Business Aviation Trip Planning Tips: St Petersburg International Economic Forum – Part 1: Airport Options
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
This year the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) takes place May 22-24. SPIEF puts additional strains on existing airport infrastructure and service options – with traffic starting to come in about May 20 and final departures expected about May 26. For business aircraft operators seeking optimal parking, accommodation, and local transport options, it’s important to begin the trip planning process with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler as soon as possible.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. ULLI is the primary airport
St. Petersburg (ULLI) is the only close airport option for the SPIEF, and it’s located just south of the city outskirts. There’s no secondary airport within the immediate proximity of St. Petersburg. ULLI has experienced high congestion over recent years, and traffic demand will be substantially higher during the Forum period. This location is an Airport of Entry (AOE) and available 24 hours with full services; Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) clearance; and credit available for services with prior arrangement. The Center for Business Aviation – known as Pulkovo 3 – is where local handlers work from and where CIQ clearance is accomplished. It’s quite expensive to operate to ULLI, and costs here are comparable to busy Moscow airports such as Sheremetyevo (UUEE).
2. Access to ULLI will be restricted
Airport slots will only be granted for aircraft carrying SPIEF participants to the event. In many cases those participating in the event will be able to secure approval for overnight aircraft parking if arrangements are made in advance. Other operators will need to plan on a drop, go, and reposition at ULLI.
3. Alternate airport options
Helsinki (EFHK), Tallinn (EETN), and Domodedovo (UUDD) are all good alternates if overnight parking is not available at ULLI. All are 24-hour AOEs with full services, jet fuel, hotel accommodations, and credit available for services with prior arrangement. All of these airports should have aircraft parking available during this time. None, however, are in close proximity to St Petersburg. EFHK, EETN, and UUDD are 187, 192, and 416 miles away from ULLI respectively. We do not anticipate overnight parking issues at any of the above alternates. EFHK will likely be the primary alternate choice for many operators during the SPIEF period. Be mindful that crew will need multi-entry Russian visas in order to drop passengers at ULLI and reposition out of the country.
4. Airport slot and/or PPR requirements at alternates
Airport slots and Prior Permissions Required (PPRs) are not required for EETN or UUDD; however, for EFHK airport slots are needed, but there are usually no issues in obtaining slots. Slot deviation is -20/+30 minutes, and this deviation changes by season. Note that all slots times are in Zulu/UTC format.
The following are the EFHK seasons and deviations:
Summer Season (April-October)
- Departing flight: -20/+30 minutes from the approved slot time
- Arriving flight: -30/+30 minutes from the airport slot time
Winter Season (November-March)
- Departing flight: -20/+40 minutes from the airport slot time
- Arriving flight: -30/+40 minutes from the airport slot time
For EFHK, the airport slot ID needs to be placed in remarks section 18 of the flight plan.
5. Ground service considerations at ULLI
Full ground support equipment will be on hand at ULLI for most types of general aviation aircraft. In-flight catering is available at ULLI, and it’s recommended to provide at least 24-48 hours’ notification for catering requests. In terms of jet fuel uplifts, it’s recommended to confirm fuel services well in advance and to have a fuel release. Due to congestion issues at ULLI, and to avoid any delays, it’s best always to inform your supplier of jet fuel volume required. If you’re doing a drop-and-go at ULLI, it’s best to avoid uplifting fuel – due to limited time on the ground and the potential to miss an airport slot time.
6. Hotel and local transport availability
Hotels and local transport services in the St. Petersburg area will be in high demand during the Forum period. Prices for hotel rooms may increase to almost four times the regular prices, cancellation policies will be extended, and many hotels may require non-refundable deposits. You’re taking a risk if you book hotel accommodations before aircraft parking is confirmed, but it’s also a risk leaving hotel confirmations until the last minute after aircraft parking is confirmed. For pre-paid transport (car with driver), costs will be higher during the SPIEF period, and you’ll face limitations in terms of certain types of preferred vehicles.
Short-notice trips to ULLI during the SPIEF period may be possible, but you’ll most likely only be able to drop off/pick up passengers and will need to adapt to whatever airport slots remain available. The good news is that aircraft parking at alternate airports should not be an issue.
If you have questions about this blog article or would like assistance planning your next trip to ULLI, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers permit, airport slots, and CIQ considerations for travel to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).