International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Month: January 2016

On simplifying International Flight Information …

Our aim with the weekly International Ops Bulletin that we produce is to take relevant operational news affecting International Flight Operations each week, and simplify it.

It’s a learning process for us as well, because the technical language of aviation is often unnecessarily verbose, legalese, jargon-filled text. Spare a moment for those of us that don’t have English as our first language (and that’s most).

Our process is to read through the source data, translate them into bullet point plain English, and combine these with the Flight Reports, News, and Input that we get from our 25,000 or so readers.

For each item, we also ask ourselves one simple question. Would this affect my decision as an Aircraft Operator to fly to this Airport? If yes, then we’ll include it – relevance is as important as clarity.

Some stories are worth expanding into a quick blog post, primarily to gather the useful links into one spot so that you can explore more of the story if you want to, and those will appear here.

We’ve now moved to publishing the Bulletin on a Wednesday; blog posts can happen anytime. For regular email delivery, just pop your details in here.




Midweek Briefing: Mexico Volcano Eruption, Atlantic MNPS is over… Introducing HLA

Mexico Volcano Eruption 29JAN Popocatepetl Volcano, which is 55 kilometres southeast of Mexico City, had its last major eruption in 2000; it erupted on Tuesday this week affecting flight operations at MMPB/Puebla, and with the risk of further eruptions affecting operations in Mexico City itself.

Atlantic MNPS is over… introducing HLA 29JAN Effective next week, 04FEB, there are another round of changes on the North Atlantic – HLA/High Level Airspace is the replacement for MNPS, and the airspace is extended with Bodø joining Shanwick, Gander, Reykjavik, New York, and Santa Maria. Read our International Ops Notice 01/2016.



North Atlantic Effective 04FEB MNPS Airspace is replaced by HLA/High Level Airspace on the North Atlantic – extended with Bodø joining Shanwick, Gander, Reykjavik, New York, and Santa Maria. RNP4 or RNP10 now required. Read our International Ops Notice 01/2016 
or our blog post: Did you know MNPS is over?

TTxx/Trinidad and Tobago The annual Carnival in Port of Spain will take place on February 8 and 9, 2016. Travel and tourism activities are expected to continue for up to two weeks after the celebration and will be busiest during weekends. February 10, 2016 (Ash Wednesday) is expected to be the busiest day of the year at the Port of Spain airport. February 8 to 9, 2016 is also expected to be a congested time for departures.

KSFO/Super Bowl 50 The FAA will not be imposing a slot-based special traffic management program for the game on 08FEB, but ramp reservations, made through specific FBOs, will be required for all arrivals and departures from 04-08FEB. The rule will apply to all airports in the region, including San Francisco International, Oakland International, Hayward Executive, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International, Livermore Municipal, Buchanan Field, Napa County, Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County, Monterey Regional, Watsonville Municipal and Salinas Municipal. NBAA has set up a Super Bowl 50 information page that includes links to the FAA arrival/departure routes.

Uxxx/Tajikistan The U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Tajikistan that reads as follows: “In early September 2015, armed clashes involving security forces resulted in a number of deaths close to Dushanbe International Airport and in the Romit Valley not far from Dushanbe. While tensions have eased, security remains heightened. You should continue to take extra care, monitor the local media and check this advice regularly.”

KFZZ/Falcon Field, Arizona In January and February, Runways 4R/22L and 4L/22R at Falcon Field Airport (FFZ) in Mesa, AZ will be closed non-concurrently for the taxiway ALPHA realignment construction project. These are hard closures with no potential for runway recall. Runway 4L/22R had closed Jan. 12, at 6 a.m. (1300Z) and will remain closed until Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. Runway 4R/22L is expected to close Monday, Feb. 1, at 6 a.m. (1300Z) and remain closed until Sunday, Feb. 15.

Kxxx/United States A few weeks ago we reported on new FAA FDC NOTAMs that eliminate the need to obtain a TSA Waiver for domestic flights in the US. on 17JAN The FAA has corrected an error in these (in simple terms, they forgot to include some previously issued exceptions), and so there are 3 brand new NOTAMS effective – these are 6/4255, 6/4256 and 6/4260. Got some time?Read the original NOTAMs in full.

