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Avoiding high FRAPORT and HANDLING costs in Greece

WhiskeyPapa wrote:

What is the cheapest port of entry for Greece now (flying VFR)? LGIR Heraklion?

Continuing from the other thread I thought of creating a standalone here just of this subject.

LGIR Heraklion is not “expensive” but its a) all the way south in Greece and b) extremely busy in summer months with charters etc.
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Recommendations for ports of entry to avoid higher privatized airports charges

LGBL Nea Aghialos Air Force Base in central Greece
Contacts for CIVIL airport in BRIEF PRESENTATION page of
http://www.hcaa.gr/en/our-airports/kratikos-aerolimenas-neas-agxialoy-kana

LGRX Araxos Air Force Base in NW Peloponnese
Contacts for CIVIL airport in BRIEF PRESENTATION page of
http://www.hcaa.gr/en/our-airports/kratikos-aerolimenas-arajoy-kaaj
(Civil) operation hours: Check LGBL & LGRX NOTAMs
Military airport visit PPR: you can get it on your own by email – apply 5 working days ahead.
Process : www.aopa.gr/Info paragraph 19
Handling (compulsory): www.aopa.gr/Info paragraph 12.b
3 handlers.

LGAL Alexandroupolis in far NE Greece
No PPR
Operation hours: Check LGAL NOTAMs
Handling (compulsory): www.aopa.gr/Info paragraph 12.b
3 handlers.
Contacts for airport in BRIEF PRESENTATION page of
http://www.hcaa.gr/en/our-airports/kratikos-aerolimenas-alejandroypolhs-dhmokritos-kaald

All three above can serve you as port of Entry with a small total cost (i.e. 30~50 Euro with AOPA card).

There is also the “special case” of LGKC Kythera southeast of Peloponnese.
It is the most “GA friendly” airport in Greece.
The airport governor told me once with emphasis: “my dear friend, GA will never be charged at this airport”.
Its is the airport most Athens based flight schools visit for cross country flying or IFR training.
Operation hours: Check LGKC NOTAMs
Although not classified as “Port of Entry” in AIP the airport admin. uses a process whereby they were once allowed to use Port of Entry status with some seasonal charters and has been known to accept entry GA flights.
No PPR needed, just a notice your are coming is a good practice by noting “no handling needed”.
There is handling there (SKYSERV) but it is known as one of the few airports in Greece where handling agent just stays put and lets GA occupants walk up the terminal/aircraft without bothering.
Contacts for airport in BRIEF PRESENTATION page of
http://www.hcaa.gr/en/our-airports/kratikos-aerolimenas-ky8hrwn-alejandros-aristoteloys-wnashs-kak8w

All above airports have no AVGAS.
AVGAS available airports at: www.aopa.gr/Info paragraph 22

Another case similar to LGKC Kythera and very useful to travelers flying in or our out from southeast Greece (Cyprus / Israel / Middle East / Africa) is
LGST Sitia the calmest airport of island of Crete to its East edge.
It has a handler but the whole process is efficient and not expensive as long as you notify them beforehand you are coming (so they don’t veer off to town for “siesta”).
The big advantage of LGST Sitia is that it has AVGAS thus enabling you to avoid southeast very busy airports of entry like LGIR & LGRP.
The coastal town just next to the airport is a nice overnight stop.
Contacts for airport in BRIEF PRESENTATION page of
http://www.hcaa.gr/en/our-airports/dhmotikos-aerolimenas-shteias-dast

Cheapest airport for AVGAS refuel visit after the port of entry is LGMG Megara west of Athens.
Operation hours: Check LGMG NOTAMs
Airport details: https://www.you-fly.com/airport/lgmg/
AVGAS available all days except Mondays.
No Handling.
No PPR needed if not staying overnight.
Not a port of entry.
Contacts for airport in BRIEF PRESENTATION page of
http://www.hcaa.gr/en/our-airports/monada-ejyphrethshs-aeroskafwn-genikhs-aeroporias-m-e-g-a-p
If you plan to stay overnight you need PPR.
You get PPR via the above contact details.
Tip: Try the email but if you don’t get reply within 24hrs do use the FAX indicating the reply fax number.
In FAX they reply, in Emails some time they have (PC related) problems.
PPR takes 1~2 days to come since they require Army Aviation approval. (The apron is Civil but the rest of the airport Military).

