BizAv Trip Planning: Spanish F1 Grand Prix 2016 – Part 2: Permits, Fuel & Hotels

PT 4 M minute read
BizAv Trip Planning: Spanish F1 Grand Prix 2016 – Part 2: Permits, Fuel & Hotels

This is a post by author Gonzalo Barona, Jr. Gonzalo is the Madrid station manager for Universal Aviation Spain, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Madrid, Girona, and Barcelona. Gonzalo is an expert on business aircraft operations in Spain and can be contacted at

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, titled “BizAv Trip Planning: Spanish F1 Grand Prix 2016 – Part 1: Airport and Parking Options.

For those planning to fly to the Spanish Grand Prix (May 13 – 15, 2016), it’s important to consider increased traffic and congestion at both Barcelona (LEBL) and Gerona (LEGE) and to be mindful of lead time requirement for charter permits, fuel uplifts, and customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) requirements.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Spain landing permits

Landing permits are not needed for private non-revenue flights, but they are required for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to Spain. If a charter operator is only making a tech stop in Spain, no permit is required unless passengers embark/disembark the aircraft. Permits are processed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Spain, and a minimum of 30 business days prior notice is needed, according to regulation. Normally CAA working hours are Monday-Friday, but CAA will be available 24 hours for permit issues over the Grand Prix period. Permits, in practice, can often be processed with just over 48 hours lead time. However, note that if you request a charter landing permit with less than 48 hours’ notice your request will not be considered. To request a permit you’ll need to complete a landing permit application and attach copies of your airworthiness and registration certificates, worldwide insurance, crew medicals, and ATP licenses. Approved permits have validity of +/- 48 hours.

2. Permit revisions

It’s important to notify CAA of any changes to permit approvals, even for crew/passenger adjustments and schedule changes within the permit validity period. While such items are notification only, CAA wants to be aware of all changes to permit approvals. There’s no minimum lead time to consider when making these small permit changes. For larger revisions, including changes to schedule outside the permit validity period or origin/destination changes, the permit needs to be reconfirmed by CAA, and the minimum lead time for change requests is 48 hours.

3. APU limitations at LEBL

Be aware that LEBL restricts running of auxiliary power units (APUs) to 10 minutes after blocks on arrival and 10 minutes before blocks on departure. To run your APU on the ground any longer than this, you’ll need to obtain prior permission from airport authorities. Your ground handler can request this permission for you, but it’s important not to run APUs longer than the permitted time until you’ve obtained approval. Airport authorities at LEBL are strict on enforcing APU restrictions. If a follow-me truck driver observes you running your APU for more than 10 minutes you’ll be given notice to shut it down.

4. Fuel uplifts

Fuel delays can be expected at either airport when making an uplift request during or shortly after the Grand Prix period. LEGE has no fuel trucks dedicated to GA, and delays can be expected for all uplifts during the Grand Prix period due to heightened traffic movements. Unless you’re planning to depart a few days after the event, we recommend uplifting fuel a day prior to departure. Normal fuel uplift delays at LEGE are up to 30 minutes, but delays may run up to three-four hours during the Spanish Grand Prix period.

LEBL has dedicated fuel trucks for GA; however, during large events—such as the Grand Prix—these trucks may also be used to fuel scheduled commercial operations. For the Grand Prix period, we recommend scheduling fuel uplifts one day prior to departure, unless you plan to depart LEBL several days after the race.

5. Hotel availability

Hotel room pricing in Barcelona, Gerona, and close to the race circuit will be higher than normal, with extended cancelation policies likely in place during the Grand Prix. Currently, the average price for 4-star crew accommodations is running 250-300 Euros, but this will likely increase as we get closer to the event.

6. CIQ clearance and visas

LEBL has a general aviation terminal (GAT) where CIQ can usually be cleared in less than five minutes. However, LEGE has no GAT or fixed-base operator (FBO), and you’ll clear CIQ within the main terminal. This clearance process is done in a separate area from scheduled commercial clearances and generally takes less than five minutes. If you require visas for Spain, based on your nationality, these must be obtained prior to arrival. Those who land in Spain without required visas will not be permitted into the country.

7. Local transport

Pre-paid transport (car with driver) is recommended for travel to/from the race circuit from Barcelona or Gerona. We do not recommend rental vehicles for most crew transport purposes as vehicle parking will be extremely difficult in the city centers and at the race venue. Helicopter transfers can be considered, to and from the airport and the race track, but there are no options for helicopter services between the city centers and the track. As helicopter transfers will be in high demand over this period we suggest requesting these services as early as possible.


As this popular international race event is occurring in the very near future it’s important to consider crew accommodation and local transport arrangements without delay. As this will be a busy period for the region, fuel uplifts will likely encounter delays at both airports. Also, for charter operators it’s important to keep in mind the landing permit requirements.

Universal and Universal Aviation are not associated in any way with the Formula One group of companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX, and related marks are trademarks of Formula One Licensing B.V.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Spain, contact me at

Got a question for Gonzalo about this article?