More overnight slots for Hong Kong

Without stating the obvious, Hong Kong is a busy airport and it’s a difficult one to get slots and parking at, if you are a GA/BA operator.

Ok- it’s true, we went as far as calling operations to Hong Kong a PITA in the past.

Well, the latest intel is that the Airport Authority (AAHK) and the Hong Kong Schedule Coordination Office (HKSCO) have decided to trial an increase in slot availability from 4 to 6 total slots each night.

This is the info we have:

Notice on night slot availability (trial from 8 August 2018 until 8 October 2018)

  1. The number of slots available for GA/BA operations between 0000 to 0500 local time (16-21 UTC) will increase from 4 slots daily to 6 slots daily.
  2. The application procedure for these 6 slots will be the same as that for the 4 daily slots currently available.
  3. The above are provided on a trial and temporary basis and are subject to continuous review jointly by AAHK and HKSCO. The procedures will be effective from 0000 UTC on 8 August 2018 until 2359 UTC on 7 October 2018.

Also important to note, as pointed out to us by our friends at the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) – these 6 slots will be made available to all aircraft types, not just the ones currently exempted from the noise abatement regulations. This means that BBJ’s/ACJ’s/Lineage 1000/Globals/G650ER etc can now operate in and out of Hong Kong at night-time, subject to slot availability.

Some days I miss the old Kai Tak airport. My Dad reminded me that the 20th anniversary of its closure just went by last month. I feel old.

If you do too, watch a Kai Tak video to cheer you up 🙂

Extra Reading:

Updated communication procedures for Hong Kong FIR

AIP SUP A09/18 details new communication procedures for air traffic entering the VHHK/Hong Kong FIR.

The key points:

  • Aircraft shall comply with the following communication requirements to obtain an air traffic control (ATC) clearance:
  • Pilot shall report the aircraft callsign, position (with reference to reporting point), level (including passing and cleared levels if not maintaining the cleared level), transponder code, and other pertinent information (e.g. speed assigned by last ATC, tracking if it differs from the flight plan route) in the initial call before entering Hong Kong FIR.

Also a small change: the requirement for pilots to report the estimate time exiting Hong Kong FIR on first contact with Hong Kong Radar as stipulated in AIP Hong Kong ENR 1.1 paragraph 2.2.4 will no longer be applicable and is hereby cancelled.

Hong Kong near-misses on the rise

According to recent figures released by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of Hong Kong, 2017 saw an increase in ‘loss of separation’ incidents within it’s airspace.

Twelve times, two aircraft came within 1000 feet and less than 5 nautical miles of each other last year. This is the highest in six years.

Local law makers are now calling for a new ATC system to be implemented. A local pilot operating regularly through VHHH/Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) commented to FSB recently that the Air Traffic Services have been in “constant decline” over the past seven to ten years.

CAD insisted that alerts were issued “in a timely manner as per system design”. It said “losses of separation” were due to a number of factors such as adverse weather, operating procedures and human factors and they did occasionally occur due to the old air traffic system and other systems around the world. “CAD would investigate every individual incident according to established procedures and make necessary improvement,” the department added.

Hong Kong airspace is congested at the best of times. With four major airports within 150 kilometres and many overflights to and from mainland China, the 2016 introduction of a new Air Traffic System known as “Autotrac3” was set to assist in solving some of the complexity whilst increasing safety. The transition to the new system was challenging with various system issues.

The TMA is also complicated by significant terrain and regular adverse weather. Recent statistics show that air traffic is up over 3.5% already in 2018 with 36,000 movements occurring monthly (6.4 million passengers).

The continued massive year-on-year growth has seen the start of work to construct a third runway, expected to be operational in 2023-24 to facilitate the expected 100 million passengers using HKIA by that time.

This will no doubt just put further strain on an already complicated airspace situation.

The new third runway at HKIA- coming 2023-24.

Have you operated through the Hong Kong area lately? Can you provide an update?

Extra Reading:

Typhoon Hato affects Hong Kong, Macau, Zhuhai

With the worst of Typhoon Hato now past the Pearl River Delta, some incredible footage has been seen showing the storm in action.

The worst affected airports were VHHH/Hong Kong, VMCC/Macau, and ZGSD/Zhuhai, with winds up to 105 knots.


Hato is now tracking away to the west.

New disinsection procedure for Hong Kong (VHHH/HKG)

From April 25th, 2017, Hong Kong will require disinsection for all aircraft inbound from Zika affected areas (i.e. last port being a WHO Category 1 or Category 2 area). The current list of Zika affected areas can be found in WHO’s latest Zika virus situation report:

Per the new regulations, there are three groups:

  • Airlines/Aircraft operators adopting residual disinsection – this group of airlines/aircraft operators should repeat residual disinsection before the expiry dates marked at the last residual disinsection certificates and provide PHO with the new disinsection certificates upon request.
  • Airlines/Aircraft operators adopting non-residual disinsection – Upon request, this group of airlines/aircraft operators should provide PHO with the details of non-residual disinsection in the Health Part of the Aircraft General Declaration and empty or partly used insecticide cans within 24 hours of arrival of each aircraft. These items should be submitted to PHO (Room 5T577, Level 5, Arrival Hall, Terminal 1, Hong Kong International Airport) at 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm daily. For private jets, their crew/operators should submit the Health Part of the Aircraft General Declaration and the photos of empty or partly used insecticide cans to PHO by email to sphi_ap@dh.gov.hk. PHO will take follow-up actions if an airline/aircraft operator fails to comply with the above requirement.
  • Airlines/Aircraft operators adopting no disinsection – For airlines/aircraft operators not adopting regular disinsection, they will be reminded of the disinsection requirement before their aircraft arrive. The Airport Authority will allocate an outside berth for the aircraft.

Residual Disinsection

The internal surface of the aircraft, excluding food preparation areas are sprayed with residual disinsection at intervals not exceeding eight weeks (WHO, 1995)2. Pesticides used and methods of application should be recommended by the WHO. Pesticides used should be registered according to the Pesticide Ordinance (Cap. 133).

The residual disinsection remains efficacious for eight weeks and causes minimal inconvenience to passengers and prevents the crew or passengers from exposure to aerosol sprays.

Non-Residual (Spraying)

Blocks away The Blocks away disinsection is recommended by the WHO and takes place after passengers have boarded, the doors have been closed and prior to take-off. The cabin is treated by crew members walking through the cabins discharging aerosols.

Pre-flight and Top of Descent The pre-flight spraying involves the aircraft cabin and hold being sprayed with an aerosol containing a residual insecticide while the aircraft is on the ground but before passengers embark. Pre-flight is spraying usually followed by a non-residual top of descent spraying. The combined treatment lasts for the duration of single flight sector.

On-arrival On-arrival treatment of cabin and hold of incoming flights to Hong Kong should be carried out when no spraying has been conducted prior to departure for Hong Kong or during the flight. On-arrival treatment is carried out after landing with passengers on board by the crew under supervision of PHO.


For aircraft disinsection, WHO currently recommends permethrin (2%) for residual disinsection (WHO, 2005) and d-phenothrin (2%) for space spraying. The specification of the insecticides are attached in Annex I.



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:


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.



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:



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


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!


Hong Kong Airport Authority (HKAA)

Email: bjetslot@hkairport.com



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


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.


Hong Kong Schedule Coordination Office (HKSCO)

Email: hkgslot@cad.gov.hk

Phone: +852 2910 6898

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