Bahrain F1 Grand Prix 2023: Business Aviation Planning Guide

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This year’s Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix takes place March 3-5 at the Sakhir Circuit, the only true desert racetrack in the Formula One calendar. This modern facility, completely surrounded by sand, is a unique setting for a very popular event and draws a significant amount of international business aviation traffic. We recommend that general aviation (GA) operators planning to attend the Bahrain Grand Prix begin confirming trip arrangements as early as possible.

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


About the Race

The Bahrain Grand Prix is an annual Formula One race that takes place in the Middle Eastern kingdom of Bahrain.

The race is one of the most significant events on the Formula One calendar, attracting thousands of fans and top racing teams from around the world. The Bahrain International Circuit, located in Sakhir, is the venue for the race and is considered one of the most impressive motorsports facilities in the world, offering high-speed straights, challenging corners, and excellent viewing opportunities for spectators.

The Bahrain Grand Prix is known for its exciting racing and the unique experience it offers to both fans and drivers alike, making it a must-attend event for any motorsports enthusiast.


Primary airport

The primary airport for this event is Bahrain (OBBI). This is a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) with full GA support services and plenty of available parking. The airport is located just 3.3 miles and 15 minutes from downtown.

Slots and PPR are not required at OBBI.

Tow-bars are not always available, so all flights requiring long-term parking should confirm with their handler that one is available.


Ground Handling Services at OBBI

Full GA support services–as well as credit for services, handling, and airport fees–are available at OBBI. Your ground handler will be able to assist with any additional service requests, such as fuel uplifts, in-flight catering, aircraft security, local transport, and crew accommodations. For in-flight catering requests it’s best to provide at least 48 hours advance notice.


Alternate airports

No alternate airports are available within Bahrain, with the exception of military airports requiring diplomatic clearance. Closest civilian airport to OBBI is Dammam (OEDF) in Saudi Arabia. This is an AOE, and it’s about a 30–60 minute drive from Bahrain.


Bahrain landing permits

Landing permits are required for all private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to Bahrain. Official permit request lead time is two business days. We recommend, when possible, allowing four business days to obtain permit confirmations.


CIQ clearance

For all private and charter flights we recommend using the VIP terminal at OBBI. Passengers will be transported to the gate of this facility by the ground handler where they’ll clear customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) privately without the need to stand in line with scheduled commercial passengers. This service is available at an additional charge and with advance arrangement. Depending upon the nationality of passengers and crew, visas may be required, and they may or may not be possible to obtain upon arrival. Therefore, it’s always important to confirm any visa requirements with your 3rd-party provider in advance. Be aware that Bahrain customs authorities strictly enforce regulations on the importation/exportation of weapons and any materials that may be considered inappropriate. Also, it’s important that any alcohol products remain locked onboard the aircraft.


Hotels and local transport

For the best and most preferred hotel options, it’s recommended that accommodations for the Bahrain Grand Prix period be booked as early as possible. While there are a few hotels available close to the race circuit, most hotel options are about 30 minutes away in the city center. Choices for local travel include prepaid transport (car with driver), vetted public taxis, and hotel-provided transportation. Hotels in Bahrain often provide transport between the airport and hotel and may even offer transport to the Sakhir Circuit during the Grand Prix period.

The cost of hotels during the Bahrain Grand Prix can vary depending on the location, the level of accommodation, and the time of booking. Generally, prices tend to be higher during the race weekend due to the high demand for accommodation from visitors attending the event. It is recommended to book well in advance and compare prices from multiple hotels to find the best deal.


Conclusion

 

Although we do not anticipate issues with GA parking availability during the Grand Prix period, preferred hotel availability may be an issue. To avoid the potential for any last-minute issues, it’s recommended that crew accommodations be confirmed as early as possible. Also, ensure that you allow yourself enough time to obtain the landing permit and confirm any visa requirements for your flight.

 


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