China Airport Alternate Restrictions

By Rebecca Lougheed




There are a multitude of Notams advising that certain airports in China are not to be used as alternates. Here is a list of those to look out for so you can plan and ensure your flight is not impacted, and a few others we thought worth mentioning.

The Notams

The ‘unavailability’ Notams, give or take slightly different dates, all say this – 

AD NOT AVBL FOR INTERNATIONAL ALTN FLIGHT(INCLUDE HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN FLIGHTS) EXCEPT EMERGENCY FLIGHT.

So don’t plan to use as an alternate, an en-route fuel or tech diversion, or anything else that wouldn’t be classified as an emergency.

The Airports

ZJSY/Sanya International – 12/31/2021

G2993/21 Sanya Phoenix International serves the Hainan region – the southernmost province of China (on the island).

ZSWH/Weihai – 12/09/2021

F6913/21 This is not a major international airport, Weihei lies on the eastern coast, north of ZSPD/Shanghai  Pudong beside the Yellow Sea and is the closest Chinese airport to South Korea.            

ZSNJ/Nanjing Lukou – 12/31/2021

F6912/21 A secondary international airport, this maybe used as an alternate for ZSPD/Shanghai Pudong. ZSHC/Hangzhou remains available, as does ZSSS/Shanghai Hongqiao (see below).

ZSSS/Shanghai Hongqiao – 12/19/2021

F6888/21 Only runway 18L/36R is unavailable, runway 18R/36L remains open and has both ILS CAT I and RNAV capability, and is 10,827’ (3300m) length.

ZSOF/Hefei Xinqiao – 01/18/2022

F6798/21 This is a secondary international airport service the Hefei region, inland from Shanghai.

ZBTJ/Tianjin Binhai – 02/28/2022

E3619/21 Runway 16R/34L is not available to any large (B747, A380) aircraft except if an emergency special transportation.

ZLIC/Yinchuan Hedong – 12/09/2021

L1155/21 Another minor international airport. It is unlikely you would feel this a an alternate as it has limited international operations. Hedong serves the autonomous Ningxia Hui region to the north east and lies in close proximity to mountainous terrain.

ZWKC/Kuqu Qiuci – 01/31/2022

W0547/21 This is a domestic airport serving the Xinjiang autonomous region and would not be recommended as an alternate.

ZWWW/Urumqi – 12/30/2021

W0500/21 Urumqi is one of the primary enroute and emergency diversion alternates for the Himalayan region flights into China. Taxiways A and B (so both main taxiways) are closed due maintenance, as is runway 07/25.

However, it remains available for emergencies, but it is not clear how much notice would be required.

ZHHH/Wuhan Tianhe – 12/31/2021

G2452/21 Wuhan is closed for all except emergencies due to stand shortages only.

ZUUU/Chengdu Shuangliu – 12/26/2021

U3453/21 Chengdu is a major international airport in central China. The airport remains open, but is not available for BizAv flights wishing to park overnight unless you are based there, or its an emergency.

ZLXN/Xining Caojiabao – 12/02/2021

L0900/21 Although an international airport, this primarily only serves domestic flights into the region. ZLLL/Lanzhou would be the closest major international airport, and this remains available.

ZPPP/Kunming – 01/31/2022

U3133/21 Kunming is also restricted in parking and not available for overnight parking to any BizAv aircraft unless based there or landing due emergency.

Some situational awareness on where these airports are located

Diverting in China

In general, diversions in China can be problematic if you head somewhere unplanned – and by this we mean not on your flight plan.

Much of the airspace is governed by the military which can result in delays for you while ATC coordinates with them. Take extra fuel for dealing with things like not getting the flight level you wanted, en-route weather deviations, random re-routes and delays with re-clearances if you do need to divert.

China also have stringent ATC procedures and hand out fines for errors, and occasionally impose restrictions for repeated errors so know the country rules and regs, including their contingency procedures as these differ to ICAO.

China have been known to impose “do not commit to destination” policies on some operators – this basically means they expect you to have enough fuel to not get into a low fuel situation at your destination airport. If you are going to, they expect you to divert to your alternate instead (which my result in you committing to that so look at that weather well in advance).


More on the topic:

More reading:

Rebecca Lougheed

Rebecca Lougheed

I am an OPSGROUP team member, an A340/A380 pilot, and interested in all things flight ops, cats and beer related. Based near an undisclosed airfield in England. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

Leave a Reply

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap