in general aviation clearance request (GCR) format, up to 30 days prior to operation. However, your slot approval will not be confirmed until seven days out. The disadvantage of requesting a slot manually is that any subsequent slot revision must be done manually during slot coordination office hours, and cannot be done via the 24/7 online system.
8. Slot coordinator operating hours
The slot coordination office operates Monday-Friday 0900-1800 local. If you manually request a slot from the coordinator, as opposed to requesting online, you’ll not be able to view or change your slot time online. This is because the online site will not indicate the slots you have. For this reason it’s recommended that slots be requested on the website, as this allows you the flexibility to make slot time changes online, even when the slot coordination office is closed.
9. Slot procedures and deviations
Once an airport slot is confirmed deviation is +/- 20 minutes. No slot confirmation number needs to be noted in your flight plan. If you miss an approved slot time you’ll still be permitted to land/depart at VHHH; however, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) may send a letter requesting an explanation. If an operator continually misses approved slot times CAA reserves the right to place the operator on low priority for future slots.
10. 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
Best practice, when dealing with VHHH airport slots, is to book slots online and avoid schedule changes that can put previously approved slots in jeopardy. Be aware, also, that there will be certain time blocks – or entire days in some cases – where no airport slots will be available for GA operations.
Later, we’ll discuss permits and PPRs 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.