The Farnborough International Airshow takes place every other year in even numbered years, and it’s one of the world’s largest aviation trade shows, with 1,400-plus exhibitors and more than 120,000 attendees. This year, trade days are July 9-13, followed by public days on the July 14-15 weekend. Farnborough always draws a lot of traffic to the region, but this year, with the 2012 London Olympics beginning July 27, demand for corporate aviation infrastructure, services, and hotel accommodations will create challenges for those who plan to attend at the last minute.
1. Consider operating hours at Farnborough (EGLF)
Farnborough (EGLF) is an airport of entry (AOE) with operating hours Monday-Friday 0700-2000 local, with overtime available until 2200 local and Saturday-Sunday 0800-2000 local, with no overtime possible.
Be aware that the airport collects a surcharge for Saturday and Sunday operations. Stage 2 aircraft are banned at EGLF. Hush kitted aircraft, not originally manufactured as Stage 3 compliant, must have a certificate to ensure acceptable noise levels. Due to high traffic and enhanced demand for services over this busy period, it’s recommended that all required aircraft services be arranged well in advance of arrival and fuel uplift on arrival be considered.
2. Customs procedures are unique
Customs requires at least 24 hours’ notice for aircraft arriving from outside the European Union (EU). Intra-EU operations customs clearance at EGLF requires a minimum four hours’ notice. In the case of flights to/from Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, or Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, customs must have at least 12 hours’ notice. For weekend arrivals, customs should be notified by noon of the preceding Friday. If you’re planning on claiming value added tax (VAT) refunds on departure from EGLF, customs will require 24 hours’ notification in order to process passengers and purchased goods.
3. Charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights are subject to full aviation-security checks on departure
As per EU regulation 300/2008, all charter flights are subject to full aviation-security checks upon departure. All crew, passengers, and baggage will be screened, in accordance with EU regulations, in the same manner that scheduled commercial flights are processed. Plan ahead and allow additional time for complete security screening, and be sure to make passengers aware of carry-on restrictions. For instance, liquids of more than 100 ml. will not be allowed in carry-on luggage.
4. Be aware of Prior Permission Required (PPR) and airport slot requirements
While airport slots are not normally a requirement at EGLF, they’ll be needed during the 2012 London Olympics period. PPRs are always necessary for operations into EGLF. Your PPR will serve as an approval for arrival and departure and will also be used to allow access to the aircraft while it’s on the ground. It’s important to provide your PPR number to vendors such as caterers, pre-paid transportation, and baggage vans to facilitate their access to your aircraft. A minimum of 24 hours’ notice is required to obtain PPR, but as much advance notice as possible should be provided when requesting PPR during the Farnborough Air Show period. Always have a plan “B” ready in case you’re not able to secure PPR and parking at EGLF during this period.
5. Charter operators require landing permits
All charter operators must have a landing permit to travel to the United Kingdom (UK). The official landing permit lead time is five working days. The Department for Transport (DFT) processes any landing permit requests and their normal operating hours are Monday – Friday 0900-1700 local and out-of-hours duty officers are available on weekends for emergencies only. Minimum advance notice for a landing permit is 48 hours, not including the weekend. Short notice approvals with less than 48 hours’ notification are at the discretion of DFT. Landing permit revisions are required for some schedules, crew, or passenger changes. An operational delay within 24 hours of the scheduled departure is usually a matter of notifying DFT. Landing permit documentation requirements include the Air Operator Certificate (AOC), registration and airworthiness certificates, aerodrome operating minima, and a letter stating that the aircraft has an enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). As is the case throughout the UK, if your proposed flight involves cabotage which would be 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th freedoms, local charter operators have 24 hours to file an objection to your charter request. Always work with your 3rd-party provider when planning a charter operation to the UK to confirm regulatory requirements and potential operating challenges.
6. Alternate parking locations may need to be considered
Alternate airports, including Stansted (EGSS) and Luton (EGGW), should be considered when planning to attend the Farnborough Air Show. EGSS is a 24-hour airport with certain noise restrictions in place from 2330 – 0600 local. Airport slots are required for EGSS with deviation -/+ 15 minutes. Contact your 3rd-party provider for particulars on local Stage 2 noise restrictions. EGGW is also a 24-hour airport for Stage 3 aircraft. Stage 2 operations are banned. Airport slots are required at EGGW with deviation -15/+30 minutes. Full services, credit and aviation-fuel- cards acceptance is available at both EGSS and EGGW.
7. Confirm hotel and ground transportation arrangements early
While there are a few hotels available in the immediate Farnborough area, these accommodations will be difficult to secure due to very high demand during the air show period. The best opportunity for accommodation availability will be in London, which is approximately a one-hour drive from Farnborough. Hotels in the Farnborough region may increase room prices and extend cancellation policies during the air show. Due to the 2012 London Olympics, London-area hotels may have higher prices this July with extended cancellation policies. For this reason, it’s best to avoid making revisions to hotel bookings. Pre-paid transportation, likewise, will be in high demand over this period, and it’s recommended that you make reservations for these services as soon as your trip is confirmed.
Plan early for best results if attending the 2012 Farnborough Air Show. With the Farnborough Air Show and 2012 London Olympics both occurring in July this year, it’s more important than ever to plan early and work with an experienced 3rd-party provider and ground handler.
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About Christine Vamvakas
An FAA-Licensed Dispatcher, Christine Vamvakas is an expert in all areas of trip support services, including TSA Waivers, international visa requirements, aircraft fuel ranges, operations in Greece, and charter operations throughout Europe. A native of Greece, Christine is fluent in Greek and has more than a decade’s experience working in trip support services with Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. Having served as Master Trip Owner and Team Lead for Universal’s Charter Management Team, Christine has facilitated thousands of international trip legs and uses that experience in her role as Universal’s Operations Communications Manager. Christine holds a bachelor of science degree in business management and a master’s degree in business administration. Her expert commentary has been included in multiple business aviation publications. You can reach Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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