International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Month: June 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Midweek Briefing 29JUN: Santa Maria Oceanic Strike, US Entry Requirements

Santa Maria Strike: Four Routes 29JUN Santa Maria Oceanic has published four special routes for use during the upcoming “July Friday Strike Series” ATC Industrial Action. Read the article and then Summer of Strikes.

New US Entry Requirements 29JUN The US has updated entry processing through ESTA (the online visa system for countries using the Visa Waiver Program). Read the article.

 


LTBA/Istanbul has reopened to traffic after a terrorist attack on 28JUN. 40 people were killed in a series of explosions and gunfire at the International terminal on Tuesday evening.

UMZZ/Belarus will undergo a re-evaluation of its currency and banks will be closed to the public between 30JUN and 01JUL, if operating to Minsk you should ensure you have sufficient cash available for those days.

EGZZ/UK Much has been written about Britain’s departure from Europe this week (and we’re talking Brexit, not football), but if you’re having trouble figuring out how this will affect you as an operator, that might be because it won’t. Read the article.

LGZZ/Greek Islands Now that summer is here in Europe, the annual capacity challenge at Greek Islands is most acute on weekends, expect healthy slot delays if operating to LGIR (Iraklion) LGKP (Karpathos) LGMK (Mikonos) LGZA (Zakinthos) LGSR (Santorini) LGSK (Skiathos) or LGSA (Chania).

VHHH/Hong Kong The CAD issued a reminder to operators this week that the airport is under strain, and slots issued must be strictly adhered to. It would seem that the Slot Adherence procedure issued earlier in the year isn’t really working. Any local operators have feedback? Let us know.

EFRO/Rovaniemi has no Jet A1 available from until July.

LPPS/Porto Santo is also out of Jet A1 until 01JUL.

DAAA/Algeria New fax/phone number for the ACC (Area Control) in Algiers: +213 (0)21 67 49 27until 23JUL.

AYZZ/Papua New Guinea Reports of civil unrest, student demonstrations across Papua New Guinea started in May 2016 and are ongoing. There have been violent clashes between students, other groups and the police in Port Moresby, Lae and the Highlands.

PWAK/Wake Island has advised its High Loader is out of action until later in the year, so for large aircraft like B767 upwards, no offload capability exists for cargo.

EGZZ/Scotland (Will we need a new ICAO code soon?) Glasgow ATC – at both EGPK and EGPF – has sporadic closures overnight at present due to staffing issues. Keep an eye on Notams.

WAAF/Ujung Pandang has some radar outages affecting high-level overflights, optimum levels may not be available.

LPPO/Santa Maria Oceanic has published four special routes for use during the upcoming “July Friday Strike Series” ATC Industrial Action. The Strike Time Period is : 0700-0900Z, during which time only these four routes will be accepted. -ROUTE A- 45N020W 40N030W 37N040W -ROUTE B- DETOX 39N020W 36N030W 34N040W -ROUTE C- LUTAK 36N020W 33N030W 29N040W -ROUTE D- ULTEM 27N040W

LIZZ/Italy We have been notified of possible ATC industrial action on 23JUL which was previously scheduled on 05JUL. Details and participation of relevant ACCs are as follows: National strike (ACCs and airports) 0800-1600 UTC. Local strike at LIRA – Ciampino 0800-1600 UTC.

VCBI/Colombo, Sri Lanka There was industrial action yesterday, 28JUN, by Immigration Officials, which may continue. Flight delays possible.

LEZZ/Spain There was a strike threatened by Apron Controllers at LEMD/Madrid but that was cancelled on Monday.

LPZZ/Portugal The seven unions of NAV Portugal sent a pre-notice for an industrial action for ATC and non-ATC personnel, during two hours daily on: 30JUN and 8/15/22/29JUL.

KATL/Atlanta Upgrades on the airport have officially started, which will include a new runway, concourse and hotel.

