2015 Cannes Int’l Film Festival & Monaco Grand Prix – Part 1: GA Airports and Options

2015 Cannes Int'l Film Festival & Monaco Grand Prix – Part 1: GA Airports and Options

This is a post by author Isabelle Canton. Isabelle is the senior Universal Aviation representative – south of France for Universal Aviation France, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Paris, Le Bourget, and Le Castellet. Isabelle is an expert on business aircraft operations in southern France and can be contacted at cantonisabelle@universalaviation.aero.

This business aviation blog post is part one in a series on operations to southern France in May during high-traffic season.

Be prepared for high General Aviation (GA) traffic when operating to the French Riviera this May. With the Cannes International Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix taking place simultaneously, operational challenges can be anticipated in terms of aircraft parking, hotel accommodations, local transport, and associated support services. If you plan to attend either of these events, or be in the area during this period, it’s recommended that you begin the trip planning process without delay.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Event venues and dates

The Cannes Film Festival runs May 13-24, while the Monaco Grand Prix takes place May 21-24, with the actual race event taking place on May 24. These two events take place each year, and general traffic to the region peaks during these times. As aircraft parking at primary airports fills up fast, operators should consider parking alternates, as well as general contingency planning.

2. Operational constraints

Issues to consider when planning operations to this region during the event period include: parking availability, airport slots, Prior Permission Required (PPR), and hotel accommodations. While local transport should be confirmed in advance, it’s usually not a critical issue. When traveling during this period of peak demand, GA operators should expect delays in services and fuel uplifts due to airport congestion. Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) processing for arrivals/departures may take longer than normal depending on traffic volumes. Anticipate delays for support services including auxiliary services such as fuel uplifts, lav/water service, and in-flight catering.

3. Primary airports

Aircraft parking, airport slots, and ground handling at Cannes (LFMD) and Nice (LFMN) will depend on when you submit your requests. Permissions are granted by airport authorities on a first-come-first-served basis. Any subsequent changes to your schedule will mean that confirmed services, including aircraft parking and slots, are cancelled and a new request must be submitted. This puts you at the back of the line where it’s now considered a new request and placed at the end of the list of all other requests (lists are compiled based on the date they are received).

4. LFMD considerations

LFMD requires airport slots – referred to as PPRs – for all arrivals/departures May 13-26. Once the airport slots are approved, parking is also confirmed. Be aware that, while you may be successful in obtaining parking, you may not receive the slot times you’ve requested. Be aware of operational constraints – including a 1,610-meter (5,282-feet) runway and maximum takeoff weight limitation of 22 metric tons (48,400 pounds). By regulation crews must obtain an airport briefing prior to operating to this location. LFMD is an Airport of Entry (AOE) with airport hours of 0800-sunset local during the summer season and 0800-2000 local during the winter season. All airport charges and handling fees may be arranged on credit with prior arrangement. Airport overtime is not available at this location.

5. LFMN considerations

LFMN is a 24-hour AOE. Airport slots are required, year round, and slots should be requested at the time of ground handling requests. Your ground handler will coordinate slot requests with airport authorities and advise you on what slot times are possible. Assuming an airport slot is approved, the deviation is -0/+10 minutes. Note that a slot approval for LFMN does not confirm aircraft parking. In some cases your slot will be approved, but your only option may be to drop and go. A separate PPR confirmation number is given for arrival and departure, which must be placed in section 18 of your International Civil Aviation Organization flight plan. Be aware that PPR and slot confirmations for LFMN will not be advised until 15 days prior to the estimated time of arrival or departure. If you plan to stay more than 15 days, you may have an arrival slot and PPR confirmed, but your departure slot will not be known until 15 days prior to the estimated departure date. Fuel shortages are somewhat common at LFMN, particularly for uplifts on weekends. Operators may be restricted to fuel uplifts of 5,000 liters (1,321 gallons) in some cases. Best practice is to consider fuel uplifts on arrival, to reduce risk of departure delays. Tankering fuel into LFMN is a common practice for many operators. If this is not practical, in your case, it may be best to reposition to either Genoa (LIMJ) or Marseille (LFML) to pick up fuel.

6. Revising schedules for LFMD and LFMN

While parking availability is not a big issue at LFMD, any schedule change necessitates obtaining a new airport slot. As you may not be able to obtain the slot you want, for a revised schedule, this could result in arrival/departure delays. Note that LFMD only permits up to five arrivals and five departures per hour for a total of 10 permitted movements per hour.
Schedule revisions for LFMN mean that any confirmed slots and parking arrangements are cancelled and must be re-requested. Your new parking and slot requests go to the end of the list, and local authorities are very strict with these policies. If you’re not able to obtain a new airport slot and parking approval, you may need to drop-and-go and be subject to non-refundable crew accommodation arrangements that you’ve already made.

7. Additional reading: 2015 Cannes Int’l Film Festival & Monaco Grand Prix Series Index

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.


LFMN will experience heavy traffic during the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix period, and delays for service and fuel uplifts can be expected. Operators need to consider airport slot and PPR requirements, as well as the revision process, to avoid losing any previously approved operations. Start making arrangements now with your 3rd-party provider and/or local ground handler if you haven’t already.

Universal is not associated in any way with the Formula One group of companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX, and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing B.V.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to southern France, contact me at cantonisabelle@universalaviation.aero.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers aircraft parking, customs, and immigration clearance information for travel to southern France for large events.