Chinese 2015 Grand Prix – Part 1: Shanghai Airport & Parking Options

PT 4 M minute read
Chinese 2015 Grand Prix – Part 1: Shanghai Airport & Parking Options

This is a post by author Jimmy Young. Jimmy serves as country manager for Universal Aviation China, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Jimmy is an expert on business aircraft operations in China and can be contacted at

This business aviation blog post is part of a two-part article series on traveling to Shanghai for the Grand Prix.

The 2015 Chinese Grand Prix takes place April 10-12 at Shanghai. The Shanghai International Circuit, located about a 45-minute drive from central Shanghai, features a 5.451-kilometer (3.39-mile) track. This is a highly popular regional event, so it’s important to organize aircraft support and travel arrangements as early as possible to maximize your options.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Event location

Shanghai International Circuit is located northwest of central Shanghai. For those staying in downtown Shanghai, various local transport options are available – including pre-paid transport (car with driver), taxis, and public subway transport. While this event primarily draws attendees from within the Asia Pacific region, there will be General Aviation (GA) operators commuting in from around the world.

2. Airport options

Two primary airport options are available for this event: Pudong (ZSPD) and Hongqiao (ZSSS). However, your Airport of Entry (AOE) will often depend on which direction you’re arriving from. Civil Aviation Authority China (CAAC) mandates specific airways and routings that must be used for arrivals/departures into/out of Shanghai. While ZSSS is often the preferred airport, as there’s a Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) with Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) clearance available, it’s not always possible to use this location, based on where you’re flying from.

3. Arrival routings

For ZSPD and ZSSS, there are specific routings that must be used into/out of the airport area. Depending on where you’re coming from, CAAC will advise which route you’ll need to take. CAAC also restricts flight levels coming into/departing from either airport, and this will be communicated by air traffic control.

4. ZSPD and ZSSS considerations

ZSPD and ZSSS are both 24-hour AOEs with peak hours 0800-2200 local. Full aircraft support services and credit are available with prior notice. Be aware that GA operators are only permitted one airport slot per day, at either airport, during the peak-hour period. Both locations require airport slots, and these will be confirmed simultaneously with your landing permit approval. If slot times you’re given differ from what you had requested, your schedule will need to be changed to adapt to the approved slot times supplied by CAAC. Note that while there are no parking restrictions at either airport – that is, you can stay as long as you wish – airport authorities typically do not approve parking until 24 hours prior to the estimated time of arrival.

5. ZSPD parking and specifics

All GA parking at ZSPD is located in an outlying area, and potential delays can be expected in obtaining aircraft services such as fuel, lav, and water. For fuel uplifts it may take about 15 minutes for fuel trucks to get to a GA aircraft. It’s always recommended that fuel uplifts be arranged ahead of time to avoid potential delays. After arrival you’ll taxi to the remote parking area, your ground handler will meet you at the parking stand, and crew/passengers/luggage will be escorted to the main terminal for CIQ clearance. Your handler will collect all passports and take them to CIQ in the main terminal to be processed. Passengers wait in an airport terminal lounge while the passport clearance process is completed – rather than having to line up with commercial airline passengers. Note that CIQ clearance on the aircraft is only possible if you’ve obtained government clearance in advance, but this is normally only available for official and government-sponsored flights.

6. ZSSS parking and specifics

ZSSS has a parking area right in front of the FBO that accommodates approximately 15 GA aircraft, depending upon size of equipment. If these close-in parking spots fill up, there are outlying parking areas available to accommodate additional aircraft. On arrival you’ll taxi to the GA parking area in front of the FBO. If traffic is not high, you’ll be able to clear CIQ within the FBO in approximately 10-15 minutes. Note that onboard CIQ processing is only possible if you’ve obtained government clearance in advance, but this is normally only available for official and government-sponsored flights. ZSSS fuel uplifts are usually prompt, and it’s seldom an issue scheduling fuel/lav/water services for just prior to departure. During busy local event periods, however, it’s recommended that fuel uplifts be done on arrival.

7. Aircraft security

Airports in China are very safe in general and additional aircraft security is not usually recommended. Be aware that airport authorities do not allow 3rd-party security providers to guard aircraft airside. If you wish to have additional aircraft security in place, you’ll need to contact your handler who will try to set this up via the airport authority, using airport personnel.

8. Alternate airport

Primary alternate for ZSPD and ZSSS is Hangzhou (ZSHC). ZSHC is a 24-hour AOE with availability of full aircraft support services and credit on advance arrangement. ZSHC is not a high-traffic location, and there should be no issues with aircraft parking, CIQ clearance, or timely fuel uplifts. Commute time between ZSHC and central Shanghai is approximately one hour by high-speed train or close to two hours by car.


Determine the best airport for your operation to Shanghai, but be aware that you may be restricted, depending on your route of flight into the Shanghai area. ZSSS is closer to the city center, more geared to GA, and has the advantage of an FBO and close-in parking.

Universal is 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 China, contact Christine Vamvakas

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers slot, document, and local area information for a trip to Shanghai for the Grand Prix.

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