The 2013 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Europa League Final will be the final match of the 2012-2013 UEFA Europa League – the 42nd season of Europe’s secondary club tournament. The match will take place at the Amsterdam Arena on May 15, 2013. Because of increased business aviation and general traffic for this event, it’s best to begin planning your trip with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler as soon as your schedule is known.
Below are some tips to help with your trip planning:
1. There are two airports to consider: Schiphol and Rotterdam
Schiphol, Amsterdam (EHAM) is the closest airport to the Amsterdam Arena, an approximately 20-minute drive away. Rotterdam (EHRD) is a good second option, with a drive time to Amsterdam Arena of about 50 minutes.
2. EHAM is a busy airport
EHAM is a 24-hour Airport of Entry (AOE), but there are restrictions on General Aviation (GA) arrivals and departures. The airport does not permit GA arrivals between 2256-0700 local or departures between 2236-0700 local. It’s best to plan arrivals into EHAM no later than 2230 local, as the ground handler isn’t permitted to handle aircraft after block time of 2255 local. Stage 2 aircraft are not permitted at EHAM, and exemptions are not possible. Airports slots may be required, depending on arrival/departure time. Time brackets available for GA operations are calculated on a daily basis, based on the airport slot pool, and published via Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs). GA operators traveling to EHAM outside the time brackets published in the latest NOTAM need to apply for slots. The lead time for airport slot requests is three days prior to operation. Deviation for arrival/departure airport slots is +/- 15 minutes. Time brackets for GA are as follows (in UTC):
ARR: 0820/0935 1000/1740 1900/2150
DEP: 0600/0800 1010/1900 2100/2130
If an operator arrives at 0900 UTC, for example, no airport slot is needed, as it’s within the 0820-0935 UTC bracket. If an aircraft arrives at 0945 UTC, however, an airport slot is required, as that is between the 0820-0935 and 1000-1740 brackets.
Keep in mind that charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights to the Netherlands are subject to full aviation security checks upon departure, per European Union Regulation 300/2008.
3. EHRD is a good option
EHRD is an AOE with 24/7 operations. However, any aircraft with a Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) of 45 tons or more is not permitted to operate to or from EHRD between 2300 and 0700 local. Stage-2 operations are restricted at EHRD, and permission needs to be obtained by the airport authority. Airport slots are needed for aircraft with MTOWs of 6 tons or more and if manufacturer-certified for 20 or more seats.
Airport slots deviation is +/- 15 minutes. Prior Permissions Required (PPRs) are needed, for security reasons, for all non-home-based GA aircraft. Lead time is 24 hours, and PPRs will not be approved unless ground handling has been confirmed.
EHRD authorities require that all aircraft have an accurate “Souls Onboard” form on file at their ground handler’s office prior to landing/takeoff. The total number of souls onboard must include pilots, cabin crew members and passengers. This form is used to prepare for firefighting and passengers/crew rescue in case of an emergency. It’s also important that the ground handler know how many of the passengers have issues of reduced mobility.
4. Landing permits may be required
Landing permits are required for both private non-revenue and charter flights with seating capacities of 20 passengers or more. Permits are also needed for aircraft on experimental airworthiness certificates. These permits involve a lead time of 96 hours and require supporting documentation, including airworthiness and noise certificates.
5. Consider hotel and local transport arrangements as early as possible
There is a good selection of 4- and 5-star hotels (including large international hotel chains) around EHAM and EHRD. Best practice is to book 4- or 5-star hotel accommodations for crew as early as possible due to high demand during the UEFA Europa Final period. Due to traffic issues and possible road closures during the event period, avoid rental vehicles if you’re not familiar with the area. Prepaid local transport (car with driver) is the preferred option for many business aircraft operators, and your ground handler will be able to make these arrangements.
6. Check online for additional information
More information on the event can be found on the UEFA Europa League website.
While it’s always best to begin pre-planning (airport slots, permits, hotel accommodations and local transport) as early as possible, we do not anticipate issues in accommodating last-minute operations during the 2013 UEFA League Final period. Preferred options, particularly in terms of hotel accommodations, may be more challenging to secure last-minute, but your local ground handler will orchestrate the best solutions.
If you have any questions about this article, contact me at email@example.com.
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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