Paris, France: 2021 Business Aviation Destination Guide
Update: France has reopened its borders to vaccinated travelers starting June 9, 2021. Our article has all the details.
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world and is a very popular business aviation destination. Business jet operators have plenty of choices for service providers at the city’s airports.
Paris Le Bourget (LFPB) is one of the most business aviation-friendly airports in Europe in terms of operating flexibility, available services, and maintenance support. There are, however, other airport options to consider when operating to Paris. A 3rd-party provider can help determine the best options for your particular mission.
Here’s what you need to know:
Paris has three airports, but two of them – Charles de Gaulle (LFPG) and Orly (LFPO) – are mostly dedicated to scheduled commercial operations. LFPG allows General Aviation (GA) operations for passengers with airline connections only, and aircraft may only stay on the ground for a few hours. LFPO is reserved almost exclusively for commercial traffic, except for diplomatic flight movements and passengers with airline connections, at which point the aircraft transporting them may only stay on the ground for a few hours.
LFPB accepts private non-revenue flights and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. LFPB is a user-friendly facility with plenty of aircraft parking and full support services available. LFPB and LFPG are located northeast of Paris, while LFPO is to the southeast. Driving time to central Paris from either airport can range from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
Le Bourget Airport Curfews
LFPB is open 24 hours for arrivals, but jet engine departures from apron are prohibited between 2215 and 0600 local. Permission for late departures is possible with prior approval for medical evacuation flights only. LFPG allows departures 0500-2359 local and arrivals 0530-2359 local. All departures 0001-0459 local and arrivals 0030-0529 local are specified to scheduled commercial operators (GA nighttime operations are not possible after midnight). LFPO is open 0600-2330 local, but only GA flights with commercial airline connections are permitted to land at LFPO, and Prior Permission Required (PPR) is needed. All aircraft will require PPR at both airport.
Le Bourget Slots & PPRs
No PPRs or airport slots are required for LFPB. LFPG requires airport slots (deviation -5 minutes / +10 minutes) and a PPR (at least 24 hours’ notice is required to obtain this). The airport slot confirmation number must be included in field 18 of the flight plan. You must notify the ground handler, or the airline if you’re dropping off or picking up passengers with confirmed seats on commercial flights. LFPO requires airport slots (deviation -/+ 15 minutes) and a PPR (24 hours’ notice is required to obtain this). Restrictions at LFPO are similar to LFPG.
Le Bourget Parking
LFPB has plenty of parking, with the only exception being during the Paris Air Show (held biennially in odd-numbered years). Extended stays are not a problem at LFPB on ramp areas controlled by ground handlers. Notification is required for wide-body aircraft, and you’ll be parked in a
different area. Aircraft hangar space is available at LFPB but limited during winter months. On-field aircraft maintenance support includes Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Raytheon, Embraer, and Gulfstream service. LFPG allows GA parking for only a few hours. Overnight stays may also be possible with prior arrangement. LFPO also restricts GA ops to a few hours on the ground, with no arrivals before 0930 and no departures 1900-2100 local. No hangar space or maintenance options are available for GA at either LFPG or LFPO. If you have maintenance issues at either LFPG or LFPO, it may take 72 hours to obtain ramp access for a mechanic. If the aircraft can operate, it’s best to reposition to LFPB.
Paris FBOs & Ground Handling
Universal Aviation France has been established at LFPB for more than 30 years. Facilities include lounge, crew lounge, and heated 3,000 sqm hangar that can accommodate aircraft up to BBJ size.
Ramp located in front of FBO.
There is no airport slot at LFPB. Flight plan needs to include in section 18 your FBO. Gendec required for all flights including place of birth. CIQ is done at the FBO and sometimes at the bottom of the aircraft allowing for a quick arrival.
All 3rd-party services, including in-flight catering, transportation, and aircraft services, can be set up on credit by your ground handler. In-flight catering menus are provided to the operator as needed.
Le Bourget Aircraft Equipment
Most Paris FBOs and ground handlers have all required equipment. Universal Aviation Paris has equipment capable of supporting wide-body aircraft.
LFPB has an APU limitation that is strictly enforced. The use of APU is restricted, except for duly justified safety reasons. The use of fixed alternative means (400 Hz or 50 Hz power supply and PCA) or when unavailable, alternative mobile means (GPU and ACU) provided to the operator is mandatory, except in case of system failure or technical incompatibility.
