This is a post by author Adam Dowley. Adam is the assistant manager for the European Operations Centre based in Stansted. Adam is an expert on international operations for European-based business aviation operators and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
London Fashion Week is a clothing trade show held in London each February and September. It ranks alongside New York, Paris, and Milan as one of the Big Four fashion weeks. The fall London Fashion Week takes place February 13-18 at Somerset House in central London. Operators planning to attend, with General Aviation (GA) aircraft, should begin firming up aircraft parking and accommodation arrangements as early as possible.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Airport options
Closest airports to the event are Northolt (EGWU) and London City (EGLC). However, Stansted (EGSS) and Luton (EGGW) are the preferred options, due to better aircraft parking and airport slot availability. No London-area airport closures are anticipated during the time of London Fashion Week, and no aircraft parking issues are anticipated – even for longer stays on the ground. All the same, when operating to any London-area airport during Fashion Week, it’s best to notify your ground handler, in advance, of all aircraft services needed.
2. EGWU is a military airfield
Only limited GA parking is available at EGWU, and Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed when operating to this military base. Be mindful that EGWU is an Airport of Entry (AOE) upon request only, with only 40 movements per day permitted. PPR is necessary at this location, and at least 24 hours’ advance notification is required to secure a drop-and-go PPR. Operators requiring overnight aircraft parking should request the PPR a minimum of two-three weeks in advance. Note that EGWU is very particular in terms of correct passenger manifests. If a manifest is incorrect, your passengers may not be permitted to depart with the aircraft, and you may be banned from using any U.K. military airports in future.
3. London City and Farnborough can be considered
London City (EGLC) may be an option for some operators, but a special operating license is needed, and your aircraft must be on an approved list of aircraft types permitted to land. Note that aircraft parking is expensive relative to other London-area airports and highly limited at this location. In addition, EGLC has restricted operating hours to consider. Farnborough (EGLF) is located farther out from central London, and parking here will add additional travel time to/from the event. Be aware that EGLF limits GA operations to Stage-4 and above aircraft.
4. EGSS and EGGW are the best options
Both EGSS and EGGW are 24-hour AOEs, and plenty of GA parking is available. Both airports are approximately a one-hour drive, via freeways, to the London Fashion Week venue. No aircraft parking limitations are foreseen, at either location, during the time of this event.
5. EGLL should be avoided
Heathrow (EGLL) is not considered a viable option for GA due to very high volumes of scheduled commercial traffic. All GA traffic uses the Royal Suite, and, if the ramp is already occupied, you may not receive approval to operate even if a corresponding runway slot is available. Air Traffic Control also finds it more difficult to accommodate aircraft with a small-wake vortex category, as the average size of aircraft at EGLL is increasing all the time.
6. Airport slot and PPR requirements
Both EGSS and EGGW require airport slots, and these have validities of -/+ 15 minutes and -15/+30 minutes, respectively. Note that airport slots must be obtained online by a ground handler who’s been trained in the slot system and has approval to access the site. The good news is that there are usually no issues with obtaining slots for EGSS and EGGW so long as advance notice is provided. It’s recommended that airport slots be requested one week in advance. Note that aircraft parking approval is separate from the airport slot process. PPR is needed for EGLC, and aircraft parking costs at this location can be high: four to eight times higher than at EGSS or EGGW. When operating to the UK, it’s important to keep in mind that even though an airport may be open 24 hours, ground handling services are not always available 24 hours without advance arrangements.
7. Landing permit requirements
Landing permits are not required by the UK for private non-revenue flights but are needed for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. Minimum lead time for a charter landing permit is five business days, but seven business days’ lead time is preferred. If you’re operating a charter to the UK, it’s important to understand and confirm all relevant cabotage restrictions that may exist.
8. Landing permit considerations
The UK Department of Transportation processes landing permit requests. For UK landing permit documentation requirements, see our blog post titled "Flying Charter to the U.K.? Here’s What You Need to Know." Charter operators planning to do domestic legs within Europe may need to temporarily, or permanently, import their aircraft into the European Union (EU). Your 3rd-party provider will be able to give you more specifics on this.
9. Hotel options
The London area has very good availability of 4- and 5-star crew accommodations – both in the city center and closer to the airports. Crews who prefer to stay near the airport should be able to find many good options available – including large international hotel chains. Certain preferred hotels – especially 4- and 5-star properties closer to the Fashion Week event – will be in higher demand, and room pricing will be more expensive than normal. It’s recommended that hotel requests for the London Fashion Week period be submitted as early as possible.
10. Local transport options
Transportation to and within the London area should not be an issue during London Fashion Week. There are many good public transportation options – including the underground train system and traditional black taxis. If you’re staying in the city, it’s best to avoid rental cars, as parking can be difficult to find and expensive.
11. Pay required for UK Air Passenger Duty
Note that you may be required to pay UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD) for your flight. For more information on this, read our previous article: UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD) – How It Applies to UK Business Aviation. Depending on who you are working with, your 3rd-party provider can facilitate these payments on your behalf.
12. Comply with EU Emission Trading Scheme
Intra-EU flights (flights departing and arriving within the EU) are required to comply with the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) monitoring, reporting, and carbon trading requirements. You can read our series on aviation EU-ETS or visit the EU-ETS Resource Center for more information.
13. Additional Reading
- Flying to Stansted, London (EGSS): Tips for Business Aviation Operators
- Pet Passport Travel – Now Available at London Stansted Airport (EGSS)
With London Fashion Week coming up fast, it’s important to begin the trip planning process without delay for those planning to attend. The best aircraft parking and hotel accommodation will be available to those who plan in advance. Last-minute requests, however, can be accommodated. Charter operators should begin working with their 3rd-party provider, and ground handler, as soon as possible in order to arrange required permits and confirm applicable restrictions.
If you have any questions about this article or operations to the UK, contact me at email@example.com.
About Adam Dowley
Adam Dowley is an expert on air traffic management and business aviation operations to, within, and from Europe. He currently serves as Assistant Manager for the Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. European Operations Centre in Stansted, United Kingdom. Adam, who first joined Universal in 2010, previously served as an Operations Performance Analyst with Manchester Airport. Adam has a bachelor’s of science degree in air transport management from Loughborough University.
You can reach Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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