Picking the Best GA Airport in Milan, Italy
This is a post by author Lorena Carraro. Lorena is Managing Director for Universal Aviation Italy, which has FBO and ground support locations at Rome (LIRA), Venice (LIPZ), Milan-Linate (LIML) and Milan-Malpensa (LIMC). Lorena is acting Member of the Board of the Italian Business Aviation Association and an expert on business aircraft operations in Italy. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milan offers two good airports for business aviation, and both are fairly flexible and accommodating in terms of parking. Linate (LIML) is much closer to downtown Milan – and is often the preferred option for business aircraft operators – but Malpensa (LIMC) is also business-aviation-friendly and can accommodate larger wide-body aircraft. Working with your 3rd-party provider in advance of arrival will help ensure the best airport selection based on your operating requirements and final destination.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. What airports are available in Milan for General Aviation (GA)?
Two airports are available for business aviation movements – LIML and LIMC. LIML is the city airport of Milan (located to the east of the city and reachable by taxi, public bus or other types of transportation) and a 15-minute drive to downtown. LIMC is about a 45-minute drive to downtown (located to the northwest with access to an in-airport train station, as well as taxi and other types of transportation). Additionally, LIMC is perfect to reach the Lake District (Lake Maggiore and Lake Como).
2. Do commercial aircraft operations impact GA operations at these airports, and are there curfews?
There’s really no impact or delay due to commercial movements at either airport. LIML has a dedicated GA terminal and ramp that can accept aircraft up to a Boeing 727-200. LIMC can accept all types of aircraft for parking (including wide-body aircraft on the commercial side), but parking on the local apron must be pre-arranged. There are no peak hours to avoid at either airport.
3. Are there considerations regarding extended stays at these airports?
Other than during peak season, extended parking should not be an issue. Keep in mind that different parking areas may be assigned based on weight and type of aircraft. At LIML, during special events such as the annual Italian Grand Prix Formula 1 race, remote areas may be utilized for overnight parking. At LIMC during the peak summer season, wide-body aircraft may be assigned remote parking. Your aircraft will not be relocated, or moved, at either airport without advance notice. Additionally, charter operators may be restricted to 36 hours on the ground within Italy (regardless of the airport) unless approved for otherwise by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
4. Is hangar space available, and are conditions of tarmac/taxiways and runways good?
LIML has transient hangar space, but availability is usually advised only on day of operation, with first priority given to regular operators. No hangar space is available for transient movements at LIMC. Tarmac/taxiways and runways are regularly checked and maintained by a local management company engaged by the Italian CAA.
5. What are Prior Permission Required, slot and permit requirements for Milan?
No airport slots are required for operations into Milan airports. However, a parking confirmation issued by the airport management company is mandatory at LIMC. Requirement for landing permits depends on aircraft registry and classification of flight (private non-revenue or charter [non-scheduled commercial]). For more information on permits, please see our article titled "Changes in Italian Charter Flight Permit Regulation – Explained." Your ground handler will advise on requirements.
6. What are procedures for crew and passengers clearing customs on arrival?
On arrival, the captain will be required to sign a pre-filled-out general declaration (assuming your handler has prepared this in advance). Passengers are escorted to customs/police, which is in the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) at LIML and in commercial terminal 2 at LIMC. Dedicated lines (Fast Track) can be pre-arranged at LIMC to avoid having your passengers clear with commercial traffic. Depending on origin/destination, passports are checked and/or stamped, and the whole procedure takes 5-10 minutes. Your ground handler will take care of luggage and transport it outside the terminal to be loaded according to passenger and crew ground transportation arrangements.
7. What are departure procedures?
When crew arrives at the airport, the captain will sign the pre-filled-out general declaration. At LIML, your handler will escort passengers from the GAT entrance to the police/customs office where the general declaration and passports will be stamped depending upon origin/destination. From that point, the passengers will be transported from the GAT to the aircraft. At LIMC, your handler will escort passengers to the customs/police desk in commercial terminal 2 via dedicated “fast track” lines. Once the customs/immigration process is completed (typically 5-10 minutes), passengers will be transported to the aircraft. Your ground handler will take passenger luggage through security, where they will be X-rayed and then transported to the aircraft. Keep in mind that customs clearance is not available onboard the aircraft unless it’s a diplomatic flight or ambulance flight (with a patient in a condition where he/she is not permitted to walk).
8. What documentation do customs require?
That depends on the origin and destination of the flight and nationality of the passengers and crew members. An identity card is accepted for European Union (EU) citizens within the Schengen Area. For EU citizens travelling outside the Schengen Area, a passport is needed. Passports are mandatory for non-EU citizens, and visas may be required for certain nationalities entering the Schengen Area.
9. Are there any local processes that may impact operations to Milan?
Passengers are not permitted onboard while fueling. It’s best to work with your ground handler if you have special requirements, such as having passengers onboard during fuel uplift. There are no fees directly associated with customs clearance. You will, however, pay fees to the Italian government for landing/takeoff, parking and passenger boarding.
10. Are caterers available at both airports, and do agriculture regulations prevent operators from bringing catering into the country?
Caterers are available at both airports, and your ground handler can provide menus on request. Catering brought into Italy may be kept onboard. However, if catering is offloaded from the aircraft, it must be disposed of.
11. What suggestions can you give regarding local ground transportation?
It’s recommended to use prepaid transportation (with driver) to avoid language barriers and having to wait for taxis (at either airport). At both LIML and LIMC, rental car facilities are located at arrival areas on the commercial side of the airport. Ground transportation is not permitted planeside at LIML. Vehicles may be allowed on the ramp at LIMC if authorized by local police and approved in advance.
12. Any particular security considerations?
Both airports have effective presence of police, and other airport authorities, and are routinely patrolled. Some operators prefer to arrange additional security for their aircraft. Your ground handler will be able to coordinate 24-hour plane-side security on request.
Arrival and departure at either airport, including services (fuel, catering, etc.) will be a smoother and faster process in Milan if you coordinate requirements in advance with your 3rd-party provider or local ground handler. When traveling to this region during busy periods – particularly summer months and during special events – additional pre-trip planning is recommended in order to secure required parking.
If you have any questions about this article or need assistance in arranging your next trip to Milan, contact me at email@example.com.