One of the main benefits of flying with a private jet is flying with short notice and at your preferred times, however that’s not the case with some airports as they do operate a slot system for private jet take- offs and landings.
So what are slots? Slots are the specific time that is given to an aircraft to land or depart from the airport. There is a big risk of being unable to use the runway again for some time again if you don’t leave the arranged time.
The slot system is required in order to control the number of aircrafts around the runway at an airport or in the air. Slots are required at specifics airports with high demand of your use of the runway. At some airports that’s all year and at some that’s on specifics dates- such as major events or high summer season.
A slot controlled airport is usually an airport that is shared by airlines and private jets but airlines are given slot priority. This results in having to book further in advance than usual or the need to use a different airport if you are a private jet user.
Mykonos – Island Summer Hotspot
Choosing a summer destination and an island can add up a slot problem for private jet users. What better example for this than Mykonos?
The limit here however is that you cannot use a nearby airport and on a small island there is obviously a limit on slots. Summer 2016 was a very busy period for these destinations and clients had to book 2 weeks in advance in order to secure a slot.The maximum time they were able to stay was only for up to 30 minutes, before re positioning out to another airport with more parking – with an increase on costs.
Based on the above our advice for clients who want to travel to those destinations during summer season is to book as early as possible and try to stay on schedule. While at a lot of private jet airports you can change your itinerary at the last minute that’s not the case with those destinations as you may struggle on finding an alternative slot if you don’t arrive on time.
Event Based – Grand Prix & Super Bowl
As mentioned before not all airports have a slot policy. However, during special events this may change and an event can attract large volumes of flights during a short period of time.
The biggest events that impact slots for jet traffic are the Cannes Film Festival, the Super Bowl and Monaco Grand Prix (In Europe). 2016 Super Bowl had an additional 2,500 non-commercial aircrafts movements at airports close to the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Carla.
The same scenario goes for the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix, in which both events take place on the Cote d’Azur at the end of May and usually generate up to 1,500 jet movements, which is double than the usual flight volume.
Restrictions however are not only at slots when big events like these take place. There can be curfews, no- fly zones around the venue, varied opening hours than usual and aircraft parking restrictions. These restrictions can be implanted in the area three to five days before the event.
So a tip of advice from us would be to book your private jet or helicopter charter as soon as you know the exact days for your visit and try not to change your plans last minute or you may risk of losing your slot!
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