Operating a Business Jet to the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
The 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) takes place June 6-8, 2019 in St. Petersburg, Russia. This dialog with the international community has been held annually since 1997 and draws more than 10,000 individuals from 120+ countries. The forum has become a leading global platform for members of the business community to meet and discuss the key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole.
The forum is a high-traffic event for business aviation, so it’s recommended that operators make arrangements for services such as aircraft parking and hotels well in advance. As permits and airport slots are needed for all general aviation (GA) operations to St. Petersburg (ULLI), it’s best to begin setting this up as soon as schedule is known. Operators should consider additional lead time for permits, airport slots and prior permission required (PPR) needs due to the increased requests authorities will receive. Also, it’s important to consider cabotage restrictions when traveling to Russia, as authorities are stringent on such regulations.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Primary airport
The primary airport for this event is St. Petersburg (ULLI). This is a 24-hour airport of entry (AOE) that offers two fixed-base operators (FBOs) and provides full services for GA aircraft. The airport itself is situated south of the city center, approximately 14 km to the south.
2. Airport slot requirements
For ULLI no PPR is needed, but airport slots are required. Slots and parking are confirmed a few days prior to arrival and can differ from what had been requested. It’s important to consider that if parking isn’t approved the airport slots will reflect that on the confirmation. Specifically, airport slots for stays longer than two hours will not be granted if parking is not available. Note that the airport slot deviation at ULLI is +/- 30 minutes. Though airport slot confirmation numbers don’t need to be inserted to your flight plan, consider that authorities are stringent in ensuring operators maintain approved slots. Operators that don’t adhere to approved slots may be penalized, but this all depends on the persons onboard the aircraft.
Operators that will be repositioning to other airports should consider airport slot and PPR requirements. Also, due to the increased traffic that operators will experience at ULLI, revisions to downline airport slots may be needed on the day of operations.
3. Peak hours of operation
Scheduled commercial aircraft always take priority over GA in Russia, for both airport slots and aircraft parking. Peak hours for arrivals/departures and ramp activity at ULLI depend upon the season and whether or not large local events are taking place.
4. Alternate airports
There are a few airports to consider for alternate aircraft parking in the event you are unable to stay at ULLI. Below you will find a list of recommended airports in Russia:
Note that for the above recommended airports you will need to consider prior permission required (PPR) and airport slots.
Alternate airports outside of Russia:
All of the airports above are 24-hour AOEs with full GA support infrastructure and services available.
5. Aircraft parking at ULLI
Parking at ULLI is separated by the aircraft maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). There are approximately 50 parking spots available for SPIEF. A NOTAM (see section below) has been issued advising which aircraft are permitted to park at ULLI during this event.
Note that hangar space is possible at ULLI, where it can accommodate up to 25 mid-size aircraft. However, the operator will need to consider the additional costs as it can be expensive. Based on the NOTAM (see section below), priority of approval for parking is clearly stipulated. For this reason, it’s recommended to provide not only the complete passenger list, but provide the SPIEF invitation letter to confirm the status of the main passenger when applying for parking and slots.
6. Temporary parking restrictions
A NOTAM indicating temporary operating restrictions for ULLI was published on March 7:
A0714/19 – FROM 19-06-03 21:00 UNTIL 19-06-09 20:59 A0714/19
SANKT-PETERBURG/PULKOVO AD AVBL FOR SKED FLT ARR/DEP ONLY, AS WELL AS CHARTER FLT ON REGULAR BASIS, ACFT CARRYING OUT FLT IN THE INTEREST OF XXIII ST.PETERSBURG INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM, MINISTRY OF DEFENCE ACFT ALLOTTED TO SECURE STATE IMPORTANT OBJECTS AND FOR SAR OPS, ACFT SPECIALLY ALLOTTED TO RENDER ASSISTANCE IN EMERGENCIES OF NATURAL AND MAN-CAUSED OCCURENCE. PERMISSION FOR OTHER ACFT FLT GIVEN ON COOR IN EVERY INDIVIDUAL CASE WITH FEDERAL
PROTECTION SERVICE, FEDERAL AIR TRANSPORT AGENCY, AND AUTHORISED REPRESENTATIVE OF INTERDEPARTMENTAL HEADQUARTERS OF PULKOVO AD.
ACFT CREWS SHALL ESTIMATE FUELLING DUE TO OFFICIAL ENTERTAINMENT AT AD WHICH MAY RESULT IN INCREASED HOLDING PROC FOR ARR ACFT AND THEIR FURTHER DIVERTS TO ALTN AD AS WELL AS DEP DELAYS. HOLDING AREAS PUBLISHED IN AIP RUSSIA WILL BE USED TO MANAGE AIR TRAFFIC FLOW.
7. Fuel uplifts
Based on the NOTAM above, authorities are advising to take into consideration delays for holding patterns inbound. Additional time is recommended to make fuel uplifts due to the traffic the airport will experience. Fuel uplifts are generally reliable and on time at ULLI. Fuel uplifts can be made on arrival or departure, but arrangements should be made in advance. Also, advance notice should be given for any fuel additive needs.
8. In-flight catering considerations
In-flight catering requests should be made no less than 48-24 hours prior to departure. Due to the heavy traffic the airport will experience, any requests made with less than 24 hours’ notice can’t be guaranteed. Also, the ground handler is unable to guarantee catering requests made by operators to third party caterers directly.
Operators looking to bring in catering to ULLI may be able to retain some of it at the airport. Catering retained at the airport can include meat and dairy products, but the total amount permitted can’t usually exceed 5 kgs. For such requests, it’s recommended that advance arrangements be made with your ground handler.
8. Hotels and local transport
The SPIEF event will bring high traffic to ULLI. Large international hotel chains in the city center will fill up quickly. Do your research in advance—hotels may have no-cancellation policies in place. If that’s the case for your preferred hotel options, it’s recommended that arrangements for hotels aren’t made until the airport slots and parking are confirmed—as costs will be high.
Operators should expect this June 6-8 SPIEF period to be particularly busy and restrictive at ULLI. Consider additional lead time for landing permit and airport slots for ULLI. If you are repositioning to another airport for parking, consider the slots and/or PPRs needed there. Be aware of both visa and cabotage regulations for Russia. Expect delays on the ground and make arrangements in advance for all services your flight will require.