2024 Summer Olympics Paris – Business Aviation Guide
The 2024 Summer Olympic Games (Paris Olympics) will be held in Paris from July 26th to Aug. 11, 2024. The Paris Olympics will be a huge draw for international business aviation operators, creating airport congestion throughout the region and creating competition for services and hotels.
Even though the games are not starting for another eight months, if you plan on attending the games or being in the region, the time to begin planning is now.
Here’s what you need to know based on previous Olympics and information currently available regarding airport restrictions.
The majority of the Paris Olympic events will take place in Paris and its surrounding metropolitan areas, including nearby cities like Saint-Denis, Le Bourget, Nanterre, Versailles, and Vaires-sur-Marne.
Around thirty events will take place within a 10-kilometer radius around the Athletes’ Village, located in Seine-Saint-Denis.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies Will be Peak Traffic Periods
Peak periods of congestion are the day before and after the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, July 26 and August 11.
For the first time in Summer Olympic Games history, the ceremony won’t be held in a stadium. Paris 2024 is revolutionizing sports competitions by integrating them within the city’s fabric. Similarly, the opening ceremony will unfold in the city’s core, along the Seine, its primary vein.
A total of 10,500 athletes will parade through the heart of Paris, setting the stage for the Games where they’ll display their skills over the subsequent 16 days. The 6 km parade route will culminate at the Trocadéro, where the concluding segments of the Olympic protocol and final performances will be held.
Slots, Restrictions & Reservations
All airport options, reservations and supporting ground services are pending TFR publication. This typically happens about 3-5 months prior to the event. Here’s what we do know.
Airport Slot Notice for the Paris Olympics:
- A mandatory airport slot will be in effect for special events during the Olympics.
- Currently, we are in a general rehearsal phase for the Rugby World. This ensures that we will be trained and prepared for the Olympic period.
French Authorities Slot Allocation:
- The slot allocation protocol has been set as: first come, first serve.
- Note: The sample allocations for runways might undergo changes for the Olympic games.
Runway Traffic Periods:
- Green Period: For regular traffic.
- Orange Period: Specifically for special events, including the Olympic Games.
Olympic Games Slot Details (Orange Period):
- Slots will be allocated every 20 minutes for both arrivals and departures.
- Example: From 07:00 to 07:20 local time, there will be 8 arrivals and 8 departures.
Lessons Learned from Previous Olympics
Parking & Slots
Both parking and slots are likely to be available on a first-come, first-serve basis at Paris-area airports during the Olympics, and while slots are still available at some airports, parking will probably be harder to come by.
In previous Olympics, we’ve seen many operators arrange their plans as far back as a year in advance, so it’s best to act soon to ensure you get your desired slot/destination. Some airports will likely keep a limited number of stands free (with four-hour parking limits) to allow operators to drop passengers and reposition to outlying airports when parking is unavailable.
Another consideration regarding parking is non-refundable fees charged by some airports and ground handlers.
Some airports during the London Olympics charged non-refundable, or 50 percent non-refundable, deposits for aircraft parking and ground handling during the Olympics period. You should be able to make revisions and not get charged, but it’s best to check with your FBO on its cancellation and/or revision policy. In most cases, you’ll be able to change schedule without penalty, but your deposit will likely become non-refundable if reservations are cancelled.
Services such as hotels, security, ground transportation, and catering will be in high demand during the Olympics, so it is vital that operators review their itinerary thoroughly before booking these services, which may be nonrefundable during the Paris Olympics.
Operators really need to look at what specific events they will be attending and then formulate their plan from there. Choose the best location and appropriate ground handler for your operation. Keep in mind that Olympic venues are in different locations within the Paris area and throughout France. That’s critical in not only airport selection, but also selection of suppliers for additional services.
All Paris hotel reservations are blocked by the Paris IOC organizing committee. Expect high prices and restrictive cancelation policies. The Paris Olympics official website has many hospitality and travel package options. Book early to ensure availability.
Beware of Bedbugs
Paris has recently been in the news because of city-wide bedbug infestation.