Mxxx/Mexico The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain places in Mexico due to threats to safety and security posed by organized criminal groups in the country. U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mexico, issued May 5, 2015

EISN/Shannon FIR Due to a number of flights deviating from clearances prior to exiting Shanwick OCA, flight crews are reminded that Eastbound route clearances issued by Shannon Control for aircraft exiting Oceanic Airspace apply from AGORI, SUNOT, BILTO, PIKIL, ETARI, RESNO, VENER, DOGAL, NEBIN, MALOT, TOBOR, LIMRI, ADARA, DINIM, RODEL, SOMAX, KOGAD, BEDRA, OMOKO, TAMEL AND LASNO. Flights shall not turn before these points.

Uxxx/Russia The Russian Institute of Volcanology has issued a code orange alert after Russia’s Zhupanovsky volcano began erupting earlier this week, sending clouds of ash and gas to 27,000 ft. A code orange advises pilots to avoid flying near the ash cloud, reportedly moving over the North Pacific Ocean driven by prevailing easterly winds.

UIII/Irkutsk has issued NOTAM A0134/16 closing RWY 12/30 weekly on Tuesdays from 1210-1450Z beginning Feb 02 and ending March 22. UIII is not available as an alternate during those times.

UHSS/Yuzhno is closed daily between 0330-0500Z due to preventative maintenance. No end date has been issued.

RPHI/Manila FIR has begun Phase 1-b of an ADS/CPDLC trail. The specific details of the plan can be found here.

Wxxx/Indonesia  As of 19JAN, Mount Egon has been erupting on Flores Island, which is located east of Bali Island. Egon emitted large amounts of ash and noxious gas. As of yet, the eruption has not caused any flight delays or cancellations; however, previous volcanic eruptions in the lesser Sunda Islands have caused extended delays in Denpasar and Mataram.

Zxxx/China Talks with the Zhuhai municipal government, Chinese government, Zhuhai Airport Authority and the Civil Aviation Authority China (CAAC) resulted in temporary International China Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) services at Zhuhai Airport for non-scheduled business aviation movements. Following the approval late last month, China’s National Port Administration Office opened a temporary customs port on January 1. The approval is renewable on a six-month basis. During the “approval period” from January 1 to June 30, crewmembers of foreign business aviation flights can enter and exit China via the temporary business aviation port at Zhuhai Airport.
View the full International Bulletin 27JAN2016

Did you know MNPS is over? Meet HLA, the new North Atlantic Airspace.

From Feb 4th, 2016, MNPS (Minimum Navigation Performance Specifications) Airspace is being dumped as a term (no loss, really), and replaced by the much more user friendly NAT High Level Airspace or NAT HLA. MNPS first came into being in 1977, and this change is significant in that the requirements for approval to enter the new NAT HLA are updated – you must now have RNP4, or RNP10. Also, the rest of the Atlantic welcomes Bodø Oceanic to the fray – it joins Shanwick, Gander, Reykjavik, New York, and Santa Maria to make up the new NAT HLA, which keep the original vertical profile of FL285-FL420.

In short, that’s all you need to know. You should read our International Ops Notice 01/16 for the full story.


New NAT HLA High Level Airspace Map

New NAT HLA High Level Airspace Map

We’re hiring a Junior Flight Service Specialist (Asia/CIS)

Join our team of Flight Service stations (HNL, SAN, MCO, SNN, DOH, MNL, AKL) to provide assistance as needed with flight planning, logistics arrangements, publication preparation, and ad-hoc aircraft operator services.

\\\ What you’ll be doing

This Junior Flight Service Specialist role is location independent, meaning that you can choose where you work from – we only require that you have a laptop and secure internet access with a backup option. The role is shift work based, although weighted towards normal office hours in your timezone. There is regular weekend work.

\\\ What you’ll need

  • A really great attitude to teamwork, positive approach to customer satisfaction, and at least some interest in airplanes or logistics!
  • A minimum of1year practical and relevant experience gained in a Corporate Flight Department, Flight Support Provider or similar.
  • Located in a CIS or Asian time zone UTC+3 to UTC+8
  • A basic qualification in flight planning –FAA Dispatch License or equivalent would be great.
  • Did we say Attention to Detail? Attention to Detail.
  • Self Starter with discipline to work alone but within a team
  • Proven skill for multi-tasking
  • Able to work irregular hours including weekends and holidays
  • This is an English speaking role but Russian language is an advantage


\\\ Why would you want to work here?

You get to work with a great group of people all over the world, providing information and assistance to Aircraft Operators globally. Even if we do say so ourselves, it’s a nice team of people that enjoy what they do, and you’ll see how that makes for a great working environment.


\\\ How to apply?




