Trip Planning Tips for the UEFA Champions League 2013 Final in London
This is a post by author Jason Hayward. Jason is general manager for Universal Aviation U.K. – London-Stansted. Jason is an expert on business aircraft operations in the U.K. and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The UEFA Champions League 2013 Final takes place 25 May 2013 at Wembley Stadium on the north side of London. It also marks the 150th anniversary of the English Football Association’s Foundation. For business aircraft operators traveling to the UK for this event, your best options for aircraft parking, hotel accommodations, and local transport will be available to those who plan early.
1. There are several airport options to consider
Luton (EGGW) is about 30 miles (48.3 km) from Wembley and the closest airport option for General Aviation (GA). The second closest airport is Stansted (EGSS), which is about 39 miles (62.7 km) from Wembley. Both are 24-hour airports of entry (AOEs). Another option to consider is Farnborough (EGLF), but it is not a 24-hour airfield.
2. Be aware of slot requirements and parking restrictions
Both EGGW and EGSS require airport slots. Slots and extended aircraft parking are obtainable on a first-come-first-serve basis via the Online Coordination System slot system. Be aware that the availability of night airport slots is limited at both airports. It’s recommended that airport slots be requested as soon as the schedule is known. Any airport slot confirmations during this event must be placed in the remarks section 18 of the flight plan per the NOTAM that was issued. There is also an additional AIP supplement that was issued for the UEFA Champions League Final. EGGW has limited ramp space for aircraft parking so operators should anticipate the possibility of traveling to EGSS for overflow. Unlike EGSS, EGGW does not have separate GA and commercial parking areas.
3. Consider documentation requirements
If crew or passenger visas are required, they must be obtained prior to arrival. It is recommended to check in advance with your ground handler for visa requirements as visas cannot be obtained on arrival. Without visas, non-operational crew members or passengers may be refused entry.
Both EGGW and EGSS also have noise restrictions in place that limit the operation of non-Stage 3 aircraft at night. Be sure to have your noise certificate available, particularly if you’re operating a Stage 2 aircraft hush-kitted to Stage 3 standards. It is best to confirm all documentation requirements with your 3rd-party provider or ground handler prior to the day of operation.
4. Be prepared for congestion around the event venue
Local traffic congestion during the UEFA Champions League event will be high. You should expect local congestion to increase considerably, particularly around the stadium, as the finalists are from clubs outside the UK. If you’re using private transportation (pre-paid car with driver or rental vehicle), plan on additional travel time due to road closures and general traffic congestion. Many popular local hotels may be sold out, but there should be adequate hotel availability in London to accommodate short-notice requests.
5. Landing permits may be required
Non-European Union (EU) charter operators require landing permits for operation to the UK.A minimum of 48 business hours is necessary to obtain this permit along with submission of all required documentation to the UK Department of Transport (DFT). The DFT prefers five working days advance notification to process charter landing permit requests. For more information regarding U.K. charter permits, please see our article titled "Flying Charter to the U.K.? Here’s What You Need to Know."
6. Additional advantages of EGSS
With a 10,000-foot runway, EGSS can accommodate business/VIP aircraft, configured up to and including a B747-400. The field is located very close to the freeway (within five minutes) and has good access to London. Also, Canary Wharf and the financial district are about a 45-minute drive time away while London’s West End (where popular hotels are located) is about a one-hour and 15-minute drive. For operators needing to remain overnight at EGSS, aviation fuel prices are reasonable and good hotels are available near the airport. For more on flying into EGSS, read "Flying to Stansted, London (EGSS): Tips for Business Aviation Operators."
If you plan to depart the London area in the evening, after the UEFA Champions League 2013 Final wraps up, your best option will be to park at either EGGW or EGSS. These are the only 24-hour airports available in the area. In terms of schedule planning, you should consider that other airfield options offer limited operating hours.
If you have any questions about this article or an upcoming trip to the UK, contact me at email@example.com.