5 Airport Slots and PPRs to Pay Attention to in Europe
This aviation blog post is part of a series on airway and airport slots.
When you travel to Europe, requesting airport slots and making Prior Permission Required (PPRs) – as well as requests for revisions – can be a complex process. This is especially true in high-traffic areas and when schedule changes become necessary. Procedures for securing airport slots and PPRs vary throughout the region. When planning for airport slots and PPRs, be aware that timing is of the upmost importance. You may be subject to restrictions on operating flexibility. Formats and procedures for requesting slots and PPRs also vary from airport to airport.
In addition, general aviation closure times at busy airfields will impact scheduling. Slot windows may be restricted, and last-minute revisions are at times not possible. We recommend using an experienced 3rd-party provider who is aware of all regulations, restrictions and requirements, so you’ll be able to make an informed choice on how to proceed. The following are some examples of locations that require slots and/or PPRs:
1. Frankfurt, Germany (EDDF) slots
Frankfurt can be a challenging location for airport slots. Most slots are allocated to scheduled commercial airlines. Slot windows are restricted to -5 minutes to +10 minutes. We recommend you plan as far ahead as possible in order to allow more time to obtain requested slots from the available options. Slots need to be requested in a specific format (General Aviation Clearance Request [GCR]) in order to be processed. If the request is made on short notice, you will receive the closest available slots, but they might not be for your requested times. Within the European Union, airway slots take precedence over airport slots, so it’s crucial to plan out any changes as far in advance as possible.
2. London Heathrow, United Kingdom (EGLL) slots
The permitted deviation for arrival/departure airport slots at EGLL is limited: only -5 minutes to +5 minutes. EGLL is primarily focused on scheduled commercial flights. Due to the high amount of traffic there, we recommend EGLL slots be requested as far in advance as possible. Otherwise, consider other airports in the London area for your destination (for example, EGSS, EGGW, EGLF, etc.).
3. Italy PPRs
Many airports in Italy require PPRs. Requesting PPRs is also the process for requesting aircraft parking at these airports, so it’s best to do it as far in advance as possible. Aircraft parking is limited at many airports in Italy. This becomes even more challenging during the summer months. Be aware that even though PPR requests may be requested early, the status won’t be advised by local authorities until 48-72 hours beforehand. PPR requests must specify arrival and departure times and may not be for an open-ended schedule. If you wish to stay longer, you may have to negotiate directly with airport authorities after your arrival (with the assistance of your ground handler). At Naples, Italy (LIRN), the maximum time allowed on the ground is 72 hours. It’s best practice to have an alternate plan for parking, as you may have to drop and go if parking is not possible.
4. Nice, France (LFMN) PPRs and slots
Airport slots are required in LFMN due to the high traffic volumes they receive. Slots have a deviation of -5 minutes to +10 minutes. Additionally, a PPR is required for all operations into this airport. Due to local regulations, any parking confirmations will be released three weeks before the time of operations. If there’s a change after your schedule has been approved, unless it’s a small one (for example, 30 minutes), airport authorities will put you at the end of the list. Best practice is to make sure your schedule is confirmed before requesting your PPR in order to avoid problems. Also, be aware that aircraft parking charges (applied by the airport authorities) can escalate quickly at LFMN. The first 24 hours will be charged with a 50% premium over the base rate. This escalates to a 100% premium over the next 24 hours and a 300% premium after 48 hours.
Both airports are slot-controlled and very specific on timing. LSZH has slots with a deviation of -30 minutes to +30 minutes. Airport authorities at LSGG divide slots into 19-minute block times, and flights will not be allowed to land or depart before or after the approved block times. Be aware of risks associated with slot revisions for both airports, as a request for a slot time change close to the time of operation might not be possible and may cause delays. Please also keep airport closing times in mind. Airports in Switzerland have designated curfew hours.
There are many airports in Europe that require slots, but the requirements vary from one airport to another. Due to an increase in traffic worldwide, we foresee that the number of airports requiring airport slots will increase in the future. An experienced 3rd-party provider will be able to provide you with the latest information about slot availabilities, requirements, formats, closures and resources to obtain the slots needed for your trip.
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