Private aviation can save a great deal of time for ski travel – allowing skiers to reach resort areas faster than airlines. You can save up to 10 hours of skiing time on a return trip, by flying directly into smaller airports that are closer to ski areas than their airline equivalents, such as Sion and Samedan St Moritz.
But Courchevel Airport (known as Courchevel Altiport) was long denied to private flights that are commercially chartered – with regulations allowing only aircraft owners in their own aircraft to land there, due to its short runway and steep approach.
But last year an operator in the PrivateFly network was the first to receive official authorisation from the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC), to operate private charter flights to Courchevel, in the Vulcanair P68 small aircraft.
So our clients travelling to Courchevel can now book private charter flights by fixed wing aircraft directly into the airport, via PrivateFly’s online platform and Flight Team – rather than switching to a helicopter or ground transfer from Chambery or Geneva.
For bespoke pricing and advice on private flights to Courchevel, contact us or speak to our Flight Team on +44 1747 642 777.
We spoke to one of the pilots of the Vulcanair P68 for operator Alpine Airlines, Jean-Baptiste Pennazio.
When did you start operating charter flights to Courchevel?
In June 2015 we were given an AOC (Aircraft Operating Certificate) to offer commercial charters to Courchevel. Our operation is specifically set up for this purpose. The Vulcanair P68 aircraft is compatible with the runway, and our flight crew (who are all also trained mountain guides and know the terrain exceptionally well) have specific, detailed training for landings and take offs at Courchevel.
What are the technical specifications of the Vulcanair P68?
The P68 is a twin-engine aircraft which carries four passengers with two pilots. It also has luggage space for four small suitcases.
The aircraft can fly at speeds of 340km/h and its maximum range allows for private charter flights from Paris to Courchevel.
It is equipped with a plexiglass cockpit, to take in the breathtaking views during the flight over the Alps.
Does a pilot need special training to take off and land in Courchevel?
Yes, we run a DGCA approved training academy alongside our commercial flight activities, called Aerosavoie.
Aerosavoie teaches mountain skills and the specific requirements of Courchevel’s airport to private and professional pilots.
The runway of the airfield is not such a challenge, as long as specific training is put in place – to take into account its short and sloping profile.
Our pilots have performed thousands of landings in Courchevel. Every one has years of specific training for this airfield.
Do you use the Vulcanair P68 to reach other destinations and ski resorts?
Absolutely, we operate private charter flights to neighbouring parts of Europe, including destinations such as Zurich, Lausanne, Milan and St Tropez.
Is it possible to fly from Paris or London to Courchevel?
Paris to Courchevel is achievable as a nonstop flight, and takes 1 hour 30 minutes. For flights from London, clients can charter a private jet to Chambery, then the P68 can be used as an alternative to a helicopter as a transfer to Courchevel.
We often fly clients from Courchevel down to the South of France. It takes 50 minutes to get to Nice Cote D’Azur airport.
Why go to Courchevel by private plane rather than helicopter?
The Vulcanair P68 is faster than a helicopter, but at a lower charter cost.
Space and comfort are also better than a helicopter, with enough luggage space for all the passengers.
Do you have a favourite airport?
Courchevel of course!
What has been your most memorable flight over the Alps?
My most vivid memory is my last flight over Mont Blanc.
We had a wonderful clear flight, with a route above the summit of Mont Blanc, views of glaciers and surrounding peaks, mountaineers and their camps and shelters.
It really was a very poignant flight, as the views were spectacular.
I encourage all lovers of aviation and beautiful scenery to fly over the area. The views are absolutely majestic, I am still speechless for a while afterwards!
Our Flight Team can advise on the fastest way to reach ski resorts this season, using private charter to smaller airports and/or helicopter ski transfers. Contact us or call +44 1747 642 777 (24 hours).