International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Month: June 2017

Enhanced Security – new rules for US Inbounds

KZZZ/USA The US has opted for ‘Enhanced Security’ instead of a wider laptop ban. In fact, the existing ban is likely to end once airports can comply with the new rules. The information in the official DHS release is somewhere between vague and zero, which kind of makes sense.

So, the story is pretty simple – there is no wider laptop ban, but no specifics have yet been released publicly as to what exactly ‘Enhanced Security’ means for Aircraft Operators. The DHS will work directly with larger AO’s directly affected.

How to avoid delays into Greece – new procedures

Following on from the privatisation of Greek Airports this summer (see our article from earlier in June – Summer of Pain), there are new procedures for Greek Slots.

With delays super high into some of the smaller islands, especially at weekends, attention to the correct slot procedure is pretty important.

The slot you’ll get from the HSCA is valid +/- 30 mins. If you go outside that, then you’ll get a flight suspension message from Eurocontrol that looks like this.

IFPLID 01020304
EOBD 160201
EOBT 1945
ELDT 2050

To get a new slot, or the initial one, the official process is this:

  1. Go to, check for avail times
  2. Pick a handler, and ask them to apply for it – use to find a handler.
  3. Refile the FPL with the Slot ID

If you have any issues, you can call H24 this number in Greece re. slots: +30 210 997 2656. And, we think, this email should also work:





Qatar update – it’s getting worse

Following OpsGroup Note 28 on Monday (“Qatar sanctions“), there are some important new additions to the sanctions that all operators should be aware of:

Effective today, Bahrain now requires Special Authorisation for all traffic inbound to and out of Qatar. This one is critical because Bahrain controls almost all of the airspace around and over Qatar.

That requirement was just published today, Wednesday in Notam A0210/17. The preamble states that no Qatari registered aircraft can fly through Bahraini airspace. This one seems like it would be a big issue for Qatar Airways, but for all other international operators, the next part is equally important:

“Operators not registered in Kingdom of Bahrain intending to use Bahrain Airspace from or to the state of Qatar require approval from Bahrain CAA”

That means everyone now needs permission to get into Doha, because you can’t get into the Doha TMA without going through Bahrain Airspace, unless you are planning to route through Saudi Arabia (which already has that requirement). Check the map again below.

OBBB/BAHRAIN A0210/17 07JUN 1140Z

CAA ON THE FLW CONTACT: TEL:00973 17329035 / 00973 17329069

Jordan has joined the team

Governments of Jordan, Libya, Maldives and Mauritania have joined the other countries in severing their diplomatic ties with Qatar. The closure of borders with neighboring countries and the withdrawal of the diplomatic staff from various embassies in the region have resulted in restrictions on travel to and from Qatar.

Qatari Nationals

Qatar has urged its nationals to comply with the decision of the countries involved and leave the territories of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) within 14 days of June 5, 2017. Qatari nationals should contact the respective consular posts abroad for assistance with travel arrangements and travel back to the country via Kuwait or Oman.

Bahraini, Saudi and UAE Nationals

Bahraini, Saudi and the UAE authorities have announced bans for their nationals from travelling, transiting or residing in Qatar. Those currently in Qatar are requested to leave as soon as possible.

Other Foreign Nationals Residing in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

Holders of Residency Visas from Qatar will face difficulties in obtaining Visit Visas to countries which have closed their diplomatic representations in Doha, Qatar, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Foreign nationals residing in Qatar applying for visas to Egypt or Saudi Arabia may have to travel back to their home country to do so.

It is likely that foreign nationals residing in Qatar will face restrictions in obtaining a GCC Resident Visitor Visa to enter Bahrain or the UAE. Foreign nationals who are not eligible for a visa-on-arrival based on their nationality should prearrange their visas in advance and seek out other categories of sponsorship including airlines, hotels or tourist agencies.

It is unclear whether there will be any impact on foreign national residents of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE seeking entry to Qatar based on the GCC Resident Visitor Visa.

Courier Services

Courier services and document deliveries between Qatar and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are severely delayed. The majority of carriers are rerouting their shipments, while others, including FedEx, have suspended their services between the affected countries.


The Qatari-based broadcaster Al Jazeera has been banned in a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Qatari beIN Sports channel has been suspended in the UAE.

The UAE’s General Prosecutor warned against showing any sympathy for Qatar on social media which is considered a cybercrime, punishable by law.



Members Note 28: Qatar Sanctions

OPSGROUP Note to Members 28 is published on Qatar Sanctions.

As of today, Monday June 5th, there are several new sanctions affecting operations in the Middle East if any part of your flight involves Qatar. Primarily this will affect ops to/from OTHH (the primary Doha airport) and OTBD.

Because of sanctions applied by other Middle Eastern countries, you will find restrictions applied for these operations. If you are a Qatari-registered aircraft, then most of these countries are completely off limits, otherwise the specifics are as follows:

  • Egypt: You now need permission to overfly Egypt if operating to Qatar. +202 22678535, 24175605, or AFTN HECAYAYX
  • Bahrain: You cannot operate from an airport in Bahrain to an airport in Qatar, and vv. 
  • Saudi Arabia: Special permission required to overfly/depart Saudi to Qatar. Call +966115253336, email 
  • UAE (Emirates FIR): Ops to Qatar require special approval on +971 50 642 4911 or via email at AVSEC-DI@GCAA.GOV.AE

ATC Routings

OTHH is a busy airport. Traffic to and from Qatar, much of which is now banned from neighbouring countries, will reroute primarily into Iran.

