Beijing, China: 2024 Business Aviation Destination Guide

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Beijing, as the capital city of China and a global powerhouse, hosts an extensive network of international corporations and diplomatic entities. It’s a city teeming with history, culture, and economic vibrancy, making it a significant destination for business aviation, evidenced by the abundant flow of private jets and corporate aircraft each year.

With China’s reopening to foreign visitors in 2023, Beijing is prepared to witness a remarkable surge in international traffic, once again asserting its position as a prime business hub.

Here’s everything you need to know.


Beijing Area Airport Options

Beijing is facilitated by two major airports – Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA) and the newly opened Beijing Daxing International Airport (ZBAD), each with its own unique general aviation (GA) access and parking considerations.

ZBAA has traditionally been the primary choice for business aviation, located about 20 miles northeast of Beijing and approximately 30-40 minutes drive to the city center.

On the other hand, ZBAD is situated around 30 miles south of the city center, and it typically takes about a 70-80 minutes drive to get there.

If you’re arriving in China internationally, now ZBAA is the only option. ZBAD currently serves domestic flights ONLY, it will be gaining increasing popularity due to its advanced infrastructure, better parking conditions, lesser congestion, and overall more friendly operating environment for business aviation after its CIQ is facilitated, timeline is TBA.

However, your choice of airport should primarily be guided by your final destination within Beijing and the nature of your flight, be it an international or a domestic leg.


Beijing Capital (ZBAA)

Aerial View of Beijing International Airport

ZBAA Curfews & Restrictions

Beijing Capital is a 24-hour Airport of Entry, however, general aviation must operate under the following restrictions:

The following restrictions apply for General Aviation (G.A.) at this airport:

  • General aviation arrivals and/or departures are prohibited between 0700-0900 local time daily. However, exceptions may be approved upon request.
  • The peak hours are from 0900-2200 local time. During these hours, general aviation operators are limited to one movement, which means either one arrival or one departure per day. Quick turnarounds will not be approved. Currently, slots at ZBAA is not very busy, two slots during 0900-2200 local time is possible if we have enough lead time to apply the slots to CAAC, suggested having a 7-day lead time.
  • According to CAAC regulation, Beijing/ZBAA cannot “usually” be utilized for a tech stop or crew rest. (More on this below).

ZBAA Tech Stops (Usually Not an Option) – Here’s Why

The limitation on tech stops and crew rests at ZBAA (Beijing Capital International Airport) stems from a long-standing issue with slot congestion. In the past, a flight could not occupy two slots on the same day due to the airport’s heavy daily traffic. As a result, the authorities preferred not to allocate many slots to tech stop and crew rest flights, especially when business flights with passengers were struggling to secure slots.

For a long time, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) refrained from assigning slots or permits for tech stops or crew rests, particularly within the same day. Despite this, some agencies have found ways around this by not explicitly stating the purpose of tech stops or crew rests in their permit or slot applications. Instead, they would file it as a business purpose, allowing these flights to proceed as scheduled.

Recently, the slot congestion issue has eased, allowing us to secure two slots within the same day. This means Universal China can now support tech stop or crew rest trips to ZBAA as well. However, we do not advise misrepresenting the flight purpose to secure the needed slot or permit.

It’s important to note that there’s no explicit regulation about this, yet Universal Aviation China is aware of two incidents where agencies were disqualified by the CAAC for providing false government letters. The CAAC no longer accepts any permit or slot applications from these agencies. Thus, we encourage honest communication in all applications.


ZBAA Slots & PPR

PPR is not required at ZBAA.

Slots are required and are confirmed with landing permit approval automatically. Operators are encouraged to request slots as soon as flight details are known; sufficient lead time is key to getting approval. Slots are valid -0/+30 mins. All slot times are confirmed in Zulu/UTC time.


ZBAA Parking

In terms of general aviation parking, only five self-taxi parking bays are available. Usually, aircraft will need to be towed to parking spots located in different areas of the airfield, which may be a distance from the FBO and require a 5-10 minute drive to and from.

