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How would you define a "GA friendly" airport?

By the way, I always find it amusing when people use the term “GA-friendly”, when speaking about “GA-only airports”.

If GA-only airfields are not GA-friendly, then what???

The term makes sense only for airports which also (or primarily) serve CAT.

I would know of several of such airports. In Germany, Dresden and Hannover come to mind.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Minimum runway length of 800 meters.
Uncontrolled – therefore always open (controllable lights via radio)
Avgas, JetA, Mogas
RNAV Approach
Close to final destination (usually a city)
Good transportation to city / courtesy car
Hangars available for visitors
No landing fees

Basically your regular US airport.

I’d second Gloucester. While of course no landing fees would always be nice, I feel I always get decent service at Gloucester and it’s got good facilities. (Just avoid the taxis. It’s cheaper to hire a car than a taxi journey to and from Cheltenham).

Andreas IOM

Availability of bicycles! More and more fields in Germany offer them.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

How would you define a “GA friendly” airport?

An airport is friendly to me if:
1. The fees are reasonable and there are no outrageous mandatory handling fees
2. The time it takes for fuel to arrive doesn’t take forever
3. The time it takes to go to/from airside doesn’t take longer than a commercial passenger flight
4. The security requirements aren’t more onerous than a commercial passenger flight
5. I can make payments with a credit card and not having to carry around wads of cash
6. The airport is reasonably well connected, and not stuck in the middle of nowhere with nobody having a clue how to call taxis, buses, hire cars, and so on.

Last Edited by James_Chan at 02 Sep 11:28

boscomantico wrote:

I would know of several of such airports. In Germany, Dresden and Hannover come to mind.

Plus all the others – not only in Germany – which fail to attract significant (airline) traffic. They usually offer excellent service to GA (private and commercial) at reasonable prices. In Germany the list is endless, I would say every airport apart from Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin Tegel is reasonably GA friendly…

EDDS - Stuttgart

Agree, but at least for “small GA”, Köln, Düsseldorf, Hahn and Stuttgart join the list of “non-friendly airports” due to their high prices for small stuff.

Also, fees aside, Köln and Düsseldorf seem to be rather clueless on how to deal with small GA according to recent pireps. Stuttgart still has the famous problems with their security staff (no liquids allowed) and germeral cluelessness of the staff including Kurz (again, judging by recent pireps). That clearly is non-friendly to GA.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 02 Sep 13:21
Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Like @boscomantico, I struggle with the concept of an airport being “friendly” or for that matter being “unfriendly” – particularly in the sense that the phrase is used on some pilots’ forums.

However, I feel that @boscomantico provides me personally with an excellent answer to the question posed: “How would you define a GA-friendly airport?”.

Answer: one that isn’t clueless! (and I think we all know what we mean by that!)

On another forum, relating to one of the more clueless airports, I posted the comment: “incompetence and a total lack of entrepreneurial imagination that turns the smallest demand into the biggest problem requiring the costliest solution.”

boscomantico wrote:

Also, fees aside, Köln and Düsseldorf seem to be rather clueless on how to deal with small GA according to recent pireps. Stuttgart still has the famous problems with their security staff (no liquids allowed) and germeral cluelessness of the staff including Kurz (again, judging by recent pirps). That clearly is non-friendly to GA.

Isn’t the whole point of having a GAT (General Aviation Terminal) to make it possible to establish different procedures than those used for CAT (Commercial Aviation Terminal)?

When I use EDVK (Kassel) I say Hello to the people in the office and they open the door. I walk out and to my aircraft. The CAT is elsewhere with a different apron and basically invisible from the GAT.

When I use EDDK (Cologne) or EDDH (Hamburg) there is a scanner and security people performing the same screening as for CAT passengers. At Hamburg they ask whether I am passenger or pilot and then I need to show my license and they take a thorough look at it.

My opinion is that for GAT there should be no security screening unless the pilot or operator wants it. With the exception of mixed CAT/GAT airports there is no security screening for GA and so there isn’t really any reason for doing it.

Lately I flew into one of these bigger airports to catch a commercial flight and was taken by the follow-me car from my aircraft to the gate of the CAT. That made sense to me and apparently it was normal practice there.

Frequent travels around Europe

boscomantico wrote:

Also, fees aside, Köln and Düsseldorf seem to be rather clueless on how to deal with small GA according to recent pireps.

Maybe I should write more PIREPS. I’ve been to Düsseldorf several times this year and once to Köln. In all cases, service was friendly and seamless – both ATC and GAT staff. That’s even more true for Hamburg, which I found really welcoming.

I personally find the fees in Düsseldorf acceptable (except for the 5 euro waste disposal fee, which is BS for small GA) – with ca. 70 EUR for light types and 10 EUR parking/day (car parking is so much more expensive there!). Köln was almost twice as expensive and that’s where it starts to annoy me…

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany
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