Tips on Picking an Airport in Paris for a Business Aviation Flight
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to France.
Paris Le Bourget (LFPB) is one of the most business aviation-friendly airports in Europe in terms of operating flexibility, available services and maintenance support. There are, however, other airport options to consider when operating to Paris. A 3rd-party provider can help determine the best options for your particular mission.
1. What airports are available in Paris?
Paris has three airports, but two of them – Charles de Gaulle (LFPG) and Orly (LFPO) – are mostly dedicated to scheduled commercial operations. LFPG allows General Aviation (GA) operations for passengers with airline connections only, and aircraft may only stay on the ground for a few hours. LFPO is reserved almost exclusively for commercial traffic, with the exception of diplomatic flight movements and passengers with airline connections, at which point the aircraft transporting them may only stay on the ground for a few hours.
LFPB accepts private non-revenue flights and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. LFPB is a user-friendly facility with plenty of aircraft parking and full support services available. LFPB and LFPG are located northeast of Paris, while LFPO is to the southeast. Driving time to central Paris from either airport can range from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
2. Do scheduled commercial operations affect business aviation movements at LFPB?
LFPB does not have scheduled commercial operations, and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights are limited to 25 seats or less (unless permission is obtained in advance from the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA]). This capacity restriction does not apply to private (non-revenue) flights. LFPB is an easy and straightforward operating environment without the arrival, departure, ground taxi and customs delays common at LFPG and LFPO.
3. Are airport curfews in effect?
LFPB is open 24 hours for arrivals, but jet engine departures from apron are prohibited between 2215 and 0600 local. Permission for late departures is possible with prior approval for medical evacuation flights only. LFPG allows departures 0500-2359 local and arrivals 0001-0029 and 0530-2359 local. All departures 0001-0459 local and arrivals 0030-0529 local are specified to scheduled commercial operators (GA nighttime operations are not possible after midnight). LFPO is open 0600-2330 local, but only GA flights with commercial airline connections are permitted to land at LFPO, and Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed. All aircraft with a configuration of fewer than 25 seats require permission to operate into either LFPG or LFPO.
4. Are there noise restrictions?
Operations to Paris airports are normally restricted to Stage 3 operations and above. To apply for a Stage 2 waiver, you’ll need to provide the CAA with copies of an Airworthiness certificate and Noise certificate, as well as the certificate of hush kit manufacture date.
5. Are airport slots or prior permission required (PPR) needed?
No PPRs or airport slots are required for LFPB. LFPG requires airport slots (deviation -5 minutes / +10 minutes) and a PPR (at least 24 hours’ notice is required to obtain this). The airport slot confirmation number must be included in field 18 of the flight plan. You must notify the ground handler, or the airline, if you’re dropping off or picking up passengers with confirmed seats on commercial flights. LFPO requires airport slots (deviation -/+ 15 minutes) and a PPR (24 hours’ notice is required to obtain this). Restrictions at LFPO are similar to LFPG.
6. Are charter (non-scheduled commercial) permits required to enter or leave France?
Non-European Union (EU) charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators, and EU charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators flying to/from non-EU countries, require landing permits. If you’ve never operated a charter (non-scheduled commercial) flight to France, allow time to process your landing permit. If you’ve operated there in the previous 12 months, CAA will likely have your documentation and completed questionnaire on file, thereby expediting the charter permit process.
7. What are considerations for aircraft parking, extended stays and maintenance availability?
LFPB has plenty of parking, with the only exception being during the Paris Air Show (held biennially in odd-numbered years). Extended stays are not a problem at LFPB on ramp areas controlled by ground handlers. Notification is required for wide-body aircraft, and you’ll be parked in a different area. Aircraft hangar space is available at LFPB but limited during winter months. On-field aircraft maintenance support includes Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Raytheon, Embraer and Gulfstream service. LFPG allows GA parking for only a few hours. Overnight stays may also be possible with prior arrangement. LFPO also restricts GA ops to a few hours on the ground, with no arrivals before 0930 and no departures 1900-2100 local. No hangar space or maintenance options are available for GA at either LFPG or LFPO. If you have maintenance issues at either LFPG or LFPO, it may take 72 hours to obtain ramp access for a mechanic. If the aircraft can operate, it’s best to reposition to LFPB.
8. Can aircraft be relocated without notice?
Notification is always provided before moving a large or wide-body aircraft. Smaller GA aircraft may, however, be relocated by the ground handler without prior notification, unless crew specifically asks to be notified.
While it’s rare for business aviation operators to utilize LFPG – and even less common to operate into LFPO – there may be times you’ll want to consider these options (particularly if operating a diplomatic flight). A 3rd-party provider can help review in advance the limitations of these scheduled commercial-focused Paris airport options.
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Later, we’ll discuss customs, documentation requirements, and available services in Paris.