Hangar space parking for foreign-registered aircraft may be available depending on circumstances, but arrangements must be made in advance with the ground handler.


ZBAA Fuel

Normally the fuel will be arranged on the departure without any delays or shortages. Bear in mind that apart from the fuel price, there’s a fee for using the fuel truck.


ZBAA CIQ

Arrival Procedures for International Business Flights

When arriving on international business flights, immigration will board and check passengers and passports. Passengers are then shuttled to the FBO to clear immigration. For international departures, passengers must go through security and clear immigration at the FBO.

The crew and passengers will be met by a handler on the ramp.

Special Instructions for Crew Arrival in Beijing

If the crew is arriving in Beijing on a commercial flight, their information must be sent in advance for coordination with CIQ in Beijing.


ZBAA Hotels

The JW Marriott Chaoyang is located about 40 minutes away from ZBAA FBO. It is situated near the downtown area.

The Hilton Capital Airport, located approximately 10 minutes from ZBAA FBO, is closer to the airport. This makes it a suitable option for those seeking a quick turnaround.

Marriott Northeast, 30mins to ZBAA FBO, close to downtown, good facility.


Beijing Daxing International Airport (ZBAD)

Beijing Daxing Airport Aerial View

ZBAD is open 24 hours, but CIQ services are not available at ZBAD, hence only domestic operations are permissible. Business jets are not allowed to land or take off during 0700-0900LT.


ZBAD Slots, PPR & Parking

Slots are mandatory for all operations at this airport, and at this time, only domestic flights are permitted. Slots must be requested through the CAAC office and will be included in the landing permit. There are no slot tolerances, meaning early departures are not permitted, but delays can be arranged if needed.

No PPR is required.

There are no parking restrictions at ZBAD.


Facilities, Equipment & Ground Handling

ZBAA has one of the few Western-style FBOs in mainland China with an exclusive ramp for business jets. ZBAD has a newly built FBO.

VIP shuttle bus and VIP lounge are of good quality and clean. FBO staff are professional and the ground equipment are relatively well-appointed.

Universal Aviation China has locations at both ZBAA and ZBAD and has extensive experience handling wide-body aircraft for both charter and cargo operations, and we can help coordinate complex on- and off-airport logistics for cargo flights.

All necessary equipment is available at both airports.


Ground Transportation

It’s recommended to use prepaid transportation (with driver) to avoid language barriers. You can check pricing and make arrangements directly at https://universal.drivania.com.


Catering

Catering is available at both airports, but cannot be stored. All catering orders should be sent to the ground handler at least 24 hours prior to departure. Outside restaurants and hotels are also an option.

Refrigerated items must remain on the aircraft during your stay, but ice can be arranged on arrival to keep perishables cold. Please note, airport catering companies can no longer store cold food from the aircraft. Also, all pork-related products will be destroyed unless kept onboard for flights inbound from Hungary, and any fruit or vegetables will be confiscated by customs agents.


Security

Airport security is high at bother airports with CCTV surveillance and 24-hour patrols. Additional security will be arranged for government special flights only.


Peak Season and High Traffic Events

Peak periods in Beijing include:

  • New Year’s Day: January 1 – 3, 2024
  • Chinese New Year: February 10 – 16, 2024 (Based on the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year in 2024 falls on February 10th)
  • Labor Day: May 1 – 3, 2024
  • Dragon Boat Festival: June 10, 2024 (The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, which is June 10 in 2024)
  • National Day Holiday: October 1 – 7, 2024
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: September 17, 2024 (The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which is September 17 in 2024)

Weather

Beijing can be very cold in winter, particularly from December through February. De-icing during this period may be required before departure.


Conclusion

Beijing has two major airports servings business aviation flights: Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA) and the newly opened Beijing Daxing International Airport (ZBAD). Currently, however, only ZBAA supports international flights, so for now, it remains the airport of choice for most business aviation operators.

If you’re planning a mission to Beijing, Universal Aviation China can help.


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