Has anybody been to Siena LIQS recently?
Usual questions… Fees, customs immigration, avgas availability…
Any recent experience greatly appreciated.
I haven’t been there recently, but I have some up-to-date information for you.
First, some history. LIQS used to be a well-working, small GA airport a few years ago. At some point, they even devised an instrument approach.
Then, in 2012 or so, the operator went bust (a rather normal thing in Italy and nothing too extraordinary).
At that point, the airport was essentially closed for a couple of years and only the local aeroclub was allowed to fly. In 2015, the aeroclub took over the operation of the airport and, with PPR, visiting pilots were again able to use the airport (VFR only). Drawback: visitors had to coordinate all flights with the aeroclub. This worked so-so, but in any case required some flexibility and some Italian to get things sorted out. Fees were OK though.
Towards the end of last year, this changed. The airport operation was taken over by Sky Services. This is a chain of ground handling offices all over Italy, mainly at the main international airports. Handling agents? At a small GA airfield like Siena? Yes! Seems they want to establish the place as kind of “high end” destination for well-off people visiting Tuscany.
I recently made contact with them to find out details and they say the airport is currrently VFR-only, day-only, without customs. (In addition, it is quite far away from the centre of Siena and has no rental cars or similar on site).
Still, they insist on mandatory handling. Fee: 100€! The total with landing fees, one pax fee and a day’s parking, it comes out to 140€!.
The only positive side is that there is now a “proper” airport management and a clear, straightforward procedure for getting PPR, fuel, etc.
That’s the price we have to pay if we are asking airports to have English-speaking staff, somebody to answer the phone / e-mails 7/7 and so on. A handling company will come and say “I will do that for you; you just have to pay me 100€”.