Balearic Islands Spain Peak Season: 2024 Business Aviation Destination Guide

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The Balearic Islands are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Mediterranean, particularly during the summer peak season. Post-pandemic, the Balearic Islands are seeing record-setting volumes of international business jet arrivals. In 2022, the Balearic Islands had more than 13 million visitors, most of whom are coming from outside Spain.

Here’s everything you need to know about operating a business jet to the Balearic Islands.


Peak Season

Boats in the port of Palma de Malloca

The Peak Season for Business Aviation travel to the Balearic Islands is June through September, creating congestion. Airports throughout the South of Spain – both mainland and islands – are inundated with traffic from all over the world. Due to the congestion, pre-planning is an absolute must.


Most Popular Balearic Islands

Palma de Mallorca (LEPA)

As the largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is a major tourist destination. It is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning mountains, and vibrant nightlife. Its capital, Palma, is a popular spot for shopping, historical sightseeing, and dining.

Palma de Mallorca Airport is a 24-hour AOE with a General Aviation Terminal (GAT), located seven miles from downtown (about a 10-minute drive).

Operating Hours

Palma de Mallorca (LEPA) is open 24/7 year round.

Palma de Mallorca airport

Customs

CIQ is available 24/7, 365. If your flight is coming from or going to a place outside of the European Community, both passengers and crew will have to go through customs and immigration checks.

However, if your flight is coming from or going to a country that’s part of the Schengen Agreement, you won’t need to go through customs and immigration checks. But keep in mind that the Civil Guard might still ask passengers and crew to go through security checks.

If you’re entering or leaving any EU country and you’re carrying 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency), you need to declare this at the local customs office. Customs might check people and their luggage. If you don’t declare this money, you could be fined, and your cash might be taken away.

Parking and PPR

PPR Is not required.

Parking is very limited during peak season and high-traffic events. Requests for parking status will not be confirmed until 15 DAYS before arrival.

Keep in mind that changes to your schedule will cancel any confirmed parking approvals and will require you to re-submit your parking request.

During this period, LEPA often denies parking requests and will not confirm parking status until close to the day of operation. If you’re not able to confirm parking at LEPA, you’ll still be able to obtain airport slots to drop off/pick up passengers.

Parking Alternates

If parking is not available at Ibiza, some alternates include:

Slots

Slots are required for all arrivals/departures to LEPA. Slot tolerance is +-15 minutes. All confirmed slot times are given in Zulu/UTC time.

You can book slots no more than 15 days in advance, but you should do it at least six hours before you plan to arrive or leave.

Please note even air ambulance flights need to book times, but they’re almost never denied the time they ask for.

If you don’t need your booking anymore, you must cancel it. If you don’t, you might have to pay a penalty.

If your times for arriving or leaving have been confirmed, this means your parking has also been confirmed.

All times for these bookings are given in Zulu/UTC time.

Fuel

Fuel services are 24/7. This does not mean it is always fully operational. The best practice for LEPA is to fuel on arrival, or at least prior to the day of departure, and send as advance as possible the fuel release to reconfirm with the fuel uplifter.


Ibiza (LEIB)

Famous for its nightlife and clubbing scene, Ibiza draws a large number of tourists. It’s also known for its quiet villages, yoga retreats, and beautiful beaches.

Ibiza Airport (LEIB) is a 24-hour AOE with a General Aviation Terminal (GAT). The airport is located about five miles from downtown (a 15-minute drive).

Operating Hours

LEIB is open 24 hours during the summer peak season. Winter hours are 0730-2359 LT — ALL WEEK — WINTER, 0001-0729 LT — ALL WEEK — WINTER.

Ibiza Airport

Customs

CIQ is available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. local, with overtime available upon request. If you don’t have a diplomatic passport, you’ll need to clear customs at the general aviation terminal. After that, you need to head to the main passenger terminal to go through immigration.

To make things easier for passengers, let your ground handler know what kind of passports the passengers have. That way, they can make the right plans.

Be aware there will be finance police checking all luggage on every arrival and departure to prevent money and drug smuggling. This might mean you need to allow extra time for these checks, as any delays could impact your arrival and departure times.

If your flight is coming from or going to a destination outside the European Community, passengers and crew will still need to go through customs and immigration. But if you’re flying from or to a country that’s part of the Schengen Agreement, you won’t need to go through customs and immigration.

However, the Civil Guard might still want passengers and crew to go through security.

Parking & PPR

PPR Is not required

Parking is very limited during peak season and high-traffic events. Requests for parking status will not be confirmed until 15 DAYS before arrival. Keep in mind that changes to your schedule will cancel any confirmed parking approvals and will require you to re-submit your parking request. During this period, LEIB often denies parking requests and will not confirm parking status until close to the day of operation. If you’re not able to confirm parking at LEIB, you’ll still be able to obtain airport slots to drop off/pick up passengers.

Parking Alternates

If parking is not available in Ibiza, some alternates include:

 Slots

Slots are required for all arrivals/departures to LEIB. Time slots are flexible by about 20 minutes. All confirmed slot times are given in Zulu/UTC time. Once time slots are approved, no changes will be accepted without giving up your original time slot.

