Flying a business jet to the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix
Guarulhos (SBGR) is the preferred airport for many international general aviation (GA) arrivals into Brazil for the Formula One Grand Prix event which runs November 9-11, 2018 in Sao Paulo. In 2017, new local new long-term GA parking procedures went effect at SBGR. While these new policies improved GA parking availability and allowed longer-term parking stays, costs are now dramatically higher.
The following is an overview of what you need to know about attending the event:
1. Open air hangar policy
As of October 25, 2017, any parking stay over two hours for domestic operations, or three hours for international ops, will be subject to a new Open Air Hangar (OAH) policy. Previously, GA operators could use apron parking for stays up to about 48 hours at SBGR. However, after October 25 you must relocate to the OAH area, or reposition to a different airport, after two or three hours on the ground.
2. Parking costs are going up
It used to be possible to park on the GA apron for up to 48 hours at a cost of about 10 USD/hour for a larger business jet. However, this option is no longer be available after October 25 as you must use OAH for stays beyond two or three hours. While pricing has not yet been established we anticipate daily rates between 1500 and 2000 USD/night. For example, if you stay at SBGR for six hours you may be looking at a 24-hour OAH rate as opposed to 60 USD or so previously.
3. OAH specifics
The good news is that GA parking should no longer be an issue at SBGR, and you’ll be able to park as long as you like. But, you’ll be paying much more than previously. To use the OAH you’ll first send a parking request to airport management who will forward it to the third party provider who’ll be managing this parking area for the next 15 years. The OAH area is located on Apron 12 and makes up a part of the former GA apron. By using a compact parking approach more GA aircraft can be accommodated at SBGR than previously.
4. Towing requirements
Note that towing in and out of the OAH area is mandatory and towing charges are not included in overnight parking fees. Expect towing charges to/from OAH to be about 300USD – 500USD each way. It’s not necessary for operators to bring their own tow bars as local handlers are well stocked for most models of business aircraft.
5. SBGR parking opportunities
In the past SBGR had filled up and had to turn away overnight GA parking requests during certain peak holiday and special event periods. Parking was not an issue, but during last year’s Formula One Grand Prix in part because the price of GA parking had been boosted to about 1000USD – 2000 USD/night. Likewise, we do not expect GA parking availability issues this year.
6. Alternative airports
Congonhas (SBSP) is the closest airport to both the city center and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace Interlagos race circuit in the Interlagos neighborhood. Drive time from SBSP to the Interlagos track is 30-40 minutes as opposed to about one hour and one hour 40 minutes from SBGR and Campinas (SBKP) respectively. However, there are restrictions to consider when operating to SBSP.
7. SBSP restrictions
SBSP operates daily from 0600-2300 local with no airport overtime possible. Airport slots are required for GA between 0700 and 1000 local Monday through Friday. As this is not an airport of entry (AOE) you’ll first need to land at an AOE in Brazil before proceeding to SBSP. For overnight GA parking you’ll need to use private hangars as ramp parking is not available for non-commercial flights. Prices vary for private hangar parking but generally range between 1000 and 1500 USD/night. The good news is that towing charges, to/from the hangar area, are included in overnight parking rates.
8. Airport slot considerations
Airport slots at SBSP have +/- 30 min deviation and may be requested anytime between 120 hours and two hours before flight. Be mindful that you’ll need to have your AVANAC domestic flight permit approval prior to applying for an airport slot. It usually takes at least 48 hours to obtain a domestic flight permit so you’ll want to have this as early as possible to give yourself time to secure an airport slot. At this point no NOTAM restrictions have been issued for the weekend of the Formula One Grand Prix but this may still become a factor to consider closer to the event.
SBKP is a 24-hour AOE about a one hour 40 minute drive from central Sao Paulo. There’s no fixed-base operator (FBO) or general aviation terminal (GAT) at this location but full GA support services, fuel uplifts and credit are available. The GA parking ramp at SBKP is fairly remote and overnight parking charges run 800 to 1000 USD/night. You may park at SBKP as long as you wish but note that towing is mandatory, even if you’re parked in an area with no other aircraft nearby. Expect to pay about 300 USD each way for tows to/from your parking spot. These towing charges are in addition to overnight parking fees. At this location we recommend that operators bring their own tow bar.
At all AOEs in Brazil, customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) is cleared within the commercial terminal. This process usually takes 20-30 minutes, depending upon arriving/departing international traffic at the moment.
11. Visa requirements
For many nationalities of crew, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, no visas are needed to enter Brazil for up to 10 days. However, you must be active crew listed on the gen dec and carry valid travel documents. Note that you’ll need a traditional visa to enter Brazil on a commercial flight and leave as crew. However, you may enter Brazil as active crew and the reposition on a commercial flight by showing your gendec in place of a traditional visa.
12. Hotels and local transport
While hotel prices will be higher than normal during the Brazilian Grand Prix period we expect an adequate supply of four star crew accommodations to be available. While there are few hotels near the Interlagos track there are many good hotel options in the city center, including international brands. Prices for 4-star crew accommodations will range from 200-400 USD/night. For local transport we recommend pre-paid (car with driver) options and avoiding public taxis. UBER also works well in this area but it’s difficult to ensure you’ll have a driver who speaks your language.
13. Security considerations
At most airports in Brazil arranging a guard to watch over your aircraft airside is possible. This needs to be set up at least 24 hours in advance, in order to obtain airport authority approval. Guards must have proper security licensing and certificates and be unarmed. Off-airport security considerations are similar to other major world centers. When in public areas it’s recommended to not flash jewelry, cash or talk too much on expensive mobile phones.
14. In-flight catering options
It’s best to provide a minimum of 24 hours notification for catering orders and 48 hours if special items, wines or cuisines need to be sourced. Best options are established in-flight caterers as they’re able to deliver orders directly to your aircraft. Upon international arrival all open catering must be disposed of. There are no options in the Sao Paulo area to store left over catering at the airport. Sealed and/or sterile food items may, however, be offloaded and taken to your hotel.
15. Access back to your aircraft
Prior to clearing CIQ upon arrival at a Sao Paulo area AOE it’s important for crew and passengers to ensure they’re removed everything they’ll need from the aircraft. While it’s possible for crew to access the aircraft prior to day of departure, to pick up left items or favorite sunglasses etc, this is not recommended. You’ll require permission from airport authorities and CIQ officials to access your aircraft airside and this may take up to several hours for your handler to coordinate. There’s also the possibility of fines if the crew leaves items onboard that need to be retrieved later.
16. Helicopter shuttles
Several service providers are offering helicopter transfer options between SBKP to the Interlagos race track. This needs to be set up in advance but is very doable in this vertical takeoff and landing friendly metropolis.
We don’t anticipate GA parking issues at SBGR for the Grand Prix event it’s best to submit parking requests as early as possible. If you’re planning a short notice trip to this year’s Brazilian Grand Prix it’s best to avoid SBSP and to choose a designated AOE – either SBGR or SBKP. This is because you’ll avoid the requirement of obtaining an AVANAC domestic overflight permit as you’re making no more than one stop in Brazil.
Be aware of hotel and transportation options when traveling to Brazil, especially for large events such as the Grand Prix. Note that security should be a top consideration when traveling to Brazil, outside of the airports.
This website is unofficial and is not associated in any way with the Formula 1companies. 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 Brazil, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.