March 18, 2016

With fewer than half of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) flights departing within 30 minutes of their scheduled departure time, Hong Kong airport authorities have implemented a new slot-application process, effective March 15, through the Online Coordination System. Operators may register online, or use agents to act on their behalf.

The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD) reminded operators in a recent Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC 02/16) that slots must be allocated by the Hong Kong Schedule Coordination Office (HKSCO) before beginning operations to or from HKIA. Officials also warned about the consequences of non-compliance with slot clearances, or intentional misuse of slots.

“Any off-slot operations outside a tolerance of 15 minutes of the allocated slot times will trigger HKSCO to analyze potential slot misuse,” the circular stated.

“HKIA is the world’s third-busiest airport, which places extreme pressure on the airport to manage its limited slot and parking availability efficiently,” said Doug Carr, NBAA vice president of regulatory and international affairs. “Development of a third runway is in the early stages, but it requires significant land reclamation and a long seawall; it will be years before it becomes operational.”

Last year, there were more than 400,000 flights from HKIA. According to recent airport data, as many as 53 percent of the airspace slots requested by business aircraft operators go unused. Of the number of slots reserved by general aviation operators, 39 percent are returned to CAD within 24 hours of the set slot time.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for business jets to secure runway slots and parking stands.

“We get the lowest priority when it comes to slot allocation and parking; therefore, operators must exercise discipline by only requesting slots that they are sure are going to be used,” said Charlie Mularski, chairman of the Asian Business Aviation Association and regional vice president for Universal Aviation and Weather.

General aviation operators must have a charter permit (from the Air Services Division – CAD), a runway slot (from the HKSCO) and a parking stand (from the Airport Authority Hong Kong) before commencing operations.

Starting in February 2013, HKIA implemented a parking-stand booking policy, which requires GA operators to apply for a parking stand prior to commencing HKIA operations. Applications are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking stand applications may be filed up to 30 days in advance. First-time registration can take three days; thereafter, responses to applications are promised by the following day. View the application website.

About 120 business jets use HKIA as their home base, but fewer than 70 parking spaces are available at any given time.