Tips on Flying Your Business Aircraft to the German Grand Prix
The German Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place this year July 20 – 22 at the Hockenheim race track, located between Frankfurt and Stuttgart. The new Hockenheim ring is one of the fastest circuits in Formula 1 and features one of the best facilities in the Formula 1 series of races. While Hockenheim does not have an airport, there are several good nearby options for corporate aircraft operations. Plan travel logistics early to take advantage of the best aircraft parking opportunities and accommodation availability.
1. There are several nearby airport options
From Frankfurt (EDDF), it is about an hour’s drive to Hockenheim race track, while Stuttgart (EDDS) is 20 minutes from the track and Karlsruhe (EDSB) is about 40 minutes away. EDDF is a busy international airport with high traffic and extended peak-hour operations of scheduled commercial carriers. Be aware that jet fuel prices in Germany are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) and Mineral Oil Tax (MOT), which can increase costs. For this reason, some operators may choose to tanker fuel when operating to Germany.
2. Frankfurt considerations
EDDF is an Airport of Entry (AOE) with 0600-2159 local operating hours for Stage 3 aircraft and 0500-2259 local hours for Stage 4 aircraft. Stage 2 operations are banned, and no General Aviation (GA) operations are permitted between 2300-0500 local. Airport slots are required for arrivals and departures, and must be requested in General Aviation Clearance Request (GCR) format via the local airport slot coordinator. GA airport slots may be requested up to six weeks in advance and have an airport slot deviation of – 5/+10 minutes. All approved airport slots are given a 10-digit confirmation for arrivals and departures, and this confirmation needs to be placed in remarks section 18 of the flight plan. Be aware that the airport slot coordinator office is open Monday-Friday 0800-1700 local and closed Saturday and Sunday. If requesting an airport slot outside of their operating hours for same day of operation or changes to same-day airport slots, you’ll need to contact the Aeronautical Information Services (AIS) unit, which operates 24 hours. Full services are available at EDDF, with credit and aviation fuel cards accepted.
3. Stuttgart is a close-in option for the German Grand Prix
Stuttgart (EDDS) is an AOE with operating hours 0600-2300 local for Stage 3 and above aircraft. Stage 2 aircraft are banned. Airport slots are required and must be requested with GCR format via the airport slot coordinator. Airport slot deviation is -/+ 15 minutes. GA airport slots may be requested up to six weeks in advance, with the exception of aircraft having a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 30,800 pounds or more. For aircraft over the 30,800-pound MTOW threshold, airport slots cannot be requested more than three days in advance. You’ll receive a 10-digit airport slot confirmation for arrivals and departures, and this number must be placed in remarks section 18 of the flight plan for arrival and departure. The airport slot coordinator is available Monday – Friday 0800-1700 local, but not available on weekends. For airport slot requests outside of their operating hours for same day operation or changes to same day airport slots, operators may contact the AIS unit 24/7. Full services and credit are available at EDDS, and aviation fuel cards are accepted.
4. Karlsruhe does not require airport slots
Karlsruhe (EDSB) is another option to consider for the German Grand Prix, but is an AOE only on request. Operating hours are Monday-Saturday 0600-2200 local and Sunday 0900-2000 local, with overtime available on request. Stage 2 aircraft are banned unless special approval is obtained via PPR. In practice, Stage 2 operating approvals are usually restricted to government flights. A PPR is required for operations Monday-Friday 2000-2200 UTC and Saturday-Sunday 0400-0700 UTC and 2000 – 2200 UTC, and at least 24 hours’ notice is required for PPRs. PPR is also required to arrange customs and immigration clearance, as EDSB is an AOE upon request only. All services and credit are available at this location, and aviation fuel cards are accepted.
5. Landing permits are required for charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations
All charter flights require landing permits, with official lead time of five working days and minimum lead time of three working days. The only exceptions are European Union (EU) charter flights operating within Europe. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Germany landing permit documentation requirements include Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), registration and airworthiness certificates, completed Operating Permit Questionnaire, and appropriate worldwide insurance coverage. All operators should carry a copy of the landing permit onboard the aircraft. Landing permits are valid for the entire Zulu day. Any permit changes require 48 hours’ advance notification.
6. Book hotel accommodation and local transportation early
Many good hotels, including large chain hotel properties, are available in the vicinity of all three airports. It’s recommended that you book hotel accommodations for the German Grand Prix period early, with 4- and 5-star hotels being the preferred option. As you’ll be commuting to the race track location, local transport options, including prepaid transportation with driver, and rental vehicles must be considered. If you’re not familiar with the local area, it’s best to avoid rental vehicles due to traffic issues and possible area road closures.
7. Check out German Grand Prix details in advance
Information regarding the race track circuit, dates, schedule of events, and ticket purchases can be found on the Formula 1 website.
Make arrangements as early as possible for the German Formula 1 Grand Prix. As there’s no airport in the immediate Hockenheim area, it’s important to orchestrate local transportation and hotel logistics with your 3rd-party provider and ground handler well in advance. Crew not planning on attending the Formula 1 races will find plenty to do in the immediate area. Among tourist attractions are assorted castles, picturesque historic villages, and local markets.