Traveling to ABACE in Shanghai – Part 3: Security, Ground Support & Local Area

Traveling to ABACE in Shanghai – Part 3: Security, Ground Support & Local Area

This is a post by author Cynthia Zhang. Cynthia serves as Managing Director for Universal Aviation China, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Cynthia can be contacted at

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled “Traveling to ABACE in Shanghai – Part 2: Permits, Slots, CIQ & Visas.

Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) is taking place 17-19 April. When operating to China, operators should be aware that it’s an expensive operating environment, from the perspective of nav fees, airport fees, ground handling, parking, and ground handling service quality is very good. In addition to fixed base operators (FBOs) at some of the larger airports of entry (AOEs) you’ll have access to full-service based handlers with good ground support equipment (GSE) availability.

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

1. Security considerations

Airport security is very good at larger AOEs in China, with adequate fencing, patrols, surveillance and airside access controls. While there are some airports that do allow additional private security to be brought airside, this is not the norm. Many airports in China do not allow additional airside security, other than for government flights with prior approval. Off airport security threats are low in China. If you leave something onboard the aircraft and need to retrieve it prior to the day of departure be aware that obtaining airside access, and arranging transport out to your aircraft, may require a couple of hours’ notice.

2. Ground support equipment

For operators heading to Shanghai it’s recommended to carry a tow bar. Handlers may not have all types of tow bars, causing possible operating delays. There are also times your aircraft may need to be towed to a “compact parking area” if your stay on the ground is longer than two to three days.

3. Catering considerations

For operations to China we suggest providing catering uplift orders at least 48 hours prior, particularly for more customized orders. Good in-flight catering options are available at ZSSS, ZSPD and other major AOEs in China. Many crew, particularly regionally based crew, often prefer to source catering locally from restaurants/hotels. There are generally no issues in China regarding direct catering from restaurants/hotels and no challenges in bringing catering through airport security. In terms of agriculture, regulations standard practice is to dispose of all open catering upon international arrival. It’s possible, in certain circumstances and with advance arrangement, to store onboard catering for the next leg either with the ground handler or using the facilities of a local caterer.

4. Crew accommodations

Shanghai has a good supply of 4- and 5-star hotel accommodations, including major international chain brands. While accommodation options here do not usually sell out, higher pricing and stricter cancellation policies are in effect during peak season. Expect to pay about 300 USD/night for 4-star crew accommodations in central Shanghai during ABACE period.

5. Local transport

Prepaid (car with driver) transport vetted by your service provider or ground handler is recommended for local transport within Shanghai. While public taxi and Uber options are available there may be language issues to consider. Some crews choose to rent vehicles and this is possible by submitting a driver’s license along with a translated version of the document. We only recommend use of rental vehicles if crews are very familiar with the local area.

6. Traveling with pets and/or weapons

Guns and other weapons are strictly prohibited in China. It’s usually only possible to bring these in if you’re a government flight with prior approval. Pets may be temporarily imported into the country assuming all required health certificates are submitted in advance. Plan to provide at least seven business days prior notification if you plan on arriving with a pet.

7. Additional Reading: Operating Requirements

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.


We suggest operators carry tow bars when operating to China as you may need to be repositioned on the airfield, particularly when staying more than 72 hours at destination. It’s best to coordinate all in-flight catering uplifts well prior to flight and your local ground handler can assist with this.


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