8 Tips for Flying Your Aircraft to Paris for Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week takes place September 27 – October 5, 2012. This is a period when demand for hotel accommodations, local transportation and business aviation support services can be much higher than the norm. Work with your 3rd-party provider and local ground handler as early as possible to secure best available options, from aircraft parking to preferred hotel accommodations.
Here are some tips to help you plan your trip to Paris during this busy period:
1. Le Bourget (LFPB) is the preferred airport for business aviation
Three airports are available for Paris – Charles de Gaulle (LFPG), Orly (LFPO), and Le Bourget (LFPB). LFPG and LFPO, however, are primarily dedicated to scheduled commercial operations. LFPB has the distinct advantage of being exclusively dedicated to business aviation, with no scheduled commercial traffic. Charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations are welcome at LFPB, but these flights are limited to aircraft with 25 seats or less without permission from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – also known as Direction Generale de l’Aviation Civile (DGAC). LFPB is a user friendly facility with plentiful aircraft parking, full Fixed Base Operator (FBO) services, and business aviation maintenance support on the field.
2. LFPG and LFPO restrict business-aviation movements
LFPG allows General Aviation (GA) operations for passengers with scheduled commercial airline connections, but you’ll only be able to stay a few hours on the ground. LFPO is also highly restrictive in terms of GA operations. Diplomatic flights are permitted to use LFPO, and there’s an allowance for business aviation for both private non-revenue and charter when passengers are making scheduled commercial airline connections and the aircraft does not remain on the ground more than a few hours.
3. Consider Paris airport curfews
LFPB is open 24 hours for arrivals, but departures of jet engine aircraft are prohibited between 2215 and 0600 local. During curfew hours, business aircraft departures are only possible for medical emergencies with prior approval. LFPG allows departures 0500-2359 local, and arrivals 0001-0029 and 0530-2359 local. GA departures are not possible after midnight at LFPG, and all departures between 0001-0459 local and arrivals between 0030-0529 local are restricted to scheduled commercial operators. In the case of LFPO, the airport is open to scheduled commercial operations 0600-2330 local, but only GA flights with commercial airline connections are permitted to land, and Prior Permission Required (PPR) must be obtained. Keep in mind that all aircraft with configurations of fewer than 25 seats require permission to operate into either LFPG or LFPO.
4. Plan for airport-slot and PPR requirements
LFPG requires both airport slots and PPR. Airport slots have deviation of -5/+10 minutes, and the confirmation must be added to remarks section 18 of the flight plan. PPR for this location must be requested at least 24 hours in advance. GA operators should advise their ground handler if passengers are to be picked up or dropped off, and must provide relevant commercial flight information. LFPO requires at least 24 hours’ advance notice for a PPR. Airport slots are mandatory for LFPO, with a deviation of -/+ 15 minutes. LFPB – the preferred Paris airport for business aviation operations – does not require airport slots or PPRs.
5. Charter landing permits are required for France
All non-European Union (EU) registered charter flights operating to France require landing permits. Landing permits are also required for EU-based charter flights when operating into or out of the EU. Official permit lead time is five working days, and permits are not processed by CAA during weekends and holidays. First-time charter operators to France should start the landing permit application process early. Required documentation includes a technical questionnaire, EU insurance, and portions of your flight department’s operational specifications. It’s recommended that documentation requirements be reviewed well in advance with your 3rd-party provider. It should be noted that earlier this year, the France charter permit made our top-10 list of challenging international flight permits for business aircraft operators.
6. Plan hotel and transportation arrangements as early as possible
Hotel accommodation throughout Paris is subject to high demand during Paris Fashion Week. Hotels may have non-refundable deposit requirements, extended cancellation policies and higher-than-normal pricing. When planning a short-notice trip during Paris Fashion Week, your ground handler will be able to source adequate accommodations, but you may be in 3-star hotels rather than 4- and 5-star properties, and could be some distance from the city center. Prepaid transportation options are also in high demand over this period, so it’s best to book arrangements as soon as a schedule is known. Public transport, such as the underground Metro trains, is an effective option for movement within central Paris, and public taxi availability is usually good within the city. Due to traffic congestion and high parking costs in the city center, renting vehicles in Paris is not recommended.
7. Know before you go
Additional information on upcoming events in Paris can be viewed at www.viparis.com. Your ground handler will be one of your best resources in terms of tips and cautions when visiting the Paris area. Take the time to get out and enjoy the local culture and cuisine. A stay in Paris can be a most enjoyable experience for both passengers and crew. This is a safe, lively, 24-hour city, and one of the few places in the world where you can make a 3 am reservation for a late 5-course meal at a one-of-a-kind boutique restaurant and still have to wait for a table.
8. Additional reading
You may also want to read an earlier post on this blog by Sandrine Jackson, titled Picking an Airport in Paris: Overview of Customs, Documentation Requirements, and Services. There is some great information here that will help you with your trip planning.
Last-minute operations to Paris during Paris Fashion Week can be successfully orchestrated with the assistance of 3rd-party providers and ground handler, but best practice is to confirm required services and accommodations as early as possible. Charter operators, particularly when planning a first-time charter to France, need to begin the planning process early, as there are longer lead times and specific requirements to consider.
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