Business Aviation + Cars: Flying to the Korean Formula 1 Grand Prix
This year’s Korean Formula 1 Grand Prix will be held 12-13 October at the Korea International Circuit in the South Jeolla region – southwestern part of the Republic of Korea (commonly referred to as South Korea). This circuit is some distance from Seoul, but there are four suggested airport options for business jet operators who need to fly in for the event. Korean Grand Prix is a busy period and draws large crowds. Best options, in terms of aircraft parking and hotel accommodations, will be available to those who book as early as possible. If you are flying into the Republic of Korea for this event, here is some info to help with your planning:
1. There are four airports to consider for the Korean Grand Prix
Closest airport to the Grand Prix is Muan-Gun (RKJB), and it’s approximately a 30-minute drive to the circuit. Other good options, although they’re farther from the race track, include Busan (RKPK), a three-hour drive, and Incheon Intl (RKSI) and Gimpo (RKSS),which are both approximately four-hour drives from the track. All four are Airports of Entry (AOE), but operating hours and permit requirements differ.
2. RKJB offers good aircraft parking options
RKJB normally operates 0000-0900 UTC, but operating hours will be extended during the Korean Grand Prix period. During most of the year, customs and immigration operates 2200-1300 UTC, with customs officers normally dispatched from another airport. During Korean Grand Prix, customs and immigration hours may be extended based on approved landing permits. As traffic volumes will be elevated over this period, Korean Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires one month’s lead time to process landing permits. Your landing permit acts as confirmation of aircraft parking as well as customs and immigration arrangements. Jet fuel uplifts for RKJB must be pre-arranged, and operators should note that jet fuel here is JP-8 (the military equivalent of Jet-A). All ground handling services can be arranged on credit with prior arrangement.
3. RKPK is a military airfield and another good option
RKPK is an AOE, but it’s also a military airfield. Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed for all operations. Additionally, airport slots are required for all arrivals and departures, with slot deviation of -30 minutes/+ 1 hour. Airport operating hours are 0600-2300 local, with customs/immigration normally available 0630-2230 local. Lead time for PPR is seven working days, and two working days’ advance notice is required to arrange jet fuel. Ground handling and 4th-party services may be arranged on credit with prior arrangements.
4. RKSI has strict airport slot procedures
RKSI is a 24-hour AOE with strict airport slot requirements due to higher traffic volumes. Airport slots must be confirmed prior to requesting a landing permit, and all flight plans must be filed using approved airport slot times. Airport slots are obtained from the Ministry of Transport (MOT), with deviation of only -/+ 15 minutes. Plan on two working days’ advance notice for jet fuel uplifts and prior arrangement for all ground handling services.
5. RKSS operates 0600-2300 local with no overtime permitted
If arrival at RKSS is delayed beyond 2200 local, the aircraft will have to divert to RKSI. If departure is delayed until after 2200 local, you have the option to either: 1) reposition to RKSI to pick up passengers, or 2) depart from RKSS the next morning after 0700 local. To avoid conflicts with airport curfews, it’s recommended that all aircraft arrive and depart RKSS no later than 2100 local. While airport slots are needed, slot requirements are not as strict as RKSI, and the deviation time is -/+ one hour. Certain aircraft are restricted from operating to RKSS:
- Government flights
- Aircraft with capacity of more than 20 passengers
- Flights with a maximum payload capacity of 6,000 lbs. or more
- Private aircraft carrying commercial goods
- State aircraft that are not owned by an enterprise of person
As with other airports in the region, two working days are required to make fueling arrangements and prior notice is needed to arrange credit for ground handling services.
6. Landing permits are needed for all flights into the Republic of Korea
Landing permits are required – with lead time of seven working days — for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights to any location in the Republic of Korea. In the case of RKJB, however, you’ll need to provide one month’s lead time, and your landing permit also serves as confirmation of airport parking. For landing permits, certain information must be provided to CAA: a full schedule, aircraft tail number and type, complete crew and passenger information, and a local business contact. Landing permits must be modified 1) in the case of a change in tail number, 2) if arrival- or departure-time changes exceed one hour from original schedule, or 3) if changes occur to departure point prior to arriving in the Republic of Korea, or to destination when leaving the country.
7. Plan hotel and local transport arrangements as early as possible
In general, it’s recommended that you try to book 4- or 5-star hotels, and you do so as early as possible due to high demand over the Korean Grand Prix period. Avoid rental vehicles if you’re not familiar with the area, due to traffic issues and possible road closures during the event period. Prepaid local transport (car with driver) is the preferred option for many business aircraft operators.
- If you plan to land at RKJP, be aware that the vicinity around the airport is rural, and the nearest practical hotel options are in Gwangju or Mokpo. Your ground handler will be able to organize local transport.
- RKPK has 4- and 5-star hotels, with some large chain hotel options available, and your ground handler will arrange local transport.
- Many good hotel options are available in the Seoul area (RKSI and RKSS), including popular large international chains.
8. Check online for additional information
Information regarding the circuit diagram, date and timetable, ticket purchases, and more can be found on the Formula1 website.
While plenty of aircraft parking and accommodation options are available for operators planning to attend the Korean Formula 1 Grand Prix, there are permit lead times and airport curfews to consider. It’s best to begin working with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler as soon as a firm schedule is known.