Understanding Ground Handling at Ireland Airports
This is a post by author Derek Collins. Derek is general manager for Universal Aviation Ireland – Shannon, which has an aircraft ground handling facility in Shannon, Ireland. Derek is an expert on business aircraft operations in Ireland and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to Ireland.
Major airports in Ireland are easy destinations in terms of ground handling service availability and setup for business aviation operators. Landing permit requirements and operating restrictions are minimal, a full range of 4th-party services is available, and costs are competitive for ground handling and airport charges. While best practice is to provide 24 hours’ notice for ground handling services, short-notice arrivals are possible with the assistance of your local ground handler. Here’s what you should know:
1. What information is needed to arrange and provide handling?
You’ll need to provide aircraft registry and type, full schedule, operator and billing address and requests for any required services. Crew/passenger information is needed for overnight stops, but not for tech stops. During tech stops, passengers may leave the aircraft and enter the airport with just a quick – typically under five minutes – security check.
2. Are private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights handled differently?
Private non-revenue and charter tech stop operations are handled the same way. In the case of overnight stops, landing permits are required for charter flights only. Short-notice charter landing permits may be available, but that is at the discretion of Ireland’s Civil Aviation Authority. Most business aviation aircraft landing in Ireland use Shannon (EINN), Dublin (EIDW) and Cork (EICK). EINN – a duty-free zone with a long, 10,495-foot, sea-level runway; little commercial traffic; and US Customs preclearance facilities – is the airport of choice for tech stops.
3. What’s the process once a ground handling request is received?
After receiving a handling request – either via email, phone or fax – your ground handler will contact airport authorities and provide aircraft information and schedule. Arrangements for aircraft fuel uplift and services will be set up as needed. For EINN, no airport slot or Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed, and there’s no noise restriction in place limiting Stage 2 operations. EINN no longer requires arrival/departure cards for crew or passengers. For overnight stops, the ground handler provides a general declaration, in advance, and passengers are not required to fill out forms/cards on landing. Your ground handler should be given as much advance notification as possible, but services can usually be set up with just a few hours’ notice. Very little notice is needed for schedule or manifest changes.
4. What local regulations impact onboard pets?
If there’s an animal onboard, the flight must go through EIDW, and the animal must have an implanted microchip complying with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO Standard 11785. No other form of identification is acceptable. Additionally, the animal must have an official passport under Regulation (EC [European Community]) No. 998/2003 and have been vaccinated for rabies after having been micro-chipped. If the animal originates from a country other than a European Union member state, the "passport" should be in the form of a veterinary certificate with supporting documentation on vaccination details. The owner of the animal must provide flight details to the Department of Agriculture and Food at least 24 hours prior to travel. For tech stops with animals onboard, check with your ground handler regarding permission for the animal to deplane and relieve itself. Regulations regarding animals on tech stops differ depending on the airport. If an animal gets off the aircraft without approval, it could be quarantined.
For more tips on flying with pets onboard your aircraft, read Practical Considerations When the Fur Flies: Flying with Pets in Business Aviation by Carol Martin.
5. What fees are involved with a stop in Shannon?
The ground handling fee will depend on the size of the aircraft. You’ll also pay landing fees for arrival and departure, aircraft parking fees and departure taxes for any passenger staying overnight. Parking fees are calculated in 30-minute blocks for aircraft up to the size of a Bombardier Global 6000 or Gulfstream G550. No aircraft parking charges are applicable 2300-0600 local. Larger aircraft park in a different area, and charges are higher. Landing fees are standard for all aircraft regardless of size. Estimated invoices for ground handling and associated government fees can be generated at the operator’s request.
6. Any other tips for ground handling arrangements?
Most airports in Ireland are well equipped in terms of ground support equipment. However, at EINN, towing is typically not required for small or midsized aircraft, as parking is done via self-maneuvering (power on/power off). For aircraft the size of a BBJ or larger, towbars are available when required. Preferred means of communication with ground handlers is via email, unless it’s an emergency or short-notice request. Tech stop turns in Ireland – particularly at EINN – are quick and normally under 45 minutes.
EINN is the preferred tech stop due to its location, availability of infrastructure and tax/duty-free status. Be aware, however, of regulatory nuances – such as regulations for onboard pets – as those have the potential to complicate a flight operation.
If you have any questions about this article or need help arranging your ground handling while at EINN, contact me at email@example.com.
Later, we’ll discuss fueling and additional services for Ireland and their impact on your trip.