International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Author: David Mumford

China updates: ZBAA, ZBTJ, ZSAM

1. From now until the end of June, ZSAM/Xiamen airport will closed daily between 0010-0610 local time, and business flights will not be allowed to land or take-off between 0700-0900 local time daily as per the CAAC’s regulation (the same regulation applies to over 20 other airports in China including ZBAA, ZSSS, ZSPD, ZGGG and ZGSZ).

 

2. China’s “two sessions” begins this week – two big political conferences (CPPCC and NPC) that are held every year. ZBAA/Beijing gets busier than ever.

Even at the best of times, ZBAA only allows 24 hours maximum parking time for foreign GA, so expect to get sent to ZBTJ/Tianjin for parking: an Airport of Entry that regularly takes overflow traffic from Beijing.

As the nearest airport from ZBAA, ZBTJ is also accepting more ferry flights at the moment – the ZBTJ airport authority has been told to continue to do so until 30th April.

 

3. Be aware it’s going to become more and more common this year for Chinese immigration to record fingerprints of foreign travellers who enter China via international airports.

Sorry, you gotta go to Seletar: Ops to Singapore

Singapore Changi Airport has been named the best airport in the world by Skytrax for the past four years running.

It already has a butterfly garden, free 24-hour cinema, rooftop swimming pool and spa, but soon it’s going to become even more awesome – work is currently underway on the new ten-storey ‘Jewel Terminal’, scheduled for completion in 2018, with a gigantic ‘rain vortex’ waterfall cascading from the ceiling, indoor rainforest park, playgrounds, shopping mall and hotel complex. If it ends up looking anything like the pictures in the brochure, it will be pretty spectacular…

Unfortunately, if you’re operating a business jet to Singapore, you probably won’t be allowed to go there!

The Singapore authorities will not allow overnight parking at Changi for charter flights under any circumstances, and parking for private flights is limited to a maximum of 48 hours. Slots are required, and with the amount of scheduled traffic currently in place, unless you’re planning to do a really quick turn at super off-peak times (ie. the middle of the night), your request will probably be denied.

This is where the authorities would like all corporate flights to go instead:

Seletar Airport. Doesn’t look quite as fantastic, does it?

The good news is that unlike Changi, at Seletar there is much less congestion, no parking time limits, and much lower handling costs. However, it does only have a 6024 ft runway and is not due to have ILS installed until some time next year. Added to that, fuel is around $1 per US gallon more expensive than at Changi.

Whether you end up going to Changi or Seletar, if you’re operating as a non-scheduled commercial flight you’re going to need a landing permit, which means you’re going to have to jump through a few hoops.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how to organise that non-sked flight:

Step 1: Get an ‘Operations Permit’ (OP)

You will need to open an ATLAS Account with CAAS and then log in to appoint a handling agent. Then either you or the handling agent will be able to liaise with the authorities to obtain the Operations Permit (OP).

This is basically a blanket approval for that operator to conduct revenue flights to Singapore, and you may have up to 20 aircraft on this permit.

Once this permit is approved, CAAS will advise the validity period which may be up to one year, although the OP will only remain valid for as long as the other aircraft documents are valid for. The OP usually takes 3 working days for approval by CAAS if all paperwork submitted is in order.

 

Step 2: Get an ‘Air Transport Permit’ (AT)

After securing the OP, it means CAAS have in principle approved you as an operator to carry out charter flights to Singapore.

With the OP in place, you can then apply for an Air Transport Permit (AT) which is required for every individual charter schedule into Singapore (WSSS or WSSL). The AT Permit for WSSS usually takes around 3-5 working days for approval by CAAS, although they will often reject your request and demand that you operate to WSSL instead. The AT Permit for WSSL usually takes around 3 working days for approval.

For the OP and AT permits, you should register an account here:
https://appserver1.caas.gov.sg/ATLAS/welcome.do

 

Step 3: Slots –  but only if you’re going to Changi!

