Lunar New Year – How it impacts business aviation ops
Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year) has a huge impact on business aviation in terms of airport congestion and sold-out hotels/services throughout much of Asia. This year, the first day of Lunar New Year (Year of the Rat) will be on 25 January 2020 (Saturday), but congestion and service limitations are likely to start as soon as 23 January and continue through 31 January.
If you’re planning a business aviation operation in Asia, during this time, here’s what you need to know.
1. What is Lunar New Year?
In China, as well as other parts of Asia, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, and Laos, Lunar New Year is one of the biggest holidays of the year. It is based on the lunar calendar and occurs annually between late January and mid-February. During this period, business activity slows down for a week or more, so be prepared if you are in the region during this time.
2. Expect Civil Aviation closures – so get permits in advance
Many Civil Aviation departments will shut down for the holiday, such as Chinese CAA, which will be off duty from 0800z 23 January and resume normal at 0100z 31 January. Hong Kong CAD slot office and permit office, will be closed between 25 January and 28 January as well.
3. Hong Kong and Macau will be even more congested
All major airports in China will see an increase in traffic while Macau (VMMC) and Hong Kong (VHHH) would also be busy. Starting from 23 January and through the holiday, operators can expect difficulty finding parking and slots especially in Macau (VMMC).
4. Third-party services will be in high demand
Throughout the holiday, third-part services, such as catering and ground transportation will be in extremely high demand. Last-minute requests are unlikely to be accommodated. Hotels are also likely booked. For future years, it’s best practice to book hotels during Chinese New Year up to three months in advance.
For many Asian nations, Lunar New Year is one of the biggest and most widely celebrated holiday of the year. If you are planning a trip to the region during this period, you should ensure all permits, parking and slot requests are made in advance. You should also be aware that hotels and all services may be limited or not available due to high demand and business closures.