This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled “BizAv Trip Planning: EBACE 2016 in Geneva – Part 1: Airport Options.”
Charter operators need to consider permit lead times as this may complicate short notice trips to Geneva (LSGG)–especially during the busy EBACE2016 period (May 24-26).Having required documentation and information ready will help accelerate the permit acquisition process. Also, be aware of the airport slot process and availability during this event. Other considerations include carrying a tow bar, understand taxes on fuel uplifted, hotel, and the customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) process.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Permits for Switzerland
Swiss landing permits are needed only for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations and not for private non-revenue flights. Official charter permit processing lead time is five business days although permits can usually be obtained quicker if you have everything organized and submit requests during normal Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) business hours. Only standard aircraft documents – airworthiness and registration certificates, air operator certificate (AOC), and worldwide insurance conforming to European standards and showing denominations in standard drawing rights (SDRs) – need to be submitted with permit requests. There’s no requirement to provide a Foreign Operator Questionnaire (FOQ), as is the case with Germany, or a security questionnaire as required in France.
2. Airport slots and PPRs
Airport slots for LSGG are obtained online via a slot request system. Normally slots are obtained by your ground handler as a password and login is needed. Slots are issued in 19 minute blocks – for example 0700-0719, 0720-0739 and 0740-0759 local –, and these are strictly enforced. Upon slot approval, a confirmation number is provided, and this must be entered in the remarks section of your flight plan. While LSGG normally does not mandate prior permission required (PPR), this must be obtained during the EBACE period. Airport slots for Lyon (LFLL) have +/- 30 minutes validity while slots for Zurich (LSZH) have +/- 15 minutes validity. Both locations require that slot confirmations be noted in the remarks section of your flight plan. Basel (LFZB) mandates both airport slots and PPRs. LFSB currently has no slot or PPR requirements.
3. Ground support equipment
While all the above airports offer full support and ground support equipment (GSE) services to GA we recommend carrying a tow bar during the busy EBACE period. This is because of high volumes of movements and the possibility that tow bars and certain GSE may be in short supply.
4. CIQ clearance
Customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) is cleared within general aviation terminals (GAT) at LSGG, LSZH, LFSB and LFLL, and it’s usually a quick process. Passports should have remaining validity of at least six months. In some cases, depending upon nationality, visas may be required. As visas cannot be processed in Switzerland on arrival, they must always be obtained when they are required, prior to operation.
5. Aviation fuel uplifts
Fuel credit considerations are straightforward in Switzerland with fuel cards and consumer credit cards generally accepted. Be aware that fuel delays are not uncommon at LSGG, even during non-EBACE periods, so you may want to consider uplifting at least minimum fuel upon arrival. Value added tax (VAT) and mineral oil tax (MOT) in Switzerland can easily double the posted price of fuel. VAT and MOT exemptions at the pump are normally only possible for charter operators, and local authorities are strict in verifying exemptions. However, charter operators should be mindful that if the aircraft does not depart Switzerland within 24 hours of fuel uplift, VAT and MOT will be charged retroactively. They may, therefore, want to avoid uplifting fuel upon arrival, unless the stay is less than 24 hours.
6. Hotel and transport considerations
During EBACE hotels in Geneva will have higher prices and extended cancellation policies, with 4-star crew accommodation running as high at 300-500 USD per night. For local transport between the airport convention site and the city center, public taxis are recommended and local train services are also available to EBACE attendees. For crew staying across the border in France, where hotel prices are lower and availability is better, it may be worthwhile using rental vehicles for the 45 minute or so commute to the convention site.
Preferred hotels in Geneva, particularly those close to the airport, will likely sell out. You may need to be creative in terms of crew accommodations and consider options across the border in France. Depending on your destination, airport slots and/or a PPR will be required. Due to the increased traffic, it’s recommended that these are requested in advance along with aircraft parking. Also, be aware of fuel taxes in this reason and exemptions when available.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Switzerland, contact me at email@example.com.
About Greg Linton
Greg Linton, Team Lead, ELATE Team, is known as a solutions-oriented problem solver. He’s also known as an expert on operations around the globe, particularly to Europe, Africa and China. Since joining Universal in 2000, Greg has facilitated more than 9,100 trip legs. He has represented Universal at numerous industry tradeshows and conventions including the European Business Aviation Association Conference & Exhibition and the National Business Aviation Association Conference. Greg has also been interviewed for and contributed articles to many industry publications. Prior to joining Universal, Greg served as an aircraft maintenance administration supervisor in the United States Marine Corps. Greg holds a bachelor’s degree in aviation management. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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