International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Month: July 2016 (page 2 of 2)

South Sudan off limits

The security situation in Juba, and South Sudan, has deteriorated in the last week, with HSSJ/JUB becoming off limits due to fighting.

The ceasefire announced on 11 July is holding; Juba International Airport (HSSJ/JUB) is open to charter operations; however, commercial flights have yet to resume.

U.S. government aircraft evacuated personnel on 12 July –  a security message issued by the embassy later in the day advised U.S. citizens to continue to shelter in place and not attempt to travel to the airport.

Meanwhile, other countries, such as Japan, Uganda, and Germany plan to send military aircraft to evacuate their nationals.

New Zealand strike called off

A planned strike by Aviation Security across airports in New Zealand, which would have led to wide scale disruption, has been called off at the last minute.

The press release from AvSec follows:

Auckland, 6.00 pm Wednesday 13 July 2016.

New Zealand’s Aviation Security Service (Avsec) has reached agreement with two unions which will prevent strike action across New Zealand next week.

Urgent top level mediation was held all day in Auckland today with representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority, Avsec and their Board working out a ‘reasonable’ deal with PSA and Etu union officials.

Unions will withdraw their strike action effective immediately. Avsec management will withdraw their lock out notice to enable unions to formally ratify the pay offer with their members. This should take 4 – 5 weeks.

Chairman Nigel Gould and Director of Civil Aviation Graeme Harris led the Avsec/CAA negotiation team. “We are pleased we have been able to find some common ground and hope the offer made today, which will be recommended by unions to their members, will lead to a formal settlement and in time a new collective agreement.

The traveling public can be assured we all wanted a constructive outcome and neither Avsec nor unions wanted to reach the point where strike action would cause any disruption to travellers during the school holidays. We have made a lot of progress today.” Mr Harris said.

No further details or comment will be made until 11:00 am tomorrow, Thursday 14 July.

Hijack: It’s dark and we’re scared

Earlier today, a BAe 146 in South Africa squawked Hijack – by mistake; the rest you can imagine, and the global media are enjoying the non-story, complete with the usual file pictures of heavily laden A380’s and general panic.

A very similar incident occurred in 1999 – this one never made it to the newspapers. A 747-400 belonging to one of the US majors was enroute from the US to Amsterdam, and approaching Gander VOR, typed 7500 into the box before coasting out. Around the same time, the crew sent a routine ACARS message to Dispatch, with a P.S. “It’s dark and we’re scared”.

That was just a funny, unrelated, quip, and the 7500 was an inadvertent error – but the two combined set off a full scale alert on two continents.

Because of the time lag between coasting out, and coasting in to the north of Ireland, where VHF comms were re-established, ATC and Company had to figure out ways to find out whether this was a real event, or not – it certainly seemed to be.

By the time the aircraft reached Amsterdam, the airport was fully prepared for a huge hijacking event – and the aircraft was directed to an off-airport parking position, surrounded and eventually boarded in sequence by every government organisation imaginable.

This article contains restricted content … full article available to OpsGroup members. 

Midweek Briefing 06JUL: Hong Kong capacity problems, Iceland: The fun continues

Hong Kong capacity problems 06JUL During this year, the Hong Kong CAA has issued a couple of warnings to operators to stick carefully to their allocated slots, but it’s not making much of a difference to operations there. Read the article.

Iceland: The fun continues 06JUL Last week there were some really positive indications that the ATC strike in Iceland was coming to an end, but it’s now worse than ever, with Westbound, Eastbound, and landing traffic all affected. Read the article.


HECC/Cairo FIR A restriction exists for traffic to and from the Amman FIR, so if overflying Jordan and then Egypt, or vice versa, you can only use the waypoint METSA.

OMAE/Emirates FIR has some updated peak times. Departures need a slot between 0630-0730Z and 1700-0000Z. Arrivals will be spaced 5 mins apart during these times also, as will aircraft entering the OMAE FIR from nearby airports like Muscat, Isa, and Baghdad.

