10 Last Minute World Cup Questions for Paul & Marina
On June 14, the biggest global sporting event of the year kicked off in the Russian Federation. For the next month, 11 airports throughout Russia will be busy handling World Cup related flights. Besides increased traffic in commercial flights, Euro Jet is also seeing a steep rise in business aviation flights as well. Limited options and high charges for ground services, such as parking, can pose a challenge, especially when you are making last minute arrangements for your customer.
The 11 host cities: Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Volgograd, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Nizhny-Novgorod airports, are spread out across half of the country, through three time zones and even three very different climate zones. Planning a multiple-stop trip requires being prepared to deal with issues from many angles, including crew duty times to the selection of alternate airports.
We sat down with Euro Jet’s Director of Operations, Paul Lourenco and our Vendor Relations Manager for Russia, Marina Abdushkureva, to ask them about what you should know when setting up a last-minute trip to Russia during the World Cup.
1. You spent some time in Russia earlier this year prior to the FIFA World Cup…
Paul: Yes, Marina and I visited Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, and Vnukovo airports in Moscow and also St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo airport. The aim was to meet with each airport’s representatives and find out as much information as possible about the organization of the World Cup with respect to business aviation and our customers’ flights.
2. What are they key points to remember when setting up a last-minute flight to one of the Moscow or other airports during the World Cup?
Paul: For operators, my advice is simple: Get in, get out. Be prepared to position the aircraft out once you drop your passengers off. Plus make sure your crews have plenty of duty time to spare. Also, once you have a plan, try to stick to it, and avoid changes. And have lots of patience, as there will be many flights. Therefore, certain services, such as visas on arrival, will take much longer to accomplish.
3. Cabotage has been cleared up and operators can fly from host city to host city or are there any limitations?
Marina: Cabotage is approved, so no restrictions apply. You can fly from anywhere in Russia. The cabotage is not limited to only flights from host city to host city. For example, you can drop your passengers off at the Sochi airport, then reposition your aircraft to Krasnodar airport, and then fly to Kazan the next day.
4. What is the difference between a Fan ID logo and a VISA? Can crews arrive to Russia using a Fan ID?
Paul: The Fan ID is an identification document for those travellers who purchased a ticket to one of the matches. Passengers flying on a business jet can also use a Fan ID instead of a VISA to enter Russia. They can apply for the Fan ID after they purchase their tickets.
Marina: Exactly, but crews will still require a VISA. They cannot use a Fan ID to enter the country. As an operating crew member, you will need a regular VISA, and for that you need to apply in advance.
5. At which airports can the crews obtain a VISA upon arrival?
Paul: You can obtain a VISA upon arrival only at three major airports in Moscow: Vnukovo, Sheremetyevo, and Domodedovo. At other airports you must obtain a VISA in advance. At Moscow, the VISA upon arrival usually takes two hours, but during FIFA, anticipate that time being double or even triple.
6. Are there any major differences in the host city airport rules?
Marina: We just see more limitations in terms of parking at host city airports that are not used to so many flights. Due to the size of the airport, there are more restrictions.
Paul: I would say that more restrictions come with the ground logistics, such as transportation and hotel arrangements.
7. What are the best alternate airports for parking?
Paul: There are so many alternate airports in Russia. My advice is to use the closest alternate airport in Russia if you still have flights within Russia coming up. But if you do not have any flights in the country, use one of the alternate airports outside of Russia, such as Helsinki, Tallin, or Riga...
Marina: Paul, I will also add that when our customers ask us to arrange their ground support, we of course advise on the best alternate airport options both in Russia or elsewhere.
8. Can you briefly comment on pricing and if we should expect to see significant price increases?
Marina: Yes we expect to see significant pricing increases and airports are slowly informing us of them, though we will not know for sure until the final invoices are issued for each flight at their respective airport.
9. Are there any safety or security concerns our customers should be aware of?
Paul: As in any other country at an event like this, any precaution applies. It is advised to use FIFA-approved transportation. Only the approved transport will be allowed into the venues. With a Fan ID you will get the transportation to each game for free. It is better not to create your own plans, but stick to the official advice from the event organizers. FIFA also advises that operators obtain security briefs prior to travel if they are unfamiliar with the region.
10. Who are you supporting and who do you think will Win the World Cup?
Marina: I am not much of a fan, but my family loves to watch every game, so together we are rooting for Spain.
Paul: Portugal of course!