9 Tips for Operating to Geneva – Just in time for EBACE
When operating a business aircraft to Geneva (LSGG), such as for the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE), be particularly careful with airport curfew hours and airport slot/PPR requirements. While aircraft parking is usually available at this location there are several alternate airports to use if and when required. Here are some tips to help you in your planning:
1. Be aware of airport operating restrictions
LSGG is a busy airport with only one runway. Operating hours are 0600-2200 local with no overtime permitted for private non-revenue operations. Airport hours can be extended to 2359 local for charter (non-scheduled commercial) with passengers onboard and air ambulance flights. The flight plan must also indicate “IN” in order to extend the hours. Stage 2 operations are prohibited at LSGG, except in cases of approved diplomatic flights or if an aircraft is arriving for maintenance only. You may request a maintenance exemption to operate 0900-1900 local Monday-Friday only from the Swiss Civil Aviation Authority. Note that you may only run your APU for up to 30 minutes prior to departure and 10 minutes after arrival at LSGG.
2. You cannot self-handle at LSGG
At this location operators must use a ground handler. Ground handler name should be indicated in remarks section 18 of flight plan to assist ground control in directing aircraft. Be aware that aircraft are subject to being repositioned on the field at any time. Crew should provide local contact numbers or make arrangements with the ground handler to move the aircraft if and when required.
3. Consider airport slot requirements
Both prior permission required (PPR) and airport slots are needed for LSGG, and confirmation numbers should be added to the remarks section 18 of the flight plan. The PPR must be requested at least 72 hours in advance of the estimated time of arrival (ETA), and slots are valid + 20 minutes. Airport slot availability may be viewed at http://ppr.gva.ch/. If you need to revise an airport slot it’s best to coordinate this with your ground handler. Be aware that LSGG can run out of parking during large local events such as EBACE. EBACE runs 18-24 May this year, and overnight aircraft parking will only be permitted for up to two nights. It’s best to request parking as soon as possible.
4. Know parking alternates for LSGG
- LFLL is a 24 hour airport of entry (AOE) for Stage 3 aircraft, but note that thrust reversers may not be used between 2200-0600 local. Airport slots (+/- 15 minute deviation) are needed for LFLL, and the local slot coordination office is only open Monday-Friday 0800-1800 local. LFLL is about a one hour drive from Geneva, and a PPR is required for weekend operations with at least 48 hours advance notice.
- LFLB is an AOE with operating hours 0800-2100 local Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 0800-2200 local Sunday and Friday; and 0700-2300 local Saturday. Overtime is available throughout the week with at least 24 hours advance notice.
- LFSB is an AOE with 0600-2200 local operating hours for general aviation (GA) traffic, and it is about a two and a half hour drive from Geneva. GA is banned 2200-0600 local, and Stage 2 aircraft are banned at all times.
- LSZB is also an AOE operating Monday-Friday 0700-2000 local for departures and 0700-2200 for arrivals. Saturday operating hours are 0700-sunset, while operating hours for Sunday are 0800-2000 local for departures and 0800-2200 local for arrivals. LSZB is about an hour and 45 minute drive to Geneva, but be aware that a PPR is needed for certain types of aircraft, such as a Gulfstream 3, and requests must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
5. Private vehicles, in most cases, are not permitted on the ramp
Only diplomatic and air ambulance flights may have vehicles bring passengers directly to the aircraft. Arrangements must be made in advance and involve submitting all vehicle and driver information via your ground handler.
6. CIQ clearance takes place at the FBO
Your ground handler will advise customs of onboard crew/passengers in advance and pre-fill out arrival/departure cards to reduce clearance time. All clearances take place at one of two FBOs on the field. If you plan on bringing pets into the country ensure that you send a vet certificate, showing that all vaccinations including rabies are current, to your ground handler in advance.
7. Consider aviation fuel uplift options
Depending upon when you plan to depart, it’s often best to fuel on arrival for LSGG. Note that fuel taxes and duties can be high at this location and may be double the posted fuel price. For charter operators always check with your ground handler regarding exempting fuel taxes at the pump and have your air operator certificate (AOC) ready to show both the ground handler and fueler. Airport authorities are particular regarding fuel taxes, so it’s always best to speak with your 3rd-party provider to confirm fuel and tax regulations. Be aware that if you’re a tax exempt charter operator you must depart LSGG within 24 hours of fuel uplift; otherwise, pre-exempted fuel taxes become payable.
8. Be proactive with LSGG landing permit requirements
Private aircraft, and European Union (EU)-registered charter aircraft operating within the EU, do not require landing permits for LSGG. However, permits are required for EU-registered charter aircraft traveling to or from a country outside the EU and for non-EU-registered charter flights. Lead time for Swiss charter permits is five working days, and documentation requirements include AOC, ops specs, insurance, and noise certificate. Landing permits are also necessary for experimental aircraft and aircraft that do not have full airworthiness certificates.
9. Consider hotel and local transport options
Many good 4- and 5-star hotels are available throughout Geneva, including most international chains. During busy periods, such as EBACE each May, hotels can sell out fast, and rates for crew rooms may exceed 400-500 USD(300-400 Euros) per night. It’s best to book pre-paid transport (car and driver) in advance, particularly during busy periods.
Plan on sufficient lead time to obtain charter permits and ensure that you provide your ground handler all necessary permit documentation in advance. Geneva gets very busy from time to time, and you may run into parking and hotel availability issues by putting off trip planning till the last minute.
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