Monday Briefing: Your Attention Please, US Airport Disruptions

Your Attention Please 18JAN As we reach 25,000 readers, your help is requested. We want to make sure we’re delivering the best bulletin to you, so if you have a few moments, please answer 3 questionsYou’ll receive a gift token for use in the Flight Service store.

US Airport Disruptions 18JAN Airport workers plan disruptions in nine U.S. cities on MLK Day (Monday). Watch out for industrial action in Boston, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Portland, and Seattle.


FJDG/Diego Garcia is closed from 15JAN to 19JAN.

WSSS/Singapore 2016 Airshow takes place 16-21FEB at Changi. Planning for parking, accommodation and when required permits should be arranged as early as possible.

LTBA/Istanbul is expecting a significant snow event on Monday. Commercial carriers have already preemptively canceled flights until the storm passes. Please check latest weather advisories and plan accordingly.

Kxxx/United States Airport workers plan disruptions in nine U.S. cities on MLK Day (Jan 18th). Watch out for industrial in Boston; New York City; Newark, N.J.; Philadelphia;  Miami; Chicago; Portland, Oregan; and Seattle.

LSZH/Zurich Delays this week due to World Economic Forum in Davos.

KMCO/Orlando A two-phase runway construction project at is scheduled to begin 12JAN and continue into April 2016. Runway 17R/35L will be closed during phase one, and Runway 18L/36R will close during phase two.

TBPB/Bardados is closed nightly from 0400-1000Z UTC due to work on the ATS building from Jan 13th to Jan 28th. Airspace is also downgraded to Class G to FL245 on the 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th. Please see NOTAM A0030/16 for full details.

URSS/Sochi reports of low fuel availability, check with Airport for latest, tankering recommended regardless.

NZxx/New Zealand The Aviation Security Officers Union advised on 14JAN of a possible strike. The union identified no date for the possible strike. Airport officials stated that if security officers strike, the air transportation will come to a standstill nationwide.

VIDP/New Delhi Airspace closed to commercial flights for more than an hour every day beginning next week in view of the Republic Day celebrations. 1035-1215 local, on 19-24JAN, and 26JAN.

West Africa The World Health Organization announced last week that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is officially over. For the first time since the outbreak began in December 2013, all three of the hardest-hit West African nations — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — have had zero reported cases of Ebola for 42 days in a row, a period equal to two full incubation cycles of the virus.

VHHH/Hong Kong According to reports on 13JAN, thieves targeted a South African national aboard South African Airways flight 286 from Johannesburg to Hong Kong on 21 December. The victim stated that a fellow passenger alerted him that other passengers had taken his baggage while he was sleeping and rummaged through it in the aircraft lavatory. When the victim subsequently inspected his baggage, he found that the lock had been broken and foreign currency worth approximately $1200, as well as items of jewelry, were missing. Hong Kong police officers searched several suspects when the aircraft landed, but the stolen items were not found. This type of crime is reportedly a significant problem on international flights bound for Asian destinations, particularly Hong Kong. According to statistics released by Hong Kong authorities in August 2015, a total of 45 in-flight robberies had been reported up to that point in 2015; 48 cases occurred in 2014. Cash, jewelry and smartphones are especially targeted.

Lxxx/Turkey Foreign nationals filing certain visa applications at a consular post must now upload their application documents online through the Turkish electronic visa application system prior to appearing at a consular post. Applicants must still submit their visa application forms and supporting documents in person at a Turkish consular post. This system does not impact electronic visas for those nationals eligible for E-visas, but does impact business visitors who must acquire a consular visa.

Int Ops Bulletin As we reach 25,000 readers, your help is requested. We want to make sure we’re delivering the best bulletin to you, so if you have a few moments, please answer 3 questions. You’ll receive a gift token for use in the Flight Service store.

View the full International Bulletin 18JAN2016

Monday Briefing: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain ban flights from Iran, New US Visa Waiver Restrictions

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain ban flights from Iran 11JAN Bahraini and Saudi Civil aviation have banned flights between Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Bahraini Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) stated that it will work to resolve any disruptions as a result of the ban. Bahrain previously cut diplomatic relations with Iran, following the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

New US Visa Waiver Restrictions 11JAN Several changes to the rules for the US Visa Waiver program are now in effect, restricting the moment of travelers having visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria in the last 5 years. Read more …


NFFN/Fiji A report released by the Disaster Management Office on 4 January 2016 stated that Cyclone Ula caused minor damage to Fiji. While the storm blew away iron roofs in Ono-i-Lau and Kabara islands, it did not cause significant structural damage or loss of life.

