Operations to Ireland – Hotels, Local Area & Culture
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 email@example.com.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Ireland and continues from our last article: "Operations to Ireland – Permits, PPRs and Airport Slots."
For crews on destination or overnight stops to Ireland, there are plenty of good hotel and local transport options to consider. High-quality accommodations are available close to major airports, and, in key cities, you’ll find large international chain hotels. Work with your ground handler or your 3rd-party provider to source, and secure, the best hotel and local transport options. Here’s what you should know:
1. Is a good selection of hotel accommodations available?
Many good hotel options are available in Ireland. In larger cities, you’ll find major international chain hotels along with local hotel chains. Accommodation options in Ireland range from B&Bs to castles. Hotels are available close to all popular bizav airports – Shannon (EINN), Dublin (EIDW) and Cork (EICK) – for quick overnight stops. When staying overnight at EINN, for example, you have a choice of local hotels or the 5-star Dromoland castle, or you can go to the closest town, Limerick, to find international hotel chain accommodations. Hotels in Ireland are typically less expensive than comparable accommodations at many other locations in Europe.
2. Is hotel availability restricted from time to time?
During larger events – St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve and popular golf tournaments – certain preferred hotels will sell out. It’s best to book accommodations early when traveling during busy periods of local events. Your ground handler, however, will always be able to find good crew/passenger accommodation – even during the busiest periods – but lodging may not be in your preferred area. Some places can’t always meet short-notice hotel requests, but equivalent accommodations can usually be found.
3. Are there advantages to making hotel bookings via your ground handler or 3rd-party provider?
Your ground handler, or 3rd-party provider, will often be able to find you better rates and terms than if you book accommodations via travel websites. They may be able to arrange early check-in/check-out at no cost, or lower cost, and have the hotel include extras such as breakfast and Internet. You also may be able to obtain more flexible cancellation policies when working with your ground handler and/or 3rd-party provider. Plus, you will still earn points and credit towards elite status if you are booking with a major hotel chain. Should there be an issue with a hotel booking, your local handler will have better negotiation power – due to their established hotel relationships – than a consumer website.
4. Are rental cars an advisable option?
Rental cars may be advantageous for longer stays in Ireland but are not the ideal option for crews on shorter stays. Keep in mind that while primary roads in Ireland are good, secondary roads can be very narrow, and you’ll be driving on the left side of the road. Roads are well marked, and a GPS isn’t really needed. Be sure to take out full rental car insurance coverage. In Ireland a "standard" rental car is the equivalent to a sub-compact in the US, and you’ll usually be given a standard shift, unless you specify automatic transmission. A selection of car rental companies is available at all major airports in Ireland, and your ground handler will coordinate vehicle pickup. For shorter stays, pre-paid transport (car with driver) is often the best option and can be arranged via your ground handler.
5. What personal documents are required?
EU citizens can enter Ireland by showing their passports, driver’s licenses or government-issued IDs. Non-EU citizens must present passports that are valid until the end of the stay in Ireland. Some nationalities require visas for entry to Ireland, and it’s best to confirm this, in advance, with your ground handler. Visas are not available on arrival in Ireland. Keep in mind that UK or Schengen visas are accepted for entry to Ireland. Crew members are not required to have visas, regardless of nationality, so long as they arrive and depart via general aviation aircraft. Crew members repositioning to Ireland via commercial carriers to join business aviation aircraft, are subject to visa requirements depending on nationality. If crews arrive on commercial carriers and do not have appropriate visas, they may not be allowed entry into Ireland. Vaccinations, and records of vaccinations, are currently not required when operating to Ireland.
6. What are the agricultural restrictions in Ireland?
If a flight originates anywhere within the EU, there are no restrictions on in-flight catering or agricultural items that may be brought into Ireland. For flights coming from outside the EU, no in-flight catering or agricultural items will be permitted in Ireland. You may leave in-flight catering onboard the aircraft but keep in mind that your ground handler will not store most items at the airport for you due to regulations that bar such items.
7. Are there security concerns in Ireland?
Airports in Ireland are well fenced, patrolled and fitted with security cameras. Personal security off-airport is good, but – just like when visiting any large city – there are certain urban areas that are best to avoid.
8. What’s the local culture like?
The Irish are a friendly and easygoing people known for their helpful and welcoming nature. They are very professional with respect to business, and it’s standard practice to have some conversation, perhaps tea or coffee, prior to any business discussion. To learn more about the local culture, take time to meet the locals, visit a traditional Irish pub or tour an Irish castle. Your ground handler can assist with arranging tours and providing guidance on what to do and see while in Ireland.
Consider documentation requirements – passport and, when applicable, visas – in advance of travel to Ireland. Be sure to work with your ground handler for best advice and local knowledge re: accommodation and local transport options.
If you have any questions about this article or have questions about ground support while in Ireland, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.