Operating to Ireland (EIDW): Ground Handling 101

PT 4 M minute read
Operating to Ireland (EIDW): Ground Handling 101

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 markshiels@universalaviation.aero.

This aviation blog post is part of a series on operating to Dublin, Ireland and continues from our last article entitled "Operations to Ireland/EIDW – Airport Operations."

When operating your business aircraft to Dublin (EIDW), advance notification for requesting aircraft handling, parking and fuel uplifts are recommended, while confirmations on credit for fuel and all other services is a must.

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

1. What’s required to set up ground handling at Dublin/EIDW?

A general aviation report – containing crew/passenger details – is needed, in advance, to set up handling and Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ). This report follows a specific format and can be filled out by your ground handler. Three days’ advance notification is recommended, but short-notice requests can be accommodated. Required information for this report includes full schedule, operator name, aircraft type and registration, along with services needed. Arrival/departure cards are not required at EIDW. Remember that airport slots are necessary at EIDW 24/7.

2. Are private non-revenue and charter flights handled differently?

While ground handling and airport requirements are the same for private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) flights, all charter aircraft require landing permits.

3. What’s the workflow process at this location?

First step is to arrange airport slots, for both arrival and departure. Ground handling service requests should be forwarded by e-mail, fax, or phone. CIQ is always advised, the night prior, of any aircraft movement. For international movements, the CIQ process is completed physically, while for domestic ops, customs just needs to be pre-notified.

4. Are there local regulations/procedures impacting the ground handling process?

All EIDW ground handlers must be licensed by the Irish Aviation Authority. Ground handlers must fulfill specific criteria, including staff training and insurance liability requirements, in order to maintain their licenses. The Dublin Airport Authority also ensures that airport personnel have proper permits to access the ramp and that vehicles used by handlers airside have proper permits. Ground handlers are not able to store onboard catering arriving from an international destination. This is because ground handler facilities are located landside, as opposed to airside. Ground handlers will, however, arrange for international trash to be disposed of and incinerated.

5. How much advance notice is needed, and what about schedule changes?

At least one hour’s advance notification of ground handling services is needed for arriving operators. The only exception is for aircraft that have diverted due to a weather situation or other emergency. Keep in mind that airport slots must be obtained prior to landing/takeoff at EIDW. Schedule changes impact airport slots, and parking spots will need to be reconfirmed along with any outstanding ground service requests. In addition, customs and immigration must be notified of all schedule changes.

6. What are considerations in terms of 4th-party services?

Your ground handler will coordinate all 4th-party services with appropriate vendors. This is normally done via email, but can also be arranged by phone or fax. Specialty in-flight catering requests – fresh fish, specialty wines, etc. – need to be confirmed in advance and not left to the last minute. It’s possible to arrange credit for all 4th-party services with advance arrangement.

7. How are airport fees paid?

All fees are paid to the Dublin airport authority. Fees include landing charges, aircraft parking, and passenger departure tax. Parking charges are by weight and parking location on the airfield. Ground handlers can settle all airport fees on the operator’s behalf with prior arrangements. Parking rates are much cheaper on the General Aviation (GA) side of the ramp. If this fills up, you’ll need to park on the commercial side where parking charges can, in some cases, be three times higher. The GA parking area can handle 10 to 15 aircraft, depending upon aircraft size, but your exact parking spot will not be known until about an hour prior to arrival. Parking is always available at this airport. If you’re parked on the commercial side, you’ll have the option of moving back to the GA side once a spot becomes available.

8. How does the CIQ process work at EIDW?

As there’s no GA terminal at this airport, CIQ is completed at the main terminal. Clearing onboard the aircraft is only possible for emergency medical and head of state flights or if a high-profile passenger – such as an international celebrity – may face a security risk if clearing within the terminal. Onboard CIQ clearance must be approved in advance. In-terminal CIQ clearance normally takes about five minutes, and there’s a separate immigration line for GA passengers. If visas are required (Schengen visas), they must be obtained prior to arrival. Crew/passengers must have at least one month remaining validity on passports.

9. What are other considerations at this airport?

For technical stops, plan on 30 to 90 minutes on the ground (wheels down to wheels up). It’s recommended to pre-notify 24 hours in advance for all tech stops. Be aware that only the on-airport caterer has a permit to deliver in-flight catering airside. If catering is sourced off-airport, it will need to be delivered to your ground handler, who will take it to the aircraft.


EIDW is a straightforward airport from the ground handling perspective. To avoid unnecessary delays in the fuel uplift process – and to maximize catering options – always work closely with your ground handler prior to day of operation.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Dublin, contact me at markshiels@universalaviation.aero.

Later we will discuss customs, immigrations, and quarantine for your trip to Dublin, Ireland.

Got a question for Mark about this article?