Know before you go


The Cannes Film Festival, which takes place on May 11-22, 2016, in the south of France, is the largest film industry event in Europe, and is one of the most prestigious in the world. Actors and directors head to the city to promote their films, journalists to cover the stories, and high profile film fans to experience screenings of the latest movies, networking and parties.

This is a very busy time for private jet travel in Europe, with large numbers of aircraft flying visitors to airports close to the main festival venue, the Palais des Festivals et des Congres, quickly, directly and in VIP style.

Indeed, the Cannes Film Festival is one of the most important events for private jets in Europe; to better understand its impact, here are five facts about private jet travel to the Cannes Film Festival:

1. Cannes is the biggest event for private jet travel in Europe

While the event that attracts the largest number of private jets in the world is the Super Bowl in the USA, in Europe the peak is the weekend of the Cannes Film Festival.

In itself the festival attracts a large number of celebrities, high profile figures, sponsors, companies and industry groups that prefer to use private aviation. But its impact is increased by the fact that it usually overlaps with travel to two other major events in France that attract a similar VIP audience – the Monaco Grand Prix and the French Open tennis championships at Roland-Garros in Paris. Many private jet customers will move between these events over a matter of days and this usually generates around 6,000 private jet movements at Nice and Cannes during the period – double the usual flight volumes.

This year the events do not overlap as closely as they have before: the final weekend of the Cannes Film Festival takes place on May 21-22, with the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26-29 and the early rounds of the French Open starting on May 22. So this year we’d expect the peak to be more spread out, over a wider period of time, finishing at the start of June during the final of the Open.

2. Most private jets land at Nice, rather than Cannes

We usually see around 70% of private jet traffic using Nice Cote D’Azur Airport over the Cannes Film Festival period, and the rest using Cannes Mandelieu Airport (with a tiny proportion using other small Cote D’Azur airports such as St Tropez or Toulon).

This is due to the longer runway at Nice, which can handle private jets of all sizes, from small jets up to VIP converted airliners such as the BBJ. Nice airport also has more ramp, hangar and parking space to handle more aircraft and is open 24 hours a day.

However, in the past year, the airports’ owner (the four airports are run by the same group) has undertaken some development work at Cannes Mandelieu, including lengthening the runway. This means it can accommodate larger aircraft, including some long range jets such as the Falcon 7X. And being closer to the Palais de Festivals (four miles away), it may well take more share of the private jet movements this year.

3. Cannes heliport is just a short walk from the Palais des Festivals

During the festival period, the roads around Cannes become very congested so visitors arriving by private jet or airline, or those already on the ground in the French Riviera, can beat the traffic jams by booking a private helicopter transfer.

For €1,000 (US$1,131), a helicopter charter can fly you fast and direct from Nice Cote D’Azur Airport to the Cannes Heliport at Quai du Large, located just opposite the Palais des Festivals. The flight time is approximately 10 minutes and offers a stunning aerial view over the Mediterranean coast.

The Quai du Large heliport is located in the same bay as the Palais des Festivals, so festival goers can walk to events and enjoy the sun (high heels permitting) or book a VIP taxi to cover the last short distance.

4. More than 80% of private jet flights to the Cannes Film Festival are international

The Cannes Film Festival is a major international event, and this is reflected in its business aviation traffic. Just 17% of private flights are domestic, the majority originating from Paris. Some are long-range jet flights, starting from Los Angeles and New York in the USA or Tokyo, Japan, and flying directly into Nice Airport for the event. But the biggest number come from the rest of Europe, especially the UK, Italy and Switzerland.

5. The price of a private jet flight to the Cannes Film Festival ranges from US$4,000-U$147,000

Private jet pricing varies widely of course, according to the type of aircraft and the route, ranging from €3,500 (US$4,000) for a one-way flight from Milan to Nice in a four-seater Citation Mustang to €130,000 (US$147,000) for a return flight from Los Angeles to Nice in a long-range Global Express.

This article was originally published on the PrivateFly website.

About the author

Adam Twidell is PrivateFly CEO and co-founder. After 10 years as an RAF pilot and then flying private jets himself, he saw the opportunity to use technology to transform the fragmented private jet market.

March 30, 2016

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Kirstie worked full-time on Business Airport International for over two years and is now a freelance journalist. Away from her writing commitments, you will find her blogging on her lifestyle website or training for her next charity run.

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