EIDW/Dublin Runway 10/28 is closed overnight until 09JUL.

OERK/Riyadh, Saudi Arabia will be hosting the ‘Global Ministerial Aviation Summit’ 29AUG-31AUG. 55 different ministers from various countries are expected to be in attendance. Be aware of potential restrictions leading up to and after the event.

CYFB/Iqaluit Another NAT alternate favourite, CYFB has some runway closures throughout July.

EGCC/Manchester is doing some work on 05L/23R overnight until 08JUL and has advised operators to carry some extra gas due possibility of holding.

LOWW/Vienna has published a helpful list of rush hour periods – worth avoiding these times as holding is common at VIE. The times are: 0530-0750, 0920-1030, 1140-1240, 1340-1500, 1615-1800, and 1840-1940Z.

BIZZ/Iceland Despite optimistic reports of a resolution to the ATC dispute in Iceland last week, the situation remains unresolved. Last night BIRD Oceanic was closed to most Eastbound traffic once again, as was BIKF. A new addition to restrictions is a closure to many Westbound flights on Wednesday 06JUL – “DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE IN REYKJAVIK OACC WESTBOUND TFC PLANNING TO ENTER BIRD FROM ENSV VIA GUNPA,VALDI, IPTON, INGAL, ISVIG AND EGPX VIA LIRKI, GONUT, OLKER, MATIK AND RATSU AND THEN PROCEEDING INTO EGGX OR CZQX SHALL REMAIN SOUTH OF BIRD CTA” Read the article.

EDYY/Maastricht ATC have requested crews operating through the Maastricht UIR to log on to CPDLC EDYY, if you have datalink. While voice remains the primary comms method, you might get an uplink message if the frequency is busy – it’s not a test, you should confirm – most of these uplinks are likely to be frequency changes.

EPZZ/Poland has advised operators to check carefully whether permission is required in advance of operations at airports other than EPWW/Warsaw. Many countries including Poland have reinstated Border Controls within the Schengen zone. Best advice is to treat each country as having full Border Controls for the moment (so think Passport, GenDec, etc.)

SPIM/Lima FIR (Note that the airport is now SPJC, distinct from the FIR code) is shutting down airway UG427 after 21JUL.

SUEO/Montevideo ACC (Uruguay) has some comms issues in it’s airspace, and has advised of some extreme spacing between aircraft irrespective of FL – 40nm. For now, this ends today (06JUL) but may happen again.

WSZZ/Singapore Qualifying citizens of Singapore are now eligible to apply for US Global Entry membership – and benefit from expedited entry to the United States at designated airports. Similarly, qualified U.S. citizens are eligible for enrolment in Singapore’s enhanced-Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS).

ZMUB/Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia is downgraded to RFF Cat 7 until 10JUL. Also, from 12-16JUL, you can’t file this as an alternate which may limit your options somewhat.

LFPG/Paris due to maintenance on the ILS for Runway 08L/26R from 18JUL to 02OCT. The only approaches that will be available will be RNAV based procedures (LNAV/VNAV, LPV, LNAV) and VOR/DME.

GQNN/Nouakchott, Mauritania has moved to a new international airport this June. Located approximately 10nm north of the city, it has an annual passenger capacity of 2 million. Infrastructure from the capital’s old airport was transported to the new one.

SECU/Cuenca Following the landing incident on 28APR of an E190, all inbound flights will be reportedly be held if the runway is wet – until end of August.

LFMH/St Etiennee Fuel outage on 07JUL, 0800-1100 UTC.

Canada/Mexico From 01DEC2016, Mexican nationals will be able to travel to Canada without a visa for business and tourism for up to 90 days.

Turkey/Russia Russia has lifted the travel restrictions on tourists between the two countries. The ban was put in place following the downing of a Russian military aircraft last year.

Bangladesh Germany, Australia and the U.K. have banned direct cargo flights from Bangladesh due to security concerns.

Israel/China The Israeli parliament has ratified a multiple-entry visa agreement with China, under which Chinese business visitors and tourists can enter Israel multiple times with the same ten-year visa and vice versa.

