What to consider when operating into China?

In recent years, China has continued to evolve into a more corporate aviation-friendly environment. 

However, there remain a number of considerations which need to be kept in mind when operating into China. 

1. What about the Pre-Flight Planning stage?

It’s important to be aware of the restrictions and requirements which are released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China when planning a trip to China. Processing permits for China vary between airports, aircraft types, and flight types, thus varying in lead-time and complexity. 

For corporate jets operating to airports open to Foreign Aircraft, the CAAC requires at least two working days to process the permits and the correct documentation must be submitted on time. 

Peak hours of commercial operations are 0800-2200 local. At busy airports such as ZBAA, ZSSS, ZSPD, ZGGG and ZGSZ, only one movement per General Aviation aircraft is permitted during this time. At some restricted airports, you will be required to carry a Chinese navigator on board, and more complicated documentation and longer lead-time will be required to process the permit. Operating to certain Chinese airports is forbidden. 

We recommend you work closely with our Jetex China Operation team when planning a trip to China in order to be fully informed of all possibilities.

2. Visa Requirements

Generally, all crew members will require a “C” type visa when operating to-, or from China. If not in possession of a valid visa, this could result in a fine, or even deportation. 

Our Jetex China office can provide you with an invitation letter to obtain a Single-Entry Visa for crew members. An Annual Multi-Entry Visa is also an option. 

Most Chinese Consulates will only accept an official CAAC Sponsor Letter as valid documentation to apply annually for a Multi-Entry Visa. Our Jetex China Operation team can assist you in obtaining this specific CAAC Sponsor Letter as well.

3. CIQ process

In China, CIQ procedures vary from airport to airport. At ZBAA and ZSSS, all CIQ procedures are completed at the FBO, and the process usually only takes 5-15 minutes per passenger (or crew member). 

Luggage is brought to CIQ by the handler and is screened. However, at remote airports without FBO facilities, CIQ procedures will be completed at the Commercial Terminal through a dedicated CIQ pass way available for corporate passengers- and crew.

Through prior arrangements, the handling agent can escort the crew and passengers through Customs and Immigration. At most locations, CIQ Officials may come aboard the aircraft to conduct a documentation check upon arrival. 

4. FBOs in China

FBO facilities in China are only available at ZBAA, ZSSS, ZGSZ and ZJSY. The Chinese FBOs are different from any western style FBO; there are lounges and rest areas available, however there are no crew services such as weather access, rest rooms and shower facilities. 

5. Ground Handling Arrangements

At all airports in China, Ground Service Equipment is owned by either the Airport Authorities or Commercial Airlines instead of the “usual” ground handlers. Airports and airlines would give priority to commercial flights over corporate flights when providing ramp services. During peak hours at busy airports, delays can occur. Therefore, it is quite important to inform your handling agent of the required services in advance of any departure or arrival so prior arrangement can be made. Our experienced Jetex Supervisors who are on site will assist you in every way to ensure a smooth operation. 

China has a special cultural background which may be unique. But as long as you are familiar with the regulations, and have our Jetex Chinese team experts with their excellent relations with CAAC and Airport Authorities assist you, it will not be difficult. 

See you on your next trip to China!

Olivia Gan Lin
Head of Ground Handling Division
Jetex China

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