5 Great Tech Stops in Europe for Business Aviation – and Why
This business aviation blog post is part of a series on great technical stops for business aviation.
For business aircraft operators, the European region offers many good tech stop options, depending where you’re flying to and from. Best practice is to avoid tech stops at locations with significant airport congestion or tight airport slot requirements. Dramatic savings in jet fuel uplift costs are achievable with advance planning. For example, jet fuel uplift costs in Ireland may be cheaper than Germany (with taxes included) for private non-revenue operators. We recommend that you work with your 3rd-party provider in determining the most flexible and cost effective tech stop options.
1. What are 5 recommended locations for tech stops?
Depending on where you are operating, there may be many good locations for tech stops. These are the 5 we recommend.
- ✈ Shannon, Ireland (EINN)
- ✈ Keflavik, Iceland (BIKF)
- ✈ Oslo, Norway (ENGM)
- ✈ Stockholm, Sweden (ESSA)
- ✈ Istanbul, Turkey (LTFJ)
Shannon, Ireland (EINN) is a popular 24-hour tech stop with fast turns, good jet fuel prices and ability to pre-clear U.S. Customs en route to the U.S. No landing permit is required, but 48 hours’ advance notice is necessary if you wish to set up customs pre-clearance. Keflavik, Iceland (BIKF) also offers 24-hour quick turns with reasonably priced jet fuel. Airport slots are only required if you’re going to a terminal gate (to obtain hydrant fuel). We like Oslo, Norway (ENGM) for its 24-hour access, quick turns and lack of airport slot or landing permit requirements. Stockholm, Sweden (ESSA), likewise, offers similar advantages as ENGM and is close to great circle routes between the U.S. east coast and the Far East. On the eastern side of Europe, Istanbul, Turkey (LTFJ) is a good 24-hour quick turn stop. Airport slots (deviation -10 minutes /+20 minutes) are required, as well as landing permits. Official landing permit processing time is five days, and a noise certificate, along with other aircraft documents, are required (Turkish Civil Aviation Authority may approve the landing permit on shorter notice, at their discretion). However, Israel military aircraft are not permitted to overfly or land in Turkey.
2. What is turnaround time for jet fuel uplifts at these locations?
At all of these locations, you can expect to fuel and turn your aircraft in an hour or less, depending upon aircraft type. There are no general aviation (GA) blackout periods or peak airline activity times to note at these locations (this may change, depending upon traffic at each airport). You can plan on quick turns 24/7. The only exception to the above is for aircraft pre-clearing U.S. customs in EINN, where the turnaround time is approximately one-and-a-half hours or longer if the operator isn’t prepared for the clearance.
3. Do operators need to clear customs or have visas at these tech stop locations?
While customs will be notified of your arrival, you’ll not be required to clear customs or offload luggage at any of these locations. Visas are not necessary for U.S. crew or passengers on international tech stops. Check with your visa provider, ground handler or 3rd-party provider regarding visa requirements for non-U.S. nationals. If you choose to pre-clear U.S. customs at EINN, count on adding about 45 minutes to turn time as passengers/crew and luggage must go to the terminal.
4. Can handling, jet fuel and other services be arranged on credit?
Aviation fuel cards, as well as major credit cards, are accepted. For LTFJ tech stops you should always carry a fuel release in case an aviation fuel card isn’t accepted.
5. Is English spoken well at these locations?
English is fairly good at all of these locations, regardless of the aircraft’s time of arrival.
6. Are there any complications with these tech stops?
Most of the delays you’ll encounter within Europe have to do with airway slots. Be aware that restrictions exist across Europe on operation of stage 2 aircraft. Some airports allow stage 2 operations during certain periods of the day, while others ban stage 2 operations completely.
7. Are there any tech stops to avoid in this region?
When possible, avoid airfields with high traffic congestion, airports with inflexible airport slots, and locations with high jet fuel costs and high taxes. Frankfurt, Germany (EDDF) would be an example of a congested airport with tight airport slots. Many countries in the European Union (EU) will charge mineral oil tax (MOT) and value added tax (VAT) to private non-revenue fuel uplifts — even on international tech stops.
Planning tech stops is always a question of balancing the most efficient routing with the range of your aircraft, jet fuel costs, and service availability. It may be preferable, for example, to fly great circle routing and pay a higher jet fuel uplift costs at a single tech stop, rather than pay a lower jet fuel price but have to tech stop twice. Each intercontinental mission is unique. Effective tech stop orchestration is always an important part of the planning process.
If you have any questions about this article, contact Christine Vamvakas at firstname.lastname@example.org.