Picking an Airport in Paris: Overview of Customs, Documentation Requirements, and Services
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.
1. Procedures for clearing customs at LFPB, LFPO and LFPG
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. Clearance is an easier 5-10 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. In addition, it is quicker as a result of the time savings that crew, passengers and luggage have clearing customs.
2. Documentation required on arrival
When arriving from a non-Schengen country, have all standard documentation (airworthiness certificate, registration, insurance, noise certificate, copies of crew licenses and medicals, Safety Management System [SMS] Program, and general declarations) available in case of a ramp check. Ramp checks are occurring more frequently and are mostly focused on charter (non-scheduled commercial) operators flying international sectors.
3. Quarantine and agricultural requirements
Certain prohibited items (and foods) may not be offloaded from the aircraft while in France. Dogs and cats (except racing dogs) may be brought into France if they are at least three months old and fitted with permanent identification and have valid health/rabies certificates. Catering may be left onboard in Paris, and any refrigerated items may be stored at your FBO /ground handler.
4. Recommendations for local transportation
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. Certain limo companies have approval to pick up planeside at LFPB, but this service is not possible at LFPG or LFPO.
5. In-flight catering availability
In-flight caterers are available at all Paris airports and can provide menus upon request. Catering is normally delivered directly to the aircraft, and in-flight caterers have ramp access approval. If crew is bringing catering from restaurants, this must go through security screening (with associated “liquids” restrictions).
6. Short notice vs. advanced arrangements
While many services like in-flight catering, jet fuel and transportation can be arranged on short notice, it’s always best to inform your ground handler of your requirements in advance to avoid potential issues.
7. Airport security
All three Paris airports are secure facilities, with police patrols and surveillance on ramp areas.
While operations to all of the airports in Paris are straightforward from a flight-planning perspective, 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 needed for your trip.
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