Mediterranean trips with your bizjet

Pick your spots, plan early, observe rules, be security conscious.

Florence is a magnet for tourism, culture and fine cuisine pursuits so GA parking can be an issue during summer months. FLR (Florence, Italy) will often deny overnight parking requests during this season.

As requesting and receiving a TCO can take 45 days, this is something that needs to be planned for early. ISPs say that, although TCOs are not needed for Turkey, they are mandated for charter flights to France, Spain and Italy.

Airport slots are required at many Mediterranean locations, including Greek islands, IBZ and PMI (Palma De Mallorca, Spain) and NCE. Meanwhile, prior permission required (PPR) is needed for many popular smaller island destinations and these can take 48 to 72 hours to obtain.

Note that some locations mandate airport slots, PPR and charter permits. "Putting all these approvals together can keep you in suspense a bit," says Williams. "For very popular destinations such as Ibiza or Sicily, we recommend beginning the trip planning process 2 to 3 weeks in advance during summer months."

World Fuel Operations Specialist Noora Sjöholm-Maurent observes that the order in which you obtain local authorizations may vary depending upon destination. "Often PPRs and parking can be confirmed before you have a permit, but then the problem becomes if your permit does not materialize. Some destinations, on the other hand, want you to have an approved permit before processing other operating authorizations," she declares.

"We always recommend obtaining any required permits, PPR and airport slots as early as possible, although this does not necessarily guarantee success," says Sicaud. "Even if you apply for a PPR or a parking permit 6 months in advance, you may not receive your actual confirmation until 1 to 2 weeks prior to day of operation. Italy is famous for not issuing PPR and parking approvals until 24 to 48 hours out."

Parking, hotels and ground services

One of the busiest and most congested destinations in the Mediterranean is the island of Ibiza. IBZ (Ibiza, Spain) is often a drop and go proposition for GA during summer weekends. ISPs suggest using PMI (Palma de Mallorca, Spain) as a parking alternate.

GA parking options may be extremely limited at smaller island locations as well as popular mainland destinations. "At NAP, for example, you may be able to get overnight parking but this may require landing in the evening and departing at 7 or 8 am local the next morning so that the airport authority can keep the ramp clear," says Williams. "This sort of thing can play havoc with crew duty day limitations, particularly if arriving from North America on charter."

Outside of bigger cities, crew accommodations may be virtually impossible to obtain and you may need to reposition. If you're able to find crew accommodations on the popular islands during the summer, these will not usually be international chain hotels. Non-refundable room prices could be €400 to 600 per night ($435 to 650).

ISPs point out that catering at smaller island and coastal destinations may also involve limited options. Often you'll need to work with local hotels or restaurants to assemble anything close to VIP catering. Alternately, plan to uplift your catering elsewhere at a larger regional destination.

"Plan early, especially for smaller popular Mediterranean destinations," says Sjöholm-Maurent. "Confirm ground handing and credit options as well as GSE availability, local transport and catering options. We always recommend beginning the trip planning process as soon as you receive a schedule."

Heading to the Mediterranean

For ops to popular northern Mediterranean islands and coastal areas during June through September, ISPs advise to begin the planning process as early as possible.
"Summertime in this region is a lot like operating to the Superbowl; everyone wants to go at the same time," says Nath. "Generally you'll enjoy the best operating options by getting your request in earlier rather than later.

There are so many operating variables involved and it really comes down to the particular destination and your individual requests for these locations. Still, we're always ready and able to deal with last minute arrangements. Something can always be put together to get your passengers where they need to go in the Mediterranean on an acceptable schedule."

Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.


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