This is a post by author Jimmy Young. Jimmy serves as country manager for Universal Aviation China, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Jimmy is an expert on business aircraft operations in China and can be contacted at email@example.com.
The first G20 Summit hosted by China takes place in Hangzhou on Sept 4 – 5. Every year, this event generates an influx of private flights for the host city–including Head of State and VVIP flights. This year’s G20 will be no different. In addition, China can be a more challenging operating environment for business aircraft when compared to other G20 host destinations, like last year’s G20 Antalya Summit. Considering all this, business aircraft operators planning to attend need to make arrangements now—if they haven’t already.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Event dates
The G20 runs Sept 4-5 at Hangzhou. The Business 20 (B20), an associated event, provides a platform for the international business community to participate in global economic governance and international economic/trade regulation. B20 takes place in Hangzhou Sept 3-4 and supports the work of the G20.
2. Primary airport
Hangzhou (ZSHC) is the primary airport for this event. Although no official NOTAMs have yet been issued, this location will be restricted to participating aircraft only from Aug 27- Sept 5. ZSHC is a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) for domestic operations but is normally restricted to 0600-2359 local for international arrivals/departures. However, during the B20/G20 period ZSHC will be available 24 hours for international general aviation (GA) movements.
3. ZSHC facilities and commute times
It’s about a 30-minute drive from ZSHC to the G20 conference venue and about 45 minutes from the airport to the city center. ZSHC has a new fixed-base operator (FBO) available to GA. In most cases you’ll be able to park right in front of the FBO. Passengers usually clear customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) inside the FBO while crew normally clear CIQ within the main terminal.
4. Alternate airports
The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) has announced seven additional airports as B20/G20 alternates for ZSHC. These include Shanghai Hongqiao (ZSSS), Shanghai Pudong (ZSPD), Nanjing (ZSNJ), Hefei (ZSOF), Nanchang (ZSCN), Wenzhou (ZSWZ) and Jinan (ZSJN). Although NOTAMs have not yet been published, we anticipate certain closures and restrictions to be put into place at some of these airports during the B20/G20 period. For flight times from these airports to ZSHC:
- ZSPD and ZSSS are about 20 minutes away
- ZSNJ is 40 minutes away
- ZSOF is 50 minutes away
- ZSWZ is 60 minutes away
- ZSCN and ZSJN are both about 70 minutes away
Note that the above airports may implement restrictions for non-participant B20/G20 movements, although no details have yet been released.
5. Operating hours for recommended airports
- ZSHC – 24 hours for domestic and international during the B20/G20 period
- ZSPD – 24 hours for both
- ZSSS – 0600-0059 local for both
- ZSNJ – 24 hours for domestic and international
- ZSOF – 24 hours for domestic and 0700 – 2300 local for international
- ZSJN – 24 hours for domestic and international
- ZSWZ – 24 hours for domestic and 0900-2100 local for international
6. ZSHC requirements
In order to obtain a landing permit for ZSHC during the B20/G20 period, the operator must have been pre-qualified by the relevant committee. No operation of GA equipment at ZSHC will be permitted by aircraft not specifically approved by G20/B20 committees. Landing permits are always required along with airport slots. Parking approval at ZSHC is arranged separately from airport slots.
7. Landing permits
Landing permits are needed for all private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to China. Plan on at least two business days lead time for landing permit requests. Note that all operators must adhere strictly to approved air routings and airport slot times. When operating to China only two revisions will be permitted for any approved permit request.
8. Parking availability
Parking at ZSHC will be available for all approved head of state and government aircraft, with permits coordinated via diplomatic channels. In the case of GA flights carrying B20/G20 participants it may be necessary to reposition to other airports, due to lack of parking availability at ZSHC.
9. Ground services
Full ground support services will be available at all eight of the above airports. In the case of any special requirements by government aircraft operators, such as special security and wireless equipment usage airside, this should be confirmed, on a case by case basis with airport authorities, in advance.
10. CIQ clearance
CIQ clearance at the above eight airfields takes place either in an FBO, general aviation terminal (GAT), or within the main terminal depending upon the particular airport. CIQ authorities require full itinerary, tail number, flight number, type of aircraft and crew/passenger manifest.
11. China visas
Visas are required for all passengers and crew traveling to China. While visas on arrival and transit visas are possible for some nationalities of passengers/crew and for certain flight scenarios, this must always be confirmed in advance. In most cases – for example nationals of France or the U.S. – visas on arrival are not possible. We recommend obtaining China visas early as visa office hours and policies vary at embassies and consulates in different world cities.
12. Hotels and local transport
It may be somewhat challenging to source adequate crew accommodations in central Hangzhou due to this event. In some cases, crew may need to travel to outlying areas of the city, or take a train/car to a location outside the city, in order to source accommodations. In terms of ground transport, availability of pre-paid options (car with driver) will be limited. With anticipated road closures in the city, and close to the event venue, traffic will move slower than normal. Due to potential for traffic congestion and delays it’s recommended that crew plan to arrive at the airport three to four hours prior to departure, rather than the more standard two hours prior.
13. Additional information
If you’re not an official G20 participant do not expect to be able to obtain parking at ZSHC over the B20/G20 period. In some cases you may be able to drop and go, but in other cases you’ll need to land at an alternate airport. Due to congestion at ZSHC, particularly just prior to G20 opening day and just after the final day, there may be delays in fuel uplifts, catering and other services.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to China, contact Christine Vamvakas firstname.lastname@example.org.
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