EZZZ/Europe the European Union updated Air Safety list (aka the Airline Blacklist) on 17JUN, and lifted a ban on Zambian air carriers.

Uganda Introduction of ‘e-visa’ system. You must show a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival.

ZJSA/Sanya FIR, China has an ADS-B trial up and running on L642 and M771. Radar is still the primary separation tool, but ATC ask that you check your Flight ID matches your FPL.

View the full International Bulletin 06JUL2016

Hong Kong capacity problems

During this year, the Hong Kong CAA has issued a couple of warnings to operators to stick carefully to their allocated slots, but it’s not making much of a difference to operations there. We have this report from a reader, who says:

  • The slot allocation is troublesome. If you’re lucky, you will obtain a slot within a day or so, but it is unlikely to be for the time that you want.
  • Weekends are busier times and slot requests are often denied, making operations difficult.
  • The parking allocation in front of the BAC ramp changed as well, making it more limiting – they established a 3m separation rule.
  • Outlying positions allow for Pax services, but you still require push back and there are only 2 spots from where you can depart.
  • HKBAC is obtaining their own approval now for towing.

If you have any experiences to share, let us know.

Iceland ATC strike bigger than ever

We had some really positive hints at a resolution of the Iceland ATC strike last week, but it’s not over yet – by any measure. Today sees another long list of airspace and airport closures. Oceanic Eastbound, Westbound and landing traffic all affected.

BIKF/KEFLAVIK A0454/16 06JUL 1007Z

(NOTAMR A0453/16) – DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE BIKF TWR SERVICE LIMITED
TO SCHEDULED COMMERCIAL AND INTERNATIONAL
FLIGHTS, AMBULANCE AND EMERGENCY  FLIGHTS.
NO TOUCH AND GOES OR LOW APPROACHES FOR VFR
TRAINING FLIGHTS, ONLY DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL.
TWR BIKF SERVICE LIMITED TO AMBULANCE AND
EMERGENCY FLIGHTS ONLY DURING THE FOLLOWING
HOURS: 09:00-09:30, 11:30-12:00 AND 14:00-14:30. 06 JUL 10:05 2016 UNTIL 06JUL 21:00 2016.

BIRD/REYKJAVIK OACC A0452/16 05JUL 2146Z

(NOTAMR A0451/16) – DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE IN REYKJAVIK OACC WESTBOUND
TFC PLANNING TO ENTER BIRD FROM ENSV VIA GUNPA,
VALDI, IPTON, INGAL, ISVIG AND EGPX VIA LIRKI, GONUT,
OLKER, MATIK AND RATSU AND THEN PROCEEDING INTO EGGX
OR CZQX SHALL REMAIN SOUTH OF BIRD CTA. 06 JUL 11:00 2016 UNTIL 06 JUL 20:00 2016.

BIRD/REYKJAVIK A0450/16 05JUL 1518Z

– DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE IN REYKJAVIK CENTRE,
OPERATORS SHALL FILE TO COMPLY WITH THE FOLLOWING:
1. EASTBOUND TFC WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FROM CZQX AND
EGGX EXCEPT  TRAFFIC WITH DESTINATION IN ICELAND,
SCANDINAVIA, BALTIC STATES AND RUSSIA.
2. EASTBOUND TRAFFIC FROM AERODROMES EAST OF 105W
WITH  DESTINATIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST SHALL REMAIN CLEAR OF
BIRD CTA.
OPERATORS ARE URGED TO KEEP REQUESTS FOR LEVEL AND
SPEED AMENDMENTS WITHIN BIRD CTA TO A MINIMUM.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL REYKJAVIK SHIFT
MANAGER +354 424 4141. 06 JUL 02:00 2016 UNTIL 06 JUL 08:00 2016.

