Business Aviation Trip Planning: 2018 Winter Games in Korea – Part 1: Airports, Parking, Handling & Local Area
This is a post by author Jaeseong Lim. Jaeseong is the Chief Executive Officer at UBjet Aviation, a Universal Aviation® Certified ground handler, which is based in Seoul, South Korea and provides supervision services throughout the country. Jaesong is an expert on business aircraft operations to South Korea and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog is part of a series on operations to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games.
The 2018 Winter Games will be held at PyeongChang in the Republic of Korea February 9-25. This venue is about a 3.5-hour drive from downtown Seoul. Opening and closing ceremonies will take place at the PyeongChang Mountain Cluster, as will most snow sports. Ice sports will be held at the Gangneung Coastal Cluster. General aviation (GA) operators planning to attend this event should begin planning for parking, airport services and crew accommodation as early as possible.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airports
Closest airport is Yangyang (RKNY), approximately a one hour drive to the Winter Games venues. Alternate airports to consider are Gimpo (RKSS) and Incheon (RKSI). While all three are airports of entry (AOEs) with full GA and ground support equipment (GSE) capabilities, only RKSI operates 24 hours. RKSS is the only one of the three locations offering a general aviation terminal (GAT). Note that both RKSS and RKSI are approximately 109 miles from PyeongChang.
2. Parking restrictions
Be advised that GA will not be permitted to park at RKNY during the 2018 Winter Games period as ramp space will be very limited. While GA operations are permitted to drop passengers at RKNY they’ll need to reposition to either RKSS or RKSI for overnight parking.
3. Yangyang (RKNY)
This AOE normally operates 0800-1600 local, but airport hours will most likely be extended for the 2018 Winter Games. As customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) clearance depends on officers being dispatched from another airport, overtime clearance may or may not be possible. Note that airport slots are needed for RKNY, but prior permission required (PPR) is not. Ground handling services and a small VIP lounge are available. Fuel uplift arrangements should be made well in advance. Be mindful that local in-flight catering options are limited at this location.
4. Gimpo (RKSS)
RKSS is an AOE with strictly enforced 0600-2300 local operating hours. CIQ clearance is available 0630-2300 local daily and is done quickly and efficiently within the GAT. Note that GAT clearance is restricted to aircraft of up to 50 seats. The full service Seoul Gimpo Business Aviation Center (SGBAC) opened in 2016. It offers a dedicated facility comprising of an executive terminal, VIP lounge and 134,500 square feet (12,490 square meters) of hangar space, sufficient to accommodate up to eight Gulfstream 550s or Global 6000s. Airport slots are required for all arrivals/departures, but no PPR mandates are in effect. RKSI should be used as an alternate if your arrival into RKSS will be delayed until after 2300 local.
5. Incheon (RKSI)
This is a 24-hour AOE with arrival/departure airport slot requirements but no PPR mandates. As there’s no fixed-base operator (FBO) or GAT at this location all CIQ clearances are done within the main terminal. Note that a commercial VIP lounge is available, upon prior request and only between 0500 and 2359 local. Full handling support is possible 24 hours at this location, along with aviation fuel uplifts and in-flight catering. GA parking availability is good with remote overflow parking options also possible. RKSS is the alternate to consider if RKSI is experiencing low visibility or fog conditions.
6. Hotels and local transport
Hotels close to the 2018 Winter Games venues are currently under construction, but supply is expected to be somewhat restricted. Options and availability of major international hotels in the PyeongChang area will likely be very limited. For crew repositioning to the Seoul area we anticipate some availability. However, preferred options will likely be sold out during the Winter Games period, pricing will be higher, and stricter cancellation polices may apply. Pre-paid transport (car with English speaking driver) options, likewise, are also expected to be in short supply during the event period.
7. In-flight catering options
Abundant catering options, both in-flight and catering sourced from local hotels/restaurants, are available at both Seoul airports. Due to higher than normal airport congestion we recommend coordinating catering requests with your ground handler and providing at least 48 hours prior notice. As local catering options will be very limited at RKNY it’s recommended to uplift catering at either RKSS or RKSI.
Due to anticipated high demand for aircraft parking, ground services and crew accommodations we recommend that operators begin the trip planning process to the 2018 Winter Games as soon as a firm schedule is known.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to South Korea, contact me at email@example.com.