Remember, slots are only required at Changi, and not at Seletar. You can only obtain slots after you’ve obtained an OP and an AT. Slots will likely take several hours to obtain, and available slot times may differ from what you’ve requested, due to other scheduled traffic. You can only submit requests for slots a maximum of 7 days prior to ops, and a minimum of 24 hours prior. And you will nearly always need to change your schedule in order to match available slot options!

For more information than you could ever possibly need about slot requests at Changi, check the Singapore AIC 2/13:
http://www.caas.gov.sg/caasWeb2010/export/sites/caas/en/Regulations/Aeronautical_Information/AIC/AIC_PDFs/2-13.pdf

For requesting Changi airport slots, if you already have an account then you should use the online system:
https://www.online-coordination.com

Or if you don’t have an account then just send an email with your request in the standard SCR format to:
csc@changiairport.com


 

Other things to consider…

  • If you’re operating as a private flight to Singapore (instead of non-scheduled commercial), life suddenly gets considerably easier, as permits are not required for private flights! Just make sure you have parking arranged, and file your inbound ATC flight plan 12 hours in advance, being sure to copy in the Singapore ATC AFTN address WSJCZQZX. You’ll still need slots if operating to Changi, but at least you don’t have the added hassle of having to obtain the OP/AT.
  • Permits are not required for Singapore overflights either. The only exception to this is for special airworthiness flights, where for both overflights and landings you basically follow same process – apply for a Singapore Permit To Fly. To do that, complete the form at the following link: http://www.caas.gov.sg/caasWeb2010/export/sites/caas/en/PDF_Documents/Others/aw101.doc
  • It’s also worth noting that in the Singapore FIR, ADS-B is now mandatory for aircraft wishing to fly at or above FL290.

 

The Hidden Costs of Operating to China

China has always been challenging to operate to. Handling rates are prohibitively expensive, half the country’s airways are closed to foreign operators, and slots and parking at the major airports can often be impossible to obtain.

But often the most frustrating thing about operating to China is just trying to work out what all the different charges are for. If you receive a big bill post-flight from a company called Tong Da Air Service, unfortunately it’s not a scam! These guys are the government-appointed agency in China who are responsible for collecting all the NAV fees for flights by foreign operators.

 

It’s important to know in advance what you will get charged here, as it’s not totally clear  without doing a bit of digging – and your handling agent will likely not include all these complicated fees when they provide you with handling quotes!

So when it comes to NAV fees in China, you will always get charged for four separate things:

  • En-Route Charge.
  • Terminal Navigation Charge.
  • Compensation Charge (the fee paid to the government for the permit)
  • Service Charge (Tongda Air’s charge for obtaining the permit)

 

Importantly…

En-Route Charge = this is charged for each individual flight

Terminal Navigation / Service Charge / Compensation Charge = these are charged per permit, and are always set costs.

 

So let’s say you fly RKSS-ZBAA-RKSS: you will need to pay En-Route Charges for each sector, and one set of Terminal Navigation / Service / Compensation charges.

Similarly, if your routing involves multiple domestic flights within China, (eg. RKSS-ZBAA-ZBTJ-ZSPD-RKSS) you only need one permit to cover all those stops,  which means you will only pay one set of Terminal Navigation / Service / Compensation charges. So far so good…

 

But let’s say you fly something like RKSS-ZBAA-VHHH-ZGSD: on this routing you will effectively be departing China when you go to VHHH, so you will need two permits – one for each stop in China (ZBAA and ZGSD). And because of this, you would need to pay two sets of Terminal Navigation / Service / Compensation charges!

 

china-map

 

So here’s how you work out the 4 charges:

 

1. En-Route Charge

There’s a very lengthy and complicated method of working this out, but the easiest thing to do is just use your flight-planning tool to tell you the answer. Most tools have this function – just make sure you click the button that says something like ‘overflight costs’ and find the section on the output of the flight plan that looks something like this:

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-13-34-35

(Showing costs for a B737 operating from ZBAA/Beijing to VHHH/Hong Kong)

 

2. Terminal Navigation Charge

MTOW                      Charges (RMB Yuan)

Up to 25                    990

26-50                         1060

51-100                      1060 + 21*(T-50)

101-200                   1920 + 23*(T-100)

above 201               3820 + 27*(T-200)

 

T = the actual MTOW rounded up to the nearest tonne

 

So for example:

an aircraft with a MTOW of 60T = 1060 + 21*(60-50) = 1270RMB

an aircraft with a MTOW of 110T = 1920 + 23*(110-100) = 2150RMB

an aircraft with a MTOW of 210T = 3820 + 27*(210-200) = 4090RMB

 

3. Compensation Charge

This will always be $3000.

