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How can I tell which French airfields only speak French? (I'm looking for one that speaks English)

I’m planning a route back from Augsburg in German, to the UK, and I want to find a French airfield that has Avgas (non-BP card) and which speaks English on the radio. How do I tell by looking at Jeppesens or elsewhere which are the airports where the controllers speak English?

Thanks in advance,


Flying a TB20 out of EGTR
Elstree (EGTR), United Kingdom

All airfields with a twr speak English (when the twr is active).
The vast majority of AFIS airfields speak English (when the AFIS is active).

To find out in detail, you need to check the single VACs (top left).

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

And you need customs then… I think that doesn’t leave too many options, does it? LFAT or Reims Prunay come to mind.

Edit: just saw that Reims doesn’t have customs according to the VAC chart, but the Aeroclub gives phone numbers for customs on request – is that outdated?

Last Edited by Rwy20 at 07 Jun 20:46


To expand on Boscomatico’s answer, if they speak English, the chart doesn’t say anything. If they require French, then it says FR Seulemont.

Go to here
Click here

Click “VAC Atlas” near the top on the left.
Click “Aerodromes VAC”

This gets you to the VFR AIP pages for all the airfields.
Here’s the one for Bordeaux

If you look at the top left, you’ll see that it lists the frequencies. Note that there is no comment on the language. So this means that English is available on all those frequencies.

Now here is one for Poitiers.

Look at the top left again. You’ll see that there is no comment about language for FIS, ATIS, Approach & Tower. All those are available in English. But you’ll notice the last line says that in the absence of Air Traffic Services use air to air calls on 118.5 FR Seulement/only. This means that you can use English while ATC is available, but if not available, then make your own calls in French only.

Some airfields are always French only, but they don’t have ATC, and most of those don’t have AFIS either. They’ll have FR Seulement listed beside each frequency in use (usually just one in use).

Most airfields in France have English, and all with ATC have English. So it’s better to find a suitable airfield for your route, and then check it, rather than trying to work from ones that accept English speaking traffic, and then trying to see if it’s enroute!

I hope that helps.


Last Edited by dublinpilot at 07 Jun 20:56
EIWT Weston

Very helpful. Thank you.

Someone off this board also suggested Reims Prunay to me as an idea. The page to which you reference says “One hour notice for Customs”, and I can’t see a problem with that. It sounds very straightforward. Am I missing something?

Flying a TB20 out of EGTR
Elstree (EGTR), United Kingdom

Strasbourg, Lille, and Metz would be closer to the great circle route although that would actually taken you through southern Belgium


I take a different plan to most here. I’d go with Calais because flying VFR (as I think Howard does) we’re more subject to weather and more likely to have to change or plans. So I find the best strategy is to leave the Customs until the last stop before leaving France. Stopping earlier has the danger that you clear customs, and then can’t make it through the weather and have do divert. Then you need to do your customs stop again!

I’ve not needed to divert very often, very rarely in fact, but I like to keep my options open until the last possible moment, which means clear customs at the last opportunity before leaving France and at the first opportunity after entering France (which usually is when I need fuel anyway ).

Calais says they take cash and credit cards. No mention of BP cards.

EIWT Weston

Howard wrote:

Someone off this board also suggested Reims Prunay to me as an idea. The page to which you reference says “One hour notice for Customs”, and I can’t see a problem with that. It sounds very straightforward. Am I missing something?

The problem is that the AIP page (from the same link above…last page of the entry) say this:

It says they’ve no customs, suggesting that the website linked to above is either a local arrangement not documented in the AIP, or (probably more likely) out of date.

EIWT Weston

It’s not infrequent that the text part of the AIP is wrong, especially when it comes to customs. This last page is indicative only, it isn’t official information. As it says on the top of that page:

Non DGAC information in this document is communicated with all reserve.

But since we don’t know, I would try to call them and see if you can get some kind of PPR.

Last Edited by Rwy20 at 07 Jun 21:56

Sadly Reims Prunay did not have customs / immigration when I visited in March.

It is however a real nice well run airport, with very friendly staff.

There is AVGAS with BP card or if you don’t have the card the fireman can work the machine for you.

They do close for lunch so check the times. The office will be closed for Payment etc.

The landing fee was reasonable I can’t recall exactly but around 20euro for a PA28 with two days parking.

The town is nice…lots of champagne! And a great surrender museum (not the easiest to find but well well worth a visit if you like WW2 history).

Shoreham (EGKA) White Waltham (EGLM)
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