Operating a business jet to the Hong Kong Sevens

PT 5 M minute read
Operating a business jet to the Hong Kong Sevens

More than 120,000 spectators from around the globe will be attending this year’s Hong Kong Sevens, a tournament on the World Rugby Sevens Series competition. So whether you’ll be in the crowd cheering on your team, or operating a business jet to the region for other business, you need to plan ahead to prepare for additional strain on Hong Kong’s already congested aviation infrastructure.

Here is what you need to know:

1. What is the Hong Kong Sevens?

Considered one of the, if not the, premier rugby sevens tournaments in the world, the annual Hong Kong Sevens attracts significant business aviation traffic annually. This year’s tournament will be held April 5-7, 2019 in Hong Kong. Beyond the matches themselves, the tournament is known for its colorful characters and costumes, rowdy atmosphere, and all-night parties.

This year’s tournament will be kicked off with a concert by Gwen Stefani. For more information on events surrounding the tournament, click here.

You can also follow the tournament’s official social media channels:

2. Tournament venue

The tournament is played at Hong Kong Stadium in downtown Causeway Bay on Hong Kong island, which is anywhere from a 45-minute to one-hour plus drive from Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH) depending on traffic.

3. Consider utilizing a
dedicated on/off-airport concierge agent

When attending an event like the Hong Kong Sevens, in a notoriously congested location, having a dedicated resource to oversee everything on-airport is always a smart move. In some cases, ground handlers can support some off-airport requests, but with local ground handlers all preoccupied with so many movements, it is likely depending on your schedule and your location, you’ll need an additional extra layer of oversight and support on the ground. To serve as an on-the-ground extension of our trip support services teams, Universal has a dedicated Air2Ground Concierge agent stationed in Hong Kong. Our agent will follow up on all on-airport services, and can help with off-airport arrangements, like hotels, local tours, and event tickets. For more information on Air2Ground Concierge agents, click here.

4. Hong Kong operating requirements

When operating to VHHH, you need to have a landing permit, arrival and departure airport slots, and parking confirmation. Landing permits are issued by the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD), parking is controlled by Hong Kong Airport Authority, and airport slots are provided by HKCAD-controlled slot coordinator. Slots for VHHH are always needed, even for tech stops and drop and goes.

5. Landing permits

Prior clearance from HKCAD is required for the operation of private non-revenue flights to and from Hong Kong. Applications should be submitted at least three working days before the anticipated arrival/departure date of the flight in Hong Kong. However, non-frequent or new operators should submit their applications at least two weeks prior to the date of operation to allow sufficient time for processing their applications.

No application form is required, but the following information should be provided:

  • Type of aircraft;
  • Nationality and registration marks of the aircraft;
  • Name of the operator;
  • Name of ground handling agent in Hong Kong;
  • Proposed dates and times of arrival and departure;
  • Confirmation that there will be no fare-paying passengers or commercial cargo on board;
  • Completed Declaration of Compliance with the Civil Aviation (Insurance) Order (CAP 448F) form (DCA 41);
  • Insurance Certificate that insures the operator in respect of any liability which may be incurred by him/her in respect of Third Party, Passenger, Baggage, Cargo, and Mail for any one event to a Combined Single Limit required in accordance with the Civil Aviation (Insurance) Order; and
  • Confirmation that the aircraft meets the requirements for the carriage of radio navigation aids as specified in Section GEN 1.5-1 para 3. of Hong Kong AIP.

6. VHHH slots

VHHH mandates airport slots for all arrivals/departures. However, slot priority is given to scheduled commercial flights, while GA operators can apply for any remaining available slots. GA slot availability continues to be limited but manageable at VHHH.

Slots are available 24/7 at VHHH, but there are limitations to obtain slots for night hours, 1400-2259 UTC (2200-0659 local), due to noise considerations. Aircraft registration in good standing can obtain slots up to 14 days prior. While the slot situation varies day to day, there are usually around a dozen GA slots available per day.

For the latest information on slots at VHHH, click here.

7. VHHH parking

Maximum duration for parking stand booking in VHHH is 14 days. Extensions are possible but are subject to a case-by-case evaluation by Hong Kong Airport Authority. It should also be noted that the GA designated apron area is designed to accommodate aircraft of size up to Code C of length up to B737-900 (42.11m). In the event of an aircraft exceeding the above parameters, application for parking stand booking will only be processed for quick turnarounds (ground time less than six hours) supported by valid arrival and departure runway slots. Approval is subject to the availability of parking stands.

8. Parking alternates

The preferred alternate, when you’re not able to park at VHHH, is VMMC. However, VMMC also gets very busy and may not always be a viable alternate. In this case, you’ll need to reposition farther out – perhaps Hanoi (VVNB), Manila (RPLL), or Kaohsiung (RCKH). Using an alternate mainland airport in China is not the best option for non-B-registered aircraft, as you’ll need permits and special “C” crew visas.

9. Airport services

Full support services are available at Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC) along with credit on prior arrangement. When parking on the HKBAC ramp, you’ll generally be able to obtain aircraft services, including fuel uplifts, at your parking spot. However, as parking on the HKBAC ramp can be tight, there will be times when you’ll need to be towed to a departure area for fuel uplift and to obtain some services. While there’s no need to have your own towbar for VHHH, it’s recommended that a towbar is carried, in the event you need to reposition to another destination in the area.

10. Fuel uplifts

GA fuel uplifts at VHHH are normally via fuel trucks. However, airport authorities are looking at putting hydrant fuel at two of the parking bays. Be aware that fuel uplift delays are possible at this location. If the truck needs to leave to pick up more fuel, this may cause an uplift delay of an additional hour.

11. CIQ procedures

Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) clearance for GA operations are completed within the HKBAC. Be mindful that visas may be required, for certain nationalities of passengers/crew members, and these must be obtained prior to arrival. It’s always best to confirm visa requirements with your 3rd-party provider.

12. Other considerations

It’s recommended that operators have their handler file departure flight plans three to six hours prior to their estimated time of departure. Should you need to reposition your aircraft, after dropping passengers at VHHH, ensure you have all required overflight and landing permits for your alternate destination. When overflying Hong Kong, be aware of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) requirements now in effect. If you’re not ADS-B-equipped, you’ll have to overfly Hong Kong at a lower flight level. And, if you do not have RNP 1 certification, you’ll not be permitted in Hong Kong airspace at all.

Closing thoughts

The Hong Kong Sevens is more than just a rugby tournament. It’s an international, high-traffic business aviation event, that will have significant impacts on your mission to Hong Kong, even if you’re not attending. Consider working with a trip support provider that has an on-the-ground concierge to seve to help navigate the congestion,coordinate off-airport logistics, and ensure your trip is seamless.

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