Carnival of Venice: Business Aviation Planning Guide
The Carnival of Venice is an annual celebration of music, culture, and costumes. In 2023, it takes place February 4th–21st on Venice island. If you’re attending via general aviation (GA), it’s best to make parking, aircraft support, and crew accommodations arrangements as soon as the schedule is known. This is a one-of-a-kind winter venue to enjoy parades, music in the streets, and masked regattas.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
Dates and venue
The Venice Carnival takes place on the island of Venice, with the opening show taking place February 4th till February 21st with a parade of boats through the Grand Canal till Rio di Cannaregio.
Main events during the festival include the best mask contest in San Marco square, the dinner, and ball at Ca Vendramin. In total, roughly 50 events will take place throughout the Carnival, not including other main islands and cities around Venice, which have their own parades and events like Burano Island and Mestre.
We anticipate strong international attendance throughout, but GA movements will likely be most robust during the beginning and closing events. Expect a higher than average volume of GA departures out of Venice (LIPZ) throughout the day on Tuesday, February 21st, called “Martedì Grasso.”
LIPZ is located just across the water from Venice island and is the primary airport for this event. This is a 24/7 airport of entry (AOE) with no published curfews. A general aviation terminal (GAT) is open daily 0600-2200 local with overtime available upon request. Full GA support services, fuel, and credit are available at this location. Note that LIPZ has become a much busier airport over the past couple of years. Peak times of scheduled commercial activity to avoid here are 1100-1400 local daily.
Our Venice Destination Guide has more information.
Slots and PPRs
LIPZ has no airport slot requirements, but prior permission required (PPR) is needed, with the minimum recommended lead time of 24-48 hours. As prior permissions required (PPRs) are always needed for Venice (LIPZ), it’s best to request this as soon as the schedule is known. PPR specifies your parking approval and duration. While parking approvals and length of stay can be revised upon arrival, it’s always best to limit changes during this busy time in Venice. PPR requests should specify operator name, aircraft registration, crew and passenger details, intended length of stay, and value-added tax (VAT) number if applicable.
We do not anticipate GA parking availability to be an issue during the Carnival of Venice 2023. In recent years, LIPZ was busier than normal during the event, but all aircraft were accommodated. Extended parking is possible at this location, based on PPR request and approval. For an extended stay, it’s important to specify this in your initial PPR request. The airport authority will provide approval or denial based on what’s available. LIPZ has five GA designated stands, with the possibility to use commercial flight designated stands if needed. The local airport authority is supportive of GA and GA parking needs.
Longer term parking
Longer parking stays can be requested with your PPR submission and are not usually an issue. However, such requests depend upon availability. We recently had a request turned down for a 10-day stay at LIPZ. Note that it’s often feasible to obtain five to seven days parking during the Carnival period at the airport’s discretion. For more information and assistance securing parking, Universal Aviation Italy – Venice can help.
Be mindful that parking for larger aircraft, including Gulfstream G650, ACJs and BBJs is limited at LIPZ. Currently, there are only two large aircraft GA parking stands available. There may be options to park on the commercial side of the field at the discretion of the airport authority. Treviso (LIPH) has some limited ability to accommodate large GA aircraft, but another option where there are no real issues is at Milan (LIML).
We recommend LIPH and Trieste (LIPQ) as parking alternates if you’re not able to organize parking at LIPZ. Both are 24-hour AOEs with parking, fuel, full GA support services, and adequate ground support equipment (GSE). Slots are not needed for these locations but PPRs are mandated, with a suggested lead time of 24-48 hours. LIPQ has no GAT, but LIPH has a dedicated GA entrance to the main terminal. Although these are smaller airfields, GA parking has never been much of an issue. Some operators may wish to consider LIML as a parking alternate. Drive times from LIPH, LIPQ and LIML to Venice are about 30 minutes, 60-90 minutes and 2.5 hours respectively.
Customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) is cleared at LIPZ within the general aviation terminal (GAT), during operating hours (0600-2200 local daily) or when GAT overtime has been confirmed. This process typically takes about 10 minutes. For clearance outside GAT hours, when overtime has not been arranged, you’ll clear CIQ within the main terminal. Ground handlers will escort you through the process. No prior notice is needed for clearance at LIPZ or Milan (LIML), but 24 hours’ notice is recommended for CIQ arrangements at both Treviso (LIPH) and Trieste (LIPQ).
Fuel deliveries are usually on time at LIPZ, although there can be delays during busy periods. Note that a private non-revenue flight may only uplift fuel within four hours of departure. However, charter (non-scheduled commercial) operations may uplift upon arrival or at any time up until departure.
Airport collaborative decision making (ACDM) procedures have been fully implemented at LIPZ, having been introduced back in Jan 2015. This process works smoothly and improves operational efficiency and traffic flows. The goal is to facilitate the aircraft turn around process.
While certain preferred hotels will sell out during the Carnival period, we can always source good quality crew accommodations on the island or the mainland. For 4-star crew, accommodations, expect to pay 300-450 USD/night on the island and about 200 USD/night on the mainland. It’s best to book accommodations at least three or four weeks in advance.
LIPZ is a straight-forward operating destination with efficient services, and we anticipate sufficient parking to accommodate all GA traffic to this year’s Carnival. Confirm your PPR as soon as possible, notify your handler of all service requirements and take the time to enjoy the city, lifestyle and architecture.
While we do not anticipate a shortage of good quality crew accommodation over the Carnival period, be aware that some popular hotels will sell out. Expect private water taxi services to be under high demand throughout the entire event. Ensure that all charter flights have appropriate landing permits when traveling to Italy. Last, it is recommended that you arrange overtime for use of the GAT for CIQ clearance when it’s outside of its normal operating hours.