Hong Kong: 2023 Business Aviation Destination Guide
For business aviation operators traveling to Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH), advanced planning and knowledge of the operational challenges, such as limited aircraft parking availability in the area, are required. VHHH is a 24-hour airport with no curfews, and documentation requirements are very stringent, so it’s always best to review requirements in advance with your 3rd-party provider or ground handler.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH) is the only airport option in Hong Kong. VHHH is a 24/7 airport of entry located about 40km and 45 minutes travel time from Hong Kong city center.
If you cannot arrange overnight parking at VHHH, the best alternative to consider is Macau (VMMC). Hong Kong and Macau are now linked by Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macau Bridge. Highspeed ferry services (under one hour) are also available between Macau and Hong Kong, in addition to downtown-to-downtown charter helicopter services. Be aware, however, that available parking fills up at VMMC regularly. Other alternates to consider for overnight or long-term parking include Clark (RPLC) and Subic Bay (RPLB) – at 570 nautical miles (NM) and 577 NM, respectively, from VHHH – in the Philippines, and Taipei (RCTP) and Kaohsiung (RCKH) – at 436 NM and 358 NM from VHHH – in Taiwan. Of course, you’ll need landing permits for all these destinations.
Curfews & Restrictions
VHHH is available 24/7. Stage 2 aircraft are banned from VHHH, and all aircraft must have a certificate onboard confirming Stage 3 compliance. It will be accepted if an aircraft has been hush-kitted to Stage 3 with correct documentation.
Permits, Slots & PPR Required at VHHH
Private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to VHHH require landing permits, airport slots, and Prior Permission Required (PPR).
The minimum permit lead time required for both private non-revenue and charter operations is three business days, considering that all paperwork is in order.
It is recommended to allow additional time if documentation needs to be corrected. However, assuming all required documentation is supplied, permits can be turned around more quickly – at CAA’s discretion. VHHH CAD website contains all permit documentation requirements.
Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) hours for processing permits are Monday-Friday, 0900-1800 local, and CAD is closed on weekends and holidays. If CAD is closed at the time of your request, Air Traffic Control (ATC) can process short-notice permits.
Documentation & Insurance
Be aware that Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD) requires extensive paperwork and is very particular about documentation requirements. The most common documentation issues operators run into at VHHH involve insurance requirements. CAD is looking for specific policy verbiage – including coverage and 3rd-party liability. If insurance coverage is beneath minimum specifications, your landing permit will be rejected
One of the most common documentation issues we encounter is a lack of monetary units – such as USD or SDR – on coverage amounts. Another common issue is the operator name not matching the name on the insurance policy. Always provide some document linking the operator name with the entity named in the policy. If the aircraft owner differs from the operator, ensure that both names are on the insurance. In addition, charter flights must provide statements that the crew is familiar with airport procedures into/out of the field.
Before landing, all operators to VHHH must have a confirmed parking stand. If parking is denied, the only option will be a drop-and-go. For stops of six hours or less, a PPR is automatically approved.
Once your PPR is approved, you’ll receive a confirmation, which must be given to your ground handler. When the aircraft arrives, the handler must insert your arrival time, and PPR number into an online system shared between the airport and the ground handler. If the handler does not provide your PPR confirmation, airport authorities will not know you’ve arrived with approval. Note that PPR confirmations need not be placed in your flight plan’s International Civil Aviation Organization section.
It’s always best to request airport slots via Online Coordination System (OCS) website in advance as slots could be tight, particularly during holidays such as Lunar New Year, Christmas, and Easter. Best practice is to request slots 14 days prior to ETA.
Slot deviation at VHHH is +/- 120 min. Penalty points will apply for slots misused.
Parking is usually available for up to 14 days. Still, all operators should check with their handler if they intend to have an extended stay.
VHHH has approximately 20 GA parking spots at the general aviation terminal – but this depends on the aircraft size. Therefore, aircraft will be relocated to remote parking when parking fills up on the GA ramp.
Once parking is approved, you may request changes to a parking confirmation without losing your current parking reservation. A revision request to arrive earlier and/or depart later will be approved/denied by the airport authorities at their discretion, but your existing parking confirmation will not disappear.
You must submit the tail number, aircraft type, size, and arrival/departure schedule to request parking. Requests are submitted via a website portal controlled by the airport authority. Your ground handler usually requests parking, but any operator may apply for a login/password to use this site. Parking approval/denial will be sent by e-mail from the airport authority.
Most parking spaces at the FBO are self-taxi in/out. If the FBO parking ramp is full, aircraft will be towed to remote parking and towed back to the FBO on day of departure. Therefore, it’s best to be at the airport at least two hours before departure to ensure the FBO has all documentation for departure, customs, fuel, flight plans, and weather packages. Crews arriving 40 minutes prior to departure may experience delays resulting in late departures.
Alternates to consider when VHHH has no overnight parking include Clark Intl (RPLC) and Subic Bay Intl (RPLB) in the Philippines. They are 580 and 600 nautical miles (NM) away, respectively.
Both airfields have plenty of aircraft parking. Macau (VMMC) may also be considered an alternate, but be aware that landing permits are necessary for all of these alternatives.
Mainland China may also be considered a parking alternate, but you’ll need a landing permit and a sponsor letter to land there. Universal Aviation China can help.
