Business Aircraft Operations in Greece: Flight Planning, Weather, and NOTAMs
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 Slots, Permits, and PPRs."
Flight planning procedures and requirements for Greece follow the Eurocontrol policies, and, for business aircraft operators, these procedures are straightforward. It’s usually best to have your ground handler assist with flight plan filing in Greece. He or she can monitor any flight planning issues that may come up and make on-the-spot revisions, when necessary, to avoid operator delays.
Below is an overview of what you should know when operating to Greece:
1. Consider ATC procedures prior to operation
All Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight plans for Greece are filed and controlled via Eurocontrol’s Network Manager Operations Centre. Last-minute flight plan changes may be done via Eurocontrol while you’re on the ground. Eurocontrol will also be able to assist with route changes while you’re airborne. At Athens (LGAV) Air Traffic Control (ATC) will provide directions on where to land and taxi. At other Greek airports, ATC will provide your parking position. There are also cases where ATC may not be able to assist you with arrival details during high season. You’ll need to use the follow-me cart to guide you to parking position, and you will be parked by a marshaller.
2. Be aware of aircraft equipment requirements
Aircraft operating in this region need to be equipped for area navigation (RNAV) and required navigation performance (RNP) 5 when conducting flights on air traffic service routes. VHF radio 8.33 channel spacing is mandatory for all IFR flights in the European Union region, and you’ll require a mode C transponder, Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) II, and Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT).
3. Know day-of-operation procedures
Your ground handler will verify and confirm all required pre-departure services, confirm that flight plans are filed, and ensure there are no restrictions – such as airway slot delays – that may impact your flight plan. If crews have flight plans to file, ground handlers can assist; alternatively, crew members may submit flight plans at the airport tower. Another filing option – if crews have the International Civil Aviation Organization flight plan information ready – is for the ground handler to forward this to Eurocontrol via SITA. It’s important to remember that all IFR flight plans need to be filed via Eurocontrol. Visual Flight Rules (VFR) flight plans, on the other hand, are filed via aeronautical fixed telecommunication network at the nearest tower. Note that there are VFR lower-level restrictions over many historical sites in Greece – including the Acropolis in Athens.
4. Know that some airports have no towers
There are several smaller airports in Greece that do not have ATC towers. These airports are typically controlled by surrounding airports.
5. Be aware that weather phenomena may affect your schedule
Extreme weather conditions – sufficient to impact flight operations – are rare in Greece. Fog, however, can be an issue at some airports – including Thessaloniki (LGTS), and Ioannina (LGIO) – and may close an airfield for up to a couple of hours. In winter time there may be heavy rain or snow to consider. Some smaller airports may close, from time to time, due to snow accumulation. Airports close to the Aegean Sea, in some cases, may experience high wind conditions. During lightning storms the only airport service typically affected in Greece is fuel uplift. Airport authorities will not permit fueling until an electrical storm has passed. There are also cases where airports shut down, as advised via Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), so that firefighting aircraft can refuel during periods of fire season activity.
6. Be aware of weather resources available
Ground handlers will provide crew members with weather briefings on the day of operation. In most cases crew members may also obtain local weather updates at the airport met station. LGAV met office is open 24 hours, and at other airports met office hours are usually the same as airport operating hours. Crew members can speak with meteorologists at airport met stations or by phone. Smaller airport met offices are usually located next to the tower or at the Civil Air Authority location on the field.
7. Know how to source NOTAMs
In Greece NOTAMs are issued via the reporting office and not the airport meteorology department. There are also international sites that offer Greek NOTAMs. The LGAV reporting office can provide operators with NOTAMs for both Greece and international locations.
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
Greece is the ideal Mediterranean climate, and disruptive weather events in this region are rare. Still, it’s best to work with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler to secure weather updates day of operation and to confirm latest NOTAMs.
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 local area and hotels for Greece and their impact on your trip.