Singapore Airports: 2023 Business Aviation Destination Guide
Singapore is a welcoming business aviation operating environment with good services and facilities. However, as the Asia-Pacific region slowly reopens, limited aviation support infrastructure and high-traffic projections make pre-planning vital.
The following is an overview of what you need to know to operate to a business aircraft to Singapore and how to make an informed decision on which airport to choose:
Singapore Airport Options
There are two airport options for Singapore, and each has its pros and cons. For many General Aviation (GA) operators, Seletar (WSSL) is the preferred airport option. With a runway of 6,024 feet (ft.) (1,836 meters [m]) and a new terminal building, Seletar has become a more viable option for larger GA aircraft. However, in certain circumstances, Changi Intl (WSSS) may be a better choice.
Both Seletar and Changi are 24-hour airports of entry with full aircraft services and support available. In 2019, Seletar implemented Noise Abatement procedures between 1400 to 2300 UTC. Seletar is primarily a GA airfield and is a level 2 schedule facilitated airport.
Both airports are relatively close to the city center, with Seletar a 20-minute drive and Changi about 25 minutes to downtown.
Seletar is focused on GA operations, and the airfield is beginning to see heavier traffic. As a result, the airport is now a schedule-facilitated airport. Airport authorities have stated that they would like to move as much GA traffic as possible to Seletar. Be sure to double-check operating and runway closure hours when planning a stop at Seletar. Parking is beginning to become an issue as traffic increases and with more bigger jets using Seletar. Some taxi and/or runway delays should be expected with the training hour restrictions and commercial turboprop operations.
Since 1 January 2019, a night curfew has been imposed on all flights except for Medevac and emergency flights between 1400-2300UTC. This measure is intended to significantly reduce disturbance during residents’ rest hours in the neighboring housing estates.
In addition, all operators of non-training flights are strongly advised to schedule both arrivals and departures outside the following periods:
- 0130 to 0230 UTC / 0930 to 1030 LT;
- 0400 to 0500 UTC / 1200 to 1300 LT;
- 0700 to 0800 UTC / 1500 to 1600 LT;
- 0900 to 1000 UTC / 1700 to 1800 LT.
At this moment, no airport slots are needed for Seletar. However, Seletar intends to implement slots eventually when the traffic increases and runway utilization will need to be further managed.
Aircraft parking is beginning to become an issue with the increase in traffic to Seletar. Power-in/power-out parking spots are usually available for most aircraft types. If you plan to stay more than 24 hours, however, you will be towed to a Compact Parking Area, but crew members do not need to be present for aircraft repositioning.
FBOs & Ground Handling
The Airport has a new terminal with its own dedicated Business Aviation Centre shared by all ground handlers. However, delays in clearing customs and immigration may be expected as the centre can only accommodate one movement at a time.
Ground handling services are less expensive than at Changi. Many regional GA operators prefer to use Seletar as there are seldom ground delays. It’s only a 20-minute drive into the city center. Seletar, however, only has one, 6,024-ft. (1,836-m) runway.
Universal Aviation Singapore is based at Seletar and has an operations center at the terminal, and has earned Stage 3 accreditation under the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) program. Universal Aviation Singapore can handle aircraft up to a Boeing 757-200 (the biggest aircraft that can operate at Seletar).
Local handlers have tow bars available for most aircraft types. However, if you’re operating a less common aircraft model, it’s recommended to bring a tow bar with you.
Fuel prices are generally higher at Seletar than at Changi. The current fuel vendor is providing a more competitive rate but can still not match Changi.
Regular fueling hours at Seletar are Monday-Friday, 0730-2200 local, and weekends/holidays, 0830-1730 local. Fuel uplifts can be arranged outside regular hours; however, at least two hours notice is needed to set up overtime. There are charges to pay for after-hours fueling. Fuel truck callouts cost a minimum of 240 Singaporean dollars (SGD) per call for four hours when prior notification has been given. There are also overtime charges at approximately 60 SGD per hour, which applies to aircraft refueling during regular hours, but the uplift is completed beyond operating hours, or the uplift is scheduled after normal operating hours. Be aware that there may also be overtime charges to have your ground handler available outside of normal hours.
