Business Aircraft Ops to the 2016 Melbourne Grand Prix

Business Aircraft Ops to the 2016 Melbourne Grand Prix

This is a post by author Tony King. Tony is the managing director at Universal Aviation Australia – Sydney. Tony is an expert on business aircraft operations in Australia and can be contacted at

The Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place March 18-20, 2016 at the Albert Park street circuit a few miles south of central Melbourne. For general aviation (GA) operators planning to attend this event or traveling to Melbourne during this time, it’s important to consider aircraft parking and crew accommodation options as early as possible.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Primary airports

There are two primary airports to consider for those planning to attend the Melbourne Grand Prix or just traveling to Melbourne during this time – Melbourne (YMML) and Essendon (YMEN). YMML is the main international field, and it’s a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE). YMEN operates 0600-2300 local with no airport overtime possible other than for emergency or air ambulance flights. Note that YMEN has a weight limitation of 25,000 kg maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and is only an AOE upon request. To set up customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance at this location, and make it an AOE for your arrival, an official request must be made. If approved, CIQ officers will need to drive out from YMML to handle the flight. If it’s not possible to set up CIQ clearance for your intended schedule to YMEN, you’ll need to operate to YMML.

2. Alternate airport

Should aircraft parking be an issue at YMML and YMEN, a good parking alternate to consider is Avalon (YMAV). As this is a domestic only airport, international arrivals first need to land at an AOE for CIQ processing prior to proceeding to YMAV. YMAV is a 24-hour airport with long runways and plenty of parking available. As YMAV is a less busy location than either YMML or YMEN, air and ground congestion issues are not a factor. Drive time to central Melbourne is about 50-60 minutes.

3. Landing permits

Private non-revenue flights do not require landing permits for Australia. However, all revenue charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations must obtain non-scheduled flight permission. While this is not a traditional landing permit, it does involve submitting information and documentation to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in order to ensure that charter operators comply with all applicable requirements. In addition, charter and high-frequency private operators must also fill out a 094 document from CASA and submit an application for a Transportation Safety Program (TSP). Note that a TSP application typically takes a minimum of three months to process.

4. Permit requirements

Lead time to obtain non-scheduled flight permission for Australia is a minimum of five business days. Operators will need to provide CASA with:
– airworthiness and registration certificates
– noise certificate
– a certified copy of the company’s incorporation or registration, issued by the Registrar of Companies in the operator’s principle place of business
Note that CASA only operates Monday-Friday during normal business hours. For more information on Certificate of Incorporation requirements it’s recommended to talk with your 3rd-party provider.

5. Airport slots and PPRs

None of the three airfields serving Melbourne mandate airport slots or prior permission required (PPR). In fact, there are only three airports in Australia with slot requirements – Sydney (YSSY), Brisbane (YBBN) and Perth (YPPH).

6. ADS-B requirements

GA operators must be equipped and certified for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) to operate above flight level (FL) 290 within Australian airspace. ADS-B exemptions had been available up until December 2015, but are no longer possible. Without ADS-B certification, operations are limited to FL290 and below.

7. Ground support services

YMML, YMEN and YMAV all offer full GA ground handling support and fuel uplift services. Credit arrangements can be made with prior notice for all services. Fuel cards are accepted for uplifts, but cash is not a preferred form of payment. For YMAV there are no fueling delays to consider. In the case of YMML and YMEN it’s always best to request fuel uplifts in advance. Though fuelers will know the average fuel uplift needs for the particular type of aircraft, it’s recommended that you specify volume requirements.

8. CIQ clearance and visas

CIQ processing for GA at Melbourne area airports is done in the main terminal. The local handler will escort passengers and crew through the clearance process, via a dedicated crew clearance line. Passengers do not have to stand in line with scheduled commercial arrivals. Note that Australia is very stringent on CIQ clearance procedures. Note that all crew and passengers need to hold appropriate visas prior to arrival. Many nationalities are able to obtain these online. If you are not eligible for the online visa, you will need to obtain it from an Australian embassy.

9. CIQ considerations

Australian Customs and Border Protection now require a minimum 24 hours’ notice for all arrival requests and any itinerary changes of more than 30 minutes from previously approved times. A stamped gen dec from the previous airport is always required for all international arrivals, and no exceptions to this are possible. Be aware that it’s no longer possible to clear CIQ onboard the aircraft, and Australian law prohibits ground handlers from filling out any CIQ related forms on the operator’s behalf. Due to quarantine requirements all fresh and unprocessed food must be disposed of upon landing, unless prior arrangements with the Quarantine officer have been made.

10. Hotels and local transport

There’s a wide range of hotel accommodations available in the greater Melbourne area, including large international hotel chains. To secure preferred 4- and 5-star crew accommodations it’s best to request hotel rooms as soon as trip schedule is known. For local prepaid transport, a car with driver can be set up and rental vehicles can be arranged at all three Melbourne airports.

11. Additional information

For more information on the 2016 Melbourne Grand Prix see the official site.


YMML is the primary airport for this event, as YMEN has restricted operating hours and YMAV is not an AOE. We do not anticipate YMML will have aircraft parking issues during the Grand Prix time period. For those planning to attend this popular race event the main concerns will be arranging crew accommodations and local transport.

Universal and Universal Aviation are not associated in any way with the Formula One group of companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX, and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing B.V.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Australia, contact me at