UK bizjet flying—tips and challenges
Immigration concerns, carbon offset issues and looming regulatory changes affect ease of ops.
Harrods Aviation LTN is popular among international operators bound for London. Full FBO services are also offered by Harrods Aviation STN.
EUETS is the largest multinational emissions trading scheme in the world and a major pillar of EU climate policy.
Beginning in Aug 2009 all operators who fly to the EU became a part of this process. Anyone who operates to and from the EU must submit a benchmark plan of historical emissions as well as a plan for future emissions.
All 27 EU states will be writing to operators, and if you fly to the UK you should receive your letter from UK authorities. After registering your emission plan you’ll be required to log and submit all fuel uplifts in order to determine your future carbon emission free allocation.
While baseline requirements should be the same, as they’re all EU law, it’s anticipated that different member states may monitor and interpret rules differently. You are not in the scheme if you simply overfly the EU but on a flight from VNY (Van Nuys CA) to LTN you’ll be in the scheme the entire flight and carbon credits will be based on the entire route say ISPs.
“It’s important to be aware of these regulatory changes,” says Raftery. “This is all happening so fast that ISPs and operators are not sure just how to calculate these emissions but ultimately you’ll have some sort of approved software to use.”
Yeomans adds that operators who had not acted by the Aug 31 deadline face possible financial and civil penalties. Look for carbon emissions caps and trading to inveigle their way into other parts of the world cautions Jeppesen Intl Client Relations Mgr Walter Taylor.
“ICAO is getting behind this,” he says, “so it’s probably just a matter to time before more regions begin monitoring carbon emissions.” Operating idiosyncrasies and tips GA procedures and document requirements for the UK remain fairly straightforward and user-friendly compared to the tightening bureaucratic environment in the US.
However, there are rumors says Raftery that security procedures for corporate ops may tighten on several fronts. He notes, “We may see more restricted areas, versus controlled areas, on the corporate side similar to the airline side.” Yeomans feels that airport screening may increase for corporate operators within the next 12 months.
“Big changes are likely in terms of transportation security legislation,” he says. “We’re hoping to find a way to satisfy government requirements while causing the least impact to our operators.
The last thing we want is for something like TSA’s Large Aircraft Security Program to hit us out of the blue.” When operating to the UK choose your destination airport carefully based on its hours of operation, noise restrictions, slot and quota controls, parking availability and advance notice requirements.
NetJets Europe Hawker 800XP, having arranged a not-always-easy-to-obtain slot at LHR, taxis to its designated parking spot.
Be mindful when operating to joint use civil/military airfields—such as NHT (RAF Northolt, London)—that you’re dealing with a different environment than the typical FBO situation.
“Have your ISP set up your trip to a civil/military field in the UK as it can be complicated,” says Raftery. “And be aware of the differences.
Arriving at an FBO with a passenger who is not expected is not an issue, but do this at a civil/military field and all hell breaks loose.” Slots are much easier to obtain these days, even at LHR (Heathrow, London).
Airports with quotas—particularly FAB—are also less problematic this year due to lower traffic levels, but may once again become an issue once traffic returns to normal. Be aware that certain airfields are particularly noise sensitive.
Level bust violations continue to be a problem, although less so these days, at LTN and this is probably due to the volume of transient aircraft. Many ISPs now provide level bust documentation along with flight briefs to better educate their clientele.
Noise regs vary from airport to airport. At LTN and STN, according to Raftery, you can take off or land a GIV at night but only take off, and not land, a GV—while a Stage II GII may not take off or land at night.
Jeppesen Intl Handler Relations Mgr Europe & Russia Annett Payne reports that noise violation fines are being levied actively at FAB. “Just recently 2 GIV operators were hit with large fines by the Farnborough council for not flying the correct departure route and causing too much noise,” she says.
A welcoming island As with any international trip, the best policy is to do your research up front and be mindful of all relevant regulations as well as operating restrictions at individual airfields.
Be aware also that we’re now on the cusp of operating and regulatory changes—particularly emissions monitoring requirement—that promise to complicate the process.
Flying to the UK is not a difficult proposition, compared with other regions of the world, and the natives are friendly and welcoming. Proper preplanning, however, will ensure an uncomplicated and rewarding flight experience with minimal operating delays.
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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