View the full International Bulletin 29JUN2016

US Entry requirements updated

The US has updated entry processing through ESTA (the online visa system for countries using the Visa Waiver Program).

The system now reflects the designation of Somalia, Libya and Yemen as countries of concern, a change made under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

In addition to the country-specific travel restrictions, a request for ESTA applicants’ Global Entry Program Numbers was also added.

The Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals from designated countries to enter the United States for business or tourism for up to 90 days without the need to obtain a B-1/B-2 visitor visa from a U.S. consulate. VWP travellers must register and obtain approval to travel from the ESTA and carry an e-passport.

Santa Maria Strike: Four Routes

Update: 1730Z/Weds – we have received notification that Portuguese Industrial action may be being withdrawn. We will update and confirm when certain.

LPPO/Santa Maria Oceanic has published four special routes for use during the upcoming “July Friday Strike Series” ATC Industrial Action.

If you happen to be crossing the LPPO FIR on a Friday morning in July, then expect a hefty reroute if you didn’t file per the plan.

The Strike Time Period is : 0700-0900Z, during which time only these four routes will be accepted.

ROUTE A– 45N020W 40N030W 37N040W

ROUTE B– DETOX 39N020W 36N030W 34N040W

ROUTE C– LUTAK 36N020W 33N030W 29N040W

ROUTE D– ULTEM 27N040W

The cutoff time for these routes is when you enter the LPPO/Santa Maria FIR

Traffic entering prior to 0700Z: unrestricted

Traffic entering the FIR between 0700-0900Z: Must file and fly one of the four Routes above.

Traffic entering the FIR after 0900Z: unrestricted

Summer of ATC Strikes: This weeks update

European Air Traffic Controllers are striking in a fight against changes emanating from labour reform and the Single European Sky initiative. Curiously, Greece – normally a big fan of ATC strikes during the summer – has remained off the radar.

Here’s the latest, and it’s a growing list:

France
– Ongoing ATC Strikes – the latest ended on 06JUL at 0400Z. Nothing else on the horizon – for now.
– French overseas territories are also included in these strikes – so Tahiti, New Caledonia, Martinique, Guadeloupe have all joined in the action when it takes place.

Italy
– Strike announced for 23JUL, affecting Area Control Centre’s and Airports in Italy. Normally Italian strikes permit overflying traffic without restriction.

Iceland
– Ongoing sporadic strike action affecting BIKF, BIRK airports, and BIRD Oceanic FIR. Occasional entire closures of the airspace except for Emergency and scheduled flights. Eastbound Traffic from the US/Canada to Europe not accepted during these closures unless destination is in Scandinavia, the Baltics, or Russia.
– Since first week of July, westbound traffic is also not accepted in BIRD during strike periods. Check BIRD Notams.

Portugal
– Strikes announced for every Friday in July were cancelled last week

We’ll keep this page updated as we get updates.

 

Brexit for Aviation: Meaningless

If the media were to be believed, the impending doom of Brexit – Britain’s Exit from the European Union – will change the aviation landscape in the EU for ever. So, today you’ll be busy trying to figure you how this affects your operation. But what if it won’t?

Well, it won’t. Not even a little bit.

The trouble is, that’s not an angle that’s going to sell newspapers or ads on TV; so the Tier 1 media like the BBC and the Telegraph have to run stories that focus on how much this is going to affect everyone. If it wasn’t really going to affect a lot of people, then that’s not a story, is it?

And so, the aviation media – in suit – have to find the story for aviation – because, being such a headline story, it must be going to impact aviation across the board, right?

No. And here’s why.

