Flying to Cannes? 4 Tips for Selecting Airports and Alternates
This aviation blog post is part of a series on planning a business aviation flight to the Cannes Film Festival.
One of the busiest periods in the Mediterranean region takes place every year in the latter part of May. If you plan to attend the Cannes Film Festival this year (May 16th-27th), it’s important to plan early, as this popular event coincides with the Monaco Grand Prix (May 24th-27th), and the same airports are used for both events. There are aircraft parking considerations and restrictions to consider, and Prior Permissions Required (PPRs) are necessary at some airfields. We recommend you work with an experienced 3rd-party provider, as all services – including handling, parking, hotels and local transport – will be in high demand.
1. Begin the planning process early
We recommend operators begin the planning process in February or March, as this allows more time for parking requests. It’s still possible to set up parking and ground handling in May. However, your options will be improved by beginning the process sooner rather than later. Primary airports for the Cannes festival are Cannes, France (LFMD) and Nice, France (LFMN), but there are a number of alternate airports – with parking availability – in the area.
2. Consider your options at LFMD
LFMD welcomes only private flights and has 21 main parking slots with 50-60 remote parking slots (for these, the aircraft must be towed). Heavy traffic can usually be expected on Monday mornings and Friday and Sunday evenings. Aircraft fueling wait time is seldom more than 20 to 30 minutes. The ground handler carries towbar types for aircraft of up to 49,000 lbs. (22 metric tons). This is also the Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) permitted at LFMD. All aircraft exceeding this MTOW will have to operate to alternate airports. PPRs are usually required at LFMD during the Cannes festival and Monaco Grand Prix, but operators are not officially informed of this until the month prior to the event. It’s up to the airport authorities to make that decision: However, based on past experience, PPRs should be expected. There’s no maximum length of stay, as long as parking has been confirmed in advance. Depending on traffic levels, slots may be required at LFMD (deviation is -5 minutes / +10 minutes). Operating hours during this period are from 0800 to 2115 local. (Closure time is sunset plus 30 minutes.) Lighting is available at night until 2000 local only.
Also, please note that all operators are required to complete a mandatory briefing prior to arrival. This briefing can be found at the following link:
3. Know your options at LFMN
LFMN operates 24 hours a day and limits aircraft operations to Stage 3 and above. Aircraft parking is usually not an issue during the Cannes festival. However, it becomes very congested during the Monaco Grand Prix period due to a large increase in traffic, so you’ll need to book both parking and PPR. Additionally, slots are required for this airport and the deviation is -5 minutes / +10 minutes. Your ground handler or 3rd-party provider can assist with all these arrangements. PPRs at this location must be set up for the requested length of stay. If there’s a change, after your schedule has been approved, airport authorities will put you at the end of the list (unless it’s a small change). Best practice is to make sure your schedule is confirmed before requesting your PPR in order to avoid problems. Due to airport authority regulations, parking confirmations won’t be released until three weeks before the time of operations.
4. Look at alternative airport options
Other airports and aircraft parking options are available in the area during this busy period. Genoa, Italy (LIMJ) operates 24 hours a day with good parking availability. Larger aircraft can be accommodated here, and helicopter connections are available to LFMD. Le Castellet, France (LFMQ) operates sunrise to sunset, with overtime operations possible with a confirmed PPR. Marseille, France (LFML) is open 24 hours a day. Another good option is Toulon, France (LFTH), which operates Monday-Saturday, 0700-2230 local time, and Sunday 0900-2230 local time. LFTH also requires a confirmed PPR to operate there.
Many options are available to operators who are planning to attend the Cannes Film Festival and / or Monaco Grand Prix this year. While it’s preferable to make parking and ground handling requests as early as possible, solutions are always possible – even for last-minute operations.
If you have any questions about this article, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would like to thank Hélène Williame with LFMD Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur company for providing us with the latest information on Cannes Film Festival corporate operational planning.