Business Aircraft Ops to Singapore via Seletar: Part 1 – Airport Considerations
This is a post by author Yvonne Chan. Yvonne is managing director for Universal Aviation Singapore, which has an aircraft ground-handling facility in Seletar. Yvonne is an expert on business aircraft operations in Singapore and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is part one of a two-article series on airport options for Singapore.
There are two airport options for Singapore, and each has its pros and cons. For many General Aviation (GA) operators, Seletar (WSSL) is the preferred airport option. With a fairly recent runway extension to 6,024 feet (ft.) (1,836 meters [m]) and a refurbishment underway, Seletar has become a more viable option for larger GA aircraft. In certain circumstances, however, Changi Intl (WSSS) may be a better choice.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Seletar vs. Changi Intl
Both WSSL and WSSS are 24-hour airports of entry with full aircraft services and support available. WSSL is primarily a GA airfield, with plenty of aircraft parking availability, does not have airport slot requirements, and is efficient in terms of Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) processing.
2. WSSL pros and cons
WSSL is focused on GA operations, and the airfield is beginning to see heavier traffic. No airport slots are needed for WSSL, parking is generally available, and ground handling services are less expensive than at WSSS. Alternative parking for overnight stops is usually required for WSSS. Many regional GA operators prefer to use WSSL as there are seldom ground delays, and it’s only a 20-minute drive into the city center. WSSL, however, only has one, 6,024-ft. (1,836-m) runway with no ILS available until some time in 2017.
Fuel prices are generally higher at WSSL than at WSSS. A new fuel vendor just started operations as of April 2014, so the prices may become more competitive.
Airport authorities have stated that they’d like to move as much GA traffic as possible to WSSL. However, WSSL intends to implement slots once refurbishment of the airport facilities nears completion.
3. WSSS pros and cons
WSSS is the primary commercial airfield for Singapore and a high-traffic location. WSSS has longer runways than WSSL and, therefore, may be preferred by operators planning max-length flight departures from Singapore. Additionally, fuel is cheaper at WSSS compared to at WSSL. On the other hand, WSSS ground handling services are more expensive, airport slots are required, and aircraft parking is limited to 48 hours, provided it is available as you compete directly with scheduled commercial airlines. For WSSS you may only request airport slots seven days in advance of operation and, due to airport congestion, may not get exactly the slots you request.
4. WSSL closures
There are regular and ongoing runway maintenance closures to consider when operating to WSSL. As there are several permanent runway closures in effect at WSSL, it’s important to monitor NOTAMs for this airport.
1) Scheduled RWY 03/21 maintenance closures
Between 1600 and 2300 first Friday of every month or second Friday of the month if first Friday is a public holiday. The runway is closed to all traffic except air ambulance and emergency flights. Advance notice of 30 minutes is required for emergency opening of the runway.
2) Daily permanent closures for RWY 03/21
There are closures on RWY 03/21 0500-0515, 1030-1045, and 2300-2315 for runway inspection. Aircraft delays can be anticipated during these times.
3) Additional permanent closures for RWY 03/21
Between 1600 and 1800 every Tuesday and Friday of every month. The runway is closed to all traffic except air ambulance and emergency flights. Advanced notice of 30 minutes is required for emergency opening of the runway. Freighter operations to WSSL are banned 1400-2300 daily.
5. WSSL procedures
CIQ clearance at WSSL takes place within the terminal building, and processing is very quick – usually taking just a few minutes. Luggage is security-screened via X-ray for both arrival and departure. Currently, only GA traffic use WSSL, but this may change. There are plans to move some scheduled commercial turboprop operations from WSSS to WSSL. Aircraft parking is usually not an issue at WSSL, and power-in/power-out parking spots are available for most aircraft types. If you plan to stay more than 24 hours, however, you’ll be towed to a Compact Parking Area, but crew members do not need to be present for aircraft repositioning. Local handlers have tow bars available for most aircraft types. If you’re operating a less common aircraft model, it’s recommended to bring a tow bar with you.
Be sure to double-check operating and runway closure hours when planning a stop at WSSL. The good news is that aircraft parking will not be an issue and WSSL is not a congested location with taxi and/or runway delays.
Later, we’ll discuss airport procedures for operations to Singapore.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Singapore, contact me at email@example.com.