Fuel

Fuel services are 24/7. This does not mean it is always fully operational. The best practice for LEIB is to fuel on arrival, or at least prior to the day of departure, and send as in advance as possible the fuel release to reconfirm with the fuel uplifter.


Menorca (LEMH)

Although quieter than its more famous neighbors, Menorca is loved for its unspoiled beaches, nature trails, and laid-back atmosphere. It draws a significant number of visitors looking for a peaceful holiday.

  • Curfews: LEMH summer hours are: (0500-2200z).
  • Parking: Very limited during peak season. Max time on the ground is 2 hours. Recommended alternates are LEVC, LEAL, LEGR, LEAM, and LEBL.
  • Charter Permits: EU charters with EU Blanket permits receive almost immediate confirmation. Non-EU charters usually take 72 hours.
  • CIQ: On average, it can take approximately 20 minutes after landing to exit the airport. Summer hours are (0500-2200z)
  • Fuel: Available

Formentera

The smallest of the Balearic Islands, Formentera has no airport and is usually reached via ferry from Ibiza. It is known for its crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches. It’s less visited than the other islands, making it a perfect choice for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.


Landing Permits

Part 91 Permits

Private flights do not require landing permits for operations to Spain, but charter movements by non-European Union (EU)-registered aircraft require permits.

Charter Permits

EU charters with EU Blanket permits receive almost immediate confirmation. Non-EU charters usually take 72 hours.

Blanket Permits

If you’re planning on operating any charter flights in Spain, we recommend securing your blanket permits now.

Trying to get a last-minute permit for short-notice trips is not ideal. A 12-month blanket permit significantly improves your operating flexibility.

Spain’s CAA doesn’t allow third parties to apply for these, so you’ll need to do this yourself. Keep in mind Spain only allows three one-shot permits per season, so getting a blanket permit is advised. Warning: the process to apply is onerous.


Customs

Expect to clear CIQ in the GAT at Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca and in the commercial terminal with scheduled commercial passengers at Menorca.

CIQ is available 24/7 at Mallorca and Ibiza and 0500-2200z at Menorca.

Drop and Go May Be Your Best Option

Our recommendation, take the option you can lock in now vs. taking the wait-and-see approach.  With that, we expect non-traditional alternates like Milan, Dubrovnik, and even Frankfurt to be good long-term parking options.

One BIG advantage to this strategy: Hotels. Further inland, you’ll have your choice of chains and preferred accommodation options with more flexible cancellation options. In Spain and several other popular destinations, you won’t receive parking confirmation until two weeks before the trip. That’s going to be too late to book the most preferred hotels. We’ve seen crew insist on this option and end up having to stay at less-than-ideal hotels in undesirable areas of the city/island.

Other factors to consider here are supply chain struggles, strikes, protests, and fuel availability. These non-traditional parking locations are further away from the epicenter of activity (i.e., MADNESS) and less likely to experience issues.


Handling

Universal Aviation Spain – Menorca.

Universal Aviation Spain expanded to Menorca in 2023 and has representatives available to assist operators at all of the Balearic Islands.

When requesting ground handling, it’s important to provide full schedule, operator name, aircraft type and registry, maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) and – if known – passenger and crew names. While smaller airports have certain limitations in terms of GA support services and infrastructure, adequate handling and credit can be set up with sufficient pre-planning. We recommend notifying ground handlers of arrivals at least 48 hours prior to the estimated time of arrival (ETA).


FBOs

None of the Balearic Islands have traditional-style Western FBOs. In Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca, passengers have access to the General Aviation Terminal.


Hotels

Summer in the Balearic Islands is far busier than winter, and it will not always be possible to book accommodations at specific hotels. If you’re looking for a particular hotel in the Balearic Islands during high season, it’s best to book at least a couple of weeks in advance. Make sure, though, that aircraft parking is approved if the hotel is meant for crew members needing to remain close to their aircraft.

Otherwise, your ground handler will be able to source alternate 4- and 5-star options in most cases. Be aware that room rates are much higher during June-September.

Crew accommodation can be extremely limited and enormously expensive during high season.

Security

Security and/or safety concerns for those visiting the Balearic Islands are no different from such issues in other European countries. It’s always best to practice basic security awareness.


Ground Transport

A range of transportation options are at your disposal, including limousines, town cars, sedans, as well as upscale minivans and buses. Get a free quote from Drivania Chauffeurs.


Catering

Only large international airports in Spain have on-airport in-flight caterers. At many locations and most of the islands in Spain, your best option will be to obtain catering from local hotel restaurants. Be sure to work with your ground handler to confirm that catering from outsources is allowed onto the ramp.

You can check  Air Culinaire Worldwide to see catering options and menus available.


Conclusion

Traveling to popular Balearic Island destinations between June and September requires careful planning due to congestion and parking limitations. Last-minute requests may affect your schedule and overnight parking availability. Advanced planning, with the help of your third-party provider and ground handler, will offer more options. Hotel availability can also be a challenge at short notice in these high-traffic areas.

Overnight parking may be hard to secure, so be ready to drop passengers off and relocate. Early arrangements for airport slots are recommended due to high demand.


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