GA Airport Slots at VHHH – Latest Changes Affecting Operators
Although availability of general aviation (GA) airport slots for Hong Kong (VHHH) has become more restrictive, there are new regulatory issues to be mindful of beginning September 1, 2017. These changes have potential to further complicate airport slot management at this location.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. VHHH slot requirements
VHHH mandates airport slots for all arrivals/departures. However, slot priority is always given first to schedule commercial and then to cargo movements leaving GA operators to compete for remaining available slots. Over recent months GA slot availability has become more difficult at VHHH, due to increasing scheduled commercial traffic. Going forward it’s anticipated that the local slot situation may become even more challenging for GA.
2. Requesting slots
VHHH slot availability can be viewed online via a third party website but this requires access permission. Trip support providers and handlers registered to use this site are able to obtain airport slots for you.
3. Current slot situation
Slots are available 24/7 at VHHH but there are limitations to obtain slots for night hours, 2200-0659 local, due to noise considerations. GA operators in good standing may obtain slots up to 14 day prior but these requests are generally at the bottom of the priority list due to priority given to scheduled commercial traffic. While the slot situation varies day to day, there are often only a very limited amount of GA slots per day.
4. Penalties for misuse of slots
In the past if an operator did not use an assigned slot, without cancelling it in advance, or was substantially late in terms of approved slot time the trip support provider or handler who’d coordinated the slot was penalized. This all changes as of September 1, 2017, with a new “Tail Specific Penalty Scheme” that goes into effect at 0001 local. Under this new scheme the tail number itself, rather than the operator or the third party obtaining the slots, will be penalized. As of September 1 there will be a trial period, of unknown duration, during which authorities will review the outcome of these changes prior to making permanent regulatory changes.
5. New penalties – the finer points
Assorted penalties will be assigned to aircraft based on their misuse of slots at VHHH. Once you have accumulated 20 penalty points or more, lead time to book future slots will be reduced from 14 days to 10 days. Operators may review their penalty folio, by tail number, via the Hong Kong Coordination Office (HKSCO) website as of October 1.
For more details about the Calculation of Penalty Points and Penalty Threshold, please refer to the official guidelines.
9/6/17: updated by the author
6. Penalty point management
For example, if you accumulate 20 or more penalty points for a specific tail number during the month of September, you’ll have the next month (in this case October) to explain your reasons to airport authorities. If authorities do not accept your reasoning as being valid, reduced slot lead times will impact your tail number as of November 1. This reduced lead time penalty will be in effect for one calendar month. If you do not rack up 20 or more penalty points during October your slot lead time will revert back to the standard 14 days. Note that penalty points accrued for a particular tail number will remain on file for 12 months.
7. Tracking penalty points
Operator penalties are overseen and tracked by HKSCO, This agency monitors aircraft subject to reduced slot request times as well as operators blocked from obtaining slots.
Below you will find how the penalties will be allocated based on the infraction:
|A||Operation without confirmed runway slot or parking stand booking||10|
|B||Failure to operate without cancelling the confirmed runway slot or parking stand booking||5|
|C||Operation at a time significantly different from the confirmed runway slot||1|
|D||Cancellation of confirmed runway slot or parking stand booking less than 2 days in advance of the aircraft confirmed slot time||1|
8. Slot confirmation tips
Once you receive a VHHH slot confirmation, this must be forwarded to your local handler in order to confirm ground handling services. If your handler does not receive this confirmation, no handling or parking services will be set up. Note that it’s not necessary to put slot confirmations in your flight plan or to forward it to CAA with landing permit request.
The trend at VHHH seems to be fewer and fewer available GA slots. The newly imposed slot penalty scheme will not increase the number of GA slots available but it may prevent some misuse of limited slots. Be aware that as of September 1 it’s the individual aircraft that will be penalized for slot misuse and not the handler who obtained the slots.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Hong Kong, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.