FBOs & Ground Handling
To travel to Hong Kong (VHHH), business aircraft operators must ensure that services such as ground handling are arranged in advance. In addition, VHHH has a general aviation terminal (GAT) offering complete aircraft support services, customs, immigration, quarantine (CIQ) clearance, fuel uplifts, and credit arrangements.
Both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights are handled similarly at VHHH. The only flights that are handled differently are large aircraft. The GAT ramp accommodates aircraft up to the size of an Airbus ACJ and Boeing BBJ. Larger or wide-body general aviation (GA) equipment are usually parked farther away in the commercial parking area.
The GAT at VHHH is privately owned and is the only option for GA handling and fueling on the airfield.
The handling cost at VHHH is based on the maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). Ramp and parking fees, meanwhile, are assessed based on wingspan and charged on a six-hour basis.
Note that parking on the GAT ramp is always less expensive than in a hangar.
Landing fees and airport taxes are usually paid by your handler and charged back afterward. You’ll receive one bill covering all charges: landing fees, handling, CIQ clearance, in-flight catering, and parking.
Note that no navigation fees are payable if you land in Hong Kong. This is only applicable if you overfly the airspace. Operators may request advance estimates for the cost of services in Hong Kong. Estimates include all services requested, with additional items added later being separate costs.
There are plenty of good 4- and 5-star crew accommodation options in central Hong Kong, including a full range of international chains. Alternatively, crews have the option of several 4-star hotels close to VHHH.
When significant local events take place, Hong Kong hotel availability becomes limited. So, it’s always best to confirm accommodation options and cancellation policies well in advance.
Hong Kong offers a wide range of dependable and safe public transport options. A high-speed train service connects VHHH with the central district in about 30 minutes. Public taxis are usually excellent in this region, and most drivers speak English. Hong Kong also has an outstanding Mass Transit Rail (MTR) underground train network, a particularly convenient means of moving within the city and the busy central district.
You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs.
GA fuel uplifts at VHHH must be done by Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) fuel trucks. Be aware that GA may not use hydrant fuel or the fuel trucks on the commercial side at VHHH. Fueling on arrival is one means of avoiding departure delays. Otherwise, let your ground handler know how much fuel you require and reconfirm the day before fuel uplift. Fueling delays of up to one hour may occur depending on traffic and movements.
Catering is available, usually ordered through the GAT. Please check with the GAT owner for details.
Airport security at VHHH is of high standards, and most operators do not recommend aircraft guards at this location. In terms of off-airport security, there are no areas of the city that must be avoided. It’s best practice, however, to be aware of pickpocketing risks when on public transport and in crowded city streets.
Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) clearance at VHHH are done at the GAT for all GA operations. Clearance for 10 or fewer passengers usually takes less than 15 minutes.
There are three runways at VHHH (one runway is now closed for maintenance), which leaves two operational runways at the moment.
Be mindful that if your flight departs late – due to a late passenger, etc. – you may face delay due to FBO traffic congestion.
It’s also important to note that Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine are cleared at the FBO, with a typical processing time of 5-10 minutes. With only two immigration officers at the FBO, larger groups will take longer to clear.
It’s recommended, but not required, that passports have at least six months remaining validity when visiting Hong Kong. Visas are required for certain nationalities of passengers and crew, and you must obtain all required visas prior to arrival to avoid immediate deportation. Be mindful that visas for Hong Kong are entirely different than visas for mainland China. Your Hong Kong visa will not permit travel to anywhere other than Hong Kong. For more information on visa requirements, see the Hong Kong Immigration Department website.
Hong Kong requires all passengers and crew arriving on general aviation (GA) aircraft to fill out and submit arrival cards when entering the territory. In most cases, it’s standard practice for your local ground handler to complete most of this form so that only signatures are required from passengers and crew.
Typhoons may affect Hong Kong regularly in the summer. The typhoon season in Hong Kong typically runs from April to October. Typhoons sometimes hit Hong Kong and may cause flooding and landslides. Local warnings are issued in advance.
Public holidays are usually busy periods in Hong Kong, particularly Chinese New Year.
Vaccine & Zika Requirements
Hong Kong has strict requirements for Zika aircraft disinsection. Our blog has all the details.
Hong Kong currently has very few agricultural restrictions that impact arriving GA aircraft. While restrictions regarding importing raw meat products exist, there are no restrictions on bringing fruits, vegetables, and/or raw fish into the territory. Catering items can usually be stored at the ground handler office for a fee. Should you wish to store catering with the ground handler, it’s best to confirm if this is possible. For hygienic reasons, there are certain items the ground handler will not be willing to store.
The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department publishes certain animal products and restrictions on endangered species. More can be found on these restrictions on their website. In addition, be advised that Hong Kong is stringent on the temporary importation of firearms and weapons, and it’s best to confirm such requirements in advance if you have weapons onboard. Likewise, if you wish to bring a pet into Hong Kong, confirm all applicable requirements/procedures well before the day of operation. Again, more information on the temporary importation of animals can be found on the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department website.
When planning a GA flight to VHHH, the first and primary focus must be obtaining a suitable airport slot. Once you have a slot, parking options can be obtained, and aircraft handling can be confirmed, even on shorter notice.
Universal’s Asia Operations Centre can help.