 

4. Service Charge:

This will be either $1200 for landing permit, or $500 for overflight permit.

 

Hong Kong is a pain in the ass – it’s official

After a few members complained, we put  the question out to OpsGroup:  is operating a non-scheduled flight to Hong Kong really that difficult?

The response was a resounding “Yes”. 

Why then? Operators talk of having to cancel planned flights, that it’s impossible to get a decent schedule, and even with a poor one, that lining up slots, parking, permits and handling is extremely difficult. End result: a mountain of frustration.

Trying to get slots at Hong Kong International Airport has always been tricky. Now the world’s third busiest airport with over 1000 flights per day departing from its two runways, severe congestion means that only a handful of daily slots have been available to private, corporate and non-scheduled operators.

Here’s a look at a typical daily slot availability chart at Hong Kong International Airport:

typical-daily-hk-slot-availability

Back in March 2016, the airport authority made it mandatory for all BA/GA operators to start using the Online Coordination System (OCS) to reserve their slots, rather than by email as they had done previously. But for many, this system has proven to be frustrating, as a lack of enforcement has meant that slot hoarding and mismanagement by some operators has largely gone unpunished.

But in a recent attempt to crack down on such behaviour and to prevent slots going unused, the airport authority has tightened restrictions for operators flying into or out of Hong Kong. You now need all 4 of the following to be confirmed in advance: landing permit, parking, ground handling, and slots.

New changes mean that slots can be booked up to 14 days in advance (instead of 7 days as before), and authorities will monitor the slot system for intentional misuse – which could lead to operators being banned from using the system altogether. Other violations include any cancellations of outbound flights less than 72 hours before departure, and delays on the day by more than 2 hours – although any off-slot operations outside a tolerance of +/-20 minutes can still flag up for potential slot misuse.

 

hk-apt-chart

As for parking – again, severe congestion means this is problematic. Parking is confirmed on a first-come-first-served basis, and can be applied for up to 30 days in advance – ultimately, the earlier you apply the better. However, parking requests for 5 days or more will likely be rejected, and overnight parking is often denied during busy periods. If this happens, unfortunately the best strategy is still to just keep making new applications until you get accepted!

Over 100 business jets use HKIA as their home base, but fewer than 70 parking spaces are available at any given time, and the GA ramp itself only has space for 20 aircraft. If full, the authorities will rarely grant parking on the commercial side, and often they will just deny the parking request altogether. Once your parking is approved, you’ll receive a confirmation, and this must be given to your ground handler.

It should be noted that the requests for the landing permit, parking, ground handling and slots are all separate from each other, and need to be applied for individually. We would recommend the following, in order:

 

1. Apply for LANDING PERMIT

Can be done whenever, but should probably be done first.

www.cad.gov.hk/english/efiling_home.html

Civil Aviation Department (CAD)

Email: asd@cad.gov.hk, gcmtse@cad.gov.hk

Phone: +852 2910-6648, -6629

 

2. Apply for PARKING

Can be done up to 14 days in advance of flight, the earlier you do this the better!

https://extranet.hongkongairport.com/baps/

Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA)

Email: bjetslot@hkairport.com

 

3. Apply for GROUND HANDLING

There are plenty of agents and handlers at VHHH, but only one dedicated FBO for BA/GA flights:

http://www.hkbac.com/en

Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC)

Email: hkbac@hkbac.com

Phone: +852 2949 9000

 

4. Apply for SLOTS

Will only be considered 14 days prior to flight.

http://www.hkgslot.gov.hk/Online_Coordination.html

Hong Kong Schedule Coordination Office (HKSCO)

Email: hkgslot@cad.gov.hk

Phone: +852 2910 6898

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