If you are a business aircraft operator and plan to attend Grand Prix events in Spain this year, now is the time to make arrangements and request services. These popular events can put a strain on local infrastructure, and best options for landing permits, aircraft parking, hotels, and other services will go to those who book early.
1. Does the Grand Prix take place every year in Spain?
Grand Prix events take place annually at two different locations. F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2012 will be held in Catalonia (north of Barcelona), May 11 – 13. The closest airport is Girona, Spain (LEGE), but you can also operate to Barcelona, Spain (LEBL). F1 European Grand Prix will be in Valencia (south of Barcelona), June 22-24. Valencia (LEVC) is the recommended airport for the June event.
2. Which airport is preferred for these events?
F1 Spanish Grand Prix racetrack is between LEBL and LEGE, but LEGE is the closest option with less traffic. LEVC is the preferred airport for the Valencia event. LEGE, LEBL and LEVC are international airports and airport slots are required. While aircraft parking is available at all three airports, it may be more difficult to secure closer to day of operations. High traffic is expected over the Grand Prix period, so plan accordingly, especially for shorter notice requests.
3. What are prior permission required (PPR) and airport slot requirements?
LEGE requires a PPR with at least three hours’ notice (permanent NOTAM). For a PPR, you must submit aircraft registration and type, full schedule (arrival/departure dates and times), and ground handling agent details. LEVC requires a PPR for this event (Friday thru Sunday, 22-34 June) with at least 24 hours’ notice. LEBL also requires a PPR (Friday through Sunday 11-13 May) with at least 24 hours’ notice. Airport slots at LEGE have -/+ 30 minutes deviation. LEBL deviation is -/+ 20 minutes and parking is permitted for a maximum of 96 hours unless otherwise approved by airport authorities. LEVC requires airport slots only for the 22-24 June period. Airport slots should be requested as soon as a firm schedule is known.
4. What services are available at these airports?
All three locations offer aircraft ground handling services, credit (aviation-fuel cards are also accepted), and catering. In-flight caterers are available and menus can be supplied on request. At least 24 hours’ notice is recommended for in-flight catering orders. Always let your ground handler know in advance which services, like aircraft parking, aviation fuel, aircraft equipment, and auxiliary services, are needed for your trip.
5. What are the local customs procedures?
Customs procedures typically take about five minutes at LEBL, LEGE and LEVC. You’ll be processed within the general aviation (GA) terminal at LEBL and in main terminals at LEGE and LEVC. Passengers and crew will be escorted to customs with luggage and then escorted to arranged local transport.
6. Will schedule revisions be problematic in terms of aircraft parking and airport slots?
Try to avoid last minute schedule changes. Last minute cancellations may result in charges if insufficient notice is given. It’s best to call your local ground handler to confirm cancellation policies. If you do require a last-minute schedule change, your ground handler or 3rd-party provider will be able to determine availability of other airport slot options.
7. Are 4- and 5-star hotels still available?
There’s relatively good hotel availability in Barcelona and Valencia, but Girona has fewer hotels, and you may have difficulty sourcing acceptable accommodation closer to time of operation. It’s best to confirm hotels as soon as your schedule is firm. Be aware that some hotels require pre-payment for rooms and some may have non-cancellable booking policies or minimum stay requirements.
8. Is it recommended to use taxis or pre-paid transportation (with driver)?
Pre-paid transportation is the preferred option, but taxis are acceptable alternatives at all three locations for crew and passenger transport. Rental cars are available at all three airports, but this is not recommended due to heavy traffic, parking issues and road closures during these events. No vehicles are allowed on the ramp at these three airports with exception of official vehicles with appropriate pre-approvals.
9. Are there special considerations for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators?
Charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators require landing permits. Spain Civil Aviation requires four working days to process a landing-permit request. Certain documentation is needed, so it’s recommended that you contact your 3rd-party provider to obtain all the requirements.
It’s important to request services, aircraft parking and airport slots as early as possible for Grand Prix events in Spain. Avoid last-minute changes, as airport slots may not be available for your revised schedule. Prior to submitting a change request, it’s always best to work with your 3rd-party provider to determine the viability of the schedule revision.
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About Gonzalo Barona
With more than three decades of experience in business aviation and ground support, Gonzalo Barona, Managing Director, Universal Aviation Spain, is an expert on all aspects of operations to Spain. Gonzalo, who is based in Madrid, has been with Universal since the 1970s and has coordinated ground support and logistics for thousands of operations in that time.
Gonzalo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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