1. The UK is not part of the Schengen  Area  – the common EU travel area. Brexit does not change that. Immigration procedures will not change.
2. The UK does not use the Euro as its currency, so Brexit has no effect. The value of the UK pound is, in the long term, likely to remain stable against the Euro, once the hype is over.
3. The UK is part of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) – and will remain so, even if some aspects are renegotiated. So traffic rights, open skies, and all the other benefits to both the UK and other ECAA members will stay the same.
4. The UK is part of Eurocontrol and will remain so. There won’t be any changes to Flight Planning procedures.
5. And for the rest, Shanwick will continue to control the east side of the North Atlantic.  Overflight Permits will still only be required for special case aircraft. Slots will be needed for busy airports. Heathrow will remain congested. Navigation charges will remain expensive.

As an aside, because the value of the UK pound is about the only thing that has a real impact for operators – what we’re currently seeing in the share and currency markets, we believe, is the result of the media hype. IATA estimated “the number of UK air passengers could be 3-5% lower by 2020, driven by the expected downturn in economic activity and the fall in the sterling exchange rate”. It could also be 3-5% higher. It’s all speculation.

For any International Operator expecting operational change because of Brexit – don’t. We firmly believe there won’t be any.

Midweek Briefing 22JUN: Iceland ATC strike – end in sight, Israel FPL changes

Iceland ATC strike – end in sight 22JUN Operators on both sides of the Atlantic have been frustrated over the last 6 weeks with continual sporadic ATC Industrial action. And end may be in sight, but in the meantime keep a close eye on BIRK, BIKF and BIRD Notams. Read the article.

FPL changes: Israel 22JUN Current Flight Planning procedures for flights across Europe from Israel will change in light of a new agreement signed between Israel and Eurocontrol. Read the article.


LFZZ/France ATC Strike Number 9 gets underway today until 24JUN at 0400Z, usual disruption and restrictions apply. Avoid France where possible. NOTAM F1171/16 refers.

EGGX/Shanwick is having an 80’s party on the 28th of June at 1600Z. For engineering work, all the new technology is being taken offline for three hours, so no CPDLC, ADS-C or OCL. Instead we have Voice Reports, HF, Manual Clearance Requests (123.95 or 127.65), and so on; just like the good old days. When you hit 30W log on to Gander manually.

UMZZ/Belarus The Minsk FIR has updated its table of cruising levels and altitudes below Transition; view the AIC.

Gambia The UK FCO issued updated travel advice for The Gambia : “Demonstrations took place in April and May 2016 in Banjul. Demonstrations could occur at any time in any part of the country prior to presidential elections planned for 01DEC. You should be vigilant, avoid all demonstrations”

LPZZ/Portugal is joining the International ATC Strike Club and will begin with industrial action, for two hours daily on: June 30th, and July 8th,15th, 22nd and 29th.

KCXO/Houston Regional will be opening a new customs facility mid July. KCXO serves the Metro-Houston area and is 46 miles outside of town. The new CBP facility adds more choice to international operators over the already saturated Houston area airports.

KZZZ/United States The U.S. Navy has scrubbed the planned military GPS interference testing across the U.S. Southwest that was supposed to happen this month.

LWSS/Skopje is implementing Free Route Airspace in the Skopje ACC above FL245, effective 23JUN. FRA is available H24 with DCT limit unlimited. The ATS network above FL245 is withdrawn. Additional info is available in the Republic of Macedonia AIP AMD 58/16. New RAD measures can be found in the increment file and will become part of Annex 4 on AIRAC 1608.

LWZZ/Macedonia Late on 20JUN, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in central Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, to conduct another demonstration. The protesters gathered outside the Special Prosecution building before then marching to the Ministry of Justice building, where they broke some of its windows and threw red paint at its exterior.

EZZZ/Scandinavia Another Free Route Airspace update is happening in the two Functional Airspace Blocks NEFAB and DK/SE FAB. NEFRA Phase 1 will be implemented as of AIRAC 1607 on 23JUN, to implement H24 cross border Free Route Airspace between DK-SE FAB and NEFAB, except Norway, above FL285. ATS routes will be kept. Norway plans to implement cross-border Free Route Airspace spring 2017.