SBxx/Brazil Tourists from Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States will be eligible to travel to Brazil for the upcoming Olympics without a visa for up to 90 days for visits between 01JUN and 18SEP16, though no extensions will be available. Proof of Olympic attendance is not required for this visa waiver. Business travelers from these countries will still require business visas during this time. Eligible travelers should be sure to confirm the validity of their travel documents prior to their trips. After 18SEP, tourists from these countries will require tourist visas for entry.

LFLL/Lyon Due to industrial strike affecting fuel providers at LFLL (Lyon Airport). Aircraft Operators have been asked to tanker in enough fuel for a round trip. LFLL Airport can also not be used as alternate until 12JAN.

Cxxx/Canada Nav Canada has issued AIC 3/16 advising of a pending change to the credit that may be taken at alternate aerodromes for lateral navigation/vertical navigation (LNAV/VNAV) minima, when the aircraft is certified for barometric LNAV/VNAV.

KPHX/Phoenix Possible arrival and departure delays are expected on 12JAN due to extra passenger volume the day after the Alabama and Clemson football game. The airport expects an extra 30,000 departing passengers that day, boosting the total number of passengers to 150,000. In addition to regularly scheduled flights, at least 14 charter flights will depart.

Kxxx/Southern California SpaceX has scheduled a launch for Jan. 17. This launch will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Please check local NOTAMs with KZLA (SOCAL) and KZOA (Oakland Oceanic) for any airspace closures.

Zxxx/China Chinese officials stated that they will allow departing flights to transit via Taiwan. Aviation officials will allow flights departing from Chongqing, Nanchang and Kunming to transit through Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport (RCTP/TPE).

Fxxx/Madagascar On 7 January 2016, Malagasy health officials reported statistics in an ongoing outbreak of the bubonic plague. Reports indicate that 63 fatalities and a total of 174 cases have been recorded since August 2015. Madagascar first alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to this outbreak in September. A previous outbreak in 2014, which lasted until early 2015, resulted in 335 cases and 79 fatalities.

Dxxx/Nigeria The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has lifted the suspension it recently imposed on Acorn Petroleum Limited from supplying aviation fuel to domestic and foreign airlines at airports in the country. NCAA had suspended Acorn and four other oil marketing companies from supplying aviation fuel to local and foreign airlines operating in the country.

Vxxx/India The Indian government has approved a Memorandum of Understanding on Civil Aviation between India and Singapore.


View the full International Operations Bulletin 11JAN2016

Shanwick/Gander: New NAT procedure – Confirm Assigned Route

Coming soon to an FMS near you will be a new standard message from Oceanic ATC: “Confirm Assigned Route”.

If you’ve operated on the ‘half-tracks’ in the NAT recently, you’ll have seen this. So, what’s it all about? 

Short and simple: with the half-tracks, the potential for Nav Errors are now (quite a lot, perhaps) higher than before. Waypoints are that bit more complicated, and 5030N 30W is a little too similar to 50N 30W.

So, to prevent you reading back the clearance correctly and then screwing up the route in the FMS, Shanwick (and Gander from 01DEC16) will ask you via datalink “What are you planning to fly?” once you enter the Ocean. 

All you have to do is ack the message, scroll through your route and check it looks OK, and send it back down to them. If it’s the same as your clearance, then that’s that. If not, or you don’t reply, you’ll get an additional telegram from Shanwick.

Each aircraft has a different FMS of course, so the good people at NATS have issued AIC 071/16 to help you – it covers the A320-340, 350/380, and 75,/76, 77. If you fly a business jet, one of those should be pretty similar to yours. And if you’re operating something a little older, keep the radio operators in Ballygirreen and Gander happy with a full position report.











Reference:  Iceland AIC 12/16.

January 2016 US Visa Waiver Changes

When do these changes come in to effect?

The “four countries” restriction is effective 20DEC2015; the passport requirement 01APR2016.

Who is prohibited from traveling under the Visa Waiver Program by the new law?  Are there any exceptions or waivers from the restrictions?

The new VWP travel restrictions apply to:

• Nationals of VWP countries who, since 01MAR2011, have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria or any other country of concern designated by the Department of Homeland Security; and

• Dual nationals of a VWP country and Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria or any other country of concern designated by the Department of Homeland Security.

If you have traveled to a country of concern since March 1, 2011, you are prohibited from traveling under the VWP.