BIRD/REYKJAVIK A0452/16 05JUL 2146Z

(NOTAMR A0451/16) – DUE TO STAFF SHORTAGE IN REYKJAVIK OACC WESTBOUND
TFC PLANNING TO ENTER BIRD FROM ENSV VIA GUNPA,
VALDI, IPTON, INGAL, ISVIG AND EGPX VIA LIRKI, GONUT,
OLKER, MATIK AND RATSU AND THEN PROCEEDING INTO EGGX
OR CZQX SHALL REMAIN SOUTH OF BIRD CTA. 06 JUL 11:00 2016 UNTIL 06 JUL 20:00 2016.

USA – the Lowdown on Flight Ops

We just published our latest Lowdown – this one is for the USA. Heaps of good information on eAPIS, new TSA Waiver rules, Border Overflight Exemption, Customs Notifications, Importation, Special Route Clearances, ESTA, Visas, and Special Flight Authorizations.

You can get these Lowdowns by joining OPSGROUP – you can get a single or team membership. If you’d like the US Lowdown, we’ll gladly send a copy your way, just email us.

 

Berlin’s Air Corridors – still alive?

It’s a generation ago, and the airway chart landscape is unrecognisable today. For 40 years however, there were only three tiny corridors that allowed a flight into East Germany. In terms of International Procedures, this was one that you really didn’t want to get wrong.

Looking back, it’s fascinating to see the restrictions that were placed on international operators flying into Germany. The warnings are printed in bold. Aircraft will be fired upon. And that threat from the Soviet Union was real – most of us recall the shooting down of Korean 007 in the Sea of Japan in 1983 – and, lesser known, another Korean flight – Korean 902 – over Murmansk in 1978.

Assuming you kept to centreline, the Soviet authorities limited overflight to FL95, and if there was an aircraft in front of you, even a turboprop, you slowed down to follow; no overtaking was allowed.

In practice, therefore, the centre corridor was the most used, because it was the shortest and limited the time restricted to FL95. Traffic was controlled by the Berlin Air Route Traffic Control Centre (BARTCC), and monitored by these guys at the Berlin Air Safety Centre – who issued the overflight permits required.

Berlin_Air_Safety_Center_DF-SN-83-08062

A request for an overflight permit for East Germany resulted in one of three outcomes:

  • Permission Granted, Safety of Flight Guaranteed
  • Permission Granted, Safety of Flight Not Guaranteed
  • Permission Denied

Radar coverage from the Berlin ATC Centre is shown below. In 1952, an Air France flight from Frankfurt to Berlin, operated by a DC-4 came under sustained attack from two Soviet MiG 15 fighters while passing through one of the corridors. The attack damaged the aircraft severely, and the PIC made an emergency landing at Tempelhof with two engines shut down. The Soviet military authorities claimed the Air France plane was outside the air corridor at the time of attack.

Bild-LuftkorridoreBerlin1989

Berlin_Air_Route_Traffic_Control_Center,_1987.JPEG

 

 

 

This chart from our own archives shows the Airways structure in 1970.

Chart
And so to today. Long forgotten restrictions of the past, right? Well, not really. We only have to look a little further north-east, about 500km – and we find the Kaliningrad FIR – in some respects an ongoing relic from the Cold War.

Kaliningrad FIR Map

 

It sits neatly into the Eurocontrol Upper Airspace Map, but in practice, it doesn’t fit into the European ATC picture quite so comfortably. If you squint closely at the skyvector chart for the area, you’ll see that the airways in the Kaliningrad FIR are black – and everywhere else is blue.

Kaliningrad Routes

This is because, first of all, prior permission is required from Russia to overfly the FIR, as Kaliningrad – until 1945 part of Germany –  is an “Oblast” of the Russian Federation. This permission must be obtained from Moscow at least 72 hours prior to flight using Form N, and on approval, is valid for 48 hours.

Looking more closely, you’ll see that there aren’t a lot of useful routes – and they don’t line up with the rest of the system. Few airlines, and even fewer private flights, operate through this airspace. Your most likely route north-south will take you to BOKSU – squeezed in between Kaliningrad and Belarus – not as restrictive, but still requiring prior permission.

 

Similarities between Kaliningrad and Berlin end there, but there are enough to be of interest to the international operator.

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