The annual World Economic Forum will be held January 23-27 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. 2,500 of the world’s most powerful and influential corporate leaders, politicians, journalists, and intellectuals will meet over a busy four-day period, and business aviation activity to the area is anticipated to be heavy. While hotels and ground transport options may still be available, it’s advisable to work with your 3rd-party provider now to secure the best possible arrangements for airport slots and aircraft parking.
Top Pre-planning Tips for 2013 Davos Operations
1. Plan for aircraft parking well in advance
Most business aircraft operators attending Davos choose to park their aircraft at Zurich, Switzerland (LSZH). Parking requests should be submitted immediately, and it’s best to request parking for Jan 23 – 27, as this encompasses all days of the forum. Parking is limited, and requests for parking at LSZH have been ongoing since the last World Economic Forum in January of 2012. Approximately 35 parking spaces will be available for GA aircraft at LSZH, with the remainder reserved for heads of state. Parking is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, and the airport won’t make exceptions for parking regardless of guest status. So, if you make a last minute parking request, even with a speaker or individual with a formal invitation onboard, you may have to drop and go.
2. Revisions to your schedule will be limited
No schedule revisions are recommended unless the operator knows for sure that the revision is firm. It’s best to leave revisions until January, after parking has been approved. Recommended airports for alternate parking include Basel, France (LFSB), Geneva, Switzerland (LSGG) and Munich, Germany (EDDM). Dubendorf, Switzerland (LSMD), a military airport, is available for parking; however, all services will have to be sourced in LSZH. Clients unable to obtain parking reservations, or who lose parking reservations due to schedule changes, may drop off and pick up passengers at LSZH. Maximum ground time for pick up and drop off is three hours, and airport slots will need to be obtained.
3. Consider airport slot planning and airport curfews
Airport slots are required for all arrivals and departures at LSZH and may be requested once schedule and parking is confirmed. Slot deviation is +/- 30 minutes. Approximately 65 movements per hour (total for arrival and departures) are permitted at LSZH. Peak hours for arrival are 0700-0800, 1000-1100, 1500-1600, and 1800-1900 local, while peak departure hours are 1100-1200 and 1600-1700 local. Airport curfews will remain the same and will not be extended for the forum. hours at LSZH are 0600-2200 local for Stage 3 private operations and 0600-2330 local for Stage 3 commercial operations. Please contact your 3rd-party provider regarding LSMD operating hours, as there are closure times to consider.
4. Plan early for hotel and local transport requirements
There may be limited hotel room availability for the World Economic Forum, but prices are high during this period. Cancellation policies are typically seven days prior to arrival. Cancellations within this deadline could mean that you have to pay for the full stay. Private transport options remain available, but expect higher-than-normal pricing. As the World Economic Forum restricts vehicle emissions, private transport movements may be limited in the convention area. There are no restrictions in place for helicopter movements.
Top Active Trip Tips for 2013 Davos Operations
- Arrange handling requirements early
Full ground handling support services will be available at LSZH during the forum, with VIP lounges available for passengers. All necessary equipment for your operations, including towbars, should be available on site. Alternate airports, with the exception of LSMD, will have full support services and aviation fuel available.
- Consider fueling on arrival
Fueling on arrival is an option many operators will want to consider, as there may be fueling delays on departure, particularly during the final day of the World Economic Forum.
- Be aware of customs requirements
U.S. passports must now be stamped, as Switzerland is part of the Schengen Area. (Schengen is a European zone which operates very much like a single state with external border controls.) If arriving from a non-Schengen area, U.S. passport holders will need to clear customs and have their passports stamped. Crew and passengers will be taken to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) terminal via car to clear customs. Your ground handler will ask, before arrival at GAT terminal, if crew or passengers have anything to declare. If not, you’ll complete a “Green entry” customs clearance, which is very quick. However, if customs finds something that should have been declared, fines will be applicable. Additionally, if customs is interested in your flight, crew and passengers will have to wait for full customs clearance. After clearance, crew and passengers depart with their transportation to their destination.
The best slots, parking options, and hotel availability will go to operators who pre-plan, work with service providers early, and avoid last-minute schedule revisions. Options and access to services at Davos area airports remain relatively available at this time. If you’re planning on attending the World Economic Forum, work with your service provider without delay, as aircraft parking is in high demand.
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About Robert Moya
Robert Moya, a former U.S. Marine Corps meteorologist, currently serves as Team Manager for Universal’s X-ray Team. Robert is an expert in Latin America ops as well as obtaining permit requests for difficult countries around the world, including Syria, Cuba and North Korea. Since joining Universal in 1999, Robert has facilitated approximately 9,600 trip legs. Robert has also represented Universal at industry tradeshows such as the National Business Aviation Association annual conference and the Schedulers & Dispatchers conference. Robert can be reached at email@example.com.
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