Business Aviation in Spain: Security Considerations

> | January 3, 2013 | 2 Comments
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Business Aviation in Spain: Security Considerations

This is a post by author Gonzalo Barona. Gonzalo is Managing Director for Universal Aviation Spain, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Madrid, and Gerona. Gonzalo is an expert on business aircraft operations in Spain and can be contacted at gonzalobarona@universalaviation.aero.

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Spain and continues from our last article “Business Aviation in Spain: Fuel Considerations.”

Airport security is usually not an issue in Spain. While private security may, in some cases, be permitted on the ramp, general airport security is more than adequate at all locations. Here are some things concerning security in Spain that you should be aware of:

1. Security is good at airports in Spain

Spanish airports are secured by the military, Guardia Civil (special security force) and armed airport security. Airports also have electronic surveillance and are routinely patrolled.

2. Ramp access is restricted

Crew and passengers must be escorted by a ground handler with security ID when on the ramp. Access to the ramp by any vendor or employee requires a special security ID and/or a special driving license controlled by the airport authority. Security ID must be revalidated every two years, and special driving license permits allowing ramp access are valid for the same period as the holder’s driving license. Private security is not permitted on the ramp in Spain, with the exception of a few locations. Where it is permitted, an unarmed guard and a ground handling agent with appropriate security ID must accompany the security guard as per regulation. Anyone on the ramp must have clearance or be accompanied by someone who does.

3. No helicopters are permitted on airports in Spain

It’s a somewhat unique situation, but helicopters are not permitted to operate to or from airports in Spain, and helicopters are not permitted to fly over any city areas.

4. Use tamper-proof tape

When operating to any location in Spain, operators should always consider using tamper-proof tape to seal aircraft doors/hatches when parked on the ramp.

5. Be aware of off-airport security

As at any other major European destination, it’s important to remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings when off-airport. Pickpockets and petty thieves can be a risk, particularly downtown in major cities. Public transport and taxis should be avoided due to language barriers and to minimize off-airport risk. If you do have to take a public taxi, be aware that some public taxi drivers may overcharge you. When you ask a taxi driver in Madrid to take you to the “airport,” he’ll normally head for LEMD and not LETO. Be very specific or have the driver talk with your ground handler via cell phone for driving instructions.

Closing Thoughts

As with most other international destinations, it’s important to be mindful of off-airport security risks and alert to the potential of petty crime. If you stay aware of the items described above, you can avoid running into any potential issues.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this article, contact me at gonzalobarona@universalaviation.aero.

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About

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 gonzalobarona@universalaviation.aero.

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