I often fly to a non-custom aerodrome in the south of Germany, coming from LSZH Zürich. My destination aerodrome doesn’t offer “PPR customs” like many other small airfields in Germany do.
So usually I am stopping over at EDNY Friedrichshafen or EDJA Memmingen. This “customs stop” means I lose about 45m-1h for nothing (I don’t have anything to declare).
My goal is to streamline the process:
- I tried dealing with the “Zollamt” Ulm directly and get a “Einzelfallgenehmigung”. So far no luck.
- In EDNY, I used to go via shuttle to their terminal, go through security and then via shuttle back. Last time, I asked TWR if I can just stay on the apron to prepare my next flight, unless customs wants me to come to the terminal. Could stay on apron – sweet!
- One time coming back from Germany, I was planning to stop over at EDJA. TWR asks me if I only stop b/c of customs. I answer affirm! He says then I don’t have to land and can directly proceed to LSZH. Had to land anyway because otherwise I would have been to early for my inbound slot in Zürich.
So I am wondering a few things:
- did anyone figure out how to get an “Einzelfallgenehmigung” and could point me in the right direction?
- is it feasible to just ask TWR before landing whether they actually need me to land for customs, and if they don’t, just proceed? And probably this decision would be random, right? Then I still have the Zürich slot problem coming from Germany. Other direction would be fine though. But then again, seems like German customs would be more interested in someone arriving TO Germany than leaving FROM Germany.
- if landing is always “necessary”, do they accept a touch and go maybe? That way they wouldn’t lose out on “their” revenue, and I still would not lose so much time
As far as I know, Schengen allows you to fly direct without a stop from any airport/airfield in Germany to Switzerland. No customs needed. On the Swiss side of the border, customs has to be informed on small fields but normaly no one will show over after your landing or during your departure. At LSZH normally customs is not interested on you if you are coming from Germany. I‘m always passing by wirh the handling agent without any questions. So you may streamline your process, but I recommend to recheck what I have said, maybe I‘m wrong.
@eddsPeter Please don’t mix up th control of people (impacted by Schengen) with the control of goods (which this question was about). This has nothing to do with Schengen and in principle you need customs between Switzerland and Germany.
@HBadger You don’t need to land on the way to Switzerland usually. Coming back you need to choose an aerodrome in the EU with customs. See: https://www.pilotundflugzeug.de/img/ud/2013/03/13/19/3155726/003559-merkblatt_befreiung_zollflugplatzzwang.pdf
The opening post here has been widely lampooned on the internet by one former poster here as a derogatory example of an “Englishman” (which actually I am not ) coming to grief over not knowing the rules in a “foreign country” but it remains a lesson on there being little or no formal connection between “airport police” and the guy on the tower radio.
Moreover, this disconnect can be entirely politically-intentional, with the police using it to make a point that the airport is really there for them to go to work and not for anything to do with planes and stuff like that
So I would be careful with the tower saying “no need to stop”. I know it has been done quite a bit and has usually worked, but I would keep a recording of the radio…
Very recently I diverted to a French airport (24hr PNR for police) for fuel and the guy at the desk told us to just pretend we never landed there I wasn’t so keen on that and luckily my passenger spoke French and phoned the police who said they couldn’t care less. That is a much better way to do this sort of thing.
EDJA has become a pain – they do usually insist on driving you over in a follow me car. 45-60min often, since they have to cross the runway.
I recommend Austria to enter EU, in particular LOIH. Have PPR but much quicker…
In the East towards Balkans same with LOLS.
DE → CH a EU registered plane can fly direct w/o customs check out.
Leutkirch also works fine. Or Augsburg. The latter has customs at all times.
OK, so I think in conclusion, I will just use EDNY Friedrichshafen from now on.
I think Peter made a good point that TWR and customs is not the same and I shouldn’t trust TWR too much.
Then question only is: What is the minimally correct thing to do in order to satisfy the customs requirement when landing in Friedrichshafen?
@rwy20: Thanks for link, didn’t know it yet. I think your comment would be correct if I would fly a D-XXXX registered plane, but I fly a HB-XXX registered plane, homebased in LSZH. Therefore, it seems I have to do customs also when leaving Germany.
@ch.ess, @Mooney_Driver: I actually was using Leutkirch a few times, imagine that Hohenems is the same deal. But I now prefer Friedrichshafen for the following reasons: PPR / Admin work in Leutkirch and you have to make your “slots”, which I hate. Friedrichshafen has TWR which I prefer. Better opening hours in Friedrichshafen. Cost in Leutkirch is like 20 EUR vs 26.5 EUR in Friedrichshafen so not a big difference given that I have much more flexibility.
And one comment re “Einzelbefreiung”: It is possible, but it seems that this step necessitates a customs crew to actually show up and check every landing/departure, and they want money for that service, about 100 EUR. So overall still more convenient/cost effective to just quickly stop in Friedrichshafen. Form 0006: https://www.formulare-bfinv.de/ffw/form/display.do?%24context=B08D0850AA60229DE664
I think this comes down to what obligation a pilot has when stopping at an airport for a legally required customs or immigration check.
Some say the pilot has an obligation to physically locate the officials involved.
I am fairly certain that is wrong* and your obligation is limited to
and if they don’t come to see you, that’s their problem. BUT I have been to places where just complying with this would get you in trouble because the police were clearly waiting for me inside at some office not anywhere near the “normal walking path” to airside and would not come out. Salamanca was one such, and it would not surprise me if the two in Avignon were doing the same.
Normally the police check “just happens” – they make damn sure they meet you, or the staff escorts you to them.
* it is obviously wrong for any airport where the police are on a PNR i.e. most of France, UK, etc.
At Venice/Lido LIPV, the border force police guy was quite upset with me that I took the time to unload luggage, tie up aircraft, put the cover, etc before coming to the terminal (and to him). The fact that I was late on my notified arrival time because of issues at the departure airport didn’t help.