The private jet industry in Europe is much more seasonal than in the USA. Demand is lower in the winter months, and is then boosted by events over the Spring and Summer that attract large numbers of VIP and corporate travellers.
None more so than the Cannes Film Festival which overlaps with the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May, bringing a large influx of private jet travellers to the South of France. The region’a airports will be very busy indeed over a number of days, before, during and after the event.
It’s one of the busiest times of the year for us at PrivateFly – and the busiest weekend in Europe’s private jet calendar.
At Nice Cote D’Azur and Cannes Mandelieu airports the usual number of daily landings combined is around 50 – 60, which is a fairly large number already (Nice is always one of the busiest airports for private jets in Europe). But over this period, that number more than doubles – to well over 100 landings daily. And the increase in demand is seen for a number of days.
Popular charter aircraft for the festival include small jets such as the Citation Mustang or Embraer Phenom 100, and large body, long range jets such as the Dassault Falcon 7X or Gulfstream G650 (for those looking to make more of a VIP statement, as well as those flying in from further away).
Who’s flying in to the Cannes Film Festival by private jet?
The types of clients we fly in for the festival include film industry executives; actors; VIPs; sponsors; and corporates.
Most are domestic flights within France or from the UK, but the passengers themselves are an international mix. Some of our clients arrive in Europe from the US on an airline flight, then use private jet charter for their travel to Cannes or Nice for the festival – moving on to other destinations within Europe afterwards.
Airports & FBOs will be at full stretch
Special conditions are set in place at the private jet airports and FBOs seeing the major demand during the festival. These are Nice Cote D’Azur and Cannes Mandelieu (which is a dedicated private aviation airport).
Both are popular – Cannes airport is the closest to the Festival venue and offers a dedicated and discreet option. But Nice Cote D’Azur is open 24 hours and allows all sizes of aircraft to land on its runway, so they are both in high demand. See a more detailed comparison in Should I land at Nice or Cannes?
The FBOs at both of these airports will be working to what’s known as PRP procedures (Prior Permission Required) – often referred to as ‘slots’ – during this period of high demand.
A slots system smoothes out peaks of traffic into a manageable flow – for both the FBOs and air traffic control.
Aircraft parking restrictions will also be in place and parking will be a particular issue towards the end of the festival, when it overlaps with arrivals for the Monaco Grand Prix. Parking spaces at both airports will be booked up early, so many aircraft will require repositioning after dropping passengers off. Aircraft must then be relocated to another airport elsewhere before positioning in again for the return journey. Nearby airports that will be used for parking include Le Castellet, Genoa and Marseille.
Our advice is book in advance
We advise clients to book earlier than usual for flights to the South of France over this period. Usually our private jet clients can book their flights very last minute and still have the schedule they desire (our record is booking to take-off in 45 minutes!).
But over the festival period, more advance notice is required than usual to ensure preferred landing and take-off times – and to secure availability for helicopter and ground transfers.
Charter costs can be slightly higher during these types of events. This is mainly because of the additional requirements around repositioning aircraft in and out.
There are ways to minimise this – for example choosing aircraft that are based at these airports already. And the additional numbers of flights also means there are more empty sectors (repositioning flights which are sold at a big discount). So sometimes these can be worked into a client’s itinerary and reduce their costs overall.
Overall our message to clients travelling to the Canes Film Festival is to book as early possible in order to get the best price.
Speak to our 24-hour Flight Team for more advice on flights to Nice or Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival. Contact us or call +44 1747 642 777.