Davos 2016 World Economic Forum – Part 1: Airports and Parking

Davos 2016 World Economic Forum – Part 1: Airports and Parking

This is part one of a two-article series on traveling to the Davos World Economic Forum.

The next Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting takes place January 21-24, 2016. It’s always best for business aircraft operators to make Davos trip planning arrangements several months, preferably a year, in advance, as this helps secure the best aircraft parking, service, and accommodation options. This event is always a high-traffic destination – with an estimated 1,700 aircraft movements in 2015 – so operators need to be aware of requirements and restrictions prior to any travel to this event.

The following is an overview of what you need to know when operating to Davos:

1. Primary airports

Primary airport for attending Davos is Zurich (LSZH). The only other close-by airport – with Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) clearance capability – is Friedrichshafen (EDNY). Drive time from either airport to the Davos venue is approximately one hour, depending on weather/snow conditions. Helicopter transfers from both LSZH and EDNY to the event site are also possible. While both of these airports offer full aircraft services, fuel costs are typically higher at EDNY – considering Value-Added Taxes (VATs) and Mineral Oil Taxes (MOTs). For latest information on VAT and MOT in Europe, see our series of articles on VAT published on our blog.

2. LSMD and other alternates

There’s no guarantee that aircraft parking will be available at LSZH during a Davos event period as special operating permission – which is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis – is always needed and there is limited parking.

Dubendorf (LSMD) is a military airport located 6.5 miles from LSZH with plenty of parking availability. CIQ clearance at LSMD is not possible, so you’ll need to pick up/drop off passengers at either LSZH or EDNY, prior to the crew repositioning to LSMD. Be aware that no aircraft services or passenger handling is provided at LSMD.

Operators willing to reposition further afield may consider Basel (LFSB) or Geneva (LSGG) at 49 and 143 miles, respectively, from LSZH.

3. Advance planning

It’s important to make aircraft parking arrangements as early as possible as numerous operator parking requests are typically submitted very early. Best practice is to request parking for the next Davos event during the current Davos event. Parking is on a first-come-first-served basis and depends on aircraft type/size. If overnight parking isn’t possible at LSZH, it’s always an option to drop off/pick up passengers at LSZH prior to repositioning. Max time on the ground is limited to two to three hours for drop and goes. During the 2015 Davos event, LSZH did not permit overnight parking for GLF6 and larger-sized aircraft. These larger aircraft types, therefore, had to drop at LSZH and reposition.

4. Parking availability

LSZH has about 60 parking spots allocated to General Aviation (GA) aircraft, but this depends on aircraft size, and the number of spots may change on a yearly basis. LSZH authorities meet every year for the purpose of allocating GA parking availability for the next Davos event. As aircraft are typically parked very close together, there may be limitations to servicing your aircraft at the parking stand. This may require that the aircraft be moved to receive services. It’s always best to give your ground handler plenty of advance notice when requesting services or if/when your aircraft needs to be relocated. While parking is normally confirmed on a first-come-first-served basis, if you have passengers who are speakers at Davos, this could help with parking confirmation – assuming, of course, you’re able to provide official documentation from Davos organizers.

5. Parking requests

Aircraft parking is requested via the ground handler who will process the request with airport authorities. Be mindful that if you revise your schedule after parking is confirmed, your existing parking reservation will be cancelled and given to the next operator in line, and the revised request will be placed at the end of the list. Issues can arise, therefore, when delaying departure as a new slot and extended parking must be obtained. It’s important to work closely with your 3rd-party provider to determine the possibilities, and potential issues, for any schedule revisions.

6. LSZH curfews

Operating hours at LSZH for GA are 0600-2200 local, while operating hours for scheduled commercial operations are 0600-2230 local. Note that all arriving GA aircraft must be on the ground by 2200 local, or they’ll be diverted to another airport. Airport overtime is never an option at LSZH. Stage 2 aircraft are only permitted to operate to LSZH Monday -Friday, 0900-1700 local, and only with prior permission. Only “special case” flights – such as air ambulance, diplomatic operations, and flights arriving for maintenance purposes – will be considered for Stage 2 operations.

7. EDNY curfews

Normal operating hours for EDNY are Monday-Friday, 0600-2200 local, and Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 0900-sunset local. Overtime for arrivals up to 2330 local is possible with prior arrangements subject to airport authority approval, and charges apply. Be aware that the latest permitted departure, seven days a week, is 2200 local.

8. Aircraft handling and CIQ at LSZH

LSZH has a full-service Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) with VIP lounge. Due to increased traffic during the Davos period, FBO services may be somewhat slower than normal. Also, private vehicles are not permitted to pick up/drop off airside.

9. EDNY handling, fuel, and hotel considerations

Full ground handling via credit is available at EDNY with prior arrangements. Aviation fuel is readily available at this location, and it’s important to note both VAT and MOT charges for most uplifts. There are a number of hotel options, close to the airport, that are suitable for crew accommodation.


If there is any possibility that you may be traveling to Davos during the WEF period, it’s strongly recommended that you begin trip arrangements – at least for parking – without delay. If you do not make parking and arrangements for the next Davos event a year or so in advance, you may already be too late!

Stay tuned for Part 2, which covers airport slots, customs, immigration, and local area information for travel to this event.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Davos, contact me at toddcarter@univ-wea.com.