Traveling to the G7 in Italy in May
This is a post by author Stefano Bruno. Stefano is the station manager for Universal Aviation Italy – Milan-Linate, which has Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) and ground support locations at Rome (LIRA), Venice (LIPZ), Milan-Linate (LIML), and Milan-Malpensa (LIMC). Stefano is an expert on business aircraft operations in Italy. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
The 43rd G7 summit will be held May 26-27 in Taormina Italy on the island of Sicily. Focusing on the global economy, foreign policy, security and environmental sustainability this summit will draw a considerable volume of head of state and general aviation (GA) traffic to Sicily.
The following is an overview of what you need to know:
1. Airport options
The closest and the primary airport for this event will be Catania (LICC). Sigonella (LICZ), a military airfield, will handle all diplomatic and head of state flights but no GA flights will be permitted at this field during the G7 period. Best alternates to consider for GA movements are Palermo (LICJ) and Comiso (LICB) but
This last location (Comiso) offers limited support services and transport options to Taormina can be somewhat lengthily. Additional alternates, for parking purposes include Lamezia Terme (LICA) and Reggio Calabria (LICR).
2. Airport hours
LICC is an airport of entry (AOE) with no stated airport closures at this time. All of the other above alternates are also 24-hour AOEs. However, be mindful that LICR requires prior familiarization training for landing and many crews avoid the airfield for this reason.
3. Alternate considerations
Other that the requirement at LICR for special prior to day of operation training, be aware that airports located on the mainland require ferry travel to get to the island of Sicily. Plan on three hours for ground travel between LICJ and Taormina. Transit from LICR to Taormina is about one-and-a-half hours via car and ferry.
4. Restrictions at alternates
We do not anticipate additional restrictions being put into effect at alternate airports during the G7 summit, as traffic will be concentrated at LICC for only two days.
5. Parking considerations
LICC is anticipated to have parking issues during the G7 period due to limited availability and increased demand. This location normally has just 4 – 5 parking spots available for general aviation, with some additional spots shared between commercial and private aircraft. Additionally, it’s likely that additional parking restrictions may be put in place by airport authorities for the duration of the G7. Note that if you’re not able to obtain overnight parking at LICC, drop and goes are normally permitted.
6. Airport slots and PPRs
Airport slots are needed for all operations into/out of LICC and your ground handler can assist in obtaining these. There are currently is no official lead time requirements concerning airport slots. However, due to the G7 event NOTAMs may be published stipulating prior notice mandates for slots. Be aware that LICC normally requires prior permission required (PPR). If you plan to operate to LICC we advise applying for PPR as soon as schedule is known.
7. Charter considerations
Charter operators must have Third Country Operator (TCO) certification approved and in place prior to applying for an Italian landing permit. In the case of charter operators with 19 of more passenger seats, an Italian operating questionnaire (known as an FOQ), must also be submitted and additional planning lead time needs to be considered for this.
8. CIQ considerations
Immigration and customs checks will apply to all non-domestic arrivals and departures to/from Italy during the period of May 10-30. Note that this is applicable to all flights from outside the country, even if you’re arriving from within the Schengen region. Note that all arrivals, scheduled commercial, charter and private, will undergo CIQ screening upon arrival.
9. Hotels and local transport
Sourcing crew accommodations will be an issue in the Taormina area during the G7 period. Preferred accommodations close to the meeting venue are likely sold out. While some hotels are available close to LICC, about a 40-50 minute drive from Taormina, these are also expected to sell out quickly. Note that hotel pricing will be higher during this period with cancellation policies stricter than normal.
Operators planning to travel to the upcoming G7 event in Italy are advised to organize aircraft parking and crew accommodations as early as possible. For short notice, or last minute, operations to this event you’ll likely be faced with a drop and go at LICC with a reposition for aircraft parking and crew accommodation.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Italy, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.