Understanding Beijing Aircraft Parking: Part 1 – Changes to GA Parking Rules

PT 4 M minute read
Understanding Beijing Aircraft Parking: Part 1 – Changes to GA Parking Rules

This is a post by author Jimmy Young. Jimmy serves as country manager for Universal Aviation China, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Jimmy is an expert on business aircraft operations in China and can be contacted at jimmyyoung@universalaviation.aero.

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on Beijing aircraft parking.

Beijing (ZBAA) has experienced aircraft parking issues over the last few years. Recently, new restrictions were added limiting length of aircraft parking stays for General Aviation (GA) at this location. It’s now more important than ever to consider and confirm ZBAA parking options as early as possible in the trip planning process.

The following is an overview of what you need to know about aircraft parking in Beijing:

1. New ZBAA restrictions

The ZBAA airport authority has recently sent notices informing service providers and locally based ground handlers and operators that all transient GA aircraft are now limited to a maximum stay of 48 consecutive hours. Locally based GA operators, however, may still park for longer than 48 hours. This notice became effective June 1, 2014. Prior to this rule change, there was no official limitation on aircraft parking length of stay at ZBAA. GA parking availability at ZBAA has become almost as limited and challenging to obtain as it is at Hong Kong (VHHH).

2. This is a locally administered restriction

The 48-hour parking restriction at ZBAA has been implemented by the Beijing airport authority. While the airport authority is under the umbrella of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), it’s a separate entity with authority to mandate local airport regulations. This means that even though you may receive CAAC landing permit confirmation, with a schedule involving an overnight at ZBAA, the airport authority may not permit the parking. ZBAA airport authorities approve/disapprove parking but won’t provide any written or verbal confirmation. Keep in mind that even if you have parking at ZBAA, you always need to consider permit requirements, airport curfews, and airport slots.

3. Extending parking at ZBAA

Extensions to the 48-hour max stay at ZBAA may be requested, but they are at the discretion of ZBAA airport authority to approve. At this time, we have not experienced approval for any requests for extensions. There have been operators who’ve stayed on the ground longer than the approved 48 hours, and this has been done at their own risk. It’s at the discretion of the local airport authority to determine what penalties to apply to operators exceeding their allotted parking time.

4. Extend by repositioning

If operators want to stay on at ZBAA longer than 48 hours, they’ll need to leave and return to the airfield. One of the complications here is that ZBAA allows only one movement per GA aircraft during peak hours of 0800-2200 local. Additionally, no GA departures are permitted from 0700-0900 local (arrivals are permitted). This means that a return to ZBAA, on the same day, has to be after 2200 local.

5. Confirmed parking may be denied on the day of operation

There have been cases where operators with confirmed parking have on short notice been denied parking while in transit to ZBAA. These cases took place during the busy summer season but could happen any time of year without notice. If parking for ZBAA is denied last-minute, you’ll have to land at an alternate airport (or drop passengers at ZBAA and reposition) and wait until your ZBAA parking becomes available. This could involve a wait of a few hours. While a diversion will not affect your landing permit, you’ll still need to notify CAAC of any diversion and have the new flight leg added to your permit approval.

6. Parking stands are limited

ZBAA has only 46 GA parking slots, and these accommodate both locally based operators and transient movements. From these 46 spots, five of them are self-taxi bays. In practice, this means that only about half of the parking slots are available to transient operations. Note that there are no GA hangar spots available on this airfield – other than for short-term maintenance purposes.

7. Restrictions do not impact scheduled commercial parking

New 48-hour parking restrictions only affect GA. Scheduled commercial traffic has its own parking ramps. While the ZBAA airport authorities do not normally approve GA parking on the commercial side, it’s at their discretion to do so. This may happen in the case of very large GA aircraft as the GA side has few parking stands that accommodate very large or wide-body aircraft.

8. ZBAA will not be expanded

While ZBAA itself will not expand, a new Beijing airport is to be built and should have the buildings and four runways available by 2017, with the first operational phase set to take place in 2018. This new airfield will be at equal distance from central Beijing but on the other side (south) of the city. Full details are not yet available.

9. Parking challenges at other airports in China

Lack of GA parking is becoming a more common concern at various airports throughout China. Sanya (ZJSY) on the south of Hainan Island for example experiences seasonal GA parking issues. At major metropolitan destinations within China, we’re seeing temporary operating and parking restrictions implemented from time to time. In some cases these restrictions are put into effect due to high travel seasons, and in other cases they are a result of large business or political events taking place in the area. During large event periods, GA operations may be restricted due to traffic and security concerns.

10. Additional Reading: "Understanding Beijing Aircraft Parking" Series Index

Links will be added as new articles are published.

Closing thought

It’s important to stress the risks involved if operators decide to stay at ZBAA, without specific authorization, longer than 48 hours. The airport authority reserves the right to penalize operators staying beyond the approved length of stay – either during their stops at ZBAA or after departure.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to China, contact Christine Vamvakas christinevamvakas@univ-wea.com.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers more information on operations to Beijing.