Iran has published a Traffic Orientation Scheme.

– Qatar outbound Northbound via Tehran FIR-Ankara FIR. FL150-FL190 routing RAGAS-UT430-LAGSA -UL223-TESVA/ALRAM.
– Qatar outbound Southbound via Muscat and Karachi FIRs, FL150-FL190 via RAGAS-M561-ASVIB (KARACHI FIR), and RAGAS-M561-KHM-NEW FIR (MUSCAT FIR)-BUBAS
Inbound to Qatar from North: FL240-FL300 via ALRAM-UT36-MIDSI
Inbound to Qatar from South: FL240-FL260 via N312/A453-MIDSI.

Qatar and Bahrain


Qatar does not have its own FIR. It sits entirely within the Bahrain FIR. For this reason, Bahrain’s position on airspace availability to traffic to and from Qatar is critical. The Doha TMA extends from SFC to FL245. Above that sits the Bahrain UIR.

Visa situation – impact

The following is a summary of the impact of the entry, residency and transit ban:

  • Qatari nationals in the region:  Qatari nationals will be denied entry, residency and transit through the territories of the Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
  • Qatari nationals in UAE:  Qatari diplomatic staff will have 48 hours to leave, and regular Qatari nationals must exit the country in the next 14 days.
  • Bahraini, Egyptian, Saudi, UAE, and Yemeni nationals: UAE and Bahraini authorities have announced bans for their nationals from travelling, transiting or residing in Qatar. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have not yet applied similar restrictions on their nationals. 

…. full note available in your  OPSGROUP Dashboard.


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Qatar – What We Know

There have been many reports of countries cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar.  We’ll leave the speculation to the media, we want to break down what it means for operators and aircraft owners.  Just the facts.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Libya, Yemen, Maldives, and Mauritius have all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

As of now, only Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and UAE have placed flight restrictions on flights to/from Qatar. No known restrictions (beyond those known for Libya and Yemen anyhow) for the remaining countries mentioned in reports.

The new regulations are quite clear. You cannot overfly or land at any airport in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, or UAE with a Qatari registered aircraft. If you have a non-Qatari registered aircraft, and need to operate to/from Qatar and use the mentioned countries airspace you’ll need special approvals from the authorities below:

Saudi Arabia GACA:

Egypt ECAA:
+202 22678535
+202 24175605

+971 50 642 4911


No special exemptions have been mentioned by Bahrain, but they’ve given the following routing for those effected by the restrictions:


Due to the situation, Iran has published special routing schemes for transitioning their airspace, as they’ll get quite busy:

Qatar to Ankara:

Qatar to Muscat and Karachi FIR:
FL150-FL19, expect climb after KIS
RAGAS-M561-ASVIB (To Karachi)
RAGAS-M561-KHM-BUBAS (To Muscat)

Ankara to Qatar:
Between FL240 to FL300, ALRAM-UT36-MIDSI

Muscat to Karachi to Qatar:
Between FL240 to FL260, N312/A453-MIDSI

Also, if flying from Ankara to UAE (except OMAA), use the below routing:

The situation is fluid, and we will update this post as we continue to collect news.

Greek Summer Ops – Prepare for Pain

The challenges of operating to Greece during the summer look to be far worse than normal this year.

Fraport are not off to a good start with non-scheduled flights and business aviation. On April 11th this year, they took over control of 14 international airports from the state: Aktion, Chania, Corfu, Kavala, Kefalonia, Kos, Lesvos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Thessaloniki and Zakynthos.

Initial reports on the Fraport change from OPSGROUP members are not positive:

  • “During the last few weeks, it has become clear that operations to these airports (including all popular Islands – Kos, Rhodes, Mykonos etc) is a nightmare. Very few slots are made available to non-scheduled ops, overnight parking is scarce, even quick turn arounds are extremely difficult in some cases. As a pilot flying in this area in the last 20 years, I have never seen such difficulty in operating.”
  • “Previously, LGMK/Mykonos was usually the only airport in the last 3 years to have parking problems. The parking Notams were limiting stays to 2-3 hours from June till September. Now, the max parking time there is 1 hour, PPR was introduced last year but we managed to have them “flexible” with the right handler. Now, with Fraport, no flexibility is allowed.”
  • “When we tried to fly to LGKO/Kos this weekend, we are forced to leave the ramp on Saturday at 8am local. Rhodes denied parking for 3 nights, which has never happened before…”

Last year, the capacity challenge at Greek Islands was most acute on weekends, with healthy slot delays if operating to LGIR/Iraklion, LGKP/Karpathos, LGMK/Mikonos, LGZA/Zakinthos, LGSR/Santorini, LGSK/Skiathos, or LGSA/Chania. Coupled with the Fraport changes, be prepared for difficulty in operating to Greece this summer.

The only answer is to plan as far ahead in advance as possible. We’d love to hear your reports from Greece – in Aireport if you are an OpsGroup member, or comment below if you’re not.

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