While the majority of aircraft used for General Aviation (GA) fall into the smaller categories of plane, full-size airliners all the way up to the Airbus 380 and Boeing 777 also serve as private jets. Operating larger aircraft for GA purposes presents some specific planning and logistical challenges. Here, we will take a look at the main considerations for GA operations involving wide-body and large narrow-body aircraft.
What Constitutes a Wide-body Aircraft?
An aircraft is considered to have a wide-body if the fuselage diameter exceeds five meters (16 feet). This can extend to over six meters (20 feet), with the largest examples including the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. Commercial airlines typically use these aircraft in a twin-aisle configuration for scheduled international flights. These planes may also be specially configured for GA use, with a luxurious interior replacing the rows of seats typically found in a commercial jet. The cabin can be adapted to resemble the interior of a five-star hotel, and may include bedrooms, office space, shower rooms and spacious lounge areas. Other wide-body aircraft used in GA include the Airbus A330/340, Boeing 767/777/787 and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11/11ER.
What Constitutes a Large Narrow-body Aircraft?
Planes the size of a Gulfstream G650 or bigger that have fuselage diameters of three to four meters are classified as large narrow-body aircraft. The Gulfstream G650 has a length of 30.41 meters, and a wingspan of 30.36 meters. At the bigger end of the scale, both Boeing and Airbus manufacture variants of their popular airliners, which have been adapted specifically for business use. The BBJ (Boeing Business Jet) series is based around the Boeing 727/737/757 airframes, and usually seats between 25 and 50 passengers. This configuration may include a master bedroom, living area, conference/dining area and washroom with showers. Airbus’s ACJ (Airbus Corporate Jet) series offers similar versions of their A318/319/320 models.
Will I Need Any Additional Equipment?
The majority of wide-body and large GA aircraft will require external stairs to be attached at the destination airport to allow their passengers to disembark. Extra Ground Support Equipment (GSE) may also be necessary for larger aircraft, including specific types of Ground Power Unit (GPU) and belt loaders for luggage. At many destinations, it is mandatory to carry a towbar on board the plane. If this cannot be provided, then parking will not be confirmed. Local FBO operators may not have the correct type of towbar available for larger planes, so it is highly recommended to confirm whether you need to bring your own before flying.
Jetex can arrange all types of ground handling equipment at the location of your choice. If you have any questions regarding the availability of equipment at your next destination, please contact our team to discuss your requirements at email@example.com.
Will Any Extra Crew Be Required?
Larger GA aircraft often carry a dedicated flight mechanic as part of their crew. It is very useful to have someone on board who is familiar with the plane, in case any maintenance issues may be encountered during the journey. The bigger the plane, the more crew will be required on board. The crew count can be as high as 10 to 15 for operations involving the largest sizes of aircraft, such as the Airbus 380 or Boeing 777.
How Much Additional Trip Planning is Involved?
When arranging a flight involving a larger aircraft, additional permits may be needed, depending on the destination. For example, aircraft overflying the United States may require a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) waiver (please click here to learn more about TSA Waiver regulations). At many airports, a landing permit is mandatory for charter aircraft with more than 20 seats. In some locations, more severe restrictions apply. For example at Gimpo International Airport (RKSS) in Seoul, GA aircraft with a capacity for carrying more than 20 passengers are not permitted to land.
Many locations require larger planes to operate to the main airport terminal rather than the GA ramp. It can prove difficult to secure parking for large or wide-body aircraft during peak seasons or busy event periods. For this reason, it is highly recommended to arrange aircraft parking at the earliest opportunity. Also, it is essential to make sure that the runways and taxiways at the destination airport have the width and load-bearing capability to accommodate large or wide-body aircraft.
The Jetex dispatch team is well-versed in global trip planning. We will ensure that all necessary permits and permissions are obtained ahead of your flight. For any enquiries, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Extra Documents May Be Required?
In some countries, the Civil Aviation Authorities (CAAs) will automatically treat all large and wide-body aircraft as either charter or commercial. In addition to the standard local requirements, the authorities will usually request written confirmation that the flight is private/non-revenue. This should be provided on official company letterheaded paper. Providing an interior diagram of the aircraft is another method which can be employed as proof that the aircraft is flying a private GA operation.
How About Fuel Arrangements?
Larger aircraft can easily uplift 5,000 to 30,000 gallons of fuel. Fueling arrangements should always be made well in advance of arrival, to ensure:
a) the correct type of fuel is available, and
b) the required volume of fuel can be uplifted
The Jetex fuel team has a wealth of experience in arranging fuel uplifts of all types, worldwide. In case of any questions or concerns regarding the fueling facilities available at your next destination, please get in touch at email@example.com.
Any Extra Points to Consider for In-flight Catering?
In general, large and wide-body aircraft will have more extensive galley facilities than their smaller counterparts. High loader trucks are preferred for loading/unloading in-flight catering supplies, however these specialized vehicles are not always available at smaller airports. In the absence of such equipment, catering supplies need to be loaded via the L2 stairs. For some destinations, local in-flight caterers will not have the capacity to handle very large or specialty catering requests. Under these circumstances, it may be necessary to source catering from local restaurants. In order to cover all eventualities, it pays to cross-check and ensure everything is arranged before you set off.
Still Have Questions? Consult Our Expert Team!
If you are operating a wide-body or large narrow-body GA aircraft, always bear in mind that there could be some additional requirements in terms of ground handling equipment, documentation and trip planning. Our teams are on standby 24/7 to process any request, and will take care of all necessary permits and permissions, fuel uplifts and ground handling arrangements.
For further details on how you can benefit from our services, please contact us today on +971 4 212 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.