Japan Grand Prix – 2023 Business Aviation Destination Guide

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This year’s Japan Grand Prix will be held September 21-24, 2023, at the Suzuka circuit in Mie prefecture, about 50 km southwest of Nagoya.

There are two primary airport options available for business jet operators who need to fly in for the event. As always, the best alternatives in terms of aircraft parking and hotel accommodations will be available to those who book as early as possible. Here are some tips to help plan a flight to Japan for this event:


The Race

The Japanese Grand Prix is generally considered to be one of the important races on the Formula 1 calendar. The race is known for its unique and challenging track layout, as well as for often playing a pivotal role in championship battles.

The Suzuka Circuit, where the race is usually held, is one of the most iconic tracks in the world of motorsport. It is famous for its “figure-eight” layout and technical corners like the “S Curves,” “Degner,” and the high-speed “130R.”

The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, September 21st: Practice
  • Friday, September 22nd: Practice
  • Saturday, September 23rd: Qualifying
  • Sunday, September 24th, the Race

Read full race details.


VIP Experience

Nagoya is the closest major city to the Suzuka Circuit, which is about an hour’s drive away. As a result, many fans, teams, and drivers might stay in Nagoya during the race weekend.

However, compared to other Grand Prix host cities like Monaco, Singapore, or Austin, Nagoya is generally more subdued when it comes to VIP parties and nightlife. That said, you can still find special events, gatherings, and activities related to the race. Hotels may host viewing parties, and some bars and restaurants might have race-themed specials.

If you’re looking for a more dedicated F1 party atmosphere, your best bet would be closer to the Suzuka Circuit itself or at specialized events organized for fans and VIPs, though these are generally more limited compared to other more “glamorous” Grand Prix venues.


Airport Options

There are two nearby airports available for operators attending the Japan Grand Prix. The recommended options include:


Nagoya (RJGG)

Nagoya, Japan skyline at Nagoya Tower.

For many business aircraft operators, RJGG is the preferred airport due to proximity to the race and other factors.

RJGG is an Airport of Entry (AOE) and a 24-hour airport for Stage 3 and above aircraft. This airport does have many scheduled commercial flights operating, but airport slots and aircraft parking can still typically be obtained.

In most cases, you will be able to arrive and depart RJGG anytime you want; however, according to regulation, airport slots must be requested for all arrivals and departures. Any approved airport slots have a deviation of -/+ 30 minutes.

There is a business jet hangar available at this airport, but prior arrangements are needed. Licensed professional aviation maintenance technicians are always stationed, and they deal with emergency maintenance. All ground handling services can be arranged via credit.


Osaka (RJBB)

Osaka, Japan

RJBB is an AOE and a 24-hour option for Stage 3 and above aircraft.

This airport has 40 airport slots available per hour, and slots are required for all arrivals and departures. Airport slot deviation is -/+ 30 minutes.

Airport slots in Japan are published on the 15th of the prior month. If a firm schedule is known, it’s best to request airport slots the month prior. There’s higher availability when the airport slots are first released on the 15th of the prior month. All ground handling services and jet fuel can be arranged on credit at RJBB.


Helicopter Transfers

Alternatively, Grand Prix attendees may wish to charter a helicopter to avoid heavy surface traffic expected around the circuit area. Helicopter transfers from RJGG and RJBB to Suzuka take 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes, respectively. Aircraft parking for all three recommended airports should be requested as soon as a firm schedule is known due to increased traffic anticipated during the Japanese Grand Prix period.


Hotel and Local Transport

Many good hotel options are available in the Nagoya and Osaka areas, including popular large chain hotels. It’s recommended that you try to book 4- or 5-star hotels as early as possible due to high demand over the Japan Grand Prix period.

You’ll also need to make local transport arrangements when visiting the circuit, and it’s important to book early due to increased local demand.

Rental vehicles are available at all three airports but should be coordinated in advance. It’s recommended, however, that you avoid rental vehicles if you’re not familiar with the area due to traffic issues and possible road closures during the event period.

Prepaid local transport (car with driver) is the preferred option for many business aircraft operators.

For those contemplating public transport, there’s a special train named the Suzuka F1 running between Nagoya station and the Suzuka Ino station, that takes about 40 minutes. If you decide to use the train, please also consider a 10-15 minute walk from the train station to the circuit.


Conclusion

Work with your 3rd-party provider as early as possible in order to secure preferred airport slots, aircraft parking, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation during the Japan Grand Prix period.

Short-notice operations to this popular F1 racing event can always be accommodated, but operators may have to be more flexible in terms of airport and hotel options.

While RJGG is the preferred airport for this race event for many operators, RJBB also provides effective full-service alternatives.

Universal Aviation Japan can help.


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