Business Aircraft Operations to Greece: Ground Handling
This is a post by author Dimitra Kiriakopoulou. Dimitra is the operations and customer care director for Universal Aviation Greece – Athens, which has an aircraft ground-handling facility in Athens. Dimitra is an expert on business aircraft operations in Greece and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Greece and continues from our last article: "Business Aircraft Operations to Greece: Airport Considerations."
Airports in Greece are much busier during summer months (May-September) for business aircraft operators. You’ll always do better to make aircraft parking, ground handling, and fuel arrangements well in advance of arrival. By planning early you may be able to expedite the Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) process, obtain preferred parking, and maximize service options.
The following is an overview of what you need to know when operating to Greece:
1. Provide information in advance when arranging ground handling
It’s best to give your ground handler a full schedule, all aircraft information including tail number and Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW), complete crew/passenger details, where flight is arriving from and departing to, and any special service requests. While this information may be provided on landing, sending it beforehand will expedite CIQ and the handling process. Arrival/departure cards are no longer required for Greece. If crew members or passenger require Schengen visas, such visas must be arranged prior to arrival. No visas will be issued on arrival, and without one you’ll be denied entry.
2. There are differences to consider between private non-revenue and charter flights
While ground handling is the same for private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial), information on the gen dec will differ. Also, for charter flights there’s no value added tax on fuel uplift as long as the air operator certificate is shown at time of fueling. Work with your contract fuel provider, such as the UVair Fuel Program, to ensure you have the appropriate paper filed in advance.
3. Know PPR and workflow process
Depending on your arrival airport in Greece, Prior Permission Required (PPR) may be necessary. PPR lead time is four working days, and this is needed for some civilian airports during high traffic summer periods, as well as for military airports. Once a handling request is received, your ground handler will begin setting up all services – including 4th-party arrangements.
4. Local regulations may impact ground handling
You may only be permitted to run an auxiliary power unit for 20 minutes at some airports. If your aircraft does not have a rear exit, only up to seven passengers may remain onboard during fuel uplift – this is strictly enforced. Aircraft may not be moved or towed on any ramp without presence of aviation maintenance technician or crew. Crew are free to remain with the aircraft or on the ramp without escort for arrival and departure but must be escorted at other times.
5. Provide advance notification of handling requirements
At most airports in Greece ground handling may be set up on short notice. Advance notification will, however, be required for military and civilian airports requiring PPR, and is advised when operating to popular smaller airports. Be aware of restricted operating hours at smaller airfields, and confirm if overtime arrangements are possible. If aircraft parking is not available, drop-and-go will be permitted. Due to limited aircraft parking availability at some outlying airports, you may encounter issues with schedule changes.
6. Consider 4th-party service arrangements
Your ground handler will coordinate 4th-party service requests and can set up credit with prior arrangement. In-flight catering can be sourced for most airports, but be aware that some airports have restrictions on bringing in catering airside from outside the airport. Prepaid car with driver arrangements should be pre-notified – especially for smaller airports – and certain types of vehicles (limousines for example) may not be available.
7. Be aware of local government fees
For Athens (LGAV) there’s a general aviation fee for all flights that are not tech stops. There’s also a flat fee for 90 minutes of aircraft parking, followed by parking charges per 15-minute intervals based on MTOW. Smaller regional airports base aircraft parking and landing fees on MTOW and hours on the ground. There’s also a departing passenger fee at all airports in Greece, but this does not apply to passengers in transit. All fees may be paid by the local ground handler, on the operator’s behalf, with advance arrangement. There are no fees associated with filing flight plans in Greece.
8. Additional reading: "Business Aircraft Operations in Greece" Series Index
Links will be added as new articles are published.
- Part 1 – Airports Ops
- Part 2 – Ground handling
- Part 3 – CIQ
- Part 4 – Fuel, Security, and Other Services
- Part 5 – Permits and PPRs
- Part 6 – Flight Planning and Weather
- Part 7 – Hotels and Local Area
Due to high traffic during summer months in Greece – particularly at smaller or island airports – it’s best to make aircraft parking, services, and fuel arrangements as early as possible. During busy summer months, crew should arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to departure. Consider fuel on arrival, at some locations, in order to avoid possible delays on the day of departure.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Greece, contact me at email@example.com.
Later, we’ll discuss CIQ for Greece and their impact on your trip.