Flying a business jet to the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2019, and it’s a highlight of the Formula One racing calendar. This event is set to attract domestic traffic and general aviation (GA) operators.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. The race
The 2019 Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix main event takes place on Sunday December 1, with preliminary race events on Friday and Saturday the 29th and 30th of November. The venue is Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, about 30 minutes from central Abu Dhabi Intl (OMAA). We expect most GA arrivals to occur on November 29th or 30th with approximately 80 percent of GA attendees departing right after the race on Sunday December 1st.
2. VIP experiences
F1 Grand Prix’s attract more than race enthusiasts, and the race itself is merely the finale of a series of events and celebrity-packed parties and concerts.
Click here for more on the F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Experiences packages.
3. Airport options
Abu Dhabi has two GA airport options – OMAA and Al Bateen (OMAD). Both are 24-hour airports of entry (AOEs), located close to the city center, complete with fixed-base operators (FBOs) and full GA support services. OMAA is the scheduled commercial hub airport, while OMAD is more focused on business aviation.
For operations at OMAD it is very important to have General Declarations stamped with your company stamp. This will avoid undue passenger processing delays.
There’s plenty of GA parking available at both airports, for overnight and longer-term stays. We don’t anticipate issues in terms of parking availability over the Grand Prix period. Still, it’s best to get parking requests in as early as possible to ensure there will be no issues or delays.
When operating to either Abu Dhabi airport, it’s essential to have a fuel release. It should be forwarded in advance to your local handler. The PIC should also carry the release – not just a copy but the actual confirmation of the request – to show the fuel provider before hook up.
6. Ground handling
Both OMAA and OMAD have FBOs available with full GA support infrastructure and services. Note that during busy periods of commercial aviation movements, OMAA can become somewhat congested with possible delays for fuel uplift, services, and ground taxi. Ground support equipment (GSE) is available at both locations however tow bar availability for your specific make/model of aircraft should always be pre-confirmed.
7. Security considerations
Abu Dhabi is a safe area, with a threat level of just two. Both airports are highly secure, with adequate fencing and airside access controls, routine patrols, and electronic surveillance. Aircraft guards are not necessary but can be arranged with advance notification if your flight department standard operating procedures (SOPs) specify this.
8. Local transport
You may consider pre-paid (car with driver) transport or even public taxis from reputable companies for crew transport. UBER services are also available. If you wish to arrange secure transport, this is also available, but it’s best to book early due to high VIP demand over this period. You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs.
A wide range of hotel options is available in Abu Dhabi, including many international chain brands. Plan on about 350-400 USD/night for crew accommodations during the Grand Prix period, as well as possible extended room cancellation policies. Many preferred hotels close to the race circuit may be sold out, but we don’t expect issues in sourcing 4- and 5-star crew accommodations, even for short-notice or last-minute operations.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is the final F1 race of the year and attracts large volumes of international business aviation traffic. Abu Dhabi has a few different options for airports with full services and parking. There aren’t any operating restrictions to consider when utilizing airports in this area. The UAE is a lower threat level, and operators should refer to their regarding any security needs.
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