27 October 2015 | Airports News

Slots: Not only a tricky game in casinos, but also in private aviation

Getting airport slots is becoming a difficult game for private aviation in Geneva

The principle of having landing and take-off slots at an airport is fairly simple: the arrivals and departures are properly regulated and controlled. It is the regulation of having a set number of aircraft in the air around the airport.

However, slots do have downsides, especially when looking at it from the private aviation perspective.

Commercial aircraft have priorities when it comes to taking off or landing, this is the rule. But what happens when more and more airlines, specifically the low cost ones, start flying to a rather seasonal destination like Geneva (ICAO: LSGG, IATA: GVA) in winter? Less and less slots will be available for private jets. Because of the increase in commercial air traffic, the Geneva airport has seen a relatively large decrease in private flights - simply because they cannot obtain free airport slots.

But do not despair, there are other options to get to Geneva or the surrounding ski resorts by private jet.

To start off, there is the airport of Annecy (ICAO: LFLP, IATA: NCY), which is the perfect alternative. It is only a 30 minute car ride (40km) away from Geneva; however, it is slot and time restricted, meaning that the airport only has certain opening hours.The second option is the Chambery airport (ICAO: LFLB, IATA: CMF), which is located about 90km away. This airport has the same restrictions as Annecy, and they both experience a lot of traffic in the winter season. Booking well in advance is definitely advised.

However, little further away, there are two additional alternatives for your private flight. One of these is the Lyon Bron airport (ICAO: LFLY, IATA: LYN), situated approximately 155km away from Geneva, in France. The immense advantage of this airport is that it is neither slot nor time restricted, giving private jets the opportunity to land without having to worry about commercial aviation that much.

Lastly, with the same distance as Lyon, the Sion airport (ICAO. LSGS, IATA: SIR) provides an excellent alternative for private flights, as it is not slotted.

But does diverting the private air travel really help the tricky situation at Geneva airport, which only has one runway? That is a question without an answer just yet. The bluntly obvious solution would be to simply build a second runway, but not only is that a huge investment, but also due to restricted land possibilities around the airport not possible. However, taking a look at the Cannes Mandelieu airport (ICAO: LFMD: IATA: CEQ) there are other possible approaches. After lifting the tonnage restrictions there, more modern (and therefore less noisy) aircraft are allowed to land in Cannes. If this were to be implemented in Geneva, the modern private jets could land before or after opening times without disturbing anyone.

For more information or to book your private jet to one of the alternative airports this winter, please do not hesitate to contact the LunaJets expert team on +41 844 041 844 or email us at lunajets@lunajets.com. Alternatively, take advantage of instant access to the best empty leg prices on the market by downloading our mobile app.