Operating to Italy during Summer Months – Part 2: Operating Tips
This is a post by author Lorena Carraro. Lorena is Managing Director for Universal Aviation Italy, which has FBO and ground support locations at Rome (LIRA), Venice (LIPZ), Milan-Linate (LIML) and Milan-Malpensa (LIMC). Lorena is acting Member of the Board of the Italian Business Aviation Association and an expert on business aircraft operations in Italy. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This business aviation blog post is part two in a two-part series and continues from our previous post entitled “Operating to Italy during Summer Months – Part 1: Regional Considerations.”
While short-notice ground handling, fuel and service requests can usually be accommodated for business aircraft visiting Italy during the summer months, it’s preferable to provide at least 24 hours’ notice – especially when operating on weekends. Ground handling personnel are busy during high season, so it’s recommended that lead time is given to arrange special requests.
Here is some information to help you with your planning:
1. Provide as much notice as possible for aircraft parking requests
Plan on at least 24 to 48 hours of lead time for notification when requesting aircraft parking or a Prior Permission Required (PPR) at busy summer destinations in Italy. Particularly in the south and for Pisa (LIRP), Firenze (Florence) (LIRQ) and Venezia (Venice) (LIPZ), best practice is to submit aircraft parking requests as soon as the schedule is known. Some operators reserve parking months in advance to maximize options at popular Italian summer destinations.
2. Be mindful of ground handling procedures
Ground handling services in Italy should be requested with adequate notice. Be aware that ground handling requests will be dependent on obtaining PPR at certain airfields. While Jet A-1 is available at main airports in Italy, Avgas is not on hand at all locations, so check availability with your ground handler. Aviation fuel cards are accepted at most airports, along with major consumer credit cards. Your ground handler will begin to set up services as soon as a handling request comes in and will arrange crew/passenger services, such as transportation, as required.
3. Private aircraft security may be possible
Security at Italian airports is good – with 24-hour patrols, adequate fencing, surveillance cameras and military patrols in the case of joint-use military/civilian airfields. Only certain Italian airports permit private security services airside, so it’s important to confirm this in advance with your ground handler or 3rd-party provider.
4. Understand Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) procedures
Your ground handler will pre-file required documentation with customs/immigration, in advance of your arrival, to expedite the CIQ process. At Italian GATs, CIQ and security screening is normally a quick procedure. For airports without GATs, you’ll usually clear CIQ in the main terminal, but fast-track options can be arranged by your ground handler to make this process as quick as possible.
5. Know hotel and local transport options at your destination
At popular Italian destinations during summer months, the availability of preferred hotel accommodations can be limited and expensive with extended cancellation policies. This is especially true at destinations such as Sicily Catania (LICC), Palermo (LICJ) and the Campania and Puglia area. You’ll also experience issues with hotel shortages at many major Italian cities during large local events and exhibitions. If you’re trying to arrange special local transport options, such as an SUV with driver or specialty rental vehicles, it’s best to submit requests a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival.
6. Be aware of general operating tips for Italy
Landing permits are required for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations performed by non-EU operators to Italy. Be aware that Ente Nazionale per L’Aviazione Civile (Italian Civil Aviation Authority or ENAC) is closed during weekends and does not process permits.
The lead time for charter permits for non-European Union aircraft operating to Italy has recently changed. As of January 1, 2013, aircraft with a passenger seat capacity of less than 20 can now obtain a permit that is valid for 12 months or a single permit valid for a one-time operation. The lead time for this permit is 10 working days, if all the correct documentation is submitted. The Foreign Operators Questionnaire is no longer required, if the passenger seat capacity is less than 20.
It’s always best to pre-book fuel uplifts. At some busy commercial locations, it’s recommended to fuel on arrival in order to avoid departure delays. In-flight catering should be requested at least 24-48 hours in advance, especially if planning a weekend departure. Requests for specialty international cuisine may cause delays, as caterers have limited time and personnel on hand during busy summer periods.
Always submit aircraft parking requests as far in advance as possible, especially for locations in central and southern Italy during summer months. It’s often advantageous to book hotel accommodations weeks or months in advance. If possible, provide at least five days’ notice for any special vehicle ground transport requests.
If you have any questions about this article, contact me at email@example.com.