Flying to the Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix
This year’s Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix will be held March 22nd-24th at the Sepang International circuit, located about 60 km south of Kuala Lumpur. Business aircraft operators planning to attend the Grand Prix should make arrangements for Malaysian permits, aircraft ground services, and hotel accommodations as early as possible.
1. There are two airports to consider
First choice for the Grand Prix is Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (WMSA), which is approximately a 45-minute drive to the circuit. Another good option is Kuala Lumpur Intl (WMKK), a 15-minute drive from the circuit. Both are airports of entry (AOEs), but WMSA is geared towards business aviation, while WMKK is primarily focused on scheduled commercial operations.
2. WMSA is best choice for the event for GA traffic
WMSA, the original Kuala Lumpur airport formally known as Subang International, is a 24-hour AOE located closer to downtown than WMKK. Facilities at this airport are set up for business aviation, while WMKK is optimized for scheduled commercial traffic. WMSA has customs and immigration available 24 hours; however, customs requires at least six hours’ notice. To avoid delays, it’s best to provide your ground handler with complete crew and passenger information in advance so they may inform customs and immigrations prior to arrival. No airport slots or Prior Permission Required (PPR) are needed for WMSA. However, as traffic volume will be elevated over the Patronas Grand Prix period, it’s recommended that aircraft parking requests be submitted early. All ground handling and 4th-party services can be arranged on credit with advanced notice, and aviation jet fuel is available 24 hours a day
3. WMKK is another good option, but you’ll contend with commercial traffic
WMKK is the main scheduled commercial airport for Kuala Lumpur with 24/7 operations; however, it’s further from the city center compared to WMSA. Airport slots and PPRs are not required for WMKK. Ground handling and 4th-party services can be arranged in advance on credit, and aviation fuel is available 24 hours. WMKK has 75 aircraft parking bays fitted with aerobridges, in addition to 31 remote bays. International passenger flights are usually be parked at the satellite building.
4. Landing permits are required for all flights into Malaysia
Landing permits are required for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights to Malaysia with a lead time of nine working days. Airport slots are required for all Malaysian permits. The entity obtaining the permit for your trip will obtain the needed slots from the Malaysian slot office. Please note that slots must be obtained prior to requesting the permit itself. Permit confirmation is valid for +/- three days. If a schedule revision is needed and it’s within the permit validity window of three days, notification should be sent to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to maintain permit validity. Revisions beyond the three-day validity window require a new request and permit confirmation. If you’re changing the destination within Malaysia, this also triggers the need for a new permit request. CAA requires a complete schedule, crew and passenger information, and the purpose of the flight for all permit requests.
5. Additional information for Malaysia
When operating to Malaysia, flight plans must be filed at least 12 hours prior to departure, regardless of the type of flight (private non-revenue or charter). A valid copy of 3rd-party liability insurance must be carried onboard the aircraft at all times.
6. Confirm hotel and local transport arrangements as early as possible
Kuala Lumpur has a good selection of 4- and 5-star hotels available, including large international hotel chains. Although both WMSA and WMKK serve Kuala Lumpur, WMSA is closer to the city center, with hotels in closer proximity to the airport. Best practice is to book 4- or 5-star hotel accommodations as early as possible, particularly during the high-demand Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix period. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, avoid rental vehicles, due to traffic issues and possible road closures during the event period. Pre-paid local transport (car with driver) is the preferred option for many business aircraft operators, and your ground handler will be able to make these arrangements for you.
7. Check online for additional information
More information on the circuit race dates, schedules, and ticket purchase options can be found on the Formula 1 website.
While aircraft parking and hotel accommodation options should be plentiful even for last-minute trips to the 2013 Formula 1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix, the best options will be available to those who make plans as early as possible.