The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships takes place at Sopot, Poland March 7-9, 2014. Since its founding in 1912, the IAAF has been the worldwide governing body for the sport of track and field athletics. High traffic is expected at this year’s event at Sopot; likewise, general aviation traffic to the area will be higher than usual. For business aircraft operators planning to fly in for this event, there are several trip planning considerations to keep top of mind.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. EPGD is primary airport for this event
As Sopot does not have an airport, all travel to the World Indoor Championships must land at surrounding airports. The closest airport is Gdansk (EPGD), which is a 24-hour Airport of Entry (AOE) located 30-45 minutes by car from IAAF event venues. This location has full aircraft support services, as well as credit availability with prior arrangement. The local ground handler does not anticipate aircraft parking issues at EPGD during the event period.
2. Alternate airport options
There are two recommended airport alternates in the event the primary airport is not available. These are Poznan (EPPO) and Bydgoszcz (EPBY), and both have full services and credit availability with prior arrangement. EPPO is a 24-hour AOE. EPBY, a joint civil/military airfield, is also a 24-hour AOE, but it has a permanent NOTAM with pavement classification number limitations (A0754/09). Drive time to the IAAF venue is approximately two hours from EPBY and four hours from EPPO. Please note that there are English language limitations at both of these alternate locations – with the exception of Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel who do speak English.
3. Prior Permission Required, airport slot, and operating requirements
None of the above three airports – EPGD, EPPO and EPBY – have prior permission required or airport slot mandates in place at this time. When operating to Poland, keep in mind that all active pilots onboard must be type-rated in the aircraft they’re operating.
4. Poland landing permit requirements
Private non-revenue flights to Poland do not require landing permits but require notification, including a copy of the operator’s 3rd-party insurance, which is necessary 24 hours in advance. Charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights with fewer than 12 passenger seats also do not require landing permits – only notification with a copy of the 3rd-party insurance 24 hours in advance of the estimated time of arrival. For charter aircraft with 12 or more passenger seats, or a maximum takeoff weight of greater than 5,700 kg (12,500lbs.) in the case of cargo flights, a permit is required for operations to Poland. A proxy (agent located in Poland) must be utilized for all landing permit requests. Be aware that Polish Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) considers charter aircraft with 12 or more passenger seats to be “commercial” operations.
5. Required landing permit documentation
To secure a landing permit for Poland, it’s necessary to provide the following:
- airworthiness and registration certificates
- 3rd-party aircraft insurance, including a war risk clause (this must meet minimum EU specifications)
- Air Operator’s Certificate
- a copy of the charter contract signed and stamped by both the charterer and the operator
- a letter authorizing the 3rd-party provider to handle and represent your company
Note that your worldwide insurance policy must be in English. Polish CAA will not grant a landing permit if an operator cannot provide acceptable evidence of 3rd-party insurance – including required war risk coverage.
6. Permit lead times and specifics
Lead time for a single charter flight permit is three business days. When making application for two or more charter flights to Poland, seven business days’ lead time is required. For requests for 10 or more charter flights, the permit lead time is 14 business days. In the case of scheduled flights to Poland, plan on permit lead time of 30 business days. Validity of a single trip charter permit is 48 hours. Any changes to the schedule outside of this time frame require a permit revision. CAA operates Monday-Friday, 0815-1615 local. Short-notice and emergency permit requests may be sent to the Polish ATC after hours and on weekends, but it will be at authorities’ discretion to approve/deny your request.
7. Hotel accommodations should be confirmed as early as possible
Demand for hotel rooms will be high during the World Indoor Championships, and there are limited options to consider in terms of western-style or international chain hotels. If you do not confirm accommodations early, you may encounter a lack of hotel rooms, not only in Sopot and Gdansk, but also at Poznan and Bydgoszcz.
8. Local transport considerations
Local transportation should be arranged as soon as the schedule is known. Prepaid transport (car with driver) is the recommended option. It’s important to request an English-speaking driver for all transportation needs. Rental vehicles are not recommended unless the crew is familiar with the local area and comfortable operating in an environment with little or no English-speaking ability.
9. Fuel and ground support
When planning fuel uplifts, always ensure you’ve sent a fuel release in advance to the fuel provider and local ground handler. Be aware that Poland charges value added tax on most fuel uplifts. In terms of in-flight catering, it’s important to confirm that your ground handler can accommodate your request with local providers.
10. Comply with European Union Emission Trading Scheme
Intra-EU flights (flights departing and arriving within the European Union) are required to comply with European Union Emissions 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.
While Poland is a relatively straightforward GA environment, it’s important to ensure that you have the required permit if you’re operating a charter in an aircraft with 12 or more passenger seats. Prior to any operation, private non-revenue or charter, it’s important to confirm that your worldwide insurance policy meets all requirements for Poland.
If you have any questions about this article or arranging your next trip to Poland, contact me at email@example.com.
About Mark Hudson
Mark Hudson is an expert on arranging charter flights for business aviation, particularly obtaining difficult permits. An FAA Licensed Dispatcher, Mark currently serves as a Master Mission Advisor on the Universal Charter Management Team. Since joining Universal in 2002, he has facilitated more than 6,000 global trip legs, and specializes in last-minute requests. Mark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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