Tip: PPRs you can get, PNR’s you can send, on your own. FRAPORT privatized airports – not the subject of this email – provide the PPR email contact in their airport NOTAMs. For public airports you contact the airport CAA (or central CAA for MIL airports) where needed so as to avoid HANDLER charging for this. You just have to cater for public servants’ “IT familiarity”. The central CAA PPR for MIL airports (www.aopa.gr/Info paragraph 19) always works. They just take ~3 days to respond because they await Air Force to reply them. In all the above contacts if you see an email or fax response is not coming quickly then make the damn! phone call at their office to query the status. It will cost you 1~2 Euros but will expedite things or clear out any issues. I have known pilots who got problems in PPRs etc. just assuming all works efficiently with emails as with us private pilots who are accustomed to their use. This is not the case for public servants (sometimes) or the equipment the state provides them. I have known cases of FAXes waiting on machine’s memory to be printed pending the “state funded” paper rolls to arrive or CAA officers trying to help by logging in to the airport CAA mail account from their mobile devices to see emails because the "state funded’ office PC is down for months unable (un-fundable!) to be repaired.

Last Edited by petakas at 24 Apr 09:17
LGMG Megara, Greece

Great summary! Really helpful!

Tököl LHTL

Megara, avgas but no port of entry, is near LGAV.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

is near LGAV.

True, LGAV airport (pic’s) which is H24 full services, has AVGAS and may cost some 30~50 Euro instead of 200something if you don’t leave airside to landside because it may be classified as a technical stop.
That is why I did not include it as a cheaper option, because of my (cost) doubts.
For IFR (I assume) there may be a SLOT charge by the handler, some +50 Euro but I am not sure about this because they have lots of capacity and they may not be requiring SLOT for IFR light GA flight.
Yes LGAV is better option, if its accepted as technical stop, for an all in one service – they accommodate VFR flights too without problem – but I am not sure if a port of entry use can be charged less as technical stop because you do have to use their classy GA facility where Police will check passports etc.
They don’t do it on the ramp.
The main LGAV charge in the invoice from what I have seen is the GA lounge facility (excellent by the way with full amenities).
Peter do me a favor and share some of the work ;-) and contact LGAV Swissport about it at [email protected] .
They are good in answering emails.
Ask them if you use LGAV for Greece ENTRY from Schengen + REFUEL, technical stop only, flying off to other Greek destination, without leaving landside, what would be the total charges with AOPA discount for a short hour’s visit.

Last Edited by petakas at 24 Apr 12:16
LGMG Megara, Greece

The best way to avoid those costs is to steer clear of Greece altogether. A ticket with Easyjet is cheaper than the airport fees.

Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania or even Macedonia are better destinations than Greece and a lot closer to home. We’re just not welcome in Greece anymore, so why bother?

Those we should feel sorry for are the local actors, i.e. local private pilots and GA in general.

LFPT, LFPN

Peter do me a favor and share some of the work ;-) and contact LGAV Swissport about it at [email protected] .
They are good in answering emails.

Done.

The best way to avoid those costs is to steer clear of Greece altogether.

Then you miss out on fantastic scenic destinations, great friendly people, best food in Europe, and communications working well in English because, unlike some others, the Greeks like people to visit their country.

Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania or even Macedonia are better destinations than Greece and a lot closer to home.

Based on my 2006 visit, I wouldn’t say Albania was a better destination than Greece. It was a place very obviously run by gangsters businessmen driving around in limos with dark windows, a very poor country where most were just scraping out a very basic living (like somewhere south of Morocco), but were happy to totally rip off the western visitor at every opportunity. The final bit was the chinese takeaway airport bill which IIRC came to about 200 euros and included con tricks like charging for the runway lights in daytime. I guess things must have improved…

It should be pretty good for unspoilt nature though.

