BizAv Trip Planning: 2016 Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix
This year’s Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix takes place July 22-24 at the Hungaroring Track, about 25 km northeast of central Budapest. This popular race event, which has taken place here since 1986, attracts elevated general aviation (GA) traffic to the region and puts a strain on local hotel availability. If you’re planning on attending, it’s recommended that you make arrangements for aircraft parking and crew accommodation as soon as schedule is known.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airport
Budapest (LHBP) is the primary airport for this race event. LHBP is an airport of entry (AOE) complete with a general aviation terminal (GAT) and full ground handling availability. Any size or type of aircraft can be handled at this location, up to a Boeing 747. LHBP has no airport slot or prior permission required (PPR) mandates, operates 0500-2359 local, and accepts Stage 2 aircraft. An operating curfew is in effect between 0001 and 0500 local daily, but overtime may be requested to operate during curfew hours, at discretion of airport authorities. Should you wish to arrive/depart during night curfew hours it’s important to send overtime requests via your ground handler at least 48 hours prior to arrival.
2. Parking at LHBP
We anticipate LHBP traffic to be about 10% higher than normal during the Grand Prix period. Although LHBP has a plan in place to handle additional parking requests, there’s always potential that parking may become an issue. Also, keep in mind that airport slots could be implemented over the Grand Prix period, if increases in traffic are higher than expected. While there are no current or known plans to mandate slots at LHBP, this could always change, at airport authority discretion.
3. Alternate airports
The recommended alternate for LHBP within Hungary is Gyor-Per (LHPR), about 60 NM to the east of LHBP. This location is an AOE with 0800-1800 local operating hours and overtime availability upon request. For overtime arrangements 48 hours notice should be provided. LHPR offers full GA support and credit arrangements are available. However, note that the runway here is just 6600 feet. Other recommended alternates, although outside of Hungary, including Bratislava (LZIB) and Brno (LKTB), at 94 and 145 NM to the northwest of LHBP, respectively. Both are 24-hour AOEs. LZIB mandates airport slots for all arrivals/departures, and slot deviation is +/- 15 minutes. At this location all services and airport charges must be paid either via credit card or cash. LKTB, on the other hand, does not mandate airport slots, but a PPR is needed for all operations. It’s recommended that PPR requests for LKTB be submitted 24-48 hours prior to the estimated time of arrival (ETA). All support services and airport charges can be arranged via credit.
4. Hungary landing permits
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) does not require landing permits for private non-revenue flights if you’re operating to LHBP. For operations to any other airport in the country, or if you’re flying charter (non-scheduled commercial), you’ll always need to obtain a landing permit. Official lead time for private/charter permit requests is four business days. Note that operators must submit worldwide insurance documentation with any permit request. Once approved landing permits are valid for the approved Zulu day plus 72 hours.
5. CIQ procedures
Customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) for all GA flights is processed within the GAT at LHBP. All passengers, crews and luggage are screened, and this procedure normally takes 5-10 minutes. Note that passport validity needs to be at least 90 days beyond intended length of stay and visas may be required for some passenger/crew nationalities.
6. Airport security
LHBP airport authorities do not permit outside security contractors on the airside ramp. Airside areas have strict federal or state security in place, and no outside aircraft security guards may attend your aircraft. While additional aircraft security is not considered necessary at LHBP, aircraft guards may be possible to arrange internally, via the airport security department with prior arrangements.
7. Hotels availability
Budapest is a very popular tourism destination during summer months. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in central Europe, Budapest is often described as the “Paris of central Europe” and “Queen of the Danube.” As the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix will put an additional strain on local hotel availability it’s important to confirm crew accommodations as early as possible. We expect hotels in Budapest to sell out during this event. For those planning short notice trips to the Hungarian Grand Prix, crew may need to drive to another city, or reposition the aircraft, in order to source adequate accommodations. If you’re able to find 4-star accommodations in Budapest expect to pay about 300 USD/night.
8. Local transport
For local travel within Budapest and to/from the race circuit, pre-paid transport (car with driver), and public taxis may be considered. To ease surface access to the race track, one lane along the highway will be dedicated just for persons traveling to and from the Grand Prix venue.
9. Additional information
More information on the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix may be found on the official site.
For operators who plan to arrive or depart LHBP during night curfew hours it’s important to apply for an overtime extension as early as possible. Only private non-revenue flights landing at LHBP may do so without a landing permit, but travel to any other airport requires one. Charter operators require a landing permit for travel to any airport in the country. As this time period is the peak season for LHBP, hotels may be an issue and will likely sell out for this event.
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 Hungary, contact me at email@example.com.