China Development Forum 2024: Business Aviation Planning Guide

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The annual China Development Forum (CDF) 2024 will be taking place March 23-25, 2024 in Beijing. Whether you’re planning to attend or will be in the region, you need to begin planning now, as this is a high-traffic business aviation event, making it difficult to obtain services and parking at Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA).

Here’s what you need to know:


What is the China Development Forum?

CDF is an annual high-level international conference held in China right after the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) each year.

CDF serves as an important platform for exchanges and discussions between the Chinese government, global business elites, leaders of international organizations and renowned foreign and Chinese scholars.

In 2019, more than 80 high-profile world business leaders attended the event. This year’s event is expected to draw the same.


Primary Airport – Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA)

The primary airport for those attending CDF is Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA), which is 16 miles and 35 minutes to Central Beijing.  Chinese Civil Aviation (CAAC) and the local FBO owner will give priority to CDF flights.


Landing Permits

Landing permits are required at ZBAA with a lead time of two days’ notice. It is recommended to request your permit as soon as possible in order to obtain your slot.


Slots

Slots are required for all flights. No GA slots are allocated between 0700-0900 and all flights are limited to one movement per aircraft during peak hours (0700-2200LT) daily. Slots are valid d-0/+30 minutes. Slot requests should be submitted as soon as you know your flight details, as sufficient lead time is the key to approval from Chinese Civil Aviation.


Parking

For flights attending CDF there are no special parking restrictions. However, due to the high number of business jets attending CDF, parking and services may be extremely limited at the airport throughout the duration of the conference. We recommend you start making arrangements now to secure the best options.

Our Universal Aviation China team is working closely with local authorities to determine the best aircraft parking solutions and staying up-to-date with the latest restrictions regarding this event. For the latest information or help setting up services, please contact Universal Aviation China.


FBOs & Ground Handling

All facilities of the FBO will be busy, including the parking stand/VIP lounge/ground equipment/tug and tow-bar. Universal Aviation China provides supervisory ground handling at ZBAA in the FBO and on the ramp and can help facilitate last-minute requests.


CIQ clearance

CIQ clearance at ZBAA is completed in the FBO. It’s a streamlined process that usually takes about 3-4 minutes per passenger.


Visas

All crew should hold valid crew visas. Pax should also hold valid visas to enter China. There is a “144 hours visa exemption policy” for transit trips, but this policy only applies for pax. In addition, there are some other limits for the above transit policy, it depends on the itinerary(it must be country A–Beijing–country B, staying in Beijing less than 144hours) and the nationality of the passenger. Visa on arrival is not available in Beijing.


Hotels

There are many good crew hotel options near the airport. Check our Feasibility-IQ Mission Planning App for a good list.


Catering

It is recommended to use an in-flight aviation caterer. The preferred practice is to order ice cubes, juice, etc. of the basic items from the airport catering company through Universal Aviation China while ordering other items from the crew hotel to ensure the quality of the catering and timely delivery.

For information on catering options, you can contact Air Culinaire Worldwide.

Alternate Airport

Tianjin is the closest parking alternate to ZBAA.

In the event that overnight parking is full, Tianjin Binhai International Airport (ZBTJ) is the preferred alternative.

Tianjin (ZBTJ) is about 130 km from central Beijing. Drive time from ZBTJ to central Beijing is about one hour 45 minutes, but there’s also a high-speed train service available. While this train does not operate 24 hours, it reduces travel time from ZBTJ to central Beijing to just 35 minutes. Airport slots are needed for ZBTJ. Aircraft parking may become an issue from time to time due to aircraft repositioning from ZBAA. ZBTJ offers full aircraft services, aviation fuel, in-flight catering, and a good selection of Ground Support Equipment (GSE). An additional alternate to consider, although less practical and convenient than ZBTJ, is Shijiazhuang (ZBSJ). Although ZBSJ is a 24-hour AOE, Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) is usually only available during arrival times of scheduled commercial flights at this airfield. Aircraft support services and GSE availability are limited at ZBSJ, so it’s important to work with your 3rd-party provider and local ground handler to determine if needed services will be available. ZBSJ is about 330 km from central Beijing with drive time of about four hours. We recommend ZBSJ only be considered as an alternate if ZBTJ is not available for overnight parking.


Conclusion

CDF2024 is going to be a highly-attended event, making it difficult to obtain parking and slots at ZBAA unless you plan ahead. Other third-party resources may be in high demand. Confirm your plans now and make sure you have an invitation letter to the conference or you will not be allowed to use ZBAA during the immediate time before, during and after the event.


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