Airport security at Seletar is good with 5-meter-high perimeter fencing, CCTV, controlled airside access, and 24-hour patrols conducted by airport police. Private vehicles are not permitted to pick up or drop off passengers airside.
CIQ clearance at Seletar occurs within the terminal building, and processing can be slower, especially during peak traffic. There is only 1 counter and X-Ray machine to serve both arrival and departure movements. Priority will be given to departing passengers and crew.
Changi is the primary commercial airfield for Singapore and a high-traffic location. Changi has a longer runway than Seletar and, therefore, may be preferred by operators planning max-length flight departures from Singapore.
UPDATE: Changi Singapore (WSSS) Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has authorized the operations of B737 Max; however, many Singapore carriers continue to ground their aircraft at WSSS (flights are resuming but the number of parked aircraft continues to impact GA parking). As a result, Changi Singapore Airport (WSSS) will not be facilitating any general aviation/business aviation layovers until further notice.
Only quick turnaround operations will be facilitated between 0200-1000z (LT1000–1800), subject to runway/bay availability. Appeals can be made to the slot office for certain situations provided there is a valid reason for the use of Changi.
Airport slots are required. You may only request airport slots seven days in advance of operation and, due to airport congestion, may not get precisely the slots you request. Changi is seeing a growth in commercial traffic, and slots for Business aviation are very challenging.
Currently, aircraft parking is limited as Changi continues to prioritize the return of commercial flights). If it is available, you will compete directly with scheduled commercial airlines and will be parked on remote stands away from the terminal.
FBOs & Ground Handling
Business Aviation passengers are required to use the dedicated Commercially Important Passenger (CIP) terminal located beside Terminal 2. This is privately run and allows these passengers to use secured and separate CIQ facilities away from the main terminal. There is also a private driveway for pick-ups and drop-offs and a lounge and business center.
Changi ground handling services are more expensive than at Seletar. Services here are primarily through 3rdparties and require close coordination. Universal Aviation Singapore provides trained supervisory services at Changi. There are currently three runways.
Fuel is cheaper at Changi compared to at Seletar. A large part of this is because of the many airlines that operate through Changi and the large quantity they uplift. As such, fueling priority is given to the airliners. Fuel is provided through a common underground hydrant system and uses 2 companies to act as into-plane agents.
Singapore has a wide range of high-quality accommodation options, including 4- and 5-star international chain properties. While a couple of 4-star hotels are located close to Changi, most crews choose to stay in the central business district, just a 20-minute drive from either Singapore airport. As a result, expect room pricing to be higher than usual during the Airshow period and for many hotels to be sold out. The typical price range for 4-star crew accommodations during this period is 300-450 USD/night.
Prepaid (car with driver) transport can be coordinated via your service provider or local ground handler. You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs. Alternatively, local taxis are safe and available, and Grab is an option. In addition, Singapore has one of the world’s best public transport rail systems, allowing crews to move around the island quickly and in air-conditioned comfort.
While there’s no in-flight caterer at Seletar, your ground handler can arrange to bring catering from Changi. Alternatively, you may consider sourcing catering from a local hotel/restaurant, which Universal Aviation Singapore can help coordinate. There are usually no issues in bringing catering through airport security screening. For information on catering options, you can contact Air Culinaire Worldwide.
It continues to be a challenge to obtain slots and parking at Changi. In addition, handling costs at Changi can be 2-3 times more than at Seletar. As a result, Seletar remains the best option for business aviation traffic into Singapore. However, operators can expect more challenges with the introduction of commercial turboprop operations, airspace disputes between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, and a new night curfew.