Aug. 21, 2015
A spike in aircraft traffic into Mikonos and other popular tourist islands in Greece, which led to air traffic delays, has prompted the Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA) to implement new rules regarding slot allocation at the country’s “coordinated” (IATA Level 3) limited-infrastructure airports.
Effective July 6, all IFR general aviation (GA) flights are required to request an airport slot for landing and takeoff not more than 28 days before the flight operation. The slot request to the Hellenic Slot Coordination Authority (in GCR Header/Data Lines/Footer format) can only be made after obtaining a parking authorization number from the airport (Heraklion and Thessaloniki excepted). Only ad hoc slots can be requested; a series of slots will not be accepted, and operators cannot claim “historical rights.”
Vanessa Rullier-Francaud, senior manager of European affairs for the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), said Greek officials indicate that almost all business aviation requests “are being satisfied” thus far, although a small number of flights have required scheduling at “closest to requested” times.
Universal Weather & Aviation’s Operations and Customer Care Director in Greece, Dimitra Kiriakopoulou, said, “This summer season we have not faced large issues as HCAA is working closely with us. They are flexible with requests and willing to solve problems and assist us to ensure GA operators are able to travel.”
However, she predicts the 2016 summer season will provide the first true test of the new procedures. “Private aircraft operating to specific airports may need to drop off passengers, reposition to other Greek airports for parking, and then pick up and drop off at other destinations in Greece,” she said.
EBAA’s Rullier-Francaud said the new slot request rules will only apply from March through October, and will be evaluated each year. Two-thirds of Greece’s 33 airports are Level 3 during this “summer season.”
According to Airports Council International – Europe, Mikonos (LGMK) was one of the fastest-growing airports in 2014, with a nearly 27-percent increase in passenger traffic (primarily due to airline traffic). Several other Greek airports had double-digit traffic growth.
The email address for slot requests (weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern European Time) is email@example.com.