CYZZ/Canada has introduced “No Drone Zones” around airports that includes fines for offenders caught operating drones in the restricted areas. They are also drafting new legislation to strengthen rules regarding drone operations.

LEMD/Madrid may have industrial action on 28JUN, the Apron controllers are making noises about a strike. Not confirmed.

WAZZ/Indonesia FIR Ujung Pandang FIR has a couple of radar outages from 19-27JUN. Reroutes or delays are not likely, but strong potential for lower than optimum Flight Levels.

HECC/Cairo FIR If for some reason you are operating flights to or from Libya, then A: You’re probably not reading this bulletin carefully enough, and B: Be aware that you are required to obtain PPR from  Egypt via AFTN to HECAYNYX, at least 48 hours before the flight, in order to overfly Cairo FIR.

EGAA/Belfast ILS 25 out of service along with other ongoing runway and taxiway closures until 11AUG16. Please check EGAA NOTAM’s for specific closures.

EGLF/Farnborough Temporary restricted airspace will be in effect for the annual Farnborough Airshow 16-17JUL. AIC M 033/2016.

France The French authorities have extended the document checks at their borders, these measures will apply to all airports in France and also to Basel airport. Especially during the period of the European Football Championships, passengers travelling to/ from French airports are asked to ensure they have a valid identity document (passport or identity card) with them whilst travelling. A drivers license is not an acceptable document.

VTBB/Bangkok FIR Monsoon season runs July-September. Big potential for holding and airport closures in the region, taking extra fuel is recommended.

OEZZ/Saudi Arabia FIR is introducing new Navigation Charges on 01JUL. All the maths is here.

LSZA/Lugano will close 10-19OCT due to heavy maintenance work on the main runway. No traffic will be able to operate. The airport operator has said 20OCT should be the reopening day but risk that this may be extended.

WMZZ/Malaysia Following a directive by the Malaysian Immigration Department, all foreign nationals travelling on all domestic flights will be required to produce passports upon passing through Immigration control, effective immediately.

Azerbaijan An online e-visa issuing system, called ASAN Visa, will be established that should streamline the visa application process. Eligible foreign nationals will be able to obtain supporting documents, submit their visa applications and receive an e-visa within three days of submission through the portal. The list of eligible nationals is expected to be available soon on the Foreign Ministry website.

EGPK/Prestwick has ongoing overnight closures due to ATC staffing problems, keep an eye on NOTAMs.

EIDW/Dublin will closed for 15 minutes at 1500Z on 23JUN due to a VIP departure.

NWWW/New Caledonia The South Pacific is not exempt from ATC strikes either; overnight closure of the NWWW airspace means no enroute traffic accepted in the FIR tonight – and sporadically ongoing. Note that the Fire Service also has reduced RFF category at specific times. Check Notams.

SKED/Bogota FIR NOTAM of the month award: Colombia Notam A1947 issued on 17JUN. Be aware of the potential for your Cabin Crew to request a change to the SID from ATC, unbeknownst to you. In full: “CHANGES TO STANDAR (sic) INSTRUMENT DEPARTURE (SID) COULD BE DONE BY RADIOTELEPHONY BETWEEN CABIN CREW AND THE CORRESPONDING ATS DEPARTMENT WHILE COMMUNICATION INTERCHANGE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH AERODROME OPERATIONS REF. AIP ENR 1.10”.

We actually have no idea what they mean. Let us know, and keep an eye out for those sneaky flight attendants.

LEPA/Palma has a bunch of outages, and runway and taxiway closures at present that will create restrictions and delays. Take a close look at your arrival and dep times before operating.

Suriname Immunisation checks for Yellow Fever are being carried out throughout June at all border check points, ports and international airports in Suriname; make sure you have a valid yellow fever certificate if required.

RJZZ/Japan On 22JUN heavy rains caused building damage and fatalities in southwestern Japan. At least six people died, as a result of the rain and mudslides across the island of Kyushu. Emergency personnel evacuated several hundred people due to the threat of further mudslides.

