The 2016 Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place July 1-3 at the Red Bull Circuit, just outside of Spielberg. As with all major international sporting events, general aviation (GA) traffic to the area will be higher than normal, local hotel accommodations are going to be limited, and road congestion close to the race venue will be significant. Operators attending this year’s Austrian Grand Prix should begin the planning process without delay – particularly in terms of aircraft parking and crew accommodations.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Landing permits and CIQ clearance
Landing permits are not needed for either private non-revenue or charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to Austria. Passengers and crew must carry valid passports along with any required visas, based upon nationality. If Schengen visas are needed, these must always be obtained prior to arrival. Customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance normally takes place within the main terminal and is usually a fast and efficient process. Note that pets are permitted into the country, but advance notification and health and vaccination documentation needs to be provided in advance.
2. Primary airport
Spielberg is located in south central Austria with the only nearby airport being Zeltweg (LOXZ), a military airfield. While LOXZ is right next door to the race circuit, there are restrictions and operator qualifications to consider. Next closest airport is Graz (LOWG), 88 km from the circuit and about a one hour drive. Vienna (LOWW) is another option, but its 170 km from the Grand Prix circuit and involves a two hour drive each way.
3. LOXZ considerations
LOXZ is a non-public military airfield that opens from time to time to GA for local events such as the F1 Grand Prix. Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed and must be coordinated with both the military and Grand Prix organizers. LOXZ is an airport of entry (AOE) with overnight GA parking available for this event. Operations here are restricted to private aircraft up to 45,500 kg maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and charter aircraft up to 15,500 kg MTOW. Note that weight limits are strictly enforced and no operation of GA aircraft outside these limits will be considered. Operators must sign a declaration, as well as a power of attorney document, confirming they’ll comply with LOXZ airport regulations.
4. LOXZ operating hours and services
LOXZ is open for GA use between June 27 and July 4 0800-2000 local daily, and airport overtime is not possible. Overnight parking is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. In general, there is space for approximately 200 aircraft, depending on the size. Deadline for PPR submission for the F1 event is three days prior to arrival. Basic GA support services are possible here, including use of a crew lounge, and fuel uplifts can be arranged. However, in-flight catering is not possible at LOXZ or in the local area. Be aware that payment for all services, including fuel uplifts, must be made prior to departure — either in cash (USD or Euros) or by major credit cards. Other forms of credit, including handler credit and/or fuel cards, are not accepted. It’s important that fuel releases be carried when operating to LOXZ.
5. PPR considerations
PPR for LOXZ is obtained from military authorities, and coordinated with event organizers, with a minimum of 72 hours advance notification. PPR requests are now being accepted, and it’s recommend that operators file requests as soon as schedule is known.
6. LOWG as a parking alternate
For those not able to park at LOXZ, the preferred parking alternate is LOWG, an AOE with 0600-2330 local operating hours about a one hour drive (88 km) from the race circuit. This location offers full GA support services and ample overnight parking with no PPR or airport slot requirements. For fuel uplifts, ensure you’ve obtained a fuel release in advance. Airport overtime is possible at LOWG, on a case-by-case basis and at discretion of airport authorities. As with all airports in Austria, Stage 2 operations are prohibited. While we do not anticipate GA parking issues at LOWG or LOXZ during the Grand Prix period, it’s always best to confirm parking as early as possible.
7. LOWW considerations
If LOXZ and LOWG are not available for aircraft parking, the next best option is LOWW, a two-hour drive from the race circuit. This is a 24-hour AOE with full services and credit available.
Sourcing adequate crew accommodations in Spielberg will be an issue as the only options available in this area are small hotels, bed and breakfast options, and guesthouses. While Graz has hotel accommodations available, these are local brand hotels and not large international hotel chains. Many operators may choose to drop passengers at LOXZ or LOWG and reposition to LOWW, as crew accommodation availability will be better.
9. Local transport
Free shuttle services are provided to/ from LOXZ to the race venue. From LOWG or LOWW pre-paid transport (car with driver) can be arranged with one-way commute times of one and two hours respectively. Rental cars are options to consider as this will be more cost effective than pre-paid transport or public taxis. Note that a temporary heliport will be set up in Spielberg, very close to the race circuit. For those who park at LOWW chartering helicopter service to the Grand Prix venue is an option to consider.
10. Additional information
For more information on the 2016 Austrian Formula One Grand Prix see the official site.
GA operators planning to attend the Austrian Grand Prix should consider LOXZ access and parking restrictions early on. While we don’t anticipate overnight GA parking availability to run out at LOXZ, LOWG or LOWW over the Grand Prix period, crew accommodation and local transport logistics are important considerations to be mindful of.
Universal and Universal Aviation are 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 Austria, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Adam Dowley
Adam Dowley is an expert on air traffic management and business aviation operations to, within, and from Europe. He currently serves as Assistant Manager for the Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. European Operations Centre in Stansted, United Kingdom. Adam, who first joined Universal in 2010, previously served as an Operations Performance Analyst with Manchester Airport. Adam has a bachelor’s of science degree in air transport management from Loughborough University.
You can reach Adam at email@example.com.
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