For departing flights:
- On parking stands not equipped with such alternative means, the use of APU is limited to 60 minutes for aircraft with a MTOW <140t, and 80 minutes for aircraft with a MTOW > 140t.
For arriving flights:
- On parking stands not equipped with such alternative means, the use of APU is limited to 30 minutes or the required time to disembark all passengers, offload the cargo haul and perform all operations related to the arrival
French CAA performs random ramp checks.
High-quality hotels – including large international chains – are plentiful in Paris and around.
Universal Aviation Paris has negotiated special rates with most hotels. These may not apply during high season or special events
Paris Ground transport
Pre-paid transportation with a driver is recommended, but rental cars are available at all three airports if requested. Due to heavy traffic in the Paris area, many people are not comfortable with rental car options.
You can get a free quote for ground transportation through Universal-Drivania Chauffeurs.
Le Bourget Aviation Fuel
There are a few different fuel suppliers on the field at LFPB, and there are no restrictions on which fuel supplier you may use. It’s best, however, to specify in advance which fuel supplier you’d like to deal with. Major aviation fuel cards are typically accepted. Still, it’s always a good policy to carry a fuel release.
No Avgas is available at LFPB.
Paris In-flight catering
In-flight caterers are available at all Paris airports and can provide menus upon request. Catering is usually delivered directly to the aircraft, and in-flight caterers have ramp access approval. If the crew is bringing catering from restaurants, this must go through security screening.
In 2016, Air Culinaire Worldwide opened a new Paris kitchen on-site at Paris-Le Bourget Airport. You can check the free ACW Menu app for Air Culinaire Worldwide to see catering options and menus available.
Our blog has more information on best practices for in-flight catering in France.
Paris Airport Security
All three Paris airports are secure facilities, with police patrols and surveillance on ramp areas.
Paris Customs and Immigration
Passengers and crew clear customs in the main terminal (with commercial passengers) at both LFPG and LFPO. You’ll have to arrange van transport to the terminal, and clearing customs could take 30-60 minutes. A VIP terminal is available for diplomatic flights at LFPO & LFPG. Clearance is an easier five to 10-minute procedure – within the Fixed Based Operator (FBO) 24 hours a day – at LFPB. There are no charges or fees associated with customs clearances at any Paris airport. Planeside (or on-aircraft) clearance is available, without prior notification, only at LFPB. If you have passengers connecting to a commercial flight – particularly at LFPG – it’s advisable to land at LFPB and arrange ground transport (10-15 minutes) to LFPG. This results in cost savings due to lower landing and handling fees at LFPB. Also, it is quicker as a result of the time savings that crew, passengers, and luggage have clearing customs.
Landing Permits France
Landing permits are only required for charter and experimental aircraft operations. All charter operators must have a landing permit to operate to France, or aircraft may be grounded and impounded. The official permit lead time is five business days, and France does not process routine landing permit requests on weekends or holidays. The process goes faster if you’ve operated a charter to France before and if your completed “technical questionnaire” is on file. Our blog article has more information on Landing Permits in France.
Summer is peak season for much of France, including the popular Mediterranean Coastal cities and Paris. Our blog article has more on operating to Southern France during peak season. Additional high-traffic periods coincide with major events such as Fashion Weeks and sporting events such as the French Open, Grand Prix events and film festivals.
Be aware of French air controllers going on strike. Additionally, regulations due to air congestion may apply if flying to the northeast.
While it’s rare for business aviation operators to utilize LFPG – and even less common to operate into LFPO – there may be times you’ll want to consider these options (particularly if operating a diplomatic flight). A 3rd-party provider can help review in advance the limitations of these scheduled commercial-focused Paris airport options.
The customs process into Paris is straightforward for private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) aircraft operators. Documentation requirements are not onerous, and business aircraft operators can look forward to a full range of support facilities and services at Le Bourget (LFPB) once the customs process is completed. The other airports in Paris – Orly (LFPO) and Charles de Gaulle (LFPG) – don’t cater to business aviation flights.
Operations to all of the airports in Paris are straightforward from a flight-planning perspective, but one must consider the documentation needed, airport procedures, and services available at each location. For this reason, a 3rd-party provider may assist you in reviewing requirements and arranging services required for your trip.