Uzbekistan has increased security due to a major summit, from 23-34JUN which may result in changes to flight departures and lengthy check in and security clearance at airports across the county.

View the full International Bulletin 22JUN2016

Israel moves closer to Eurocontrol

Israel has signed an agreement with Eurocontrol to work more closely together in flight planning.

Air traffic between Israel and Europe has been growing at over 9% a year for the past three years. This growth poses ongoing challenges to international civil aviation and underlines the need to improve ties between regions in order to ensure flight efficiency and safety in airspace and airports that are growing more crowded every year.

Israel is now the second country to sign the “Eurocontrol Comprehensive Agreement”.

What does this mean for operators?

The existing process is complex and multi-step: flights that transit Europe from Israel require filing at least 3 hours in advance to the Tel Aviv Coordination Centre, who then liaise with Eurocontrol to verify that the routing is RAD compliant. Changes are often then made by Eurocontrol and back down the line to the operator.

The implementation date is to be confirmed, but FPL filing out of Israel will now be the same as for any other European country, with immediate ACK from Eurocontrol.

Other benefits of this agreement are improved crisis management, more efficient traffic flows between Israel and Europe, more predictable day to day operations, improved safety and possibly airspace redesign and management.

Iceland ATC strike – a solution

The strike goes on … but there may be a solution by Friday this week. Icelandic MPs passed a bill forcing a resolution to the ongoing pay dispute with air traffic controllers. The new law states that the air traffic controllers’ union and the airport operator Isavia have until Friday to reach an agreement – failing this, the matter be sent to a court of arbitration for a final resolution.

In the interim, sporadic airport closures at BIKF/Keflavik and BIRK/Reykjavik continue, as do general airspace restrictions in the BIRD FIR. If you can avoid a stop in Iceland, it would seem sensible to do so until the conflict is resolved.

 

 

A lesson in emergency handling, from Aer Lingus

In September last year, an Aer Lingus Boeing 757 (operated by Air Contractors), suffered a loss of the Left Hydraulic system on departure from JFK. The left hydraulic system is the main one, meaning that Flaps, normal gear extension, and Nosewheel steering all become unavailable. The failure is therefore serious, albeit one that would be a favourite for simulator practice.

There are some really interesting lessons to learn from this incident, not least of which is how we now get access to the information that emanates from it. No longer do we need the offical report; it’s all out there on Live ATC and YouTube.  It’s 12 minutes 40′ of highly worthwhile viewing, whatever your thoughts on how public this all is.

EIN emer

 

 

And so to the incident. Foremost, this is a lesson in professionalism and communication, from an outstanding crew. Listen carefully, and observe how:

  • A clear report is made as to the situation and what’s needed immediately.
  • Potential for a spillage of fluid on the runway – not their problem, right now – but passed on as the first consideration for others.
  • Early message to JFK, via Boston Centre, that ILS22L is the best runway for them, that they cannot vacate, and that the gear doors may look unusual.
  • Communication is clear, precise, and authoritative – making sure everyone has all the information they need.
  • Taking full command of the situation on the ground, during the fire incident. “Say again, and make sure nobody speaks apart from you“. Communications involving rescue vehicles on ATC frequencies are notoriously confusing and unclear, this crew handled the confusion with authority.

