Business Aircraft Ops in Greece during Peak Season – Part 2: Permits, PPRs, Slots & CIQ
This is a post by author Dimitra Kiriakopoulou. Dimitra is the operations and customer care director for Universal Aviation Greece – Athens, which has an aircraft ground-handling facility in Athens. Dimitra is an expert on business aircraft operations in Greece and can be contacted at email@example.com.
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled “Business Aircraft Ops in Greece during Peak Season – Part 1: Airports & Parking.“
Business aircraft operators need to be diligent on prior permission required (PPR) and airport slot coordination when operating to popular Greek islands during peak season (April – September). Overnight parking at many locations will be almost impossible to obtain. So, be prepared to drop, go and reposition. Airport slots can be a concern for high traffic destinations, so it’s recommended that advance arrangements are made.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Landing permits
Landing permits are not required for most private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to Greece, unless you’re landing at a joint use civil/military airport. At most airports, locally-issued PPR is all that’s needed for landings. However, landing and overflight permits are required as per EU regulations if you’re a Stage 2 flight, flying on an experimental certificate, or operating with temporary documents.
2. Private vs. charter requirements
Procedures are exactly the same for private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) PPRs, other than in the case of Athens (LGAV) where PPRs are not needed. For joint use civil/military airports, such as Preveza (LGPZ), private operations need an additional permit with four business days’ prior notice.
Note that new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) procedures mandate that passengers on private flights sign a declaration that the flight is private and no fare has been paid. This is a required procedure prior to departure. If it’s not done, your gen dec will not be stamped, and passengers will not be permitted to proceed to the aircraft.
3. PPR mandates
PPR is needed for all slot controlled airports and must be obtained prior to requesting airport slots. Be mindful that airport slot mandates are often in place only during the summer season, and not required off-season. By regulation lead time for a PPR request is 48 hours, but many locations will confirm PPRs within a few hours, during airport operating hours. However, in the case of LGPZ the full 48 hours notification is always necessary. Mikonos (LGMK) always tends to be slower than other locations in approving PPRs. Be mindful that LGMK is so congested during high season that air traffic control (ATC) may only allow you to stay on the ground for up to one hour. PPR tolerance in Greece is normally +/-30 minutes. Once the PPR is approved you’ll receive a 10-digit confirmation which must be placed in remarks section 18 of your flight plan. Note that airport slots may only be requested after your PPR has been confirmed.
4. Airport slots
Greece implemented GA airport slots for the 2015 summer season, and these requirements remain in place this year. Note that airport slots can be requested up to 28 days prior to arrival. In Greece, slots are coordinated by a central slot office and not normally issued by local airport authorities. This can be a concern because, even though an airport manager may approve your operation, the flight cannot take place if the slot coordinator has not approved your slot. Due to high congestion at popular destinations during peak season, particularly July and August weekends, you may not be able to secure slot times you request. For example, some airports only provide four slots per hour, and you may find nothing available at your preferred time of operation. More information on airport slots for operations to Greece can be found on our article titled “UPDATE: Regulatory Changes for Greece: New GA Airport Slot Requirements.”
5. Slot processing and penalties
The national slot coordinator is on duty Monday-Friday 0830-1630 local. Slots may be requested up to 28 days in advance, and requests are submitted in general aviation clearance request (GCR) format. Once approved, slots are valid for +/- 20 minutes. Note that as of April 28 of this year, all slot coordinated airports will be reflected on the online coordination system (OCS) system for weekend slot requests. Penalties for operating without a slot range from 2,000 – 30,000 Euros. If you operate without a valid slot, a violation notice will be issued, and you’ll need to respond within five days. Authorities then review your reply and advise if you’ll receive a fine and the amount of the fine. Note that the fine determination process can take up to three months to complete.
6. Last minute slot requests
When the national slot coordination office is closed, over the weekend and outside of regular hours, it is possible to utilize the OCS to obtain slots. For last minute weekend operations, only the PPR is a requirement, where slots are optional.
7. CIQ, visas and quarantine
Other than at LGAV, where you’ll clear customs, immigration, quarantine (CIQ) quickly within the general aviation terminal (GAT), expect to clear CIQ in the main terminal along with scheduled commercial passengers. Priority clearance may be possible to arrange, at CIQ’s discretion, to allow you to clear at a separate counter in the main clearance hall. Depending upon nationality, visas may be required. Note that visas cannot be obtained upon arrival, and those without required visas face fines and/or deportation.
Bringing your pet to Greece is generally an easier proposition than many other international destinations. However, it’s important to ensure the pet has a valid health certificate and has been either micro chipped or tattooed.
When scheduling flights to popular Greek holiday destinations during peak travel season it’s important to plan as far in advance as possible. Use all available resources, including your 3rd-party provider and ground handlers, to be aware of all operational considerations, restrictions and recommended Plan B contingency strategies. Be aware that airport slots may not be available for your requested schedule, and if you operate without one you will face a fine. Also, it’s important to obtain your PPR in advance, and only after it’s approved can you request airport slots. However, with advanced notice more slot options are available for your flight, so it’s always recommended to take advantage of this.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Greece, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.