To avoid bedbugs when traveling, inspect hotel rooms for small reddish-brown insects, their tiny eggs, or dark stains on bedding. Use luggage racks, not the floor, and keep luggage sealed. Wash clothes immediately after returning home, and vacuum luggage before storing it.
Best Paris Olympics Airport Options
Below are a list of airports to consider when operating to the Paris Olympics ranked from most desirable to least/unavailable.
Le Bourget (LFPB)
Typically, Paris Le Bourget (LFPB) is the primary business aviation airport for the Paris region. Due to the high demand and congestion, it is likely that other airports will need to be considered.
- Drive time to Central Paris can range from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions
- Le Bourget is open 24 hours for arrivals, but jet engine departures from the apron are prohibited between 2215 and 0600 local. Permission for late departures is possible with prior approval for medical evacuation flights only.
- Parking: Universal Aviation France will utilize the experience from the 2023 Paris Airshow to optimize parking availability. Our team will arrange two parking spots specifically for long-stay trip requests, but we’ll also maintain some space to accommodate quick-turn flights on short notice. Such flights may be asked to reposition to airports like LFAQ. This means we’ll be able to accept more aircraft to operate in Le Bourget for passengers.
- Services: Fuel provided by 3 independent companies
- AC/DC power is available
- First right of refusal
- Two hangars (3000 sqm each)
- Two ramps totalling 14350 sqm
- Ops office space
- On site customs office
- Immigration clear at the FBO
- VIP PAX lounge
- 2 approved catering companies
Universal Aviation France highly recommends operators consider Albert. Drive time to Central Paris is about two hours.
- The airport was constructed for Airbus to accommodate the Beluga.
- The tower operates 24/7.
- Requires 24-hour prior permission request (PPR).
- All staff members speak English.
- Not an Airport of Entry (AOE), but they expect to obtain a waiver for the Olympics.
- Ramp space available for up to 6 General Aviation (GA) aircraft.
- Towbarless tug capable of moving all our aircraft is provided.
- No hangar facilities available.
- Airport fuel tanks hold 15,000 gallons with one fuel truck from Air BP.
- AC/DC power cart is accessible.
- Aircart arrangements can be made.
- No potable water supply.
- On-site customs office expected for the Olympics to clear in the Fixed-Base Operator (FBO).
MX, Dispatch and Catering
- No on site MX, but engineer allowed on the field
- Excellent office space available
- Cold storage available
- Catering will likely be brought in from Paris
- 20-minute drive to local hotel if needed
- One Useable Runway: u09-27 7,218’x148’ 102,129# TO 83,500# LNDG
Pontoise Airport (LFPT) is another good alternative. It is about an 1 hour and 30 minutes drive time to Paris Downtown.
- Fuel tanks at the airport hold 13,000 gallons.
- Lavatory (lav) service is available.
- No potable water supply on-site.
- AC/DC power is accessible.
- No restrictions on auxiliary power units (APU).
- No hangar space available; aircraft will be parked on the taxiway.
- Unable to tow aircraft.
- Customs will clear both crew and passengers on the aircraft for the Games.
- Vehicles are allowed to drive on the airport to meet planeside.
- The airport operates 24 hours a day, but English-speaking Air Traffic Control (ATC) is not available from 2000 to 0500. ***This issue may be resolved for the Olympics.
MX, Dispatch, and Catering:
- No on-site maintenance (MX) facilities, but engineers are permitted on the field.
- Office space is available.
- Cold storage is available for catering.
- Catering will likely be sourced from Paris.
The airport has 2 runways:
- Runway 05-23: 5,541′ x 154′ with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 91,190 pounds and a maximum landing weight (MLW) of 83,500 pounds.
- Runway 12-30: 5,413′ x 164′ with a MTOW of 88,080 pounds and a MLW of 83,500 pounds
Vatry (LFOK) is about a three-hour drive to Central Paris and is designated as the official Paris overflow airport.
- Nearly 1,000,000 square feet of parking space.
- Conducts over 100 executive flights per year.
- Capacity for 175,000 gallons of Jet-A fuel.
- 24-hour service.
- English-speaking staff.
- AC/DC power is available.
- Potable water and lavatory (lav) service provided.
