Business Jet Destination Guide: Madrid, Spain
With the closing of Torrejon (LETO) airport in 2013 to general aviation (GA) traffic, the sole airport in Madrid serving business aviation operators is Madrid–Barajas Airport (LEMD). While operating to Madrid is relatively uncomplicated, accommodating and flexible, making arrangements as soon is schedule is known is always advised to secure you best options—especially during peak periods.
Here’s what you need to know about operating to Madrid:
1. Landing permits
Private (non-revenue) operators do not need landing permits, but charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators do. Permit lead time is four days, and required documentation includes airworthiness, registration and noise certificates (for LEMD). After four charter landings in Spain (regardless of when they took place), an operator must accredit itself with additional documents. For example, you will have to provide a security plan that’s been issued, approved or accepted by your home country’s aviation authority.
2. LEMD hours of operation
LEMD operates 24 hours a day. Peak hours of airline operations are 0700 – 1100 and 1200 – 1400 local, but this does not affect GA operations, as there are four runways available.
Drive time from LEMD to the city center is about 15 – 20 minutes without traffic and about 30 minutes with heavier traffic conditions.
The facilities at the general aviation terminal (GAT) include shared crew and passenger lounges, meeting room, and onsite CIQ.
There is a consortium of three ground support providers managing the GAT, one of which is Universal Aviation Spain. Universal Aviation Spain has an office located inside the GAT, with its own private VIP and crew lounges as well—free for its customers, without airport fees.
Note: The GAT is undergoing renovations from April – July 2019, but this is not expected to significantly impact operations
Airport slots are required for all arrivals/departures at LEMD. Slots are requested from the airport authority via your ground handler, using a specific request format. The LEMD slot office operates 24 hours, and slot status will be known within an hour of a request. If a slot is not available, the airport authority will offer an alternative time for the slot requested. Due to ECDM implementation, departure slot has 0 minutes tolerance and flight plan must match – aircraft parking will be confirmed simultaneously.
Be advised that there is a designated area at LEMD for all GA parking. Your actual parking spot, however, will not be known until after arrival. Some parking spots will be start-and-go while others will need a push back. There’s no requirement at LEMD to carry a tow bar onboard.
Because LEMD airport authorities provide equal access to airport slots for both scheduled airline and GA operations, there are usually no issues with GA slot availability.
Note: If your trip plans change, it’s important that you cancel any confirmed airport slots, as fines may apply if slots are not cancelled.
Upon landing, passengers/crew will be transported to customs/immigration for clearance. Clearance will take place at the airport’s GAT and usually takes around 5-10 minutes.
Two-to-three copies of the gen dec must be submitted on arrival, and passengers (but not crew) need to complete arrival cards. Any passengers/crew requiring Schengen visas must have them on arrival, or entry into the country will be prohibited. Customs has authority to inspect luggage on arrival, even for domestic flights.
On departure, passengers/crew and luggage goes through security and x-ray screening. Customs, immigration, and security clearance for international departures should take no more than 10 minutes.
In most cases, crew, including pilots, flight mechanics, and flight attendants do not require visas for Spain as long as they have a valid passport and crew ID. Passengers, depending upon nationality, may require visas.
Some foreign nationals may obtain visas on arrival, while others must have visas issued in advance. In some cases, passengers who are staying no more than 24 hours in Spain will be issued a pass in place of the required visa.
Always check with your ground handler or trip support provider prior to arrival on passenger and crew visa requirements, and 24-hour pass options in the case of passengers. There are certain situations, depending upon nationality of the aircraft, where police may be present plane-side to confirm documentation of all crew and passengers on arrival. Although this is not the norm, it can happen from time to time.
8. Aircraft parking and hangarage
LEMD has ample GA parking and hangarage available for maintenance only, and it rarely experiences capacity issues—event during most peak periods.
LEMD offers effective 24/7 security by police and airport authorities, along with proper fencing and CCTV surveillance. Private security (armed or unarmed) is generally not permitted airside to guard your aircraft, but this status may change in future.
10. Jet fuel / Jet A-1
Jet fuel is available at LEMD for GA aircraft via fuel trucks; however, hydrant fueling might be an option. There is a fuel truck dedicated to GA operations.
Tech stops can be accomplished within one hour in most cases. International tech stops require no customs or immigration clearance.
For fuel payment, aviation fuel cards and Euros are accepted, but consumer credit cards and other cash currencies are not accepted at LEMD. The UVair Fuel Program can assist with pricing and arrangement for this airport.
11. In-flight catering
LEMD in-flight catering is available at LEMD via two different caterers. You can check the free ACW Menu app for Air Culinaire Worldwide to see catering options and menus available.
If you are flying in with catering onboard, you’ll general be permitted to offload it from your aircraft in Spain. However, it’s best to check in advance with Air Culinaire Worldwide or your local ground handler, as regulations can change at a moment’s notice.
12. Ground transportation
We recommend using prepaid local transport (with drivers) while in Spain. Rental car facilities are available at LEMD Terminal 2.
Private vehicles are not permitted on the ramp for planeside pick up at LEMD. Only 4th-party service providers with specific airport permission – which requires driver and vehicle approval, along with 250 million Euros insurance coverage – have vehicle access airside.
Good-quality hotels are available in the LEMD area, and plenty of 4- and 5-star hotel options, including large international hotel chains, can be found in the city.
Your next mission to Madrid should be a smooth one with a little advanced planning. At Universal, we have the expertise and resource to make your next mission a success. Request a free trip cost estimate to get started.
In addition, when you use us for ground support in Madrid, you’ll have access to private VIP and passenger lounges not available to everyone else.