Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix – Part 2: Alternate Airports & Local Considerations
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week entitled "Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix Part 1 – Primary Airports."
If operating to the French Riviera during the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix period on short notice (or if last-minute planning arrangements can’t be avoided), be advised that being very flexible in terms of repositioning, sourcing crew accommodations, and dealing with fuel uplifts on the day of departure will be necessary. Best practice is to work with your 3rd-party provider and local ground handler to find feasible Plan B options.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Alternate airports
Alternates for Nice (LFMN) and Cannes (LFMD) include Toulon (LFTH), Marseille (LFML), Avignon (LFMV), and Le Castellet (LFMQ). The best recommended alternate for LFMN and/or LFMD is LFMQ. Although it’s about a 1.5-2-hour drive into Cannes, there are attractive crew accommodations options in the Le Castellet area. Parking at LFMQ is plentiful, it’s less expensive than at LFMN, and there’s the advantage of less salt exposure because you’re not parked right next to the sea. If you’re staying for some time in Le Castellet, it’s recommended that crew rent a car.
2. LFMN drop-and-goes
If you’ve dropped passengers at LFMN and repositioned to LFMQ or LFMV, there are logistical considerations to keep in mind. Due to fueling delays at LFMN, you may not have time to uplift fuel when you return to LFMN to pick up passengers for the homeward journey. One option may be to reposition back to LFMN the day before collecting your passengers. You may, however, be subject to minimum multi-day hotel booking requirements at Nice-area hotels, at costs of up to 1,000 Euros per room per night. Best option – for those operating to the French Riviera during the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix period – is to stay at LFMN, confirm all arrangements early and avoid schedule changes. The risk here is that if you change the schedule and lose confirmed airport slots/Prior Permission Required (PPRs), you may need to reposition last minute. This can result in losing confirmed and non-refundable room reservations in the Nice area, incurring repositioning costs, and then not being able to upload fuel at LFMN until the day of departure, for a longer stage flight back to home base.
3. Hotel considerations
In the Cannes/Nice area, hotels sell out during the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix period. If you’re able to obtain crew rooms, be aware that costs for 4-star accommodations can run 1,000 Euros per night with minimum required stays of three to five nights, required prepayment, and no refunds permitted. If hotel options in the main areas are sold out, you may be able to obtain accommodations outside the city areas, but this may involve expensive transportation and one-hour-plus drive times.
4. Local transport options
Pre-paid transport (car with driver) is in high demand during this period, and bookings should be made well in advance. It’s best to advise your ground handler of all of your local transport requirements in order to confirm arrangements and avoid day-of-operation delays. Local transport options can be very expensive. You may, for example, spend 375 Euros for a one-way road trip (about 1.5 hours) from LFMN to Monaco. Having an in-flight catering order delivered from LFMN to LFML may also cost up to 400 Euros or more for the drop-off. For operations to LFMN, it’s always recommended to have the driver call the ground handler provider 15-20 minutes in advance to ensure there will be no delays with the pick-up. Due to heavy road congestion during summer, helicopter options should also be considered. For example, there are regular helicopter shuttles between Nice and Monaco only, and you can charter helicopters, for a price, to handle other reposition requirements.
5. In-flight catering options
In-flight catering is available at LFMN and LFMD 24 hours a day during the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix period. Advance notification of at least 24 hours is recommended for specialized catering requests. It’s important to note that shops are closed on Sundays in France, so there may be limited availability of certain items for Monday morning catering deliveries.
6. Charter planning
If you’re operating a charter to France, you’ll require a charter landing permit, and the pilot in command must not be over 60 years of age. Even with a charter permit, you’ll still need airport slots and PPR to access airports on the French Riviera. Any subsequent schedule changes may involve revising airport slots, PPR, and landing permits.
When operating to the French Riviera region during the Cannes Film Festival/Monaco Grand Prix period, it’s best to make all arrangements early and avoid schedule changes. Due to airport congestion and the potential for day-of-departure fuel delays, best practice is to fuel on arrival. For more information see the official Cannes Film Festival website and Monaco Grand Prix website.
If you have any questions about this blog article or would like assistance planning your next trip to southern France, contact me at email@example.com.
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