Shanghai is a pivotal economic, technological and industrial center of China. Its GDP ranks number one within the country itself and number two within the continent of Asia. Committed to the completion of an international financial, shipping and Trade Center by 2020, the city plays an integral role in the entire country’s commercial development. All of this makes Shanghai’s airports – Pudong International airport (ZSPD) and Hongqiao international airport (ZSSS) – two of the China’s busiest.
Currently Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Terminal 1 is under renovation due to ramp maintenance. This has led to a restriction on all business flights – they are currently prohibited from staying at Hongqiao airport for more than three days. This restriction was introduced in early July this year and will apply until September 17th. Therefore, operators planning to utilize Hongqiao airport for more than a three-day stay during this period will need to reschedule and look for alternative solutions. One of the possible solutions to this is to reposition the aircraft to Shanghai Pudong airport for parking; ZSPD is only around a one hour drive from Hongqiao airport. Currently there are no parking restrictions at Pudong airport, however as one of China’s busiest airports, parking availability should always be reconfirmed prior to any operation. In case parking is unavailable at Pudong during the required timeframe, the best solution is to position the aircraft in the nearby cities of Hangzhou or Nanning. Securing parking at Hangzhou airport (ZSHC) or Nanning airport (ZSNJ) is generally very doable, however, Nanning airport is expensive when compared with Hangzhou – often a deciding factor when deciding between these two airports.
The second restriction at Hongqiao Airport prohibits take-off or landing for business jets from or in an East or Northeast direction between 07:00 –22:59 Local time (which is 23:00 – 14:59 UTC). The curfew time at ZSSS is 00:00-06:00 Local time daily (which is 16:00 – 22:00 UTC) with no landing or take off is allowed during this timeframe. Therefore, aircraft is only allowed to operate from or to the East and Northeast between 06:00-07:00 Local time. This policy has been introduced with the aim of improving air traffic flow in the area which is considered crucial to ensure the smooth running of the entire air traffic in China. It must be followed strictly as no exemption will be made by the Chinese authorities. Also, with military control over the airspace of PRC these restrictions are unlikely to be removed anytime soon.
Another restriction at Shanghai Hongqiao airport determines that one aircraft cannot occupy more than two inclusive slots during the peak hours 08:00—21:59 Local time (which is 0000-1359UTC) on the same day. This regulation is also applicable at other busy airports such as Beijing (ZBAA), Guangzhou (ZGGG), Shenzhen (ZGSZ), and also Shanghai Pudong (ZSPD). This policy is a result of the increase in the passenger throughput at these airports that has reached an extraordinarily high level. According to a survey published last year, the incoming and outgoing passengers count to and from Shanghai Hongqiao airports ranks 4th among all busiest airports in China – the top three being Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai Pudong. This year, for the first time, the total passenger count to and from both of Shanghai’s airports total more than Beijing Capital Airport. Being an international hub for flight connections, Shanghai is further developing its infrastructure as the demand for air travelling and cargo continues. However, with the rapid economic development in Shanghai, Shanghai airports probably will become much busier in the future causing even tighter slots restriction to be implemented.
It’s always better to have full understanding of the airport policies and local regulations before flying to a foreign city to ensure you’re prepared in advance to avoid any rush or unexpected surprises. If you would like more information regarding Shanghai Hongqiao airport or any other airports on mainland China, UAS’ Asia Pacific team are here to advise you. Our station manager in Shanghai can assist you in every possible way to ensure your trip unfolds seamlessly.