New regulations are prohibiting some private jets from landing at Saint Tropez’s airport, which is probably the most Saint Tropez problem of all time.
In November, France withdraw customs operations from La Mole Saint-Tropez Airport, effectively prohibiting planes from outside the Schengen passport-free zone, which includes 26 European countries, from landing there.
In order to save money, the French government decided to remove customs officials from airports where they were not employed full time. La Mole Saint-Tropez reports about 8,000 flights per year—amounting to about 20 every day.
Most travelers affected are those from Russia, the Middle East and Britain, who account for about 30 percent of flights to and from the airport.
“I've got furious customers who have bought homes for between five and 25 million euros (5.3-26.5 million dollars) and who don't understand,” Cedric Lescop, the head of private jet group Jetfly, told The Local France.
To compensate for the change, members of Saint Tropez’s international jetset are now landing at nearby airports and chartering helicopters to take them through to their final destination. Some have offered to pay a tax to reinstate customs officials at the local airport.
About one dozen small French airports are affected by the change, although few are as prominent—or have as many wealthy travelers—as Saint Tropez. It is estimated that the average foreign traveler who passes through Saint Tropez airport spends about €1,700 (US$1,810) per day.