This is a post by author Sandrine Jackson. Sandrine is Managing Director for Universal Aviation France, which has an aircraft ground handling facility in Paris, Le Bourget. Sandrine is an expert on business aircraft operations in France and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Paris Air Show is always a very busy period, and for business aircraft operators, it’s important to begin planning – particularly for preferred hotel accommodations – as soon as schedules are confirmed. If operating a charter to the Paris Air Show, be aware of permit lead times and begin working with your 3rd-party provider on charter documentation requirements as soon as possible.
1. The Paris Air Show takes place in June
The Paris Air Show is held at Le Bourget (LFPB) every other year. The next show takes place June 17-23, 2013. All sorts of military, airline and general aviation aircraft are expected at this event, and there will be a noticeable increase in traffic to LFPB beginning about a week before the show’s opening day. Keep in mind that the show is open to the public the last weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday.) Also, there will be very heavy departure activity, especially the Monday following the show.
2. Know operating requirements for LFPB
LFPB departure operating hours are 0600-2215 local, with arrivals permitted 24 hours a day. In some cases (for example, medevac or diplomatic flights), operators may obtain permission for departure between 2215 and 0600 local, but this must be requested at least two days in advance during the week, or by Friday morning for a weekend operation. Prior Permissions Required (PPRs) will be needed for all arrivals and departures at LFPB, as aircraft parking will be limited. Each Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) has its own parking ramp, but the airport authority has not yet put in place overflow parking. Be mindful that during the Paris Air Show, there will be many temporary runway closures – announced via Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) – between 1000 and 1800 local.
3. Consider alternate airports if parking is not available at LFPB
You will not be able to use Charles De Gaulle (LFPG) or Orly (LFPO) as landing alternatives unless you have passengers onboard with scheduled airline connections at those airports. There are, however, two alternatives that are just as good: Pontoise (LFPT) and Beauvais Tille (LFOB).
4. Information on LFPT and LFOB
LFPT is an Airport of Entry (AOE) located northwest of Paris, with operating hours of 0800-2000 local. Airport access is limited to aircraft not exceeding 17 tons maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). Airport overtime is available if requested prior to 1700 local, Monday-Friday. Full ground handling is possible at LFPT, and credit can be arranged with advance notice. LFOB is also an AOE with operating hours of 0745-2230 local, and both handling services and credit are available with advance arrangements. Be aware that the areas around both of those airports have limited options for accommodations. Most hotels will probably be 2- or 3-star hotels, since no large international hotel chains operate nearby. LFPT is an approximately 45-minute drive from the air show, and LFOB is approximately 1.5 hours away.
5. Know procedures at these alternate airports
No airport slots or PPRs are required for LFPT or LFOB. The availability of aircraft parking may, however, be an issue at LFPT, as this airport will experience much of LFPB’s overflow during Paris Air Show week.
6. Landing permits may be required for charter operations
While charter (non-scheduled commercial) permits are not required for European Union-registered aircraft or European Community-registered aircraft operating within European Economic Community borders, all other charter operations require permits with a lead time of four business days. Charter operators are required to submit a completed security questionnaire directly to the French Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) if it’s the first entry into France for that operator as a charter. Two weeks’ lead time should be allowed in order to process the questionnaire, as the CAA may ask for additional data. Once the questionnaire has been approved, your ground handler or 3rd-party provider can assist with the landing permit. Plan on eight business days’ lead time if you require an experimental aircraft landing permit. The CAA operates 0900-1700 local, Monday-Friday, but there’s a duty officer available after hours and on weekends for short-notice processing of urgent requests, such as air ambulance permits.
7. Be aware of charter permit considerations
The validity of landing permits is for the UTC day plus 72 hours. Permit revisions are needed if your flight is delayed outside the validity period. Be mindful that pilots who are 60 years of age or older may not operate charter flights to France. This restriction does not, however, apply to private non-revenue flights. It’s important to remember that cabotage without a charter permit is strictly prohibited in France. For charter landing permit requests, documentation requirements include registration; airworthiness and insurance certificates; a completed security questionnaire; and proof of emergency locator transmitter(ELT), enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) and airborne collision avoidance system/traffic alert and collision avoidance system II (ACAS/TCASS II), to name a few.
8. Consider hotel, local transport and in-flight catering options
Preferred hotels in central Paris fill up quickly during the Paris Air Show period and may not be available for short-notice bookings. For last-minute trips, you may find that the only hotels available are an hour or so away from the Paris Air Show. Should you require prepaid transport (car and driver) for the entire show period, be aware that prices may be higher than normal, and it’s best to get your request in early. Demand for in-flight catering will likely be higher than normal – particularly on Monday, June 24th, when many operators will be trying to leave. If ordering catering for a Monday operation, it’s best to have your request in, at the latest, by the preceding Friday.
9. Additional reading
- Tips on Picking an Airport in Paris for a Business Aviation Flight
- Picking an Airport in Paris: Overview of Customs, Documentation Requirements and Services
Best practice is to submit PPR requests no later than early May, as parking at Paris-area airports is on a first-come, first-serve basis and fills up quickly. Because things may sell out, it’s best to book hotels and local transportation as early as possible and to minimize schedule revisions.
If you have any questions about this article, contact me at email@example.com.
About Sandrine Jackson
Universal Aviation France Managing Director Sandrine Jackson has nearly 25 years’ experience with Universal and is an expert on operations in France. Under Sandrine’s leadership, Universal Aviation’s Paris location at Le Bourget is consistently ranked in industry surveys as one of Europe’s best FBOs. Sandrine, who is based in Paris, first joined Universal in 1989. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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