Understanding Beijing Aircraft Parking: Part 3 – Alternate Recommendation – Tianjin (ZBTJ)

PT 3 M minute read
Understanding Beijing Aircraft Parking: Part 3 – Alternate Recommendation – Tianjin (ZBTJ)

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 continues from our article last week, entitled "Understanding Beijing Aircraft Parking: Part 2 – Permits, Airport Slots, and Services."

If you need to keep your business aircraft in the Beijing area longer than 48 hours, it’s best to operate to Tianjin (ZBTJ) and either travel to central Beijing by ground or drop passengers at Beijing (ZBAA) and reposition to ZBTJ.

The following is an overview of what you need to know about Tianjin:

1. ZBTJ basics

ZBTJ is a 24-hour airport of entry located 67 nautical miles from ZBAA. Operating concerns at this location usually have to do with Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) and local ground handing availability during late-night hours. CIQ and handling services typically mimic airline operating hours – based on the last scheduled commercial arrival/departure for the night. Be advised that advance arrangement is necessary for late-night operations.

2. Transport options ZBTJ – ZBAA

There’s a high-speed train service between Tianjin and Beijing that takes about 45 minutes, but it does not run 24 hours, and it’s not "airport to airport." Most crew members opt for a car with driver, and this usually involves a 1-hour-45-minute-drive between ZBTJ and downtown Beijing hotels.

3. ZBTJ advantages

ZBTJ currently has no GA parking restrictions, and aircraft parking is almost always available. There are no peak times of commercial traffic activity to consider when planning operations to ZBTJ. This location is also free of the curfews and operational restrictions that are a fact of life at ZBAA. ZBAA, for example, does not permit GA departures between 0700-0900 local and only permits one movement per GA aircraft between 0800-2200 local. No such operating restrictions exist at ZBTJ.

4. CIQ considerations

If you intend to arrive/depart ZBTJ late at night, advance notification is needed, and there will be overtime charges to organize after-hours ground handling and CIQ. CIQ at ZBTJ is strict with the clearance process. Passengers and crew members clear in the main terminal, and the clearance process is somewhat longer and more involved compared to that at ZBAA.

At this time we’re unaware if ZBTJ will allow international passengers staying less than 72 hours to arrive without visas. At ZBAA, depending on nationality, passengers arriving from an international location and leaving to another (but different from arrival) international location within 72 hours usually qualify to stay in China without visas.

Currently, citizens from 45 countries are able to transit ZBAA, Pudong (ZSPD), or Hongqiao (ZSSS), if remaining 72 hours or less, and transit to a third country without a visa. Those countries are:

Asia: Brunei, Japan, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, and United Arab Emirates

Oceania: Australia and New Zealand

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine

America: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, and United States

Be advised that the ground handler needs complete passenger information, including the passport and hotel details.

5. Aircraft service options

Note that ZBTJ primarily handles scheduled commercial aircraft. Currently, there’s no fixed-base operator or GA terminal at this location. It’s recommended to reposition an experienced GA ground handler from ZBAA to supervise and help coordinate aircraft services. Local airline handlers at ZBTJ are not as familiar with the unique requirements of GA. Also, be aware that there may be limitations in terms of Ground Support Equipment (GSE) availability at ZBTJ. In some cases you may need to arrange to have certain GSE brought into ZBTJ, and additional lead time should be allowed for this.

6. Additional reading: "Understanding Beijing Aircraft Parking" series index

Links will be added as new articles are published.

7. More on Tianjin


We anticipate local handling services, as well as GA infrastructure, to continue to improve at ZBTJ as the airport continues to take in more and more of the GA overflow traffic from ZBAA. Until then it’s always recommended to bring an experienced ground handler from ZBAA to supervise the services your aircraft will receive at ZBTJ.


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.