Some International Differences that can be seen here:

  • Pounds and Kilos – this 757’s indications are in Kilos; ATC don’t know the conversion either, and another US aircraft on the frequency steps in to help out. Since the Gimli Glider, this has always been an issue.
  • Mayday and Emergency – read more below, but the US likes the phrase “Declaring an emergency”


Some other interesting factors
:

  • A really awful callsign. Bad enough for a normal crossing and 6 hour flight; brutal in an emergency. The flight was EI110 – so the callsign should be Shamrock-one-one-zero (one-ten works fine). Problem: lots of other airlines have this number too, so to avoid callsign confusion, someone in an office somewhere decided to change it to Shamrock-One-One-Echo-Alpha.
  • Callsign confusion is in fact the result. Try saying it a few times in a row. The controller variously calls them “Shamrock 11E”, “Speedbird 11EA”, “Shamrock 11A”. The callsign alone made things difficult for ATC and the crew.
  • ATC did a pretty good job of keep comms to a minimum. In most incidents, ATC create stress and workload for the crew by asking non-essential questions the moment that an emergency is declared – which is the same time as the crew have a bunch of checklist work to do. When you get a Mayday or Emergency call on your frequency, hang tough with the questions for a minute or two, unless you need answers for immediate traffic separation.
  • ATC will always ask Souls on Board and Fuel on Board. Why? To know how many people to account for on the rescue, and how much Jet fuel is going to fuel a fire if there is one after landing. Get the souls on board accurate (not a bad idea to have this written at the top of the flight plan), but a rough estimate of fuel will do. If you’re using a decimal, you’re doing it wrong.

 

Emergency/Mayday/Pan:

  • In the US, normal practice is that you either declare an emergency, or you don’t – unlike many other countries where a choice between Mayday (serious) and Pan-Pan (cautionary) exists.
  • US ATC Handbook: “If the words “Mayday” or “Pan-Pan” are not used and you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency. “
  • Sidenote: Many think that only the flight crew can declare an emergency. In fact, Flight Crew, Dispatch, Company Representatives, and ATC can all declare an emergency. An emergency can be declared without notifying the flight crew.
  • In this case, the crew were comfortable in their communication with ATC – and able to “not declare” but at the same time request emergency equipment on standby. As it turned out, this emergency equipment was critical because there was a small fire after landing. If you are uncertain whether ATC understands the nature of your situation – declare an emergency. You can always cancel it later on.
  • Fuel Reserves Approaching Minimum: Internationally, ’Fuel Emergency’ or ‘fuel priority’ are not recognised terms. Flight crews short of fuel must declare a PAN or MAYDAY to be sure of being given the appropriate priority.
  • In 2005, ATPAC recommended changing FAAO 7110.65 (the regs for controllers) to include “emergency” as a term that could be used in lieu of “mayday” and “pan-pan.” They then withdrew the recommendation because they decided that creating more differences from ICAO standards was a bad thing.

It’s easy to forget that in a real emergency, no matter how strong your training, you have to deal with stress and adrenaline that doesn’t appear in the simulator.

A hydraulic loss is considered ‘routine’ in the books, but many accidents in the past have come from compounding errors – those holes in the swiss cheese line up pretty easily once the first one is as big as a hydraulic leak.

The cool, clear, and decisive communications from this crew indicate that they have the Big Picture firmly under control. It’s a lesson for all of us.

 

757_Hydraulics_1

St. Helena – no hope for opening?

St. Helena is 4000km east of Rio de Janeiro; the only means of travelling to this remote island in the South Atlantic is through a five day sea voyage from Cape Town, with schedules of only once in every three weeks – making St. Helena one of the most remotely populated places on earth.

There have been many considerations for an airport on St. Helena since 1943, but it was only in 2005 that actual plans were announced. In 2011, the British government agreed to assist in the payment for the new airstrip.

The Airport was scheduled to open on 26 April 2016 but St.Helena Government announced an indefinite delay to the opening due to safety concerns from windshear. An Implementation Flight was conducted by (British Airways) Comair with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft to gather data on turbulence and windshear on the approach to Runway 20 (from the North). The results gathered and the conditions experienced concluded that additional work and preparation are need to ensure safe operations of scheduled passenger flights to and from St. Helena Airport.

So, for now, it seems pretty clear that the project is abandoned, because windshear isn’t something you can fix. It may be that it could open during specific times of the year when predominant wind direction is different, but for now, all that is certain is uncertainty.

Reference Material:

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