BizAv Trip Planning Tips: G8 Summit 2013, Northern Ireland
This is a post by author Mark Shiels. Mark is the general manager for Universal Aviation Ireland – Dublin. Mark is an expert on business aircraft operations in Dublin and can be contacted at email@example.com.
Some of the world’s most powerful leaders – including heads of State from Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the US – will meet June 17-18, 2013 for the 39th annual G8 Summit. This year’s G8 will be held at the Lough Erne Resort on the shores of Lough Erne in County Fermanagh – about 60 miles (96 km) from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Corporate/head of state flight traffic will be high over this period. For business aircraft operators planning to attend, it’s important to confirm aircraft parking and hotel arrangements as soon as schedule is known. Last-minute requests may be particularly challenging or impossible.
Below is an overview of what you need to know:
1. There are several airport options
While St Angelo (EGAB) is the closest airfield to the venue, it is a private airport with a 4,350-ft. runway and will be highly restricted over the Summit period. Best options to consider include Belfast Aldergrove (EGAA) and Belfast City (EGAC), an approximately two-hour drive to the Summit venue. If aircraft parking is an issue at EGAA, the preferred option is to drop-and-go at EGAA and reposition elsewhere in Ireland. For alternate aircraft parking, you can consider Dublin (EIDW) at two and a half hours away and Shannon (EINN), about a four-hour commute to Belfast.
2. PPR will be required for EGAA
At this time, there are no special requirements published regarding operations to EGAA over the Summit period. You will, however, need Prior Permission Required (PPR) to travel to this location up until June 21. Advance notification of at least 24 hours is needed for PPR, and approval is at the discretion of airport authorities. Note that there may be airport closures, from time to time, due to arrival and departure of State aircraft.
3. Know special considerations for EGAA
While additional security will be in place at EGAA over the Summit period, standard procedures for customs/immigration clearance will be followed. No additional documentation will be necessary. Full aircraft services will be available at EGAA, but it’s recommended to obtain fuel on arrival in order to avoid delays on the day of departure.
4. Consider parking alternates
EGAC is an Airport of Entry (AOE), upon request, and 24 hours’ notification is needed for Customs, Immigration and Quarantine arrangements. Note that operating hours are 0630-2130 local, and the runway is 6,001 feet. EIDW is a 24-hour AOE with airport slots required for all operations into/out of this airfield. Airport slots are requested via a website with deviations of +/- 15 minutes. Only ground handlers, the airport authority and scheduled commercial carriers have access to this slot reservation website. EINN is a business-aviation-friendly 24-hour AOE with no airport slot or PPR requirements and plenty of aircraft parking.
5. Permits may be required
Obtaining UK charter (non-scheduled commercial) landing permits is usually not difficult if you have all required documents available and submit a request in the correct format within the appropriate lead time. From time to time, however, you may run into the complication of a local U.K. charter operator objecting to your permit request and holding up the process or having your permit denied. Solutions may be available, if this should happen, and your 3rd-party provider can assist. For more information on UK airport landing permit requirements, see our article titled "Flying Charter to the U.K.? Here’s What You Need to Know."
6. Know special clearance procedures when traveling from the UK to the common travel zone
All flights between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the common travel zone (Channel Islands, Northern and Southern Ireland and Isle of Man) must clear special branch. This requires that the “General Aviation Report” be completed and returned within a minimum of 12 hours prior to the flight taking place. Information needed for this report includes full name, place and date of birth, nationality, home address, occupation and passport number and expiration date. It is recommended, when customs clearance is involved, to send the crew and passenger details in advance to avoid delays. Also, crew and passengers will have to fill out landing cards upon arrival.
7. Pay required UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD)
Note that if you are operating into the UK – including Northern Ireland – you may be required to pay UK APD for your flight. For more information on this, read our previous article: UK Air Passenger Duty (UK APD) – How It Applies to UK Business Aviation. Depending on who you are working with, your 3rd-party provider can facilitate these payments on your behalf.
8. Comply with European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS)
Intra-EU flights (flights departing and arriving within the European Union) are required to comply with EU-ETS monitoring, reporting and carbon trading requirements. You can read our series on aviation EU-ETS or visit the EU-ETS Resource Center for more information.
9. Hotel and local transport options may be limited
Most hotels in the vicinity of Lough Erne are already sold out. Best accommodation options will be in Belfast and Dublin. There are many 4- and 5-star hotel options at these locations, along with a wide selection of 3-star properties (if preferred crew accommodations are sold out). While pre-paid transport (car with driver) options will be available, certain vendors and types of preferred vehicles will likely be sold out. It may be best for crew to consider rental vehicles.
If you’re planning to travel to the G8 Summit, request a PPR for EGAA without delay. Overnight parking for general aviation aircraft will be limited at this location, so consider repositioning to EIDW – as the preferred alternate – for aircraft parking.
If you have any questions about this article or operating into Ireland, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.