HOW DOES BAD WEATHER AFFECT YOUR FLIGHT?

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Aircraft on the ramp at Manchester Airport during the bad weather.

 

With the arrival of winter not only comes the thought of getting away to sunnier climates to hit the beach or to the slopes of Europe’s finest ski resorts, but how to avoid any winter delays flying by private jet. A private jet charter can normally get you from A to B in a lot quicker than a commercial flight but if the weather is bad then there is only one winner. Your safety is our number one priority. As you plan your winter holidays, it’s good to give yourself and us as much notice as possible.

PEAK DAYS

During the winter period there will be peak travel days, such as Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve that historically have the highest volume of flights on that day. We advise you to book your flight as early as possible in order to avoid any delays or setbacks.

Make sure that you have all departure times, passengers and other flight details confirmed well in advance. It’s vitally important that you book your flight within a minimum of 96 hours in advance. In addition, changes or cancellations must be be completed with more notice as well.

SLOTS

The Civil Aviation Authority can at times administer landing slots at popular airports, a slot is like a reservation for your private jet to land. Be advised that landing slots are common in ski countries, such as Chamonix, Chambery, St Gallen and Sion during the winter and at other busy times such as half term.

Get closer to the slopes, during the winter season

Get closer to the slopes, during the winter season. Image: M Geiger

 

Like any other reservation, slots are subject to availability and are issued on a first come first served basis. For example if your desired landing or departure time has already been filled you may have to find another time; try to be flexible when planning your trip.

The added benefit of using a private jet to reach your destination is that it can land at airports closer to your resort cutting down your total journey time. A helicopter flight will be able to wizz you over to your resort.

To land at, for example Sion airport only certain aircraft can land due to it’s steep approach (5.8 degrees), the crew and aircraft have to have passed special flying regulations to comply with airport rules in order to land at the airport safely. However it’s one of the most sunning airport approaches so it will be worth it!

ICING

The severity of aircraft icing depends on the rate of accumulation, effectiveness of available de-icing equipment and actions a pilot must take to avoid or combat accumulation of ice.

Pilot being escorted to aircraft

Pilot being escorted to aircraft

  1. Your pilot will determine the severity of the icing of the aircraft and with the help of the ground handlers at the jet centre your aircraft will be ready for your flight. Safety is the most important factor when deciding whether to take off.
  2. One early symptom of airframe icing is decreased air speed and clear icing can be especially dangerous as it tends to form near the top and bottom edge, greatly affecting airflow.
  3. If the aircraft does not meet the required standard for take off, unfortunately you will have to wait. Your pilot and the ground staff will work as hard to make your flight possible.

DE-ICING COSTS

If de-icing is required for your private jet, Falcona will contact you to arrange immediate payment of the cost price. Each airport has its own price per litre for de-icing fluid, so depending on where you are flying from the costs can vary significantly.

For reasons of safety, aircraft must not take-off with any frost, ice or other contaminate on the surface of the wings or tailplane. Loose snow can sometimes just be brushed off but anything more will require removal by the application of de-icing fluid. This is common practice in the winter and airports have de-icing trucks or fixed stations for this purpose.

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Citation Bravo ready for departure after de-icing

  • However the process can use large amounts of fluid and the cost can be significant, and is usually regarded as additional to the charter price. Should schedules be more flexible than budget, it can sometimes be a consideration to depart later in the morning, giving the sun more of a chance to de-ice the aircraft naturally.
  • The de-icing of a private jet can be costly and depends mainly on the size of your aircraft, the amount of snow and ice on the aircraft at the time of de-icing (determining the amount of fluid to be used), the airport cost of the de-icing fluid and the weather conditions.
  • In order for a private jet to take of safely and legally in wintry conditions, it’s imperative that the wings be completely free of ice and snow. Ice can build up quickly overnight on an aircraft that is sitting outside, so there is always the possibility that the plane will need to be de-iced  before take off.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

In most circumstances this would be an additional cost to you the passenger, so it’s vitally important that you speak with us before your flight as you can get a nasty shock after your flight. In some cases it’s possible to take out extra insurance to cover the cost of de-icing but this is rare and mainly on smaller aircraft.

Falcona have charged a client on a previous occasion around £1,000 for an aircraft to be de-iced on a small Citation Mustang before a flight from Manchester to France. We only charge the exact cost of de-icing to our clients after the flight and will provide the handling invoice post flight. Each airport has it’s own price structure for de-icing charges, so the charge at London Luton may be cheaper than at Paris Le Bourget. Be aware.

In order to avoid or reduce the cost of de-icing we will inform you before your flight about the weather conditions and the possibility of the aircraft needing to be de-iced.

  • Rent a hangar if applicable for the night in order to keep the aircraft from the weather. Sometimes this can be more costly than using the de-iceing fluid, so Falcona will check the difference in cost for you.
  • Inform the operator of your exact time of arrival.
  • Fly out at a later time which can help to give the aircraft time to defrost.
  • Your crew can remove any layers of snow or ice before the aircraft is de-iced, reducing the amount of fluid needed.
Winter flights

Falcon 7x arriving at Manchester Airport during the winter.

 

TOP 5 TIPS;

  1. Book your aircraft early
  2. Fly later in the day, not first thing in the morning
  3. Be prepared to be flexible
  4. Check with your broker before you leave home
  5. Ask to keep aircraft in hangar if possible.

 

PRIVATE JET WINTER MARKETS

Passengers boarding aircraft during the winter

 Although it can be costly and may delay your flight slightly as always ‘Your safety is our number one priority’ at all times.

So if you’re planning on travelling over the winter, planning in advance is the key to a successful and happy flight.

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