If you are a dual national of a VWP country and Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria or any other country or area deemed to be of concern by the Secretary of Homeland Security, you are prohibited from traveling under the VWP.  There is no exception to this prohibition.

If you are barred from the VWP travel and do not qualify for an exception or a waiver, you must obtain a B-1/B-2 visa at a U.S. consulate before traveling to the United States for business or tourism.


What are the new passport requirements for travel under the Visa Waiver Program?  How do they differ from previous VWP requirements?

Starting 01APR2016, all VWP travelers (including infants and children) must present an e-Passport – i.e., a travel document that is machine-readable and contains an electronic chip – when traveling to the United States.

Most VWP travelers have been required to present an e-Passport when entering the United States for some time. However, some nationals of longtime VWP member countries whose passports were issued before October 26, 2006, have been able to travel to the United States on the VWP even if they do not have an e-Passport.

After March 31, 2016, all VWP travelers must present an e-Passport.   E-Passports contain an integrated computer chip that stores the passports holder’s biographic data, a biometric identifier, a digital signature and a unique chip identification number.  The data on the chip includes two lines of machine-readable data as well as facial recognition details. The chip can also be scanned to match the identity of the traveler to the passport.

These passport requirements apply only to travelers under the Visa Waiver Program. Foreign nationals who have a U.S. visitor visa or another type of U.S. nonimmigrant visa stamped in their passport are not required to comply with these revised passport requirements.


What is the Visa Waiver Program and who is eligible to participate?

The Visa Waiver Program permits eligible citizens of designated countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days for business or pleasure without first having to obtain a visitor visa at a U.S. consulate.  In order to use the VWP, travelers must obtain Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) clearance.

Citizens of the following 38 countries are eligible to participate in the VWP: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.




Monday Briefing: Cyclone Ula strengthens towards Fiji, TSA Waiver program changes

Cyclone Ula maintains strength towards Fiji The first tropical cyclone for 2016 is lashing Fiji’s outlying islands, after causing destruction in parts of Tonga. Category three Cyclone Ula is bringing 150-kilometre-an-hour winds, strong gusts and heavy rain to the Lau group, in Fiji’s eastern division. Fiji Met Service has the latest information.

TSA Waiver program changes 04JAN The requirement for foreign operators to obtain a TSA Waiver for domestic flights within the US has been dropped, but only for aircraft under 45 tons. See new Notams FDC 5/6289, 5/5782, and 5/5806.

OAKB/Kabul. Afghanistan At approximately 1100 local time (0630 UTC) on 04JAN an explosion was reported near Hamid Karzai International Airport (OAKB/KBL). According to police sources, the blast occurred when a suicide bomber in a vehicle detonated explosives at a police checkpoint near the airport. With the exception of the assailant, the bombing did not result in injuries or fatalities, and there was no indication that airport operations were affected.

South Pacific / Tropical Storm Ula located approximately 230 nm south-southeast of Suva, Fiji. The current intensity is assessed at 85 knots based on Dvorak intensity estimates ranging from 77-102 knots. The system is expected to slow significantly under a weak steering influence, before shifting northwest as the ridge to the south begins to build.

UIBB/Bratsk A common Polar ETOPS alternate has issued a notice that non-scheduled aircraft must have prior permission due to fuel supply issues.

UIII/Irkutsk A common Polar ETOPS alternate. The main and only runway 12/30 is closed due to repair from 05JAN until 26JAN. Please see NOTAM A5600/15 for further details.

UUDD/Moscow Arrival of An-124 and B747 aircraft only by prior coordination with the Airport Company until March.

VHHK/Hong Kong International Airport opened a new $10 billion concourse this week. The Midfield Concourse’s 19 gates and 20 aircraft parking stands will allow the airport to handle an additional 10 million passengers per year and will serve approximately 20% of passenger flights once it begins operating at full capacity in March, Hong Kong International said. The five-story, 1.1 million-square-foot concourse sits between the airport’s two existing runways and connects to Terminal 1 via an automatic people mover.

NFFF/Nadi FIR Until Jan 21/2016. Operators of RNAV equipped aircraft intending to operate within the NADI FIR shall plan using random routes only if the aircraft are equipped with RNP10 or better and must have HF. Non-RNP aircraft will be permitted to operate but will be required to flight plan vis published fixes air routes. Please see NOTAM A1521/15.

HSSS/Khartoum, Sudan has no Jet A1 available for Ad-hoc operations between 27DEC and 05JAN. Carry return fuel or choose another tech stop.


View the full International Operations Bulletin 04Jan2016

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