We’re just not welcome in Greece anymore, so why bother?

I don’t think this is the Greeks doing that. They had their backs to the wall on the Fraport deal because the euro made it possible to borrow cheap money which they, like everybody else in the south, borrowed in vast quantities, with the N European bankers making hundreds of millions in fees in the full knowledge that the loans can never be repaid but, hey, Germany the EU will always bail them out so who cares, we just lock in our bonuses and off we go to check out the Ferrari showroom. And finally the EU shafted Greece on writing off the loans because it could not afford to set an example to Spain and Italy which were next in line for a collapse but were too big to swallow.

The most completely comical situations I have found myself in were not in Greece but in Spain, France, Italy…

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

First off, I agree putting Albania on that list of “better places than Greece” is funny. Yes, there are a few nice beaches in the south, but otherwise, the country has nothing to offer. Tirana is a dump. The airport is anything but GA friendly, and expensive.
Both Montenegro airports of entry have no Avgas.

Plus, they are all totally different countries. No country in Europe is like Greece. Generally, I feel these comments like “forget country x, just fly to country y instead”, just after country x introduced some new restriction, cost or hassle factor is totally unuseful.

That said, it simply is true that with these new fees, Greece has now taken one step down in terms of quality as a GA destination.

Generally though, I don’t see the point of this thread. In practice, it doesn’t really work this way, i.e. that one will choose the port of entry based on the airport fees. Taking ANY type of detour just to save some airport fees doesn’t make sense financially. In most cases, the reasonable choices are limited anyway, particularly due to the limited range of most avgas SEPs. Most people HAVE no choice other than to use bloody Corfu anyway.

I cannot believe those military airports will in the end be more straightforward, quick, nor significantly cheaper than the Fraport airports.

So, I think the only thing to do is to inform people, as far accurately possible, about the fees to be expected (which happened in the other thread), and point them to the gotchas to avoid getting charged any higher fees than absolutely necessary (most all getting PPR directly from the CAA office rather than through the handling agent).
If that is done, than a short stop at one of the Fraport airports should not cost moee than 90 Euros all-in. It’s simply not worth flying any more distance just to save a few Euros on that, or to use a military airport instead. And as I said, the need for Avgas will drive the decisions anyway, in most cases.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Peter wrote:

And finally the EU shafted Greece on writing off the loans because it could not afford to set an example to Spain and Italy which were next in line for a collapse but were too big to swallow.

The debt restructuring of March 2012 at a 75% discount to face value ring a bell?

@Boscomantico
The one Greek military airport I’ve used (Megara LGMG) is MUCH cheaper, just as friendly, and more efficient for GA traffic than many of the now privatized ones.

For me, this thread is quite useful—several cheap ports of entry I didn’t know about. I can now skip LGTS (friendly but now expensive, and no avgas except through the club) on my way down after a refueling stop in Skopje, enter Greece at LGBL, continue on to Sitia LGST, which will be something of a base for us in June. This route makes sense because I’ll be flying down from Hungary.

The truth is I would go to Greece even if I had to pay the Fraport rates, but I’m even happier to avoid them if I can.

PS I see Sitia is a port of entry so I may skip LGBL on the way down.

Last Edited by WhiskeyPapa at 24 Apr 17:56
Tököl LHTL

The one Greek military airport I’ve used (Megara LGMG) is MUCH cheaper, just as friendly, and more efficient for GA traffic than many of the now privatized ones.

But it doesn’t help in this context, since it is a national airport.

Please report back with your experience at LGBL (Nea Aghialos Air Force Base). Both in terms of getting the required “special permission” to land there and in terms of speediness of the actual turnaround. I really can’t immagine it is a good option for GA travellers, but I may be wrong.

Can you really do Skopje – LGBL – Sitia without refuelling?

By the way, it IS possible to get Avgas at LGTS. At least this was the case last year.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 24 Apr 18:10
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany
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