Parking Pain in Portugal

By David Mumford

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It looks like summer ops to Portugal are going to be tough. There are restrictions at the two main airports, LPPT/Lisbon and LPPR/Porto, and parking elsewhere is going to be challenging too. Here’s the lowdown…

Strikes

Just before we get stuck in, it’s worth knowing that there are border control staff strikes planned over the next month at the major airports in Portugal.

  • LPPT/Lisbon will be impacted 05-10 local time every Sat-Mon until the end of June.
  • Strikes at other airports are planned for all day every Friday until the end of June.

More info here.

LPPT/Lisbon

Until the end of the official IATA Summer Season (that’s Oct 29, to you and me), most aircraft will be limited to max 60mins turnaround time (and Code A and B aircraft only get 45mins). There’s no Notam on this – it’s hidden away in AIP SUP 61/22. Local handlers expect limited summer slots too. Contact them at lis@omnihandling.com. So essentially, it’s drop-and-go’s only from now til November!

LPPR/Porto

Porto also expects to be busy this summer. They’re saying that parking will only be granted for 4 days max (96 hours), and can be requested only within 15 days of your planned trip. They do have a hangar which could accommodate longer parking, but the airport does not have a towbar for GA/BA aircraft so you’ll have to bring your own! Contact local handler opo@omnihandling.com for more info.

LPCS/Cascais

One to consider, especially if you’re headed to Lisbon as it’s jus up the road. You don’t need slots here, and they say that they normally have parking availability over the summer. The airport is open from 7am till sunset, but will open early/late for an extra fee. Contact the local handler at cascais@omnihandling.com.

LPFR/Faro

You need slots and parking approval, and they regularly run out of both during the summer months. Although technically open 24/7, the runway is closed every night from 23-06z due to noise restrictions. Contact the local handler at fao@omnihandling.com.

LPBJ/Beja

A cheeky extra option to consider. This is a join civil/military airport, so you just need to get clearance in advance (they say to give 48hrs for this), but they usually have parking available.

Your Reports!

We’ve had a couple of recent Airport Spy reports from OPSGROUP members who have operated trips to Portugal – there’s one for LPPT/Lisbon, and one for LPCS/Cascais.

LPPT/Lisbon

  • Had to wait for fueler and missed our TSAT. Make sure you respect your numbers in LPPT… don’t mess with TSAT and EOBT otherwise you are not going anywhere.
  • Slots required, +/-20 minutes. Pax must remain onboard unless they want to take a ride to the terminal and clear immigration, but there’s no FBO to sit in anyways.
  • We had four outbound crew members and all of the bags to support a two-week trip, plus catering. We dragged all of it up and down a few sets of stairs in the terminal, and everything had to go through a carry-on sized x-ray scanner at the security checkpoint. It took at least 20 minutes from curbside to parking stand and it wasn’t pretty.
  • We did not experience aircraft servicing delays as indicated in other reports; our late-night (2300) timing may have helped. There is a hard midnight curfew for non-commercial ops and some night restrictions for commercial ops outlined in the 10-1 pages, so be mindful of potential delays sinking a late-night tech stop.
  • Almost all of the parking stands require a pushback. The parking stand was assigned by the airport authority on an ad-hoc basis, so the handler could not reserve one of the few taxi-through parking stands ahead of time. Pushback was with a Lektro, so no towbar required. TOBT was coordinated through the handler and pushback was requested/authorized by ATC.

LPCS/Cascais

  • We ended up in LPCS when, less than 12h to departure time for an 8h leg we were informed that LPPT would be unable to accommodate parking despite booking weeks in advance.
  • LCPS has a short runway but is still very accommodating for larger aircraft. If you have the marginal performance to land (and depart) there, this should be your top choice! There is ample ramp space to accommodate even the largest BizJets and local terrain is of little concern for most BizJets at the weights required to get in and out of their runway.
  • Omni handling was excellent and they clearly were very proud of their airport, they are incredibly friendly and welcoming. The handlers were a bit discombobulated on the departure, handing us the wrong flight package and then an incomplete package but they worked hard to get us everything we needed.
  • Clearing customs inbound was a bit difficult unfortunately – they have to manually inspect your baggage. If you have a lot of luggage do plan extra time. It took at least 3-5min per luggage (including hand luggage.)

We want your reports!

If you’ve been to Portugal and can share some info on how the trip went, let us know! Or even better, skip the middle man and file an Airport Spy report!

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David Mumford

David Mumford

News editor, notam sifter, airspace monitor, map maker, and general purveyor of flight ops info.

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