Operating to the Cannes Festival and Monaco Grand Prix
The two largest events on the Cote d’Azur – the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix – will run back to back this year putting additional demands on general aviation (GA) infrastructure, airport slots, parking, support services, crew accommodations and local transport options.
As of the date of publication, the two primary airports Nice (LFMN) and Cannes (LFMD) have not yet published their official Aeronautical Information Periodicals (AIPs) detailing specific requirements and restrictions. We will continue to monitor for those AIPs and will update this article once they are available.
In the meantime, we can advise that now, as in previous years, ground handlers will be able to enter slot and parking requests by March 20th, but will not receive confirmation until a week before arrival.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Event times
The 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival runs May 23-25 with the Monaco Grand Prix taking place May 26th just next door in the Principality of Monaco. Primary airports will be Nice (LFMN) and Cannes (LFMD), with both mandating airport slots and prior permission required (PPR).
2. Preferred airports
LFMN, located between the two event venues, is the preferred airport for both the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix. For the Film Festival, operators may also consider LFMD, although there are maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) restrictions and limited operating hours at this location. Parking at both airports is expected to be full during the events period, particularly closer to the end of these events.
3. Airport hours and restrictions
LFMN is a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) accommodating any size aircraft. However, LFMD is only operational 0800 local to 30 minutes after sunset with no airport overtime allowed. Note that LFMD restricts operations to MTOW of 35,000 kg (77,175 pounds), but this is up from the previous limitation of 22,000 kg (48,510 pounds) back in 2015. LFMD mandates that crew obtain a special approach briefing due to local noise restrictions. This can be found on the airport site.
4. Special procedures for LFMD in previous years
In previous years, authorities put into place special slot and prior permission required (PPR) mandates for LFMD during the event period. These included airport slots required for all arrivals/departures at LFMD along with PPR for parking. While this year’s AIP update has not yet been published it will outline applicable restrictions and operating procedures. During this period any schedule changes of more than 20 minutes will require cancellation of approved slots and the need to reapply.
5. Applying for slots and PPRs for LFMD
LFMD slots and PPRs are applied for at the same time and this should be done ASAP. As only registered users may apply for slots online, it will typically be your local ground handler who requests and coordinates slots/PPR. Once an available slot and PPR has been obtained, you’ll receive a confirmation – one number for both – and this needs to be placed in Remarks section 18 of the flight plan.
6. Slots and PPR at LFMN
LFMN requires airport slots and a PPR throughout the year. For these events, once your requested schedule is granted for LFMN, as long as you’re operating dates remain the same, it’s now possible to modify slot times without losing your other existing slot and parking approvals. It’s important to note that if the dates change, the slots will be cancelled and you will be placed at the end of the list for new slots and parking. Previously, if you had even requested a schedule change all existing slot and parking approvals would have automatically been cancelled. This is a new change for LFMN only.
Note that if you experience a delay on departure, you’ll likely be taken back to your parking spot, causing additional delays for the operator.
7. CIQ clearance
Customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance is possible at LFMN 24 hours. From 0900-2100 local you’ll clear in the general aviation terminal (GAT) and outside these hours you’ll be cleared either in the main terminal or the GAT, at CIQ’s discretion. Once the aircraft arrives at LFMN, or when crew/passengers are ready at the airport for departure, CIQ authorities will confirm the clearance location. For LFMD, CIQ clearance is always accomplished in the main terminal and the process is usually quick.
8. Visa and passport requirements
Certain nationalities require Schengen visas and if needed they must be obtained prior to arrival. If crew or passengers require Schengen visas but do not have them they’ll be deported. At this time, U.S. nationals do not need Schengen visas for travel to or within the European Union (EU). For all travel in this region we recommend passenger/crew passports have at least three months remaining validity, beyond intended length of stay.
9. Alternate airports
While preferred airports for the Cannes Film Festival are LFMN and LFMD, alternates to consider, should parking become an issue, include Toulon (LFTH), Le Castellet (LFMQ) and Marseilles (LFML). In the case of the Monaco Grand Prix, if you’re not able to obtain parking at LFMN then Genoa (LIMJ), 85 miles away and with helicopter transfers available to Monaco, may be considered.
10. CIQ for alternate airports
Note that LFTH has limited clearance hours and it’s advised to request customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) clearance at least 24 hours prior. For example, clearance at this location is 0900-1800 local daily even though airport hours are longer. Note that LFMQ has discontinued international arrival/departure ability as there’s no longer a customs presence on the airfield. It’s now only possible to arrive into LFMQ on a domestic flight or one from within the Schengen region. Meanwhile, LIMJ and LFML are 24-hour airports with clearance within the main terminal.
11. Drop and go
If overnight parking is not available at either LFMN or LFMD it will be possible to drop and go at LFMN but this option may not be available at smaller LFMD. Max permitted time on the ground at LFMN is three hours and this must be arranged in advance due to slot requirements. Once passengers have been dropped at LFMN the aircraft may reposition to an alternate airport for parking and crew accommodation.
12. Service and fuel considerations
Due to congestion at LFMN and LFMD during this event period we expect there to be delays in terms of fuel uplifts and other services. Additionally, as LFMN encounters fuel shortages from time to time it’s recommended to fuel on arrival, or at least to partially refuel. In the event of fuel shortages at LFMN, a NOTAM will usually be issued, after the fact, and you may be restricted to uplifts of only 5000 liters.
For additional savings on fuel, the UVair Fuel Program can help.
13. In-flight catering
Catering services, just like all other services during this period, will be in very high demand and longer advance request lead times are suggested. During this busy period if passengers have any special catering requests it may be better to bring the items in with you and have them stored at the airport until departure.
For more information on catering, visit Air Culinaire Worldwide.
14. Hotel considerations
We expect most hotels, and all preferred hotel accommodations, to sell out in the region between Monaco and Cannes during this event period. Many hotels are already sold out and those that are available may be 800 USD/night. Note that during this busy period, you’ll likely be faced with full prepayment and no possibility of refunds. For short-notice crew accommodations, rooms may be available one to two hours outside the region, but be prepared for long travel times due to road traffic congestion.
15. Local transport
As local transport options will be in high demand, it’s best to make arrangements for pre-paid transport (car with driver) as soon as possible. Note that certain vehicle types, including SUVs and larger sedans, will be in very high demand and few options may be available. For the Monaco Grand Prix, helicopter services are available from Nice, Cannes and Genoa. This requires payment in advance and is typically non-refundable, even in the event of weather issues.
You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal Private Transport.
16. Additional information
For more information on these events see the official event websites:
If you’re planning to attend the 2019 Cannes Film Festival or Monaco Grand Prix and have not yet requested airport slots and parking, it’s important to make these arrangement ASAP. We expect parking at both LFMN and LFMD to fill up over this busy period. As always, any schedule changes cancel your previous request and push you down on the priority list.
Preferred overnight parking options may be challenging to obtain at both Nice (LFMN) and Cannes (LFMD) during this event period. Although extended aircraft parking is available at LFMN, daily parking change rates escalate exponentially the longer you stay. For operators not able to obtain parking, there are other options in the area.
While this period along the Cote d’Azur will be much more congested than usual in terms of GA activity, it’s always possible to set up arrangements on short notice or last minute, if needed. However, in such cases you may be faced with a drop and go and very limited hotel accommodation options.