- Aircart service is available.
- No tug service available.
- Customs clearance can be done in the Fixed-Base Operator (FBO).
MX, Dispatch, and Catering:
- No onsite maintenance (MX) facilities, but engineers have full ramp access.
- There is a restaurant in the terminal.
- Cold storage is available for catering.
The airport has 1 runway:
- Runway 10-28: 12,664′ x 148′ with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 103,600 pounds and a maximum landing weight (MLW) of 83,500 pounds.
Non-Viable Local Airport Options
- Beauvais (LFOB) – Limited to no GA support.
- Rouen (LFOP) – Limited to no GA support.
- Orly (LFPO)
- Charles-De-Gaulle (LFPG)
Beauvais and Rouen have limited to no GA support so are not a realistic option for business avation.
Orly and Charles De-Gaulle are also not good options, as they are dedicated commercial airports, and possibly used for heads of state. These two airports will be handling the Olympic Teams based on previous events like the Le Mans Race, World Cup, etc. There are also no dedicated FBOs of GA at either airport.
Travel times from the Heliport de Paris.
- Le Bourget: 15 minutes
- Albert: 45 minutes
- Pontoisse: 20 minutes
- Vatry: 45-60 minutes
Given the recent attacks and vandalism of private jets by climate protestors in Europe combined with the high profile of the Olympics, aircraft security will be especially vital for business aviation. Universal Aviation France has spoken with local airport authorities and the plan is to use similar security measures as those successfully deployed during the 2023 Paris Air Show.
During the period of the Paris Air Show, vehicles with the exception of public taxis, needed to have special stickers in order to access the public side of the airport. Note that private transportation providers will not be able to access the airport without these stickers. Transportation options like Uber will not be given access to the public area of the airport for this event. Additional airport security measures will be evident during the Air Show period with military police stationed throughout the airfield. Additional checks will be done, even for parked GA aircraft, to ensure integrity of security at LFPB .
Professional ground transportation is recommended. Traffic and road congestion will be high, particularly before the opening and closing ceremonies. It’s best to have a plan in place for getting to and from venues with backup routes and an experienced familiar driver.
Drivania- Chauffeurs can help.
Developing a catering strategy can be a big time saver and help you avoid potential challenges during your mission. Air Culinaire Worldwide can help.
One often overlooked but critical detail in planning is the strategy behind in-flight catering. With all the steps that go into pre-planning an operation to the 2024 Paris Olympics, such as slot reservations, parking, and booking hotels, it’s easy to overlook the importance of pre-planning in-flight catering. For example, for flights parked at outlying stations picking up passengers in Paris, it may be more efficient to have catering delivered to the crew before leaving to get the passengers, so that it is available when the passengers are picked up. Or have the catering delivered directly to the passengers’ departure airport.
Because of the heavy demand for services, particularly during the Closing Ceremonies, Air Culinaire Worldwide advises operators to give their caterer at least 24-hours’ notice.
The key is providing a high level of detail on the specific requirements needed, such as any allergy restrictions, the type of on-board reheating devices on the aircraft, unique packaging needs, or specialty items that could be difficult to source. The busiest time will likely be following closing ceremonies, when aircraft will be trying to exit the country en masse over a 24-36 hour period.
Tips and What to Expect
- Delays in obtaining slots and permits are likely due to increased number of requests
- Delays with ground handling and all related services at all primary destinations
- Limited supervision on the ramp
- Limited hotel availability
- Increased pricing – for all services
- Communicate with your trip support provider and submit requests ASAP
- Submit complete passenger list with the status of the main person on board.
- Slots can differ from what was submitted. Avoid schedule changes once slots are granted.
- Arrange visas prior to arrival
- Refrain from ordering fuel or catering for short stops
- Ask for additional supervision where possible
- Don’t just know the operating requirements
- Develop a plan and see the big picture
- Is a drop-and-go more efficient for your needs?
- What accommodation is closest to the specific events you will be attending?
- Will you need security escorts, secure transportation?
As more information becomes available, we will continue to update this article. In the meantime, if you plan on attending the Paris Olympics, please contact your team or Universal Aviation France as soon as possible.