Business Aircraft Operations to Rome during the Christmas Holidays
This is a post by author Sonia Carmesini. Sonia is Station Manager for Universal Aviation Italy – Rome. Sonia is an expert on business aircraft operations in Brazil and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passengers/crew heading to Rome over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period can look forward to a warm welcome and unforgettable experience in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Work with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler as early as possible to organize landing permits, set up aircraft services and confirm hotel accommodations.
1. Know airport options for Rome
There’s a choice of Ciampino (LIRA) or Fiumicino (LIRF), but LIRF is geared to scheduled commercial operations. General aviation (GA) is permitted into LIRF only during the evening hours – between 2331 and 0600 local when LIRA is closed. If you land at LIRF during these hours, keep in mind that you’ll need to depart/reposition before 0600 local. Some exceptions may apply, so it’s recommended that you contact your ground handler or 3rd-party provider for more information.
2. LIRA is the primary business aviation airport for Rome
LIRA accepts both GA and scheduled commercial aircraft during their regular operating hours of 0600-2330 local. The only exceptions for after-hours operations are for State, humanitarian, emergency, and rescue flights. State flights will be serviced on the military side of the airfield. LIRA is a 30-40 minute drive from the city center, but this time may be extended during peak hours from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic. Also, LIRA has a GA terminal with onsite CIQ. Be aware that customs personnel are not always at the GA terminal. Your ground handler will need to ensure availability of CIQ services in advance. The CIQ process generally takes 10-20 minutes. Customs officers may ask that luggage be opened. If a Value Added Tax (VAT) refund is needed on departure from Italy, customs inspectors may be able to return funds to a credit card. However, no cash refunds are possible.
3. LIRF has no GA terminal
LIRF is a 24-hour airfield with 24-hour CIQ availability. As there’s no terminal at LIRF for GA operations, passengers/crew need to go to the main airlines terminal to clear CIQ. This process can take up to 30 minutes.
4. PPR is required for LIRA
LIRA has some aircraft parking right in front of the GA terminal and crew/passengers can simply walk to the terminal. There’s also a remote parking area that requires transportation of crew/passengers to the GA terminal. Even if aircraft parking is an issue during the summer high season, all parking requests are usually accommodated, but it’s at the discretion of the airport authorities. Airport slots are not needed for charter and private non-revenue flights, but prior permission required (PPR) is mandatory. In order to avoid any aircraft parking issues during high traffic periods, PPR requests should be made a few days prior to the estimated time of arrival (ETA). During busy periods, to avoid a delay in refueling, we recommend coordination in advance.
5. Know operating considerations for LIRA
LIRA offers a full range of ground services, for smaller aircraft to wide-body equipment. Credit for all services can be established with prior arrangements. Ground handlers will be available to arrange all services that may be required, such as transportation, hotel accommodations, and in-flight catering. No delays are usually experienced at the GA terminal. It’s close to the aircraft parking area, so there is a short distance for passengers and crew to walk. Boarding procedures or disembarking usually takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
6. Be aware of best practice PPR tips
PPRs need to be formally requested by local ground handlers. Once approved, a confirmation number will be provided, and this must be placed in remarks section 18 of the flight plan. ATC may ask the crew, particularly during high- traffic periods, for PPR approval number. Be advised that PPR revisions for parking extensions during high-traffic periods, when needed, can take a few hours to confirm. If you need to reposition an aircraft due to lack of parking, the ground handler will suggest the best alternative based on the needs of your operations Some common repositioning airports to consider are Pescara (LIBP) or closer by at Perugia (LIRZ), but note that there are restrictions on some aircraft types at this airport. You may also consider repositioning to Milan-Linate (LIML) or Milan-Malpensa (LIMC).
7. Be aware of aviation fuel uplift hours for LIRA
Normal aviation fuel uplift hours are 0600-2300 local, but after-hours advance requests are possible with an overtime charge. Fuelers generally require two hours’ notice for after-hours uplifts, and there’s a flat overtime fee of about 150 Euros plus VAT charges. It’s always recommended that you check with your local aviation fuel supplier to reconfirm advance notice requirements and overtime charges for after-hours uplifts.
8. Consider noise restrictions
Stage 1 and 2 aircraft are not permitted at LIRA, but exemptions may be possible for Stage 2 operations. Your ground handler needs to request this exemption from airport authorities, and additional information is required to do so. For more information, please contact your ground handler or 3rd-party provider.
9. Charter flights require permits
Charter permits normally require at least five working days once all correct documents have been received. If the operator has never operated to Italy or hasn’t operated for the last two IATA seasons (summer: last Sunday of March until last Saturday in October, winter: last Sunday in October until last Saturday in March), the application and all the relevant documents (including the Foreign Operator’s Questionnaire and Airline Security Program) must be sent to the Directorate for Safe Controls at least 45 days before the date of the flight.
The ground handler or your 3rd-party provider can assist you with the process and will inform you on all the documentations required for the permit.
10. Additional information
Most shops will be closed only Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s Day. In the city center, shops will be open with extended hours.
We recommend a walk in Via del Corso, which is well-known for shopping, as well as in piazza Navona with its charming Christmas markets.
During the holiday season, some luxury hotels in downtown Rome offer brunch at a very reasonable cost (starting from 50 Euros) in a luxury atmosphere, offering food from some famous Italian chefs. For more information, please contact your 3rd-party provider.
If traveling to Rome over Christmas/New Year’s, plan on additional lead time to secure permits as needed, aircraft parking, and preferred hotel accommodations. Be sure to head into the city center during this festive period, as this area is very charming and the holiday season is one of the best times of the year to visit Rome.
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