Business Aviation Planning Tips: Stockholm, Sweden
General aviation (GA) operating flexibility to Stockholm is good – with plenty of aircraft parking, full support services and straight-forward procedures. Your particular operation, aircraft type and need for schedule change flexibility may however impact your choice of airports at Stockholm.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Two airports are available
Arlanda (ESSA) is located 20 miles north of the city center – about a 35 minute drive – and is the primary commercial airport for Stockholm. Bromma (ESSB) is just five miles west of the city center and a 15 minute drive. Both airports are available to GA, but ESSB has more restrictions in place. Landing permits and prior permission required (PPR) are not needed for private non-revenue or charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations to Sweden. Airport slots are only necessary at ESSA.
2. ESSA operating considerations
Scheduled commercial traffic at ESSA may impact GA operations from time to time. While there are no specific peak hours to consider, commercial traffic is generally most active during early morning and afternoon hours. Crew and passengers must go through the main terminal for CIQ clearance, but a dedicated “fast track” lane is available with prior arrangement, and a fee is involved for this. ESSA is a 24 hour airport with no noise or maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) restrictions in place. If you’re operating during peak hours, however, there may be fueling delays to consider. ESSA is a slot controlled airfield with slot deviations of +/- 15 minutes. It’s recommended that airport slots be requested a few days ahead of the estimated time of arrival and a minimum of 24 hours in advance. Airport slots are not tied to aircraft parking, and no slot number will be issued.
3. ESSB operating considerations
ESSB has an 89 dB noise restriction in place for all aircraft movements, regardless of time of day. If your noise level is close to this number, airport authorities may request a noise certificate prior to operation. Note that ESSB also requires that aircraft weight be low enough that Vref is 120 kts of less. This will restrict operation of some larger aircraft. Hours of operation for ESSB are 0700-2200 local Monday-Friday, 0900-1700 local Saturday, and 1200-2200 local on Sunday. This location requires a minimum of four hours’ notice for CIQ arrangements.
4. ESSA is usually the preferred airport
The majority of international GA operators choose to use ESSA when traveling to Stockholm. Not only are operating hours and operating flexibility better at ESSA, but VIP services may be requested via your ground handler and fast track CIQ clearance is straight-forward to set up. Particularly if you’re operating a larger aircraft and/or anticipate schedule changes, ESSA is often the preferred option.
5. Parking and hangar availability
There are no GA parking issues, or limitations, at either airport. ESSA has a section of ramp space dedicated to GA, while ESSB has an FBO-style set up and GA ramp area. If the FBO ramp at ESSB is full, you’ll need to park at a remote parking area. Airport parking should always be arranged with your ground handler in advance. In most cases ramp parking is power in/power out, but it’s recommended that operators have a towbar available for ESSA. Hangar space for transient aircraft is possible via 3rd-party sources at both airports but should be requested as early as possible – particularly during winter months. Note that towing operations, or relocation of aircraft, require that the crew must be present at ESSA. There are no such restrictions at ESSB. Condition of runways, taxiways and ramp areas are good at both airports.
6. CIQ clearance
No specific documentation – arrival/departure cards, gen decs, etc. – is required for operation to Sweden. It’s recommended that a completed crew/passenger list be forwarded, in advance, to your ground handler in order for them to inform customs/immigration as needed. Any forms that may need to be completed can be taken care of by your ground handler.
At ESSA you’ll clear CIQ via the main terminal. Clearance at ESSB is usually at the FBO facility but it’s important to confirm this in advance with your ground handler. No vehicles are permitted airside at either airport.
Local agricultural restrictions may prevent operators from bringing certain types of in-flight catering into the country. If you do plan to keep catering at the airport it’s important to check on any restrictions in advance, as well as availability of refrigerated storage at the airport.
7. Visa requirements
As Sweden is a European Union (EU) and Schengen member, you’ll need to consider visa arrangements, depending upon crew/passenger nationalities. Intra EU and Schengen travel does not require CIQ clearance; however, intra EU, non-Schengen, travel requires immigration clearance. If you’re making a tech stop in Sweden, and this is your first entry into the EU, you’ll need to clear CIQ.
8. Other considerations
Both Stockholm airports have adequate airport security with proper fencing, security cameras and patrols. Additional aircraft security is not needed at Stockholm. There are no significant security concerns with traveling into the city at this location. Rental vehicles are available at both ESSA and ESSB, and public taxis are considered reliable and safe. A train service from ESSA to the city center is available, and crews often prefer this option. As ESSA is a busy airport it’s best to ensure that your ground handler has confirmed any local transport requests – to avoid any delays or confusion on day of operation. ESSA has an in-flight caterer at the airport while ESSB has catering facilities are available in the local area. In-flight catering should be arranged with at least 12 hours’ advance notice at ESSA and 24 hours’ advance notice for ESSB. Both ESSA and ESSB are recommended tech stop locations and both have a good selection of international chain hotel options for crews desiring to remain overnight.
While both Stockholm airports are good choices for destination or tech stops, ESSA provides the best overall flexibility for business aircraft operators. ESSB has the benefit of being closer to the city center and does not require airport slots. It’s important, however, to consider operating hours, and any applicable noise restrictions or Vref limitations, for any planned operation to ESSB.
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