Nice or Cannes?


Which airport is best for private flights to the Cannes Film Festival or Monaco Grand Prix?

The two largest events on the Cote d’Azur are just around the corner. The 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival runs May 23-25, with the Monaco Grand Prix taking place May 26th just next door in the Principality of Monaco.

Things move fast in the private aviation business and some of our clients who don’t want to miss out on these events are already booking their flights to secure the best options available. And one of the questions that our clients inevitably ask us this time of the year is: which airport shall we choose?

So here are our recommendations:

The primary airports for private jets are Nice Côte d’Azur airport (NCE/LFMN) and Cannes Mandelieu airport (CEQ/LFMD).

Nice Côte d’Azur airport (NCE/LFMN)

Nice Côte d’Azur Airport is an international airport located about 6 km from Nice city centre, in the Alpes-Maritimes Department of France. It is the main port of arrival for passengers to the Côte d’Azur. After Paris Le Bourget, it is the second busiest private jet airport in France and in 2017 it was also the second busiest in Europe with 35.657 movements.

It has a dedicated Business Aviation Terminal that opened in 2010 offering premium services to passengers like VIP lounges, specialist support services and luxury shopping. Passengers can drive right up to the entrance, where canopies ensure discrete entry to the terminal.

Located between the two event venues, it is the most flexible choice for both the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix. It takes about a 40-minute drive to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes and to Montecarlo. Mainly because its runways are long enough to accommodate aircraft of any size, it becomes the first option for clients flying in on larger jets. Another advantage over Cannes is that in most cases it is open 24 hours, giving you more flexibility in terms of schedules.

Known as one of the most scenic airport approaches in Europe, landing at Nice airport allows you to enjoy stunning views over the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea and the rocky coastline.

Nice airport requires slot authorisation and prior permission for parking due to the high traffic volumes they receive especially during the summer or around busy events. Therefore, it is vital that you make all your travel arrangements well in advance.

Cannes Mandelieu airport (CEQ/LFMD)

Cannes Mandelieu is the third most important business airport in France with 11.848 registered movements in 2017. It is located about 7 km from the city centre allowing you to reach easily not only Cannes, but also Saint-Tropez and Nice.

The smaller Cannes Mandelieu runway imposes some maximum takeoff weight restrictions, which means that only small to medium-sized private jets can operate at this airport. Larger aircraft, such as ultra-long rage or VIP airliners, are usually unable to operate from this facility. Unlike Nice, Cannes operating times is normally from 0800 in the morning until 30 minutes after sunset.

Compared to Nice airport, Cannes has very quick passenger handling times due to its smaller size, allowing passengers to arrive just shortly before departure.

In summary, this airport is the best option for those travellers who are looking for the fastest and most direct way to get to Cannes, regardless of operating restrictions. With regards to the Monaco Grand Prix, the longer distance from the venue and operating limitations make this airport a less popular choice.

Regardless of your airport choice, we strongly recommend you to arrange your private flight as soon as possible as both airports become extremely busy during these events.

Luckily, there are plenty of alternative airports to consider too, especially when parking at Nice and Cannes may become an issue, including Toulon-Heyres (TLN), Le Castellet (CTT) and Marseilles (MRS).

In the case of the Monaco Grand Prix, if no parking is available at Nice airport, then Genoa (GOA), which is about 175 km away, may be a good option to consider.

Whether you want to fly to Nice, Cannes or any other destination, our private charter experts will give you advice regarding the aircraft and airports that suit your needs. Contact us by e-mail or call +34 91 395 2025.

You also may consult real-time availabilities and price estimates for your next private flight with our online private jet search engine