Top Considerations When Operating to Athens (LGAV)
This is a post by author Georgia Pappas. Georgia is the Customer Relations officer for Universal Aviation Greece, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Athens. Georgia is an expert on business aircraft operations in Greece and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Generally speaking, business aircraft operations to Athens (LGAV) are fairly straightforward. Operations can be done on short notice without need for extended lead times or advance arrangement. There’s plenty of aircraft parking capacity for destination visits. LGAV is also very efficient for tech stop purposes. Still, there are some things you should be aware of before planning a business aviation trip to Athens. Here are some things to keep in mind that we hope will make your planning to LGAV easier:
1. There’s no FBO at LGAV
By government regulation, stand-alone fixed-based operators (FBOs) are not permitted at LGAV. There is, however, a general aviation terminal (GAT) complete with crew and passenger lounges and Internet services.
2. Be aware of airport restrictions
LGAV can accommodate very large aircraft – up to the Airbus A380. Prior permission required (PPR) is only needed for aircraft under 5.7 tons (12,500 pounds), and this can be arranged by your ground handler. PPR requirement for lighter aircraft is due to parking stand limitations. While the PPR does not impact tech stops, it can be an issue when overnight parking is needed and proper prior notice isn’t given.
3. Know what’s needed to arrange ground handling
To arrange ground handling at LGAV, you’ll need to provide operator name, aircraft tail number, MTOW, full schedule, crew/passenger information, and any service requests. It’s best to pre-advise 24 hours in advance for in-flight catering requirements. Arrival/departure cards are not needed in Greece, but copies of the general declaration must be provided on landing.
4.Stage 2 restrictions
Stage 2 aircraft may operate to LGAV without any restrictions provided that the aircraft maximum takeoff weight is less than 34 tons.
06/10/2015: Updated by author
5. You’ll clear CIQ at the GAT
CIQ clearance is available 24/7 at the GAT. Your ground handler will need to pre-advise customs of your estimated time of arrival (ETA), but this can be done on very short notice. Operators may request onboard customs clearance, but this is at the discretion of local customs authorities to approve or disapprove. For diplomatic flights, special rules are applied, and these operations use a different gate and lounge than general aviation (GA) operators.
6. Ground transport may be permitted airside
It may be possible to arrange planeside drop off and pick up of passengers at LGAV. This depends, however, on your arrival/departure time and your reasons for requesting this service. Approval is at discretion of the customs duty officer.
7. All personnel must be escorted while airside
Your ground handler can arrange visitor passes for aviation maintenance technicians to gain access to your aircraft. All off-airport individuals must be under escort while airside if the purpose isn’t preparation of the day’s flight. Crew needing to go to the aircraft do not require visitor passes, just crew IDs, but must be under escort at all times.
8. Tech stops do not require CIQ clearance
As long as crew or passengers are not embarking or disembarking at LGAV, tech stops may be accomplished without customs clearance. Tech stops generally require 30 – 40 minutes on the ground, assuming the fuel truck is standing by on arrival. It’s best to give your ground handler 24 hours’ advance notification for fuel uplift arrangements. Short-notice requests may cause delays in the refuel process.
9. Private non-revenue and charter aircraft are handled in a similar manner
Ground handling procedures are similar for both private non-revenue and charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations. CAA in Greece views charter flights as private flights, and no landing permits are required. There are, however, differences in how taxes are applied. Value added tax (VAT) is charged on aviation fuel and ground handling services for private non-revenue operators, regardless of whether the next leg is domestic or international. Charter operators can avoid this 23% VAT charge by showing a valid air operator certificate (AOC) with aircraft registration and operator name on it. If the AOC does not include both the registration and operator name, you’ll need to provide additional documentation to link the aircraft to the operator.
10. Know CIQ clearance process
After the aircraft lands, the passengers and luggage will be transported to the GAT, where clearance typically takes 5 – 10 minutes. The ground handler will then escort crew through the same CIQ process. Certain nationals require Schengen visas to enter Greece, and these visas must be obtained prior to arrival. Crew are exempted from visa requirements if they have an IATA-issued crew ID. If crew members do not have these, visas will be needed if they’re citizens of a country requiring visas to enter Greece. If an individual arrives without a required visa (when applicable), they will not be permitted into the country.
11. Be aware of CIQ procedures for weapons, animals, and offloaded catering
There are no restrictions on bringing pets into Greece aboard private non-revenue or charter aircraft. Arrangements must be made in advance if you intend to bring hunting equipment or other weapons into the country. Permission to import weapons depends on the nature of your flight and the types of weapons. In certain cases, additional lead time will be needed to make these arrangements with customs. There are no restrictions in bringing onboard in-flight catering into the country.
12. Crew may bring in-flight catering airside
In Greece, there are restrictions on sourcing catering from local hotels and restaurants and bringing this directly through security to the aircraft. It may be possible to bring catering from other sources on a case-by-case basis. LGAV also has an in-flight caterer that specifically handles business aviation. It’s best to work with your ground handler for any catering needs.
When operating to LGAV, it’s always best practice to pre-arrange fuel uplifts to avoid fuel delivery delays. Charter operators should always confirm that their AOC clearly outlines the operator name with aircraft registration so that VAT can be avoided.
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