Operating a business jet to the Singapore Airshow

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Jan. 30, 2020 Alert: The Singapore Airshow just announced precautions it will take resulting from the coronavirus outbreak:

“We have informed all our exhibitors and attendees that with effect from 29 Jan 2020, entry into or transit through Singapore will not be permitted for visitors who have travelled to Hubei in the last 14 days, as well as holders of Chinese passports issued in Hubei.

During the event, we will have enhanced housekeeping and refuse management protocols in place to maintain high standards of hygiene and cleanliness. Doctors and medics will also be on standby to attend to visitors who are feeling unwell. We also request for visitors who feel unwell to seek medical attention promptly and not attend the Singapore Airshow 2020 for the well-being of all other visitors.”

Asia’s largest aerospace and defense event takes place Feb 11-16, 2020 at Singapore Changi (WSSS). Held once every two years, the Singapore Airshow attracts industry executives from around the world in addition to high-level government and military delegations. Conferences and static displays are backed up with daily flying displays. As event organizers put it, “The sky is your domain” … “The sky is our theatre.”

1. Dates and venue

The airshow runs Feb. 11-16, 2020, with February 15-16th designated as public days. Exhibits and static displays occupy a large part of the eastern end of the airfield. The event is open to trade visitors, with trade hospitality chalets operational, over the entire six days.

2. Primary airport

While the airshow takes place at WSSS, the primary general aviation (GA) airport for this event is Seletar (WSSL). Both WSSL and WSSS are 24-hour airports of entry with full aircraft services and support available. However, WSSL has implemented Noise Abatement procedures between the hours of 1400 to 2300 UTC.

WSSL is primarily a GA airfield and is now a level 2 schedule facilitated airport. Parking is becoming limited but manageable with hangar and compact parking options. The Airport has a new terminal with its own dedicated Business Aviation Centre shared by all ground handlers. Delays in clearing customs and immigration may be expected as the centre can only accommodate one movement at a time.

It continues to be a challenge to obtain slots and parking at WSSS. In addition, handling costs there can be 2-3 times more than at WSSL. WSSL remains the best option for business aviation traffic into Singapore.

3. Alternate airport

While it’s difficult to obtain GA parking at WSSS, during the Airshow or any other time, parking is expected to be available over the Airshow period at WSSL. If you’re not able to secure parking at either Singapore airport, Johor Bahru (WMKJ) can be considered, just across the Straight in Malaysia. WMKJ closes between 1600 to 2200 UTC daily, with plenty of parking, an 11,004-ft runway, and full GA support services. While WMKJ is just 30 air miles from WSSS, plan on a 60-minute drive between the two airports.

4. Airspace closures

During each day of the Airshow, there will be temporary WSSS airspace closures, based on the scheduled flying display. Closures will be advised by NOTAM.

5. Hotel availability

Singapore has a wide range of high-quality accommodation options, including 4- and 5-star international chain properties. While there are a couple of 4-star hotels located close to WSSS, most crews choose to stay in the central business district, just a 20-minute drive from either Singapore airport. Expect room pricing to be higher than normal 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.

6. Local transport

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. 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.

7. In-flight catering considerations

In-flight catering is available at both WSSS and WSSL. It’s best to provide at least 48 hours lead time, particularly for more custom orders. It’s also possible to coordinate catering from local restaurants or hotels, via your ground handler. Be advised that the FBO at WSSL has limited refrigerated storage available onsite.

You can check the free ACW Menu app for Air Culinaire Worldwide to see catering options and menus available.

9. Preferred ground handler

Universal Aviation Singapore is our recommended ground handler for all operations to Singapore.

Since 2018, Universal Aviation Singapore, based at WSSL, has made several enhancements to its facilities, equipment and training, including a brand new operations centre, Stage 2 accreditation under the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) program, and a brand new tow-barless lektro tug capable of handling aircraft up to a B737 or A320.

8. Additional resources

For full details on operating to Singapore, including information on permits, customs, and operating restrictions, visit our blog article on operating a business jet to Singapore.

Conclusion

For GA operators, it’s recommended that you travel to WSSL for the Singapore Airshow. This is a busy period for Singapore, so WSSS should be avoided due to the traffic and lack of airport slots and parking.

To take advantage of the best parking and crew accommodation options, it’s best to confirm all arrangements as soon as the schedule is known. Charter operators need to be mindful of long lead times typically involved in securing charter permits.


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