The Winter Olympics have begun in Sochi, and the city’s small airport is preparing for an influx air traffic by taking a few unusual steps.
One of those is a remarkably large penalty for jets that show up to the airport half an hour late. A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) posted on the FAA’s website says that during the Olympic and Paralympic Games:
DUE TO INCREASED INTST OF FLT FOR THE PERIOD OF OLYMPIC GAMES THE PENAL SANCTIONS WILL BE IMPOSED FOR BUSINESS AVIATION ACFT AT SOCHI AP AT THE RATE OF 1500000 ROUBLES (WO VALUE-ADDED TAX) WHEN VIOLATING THE SLOT FOR MORE THAN 30 MIN.
150,000 roubles comes out to a whopping $US43,137. The penalty doesn’t apply if the plane is late due to weather or technical reasons.
Brad Stewart, CEO of private jet charter company XOJET, which is not running flights to the Games, told Business Insider that while the penalty is extreme, it’s not shocking. Airport officials are “probably trying to do aggressive slot control,” he explained.
Because traffic will be so heavy, flights that don’t arrive when they’re supposed to can mess up carefully coordinated plans. They’re “trying to create a major deterrent,” Stewart said.
In addition to the late fee, jets won’t be allowed to park at the airport for more than two hours, a policy that will help save space.
Eric Ammon, SVP of sales and services at Paramount Business Jets, another charter company, said he booked a flight for a client from Istanbul to Sochi. But because the plane can’t park at the airport, it has to land there twice — and pay the landing fees twice. The round trip will cost its passengers $US17,000.
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