Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix Part 1 – Primary Airports
This is a post by author Isabelle Canton. Isabelle is the senior Universal Aviation representative – South of France for Universal Aviation France, which has an aircraft ground handling facility in Paris, Le Bourget. Isabelle is an expert on business aircraft operations in southern France and can be contacted at email@example.com.
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operations to the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix.
The Cannes Film Festival takes place May 14-25, 2014, with the second week of the festival being the busiest. Meanwhile, the Monaco Grand Prix hits the streets May 22-25, 2014. The confluence of these two major events always creates challenges for business aviation operators in terms of aircraft parking, aviation fuel and service arrangements, and crew hotel accommodations. For operators who have not already confirmed arrangements, or for those who may make schedule changes closer to the events, assorted complications and challenges can be expected.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Airport options for both events
Closest airports are Nice (LFMN) and Cannes (LFMD). LFMD, however, only handles aircraft of up to 22 metric tons (48,400 lbs.) and is not a 24-hour location. Alternate airports for the Cannes Film Festival include Toulon (LFTH), Marseille (LFML), Le Castellet (LFMQ), and Avignon (LFMV). For those attending the Monaco Grand Prix, Genoa (LIMJ) is a good alternate for LFMN. All of these are Airports of Entry (AOEs), with full aircraft services and credit available.
2. LFMN and LFMD procedures
Once airport slots and Prior Permission Required (PPR) are confirmed for either airport, you’ll receive one confirmation number for both (airport slots and PPR), with separate arrival and departure IDs. Confirmation IDs need to be placed in section 18 of your International Civil Aviation Organization flight plan. If confirmations are not noted, air traffic control will reject your flight. There is no maximum length of stay at either LFMN or LFMD – so long as you receive parking approval from airport authorities for the period of time you need when requesting your PPR. Be aware that private vehicles are not permitted airside at either airport unless the flight is an air ambulance or diplomatic. Also, Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) cannot be cleared onboard at either LFMN or LFMD unless you’re operating air ambulance or diplomatic flights. Both airports have General Aviation Terminals (GATs) with VIP lounges and CIQ facilities on site. It’s usually not necessary to carry tow bars to either location as local handlers have a wide variety of tow bars available. For CIQ clearance, some passenger/crew nationalities require Schengen visas to enter France, and these visas are not possible to obtain on arrival.
3. LFMN operating considerations
LFMN is a 24-hour AOE with a GAT and full aircraft support services/credit available. For operators traveling to LFMN, parking and ground handling arrangements need to be requested now. This is a congested location, and fuel delivery delays are common. Longer-than-normal fuel delays can be expected at this location during the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix. Airport authorities begin processing airport slot/PPR requests on April 14. Once this process starts, it takes about one week to receive PPR confirmation. It’s important to request slots and parking now because they’re assigned on a first-come-first-served basis.
4. LFMN schedule changes
If you have airport slots and parking confirmed for LFMN, it’s often possible to change schedule by an hour or two at the discretion of airport authorities. In most cases, however, revised schedules require reapplying for aircraft parking (losing the previously confirmed PPR), and going to the bottom of the list. Note that as of March 1, 2014, until the end of the summer season, changes to schedule within the same day will not require a new permit request, and this applies to the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix operating period. Under this new regulation, airport authorities will validate your schedule change as long as the category of aircraft does not change, and proper PPR is indicated in the flight plan. Additionally, as of March 1, 2014, airport authorities have announced that parking permissions will remain valid even if you depart and return (day trip) – as long as you return to LFMN within 10 hours of departure.
5. Parking/CIQ procedures at LFMN
Note that there’s no General Aviation (GA) parking available at the GAT. GA parking is at the west end of the airport (Parking Area "P"), for quick turnarounds, while parking for longer stays is on the east side (Parking Area "K"). Be aware that use of auxiliary power units is not permitted in parking area "Kilo." When you arrive at LFMN, you’ll go directly to the parking area, and passengers will be taken by vehicle to the GAT for CIQ clearance. The clearance process takes about 5-10 minutes. After the crew shuts down the aircraft and are ready to go to their hotel, they’ll be transported to the GAT to clear CIQ. Note that CIQ at the GAT is only available 0800-2000 local. Outside of these hours your ground handler must contact CIQ to have authorities come over to the GAT. This call is usually made after passengers/crew have arrived at the airport. If CIQ is called too far in advance, and authorities arrive to find no passengers/crew, they may leave right away, and this can cause operational delays. Note that no hangar space is available for transient GA operations at LFMN.
6. LFMD operating considerations
LFMD operates 0800-2000 local during the winter and 0800 until sunset +30 minutes during summer, and there’s a GAT at this location. Airport lighting is turned off in winter at 2000 local, but in summer it’s left on as long as the airport is open. LFMD summer operating hours in 2014 began on March 29. Full aircraft support services/credit are available. While fuel delays are seldom experienced at LFMD, there may be delays for other services due to airport congestion. Airport slots and PPRs are only required during the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix period. Be aware that there is a lot of parking available at this airport, but LFMD is restricted to aircraft due to Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) limitations. While it’s important to apply for PPR right away, status of your PPR request will not be known until after April 20. In addition to LFMD’s MTOW limitations, there may be restrictions on movements of aircraft during summer months. Last summer only six arrivals/departures were permitted per hour at LFMD, and there may be similar restrictions in place this summer. On arrival at LFMD you’ll park at the GAT and walk to the terminal to clear CIQ, and the clearance process takes 5-10 minutes. For departures, it’s best to make outbound clearance arrangements in advance and advise customs if VAT refunds are required. Hangar space is available for transient aircraft at this location.
For the most straightforward and issue-free flight experience to the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix, it’s often better to park at LFMN. This option is ideal for operators with plenty of planning lead time and no anticipated schedule changes. If changes to the schedule are likely, your most flexible option may be to reposition at an alternate airport.
If you have any questions about this blog article or would like assistance planning your next trip to southern France, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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