ZKZZ/North Korea. On November 3rd, the FAA published Notam 23/17, which now prohibits US operators from entering any of the Pyongyang FIR. replacing SFAR79 and previous advice to ‘exercise caution’. The situation remains tense, and as highlighted by FSB in September, the western portion of the Japan FIR is a risk area due to multiple missile re-entries into the same portion of Japanese airspace. Updated UAS 29NOV.
GAZZ/Mali The conflict in Mali is onging. Germany added a new specific warning for GAKL/Kidal on 15 Nov, in addition to GATB/Timbuktu and GAGO/Gao. Updated UAS 29NOV.
OEZZ/Saudi Arabia is now at Level 2 – assessed risk. Due to military activity related to the involvement in Yemen, it is suggested to avoid the southwestern region of the Jeddah FIR. On Nov 4 a missile launched from Yemen reached Riyadh Airport. Saudi sources say missile was intercepted, this is not yet confirmed. Threats have been made by Yemen of further strikes. Updated UAS 29NOV.
OAZZ/Afghanistan The situation in Afghanistan remains similar. On November 15, Germany removed wording to maintain FL330 or higher, no altitude advice now exists, but they recommend against landings at Afghan airports. Updated UAS 29NOV.
SOZZ/French Guyana There seems to be no end in sight for the French Guiana ATC strikes. Here’s the current situation: SOOO FIR: the entire airspace will be uncontrolled from 00-11z until further notice (extended beyond 01Dec). That means there will be no ATC staff on duty during these times. Basically, during the closure, there’s a contingency plan in place: so if you want to cross this bit of airspace, there are now very specific routes and levels you have to fly at. Check these carefully prior to ops, and make sure you’re at the right flight level before crossing the FIR boundary. Once you’re inside the FIR, don’t change your speed or level. Read the article.
ORZZ/Iraq has reopened to international carriers for overflights, or, better put, international carriers are starting to overfly again. Emirates was the first international airline to resume overflights of Iraq, with the first flights through the Baghdad FIR on Monday Nov 27, followed closely behind by Turkish Airlines. According to FSB sources, the GCAA authorized UAE based airlines to use this airspace, after several years of restrictions. Emirates anticipates that about 150 flights a day will now route via Iraq, rather than having to take longer routes via Saudi Arabia or Iran. This is the first in several steps we expect will lead to almost full resumption of overflights over Iraq, meaning operators will have shorter routes through the Middle East available once again. The next step will be for the FAA to authorise US carriers to overfly Iraq – most likely at FL260 or above. That approval was initially slated for the end of October, but was held back after events on the ground posed a security concern for UM860 and UM688 – the two main routes through the Baghdad FIR to Europe and vv.
EHAM/Amsterdam New time slot system currently being trialled, where passengers travelling within the Schengen area can reserve a spot at a certain time to pass through security. The system is designed to reduce the huge queues at peak travel times.
DXZZ/Togo Further anti-government protests planned on Nov 29-30 and Dec 2 in the capital Lome and other urban centres. Authorities have said they may temporarily suspend SMS and internet services during the protests.
MMZZ/Mexico From Dec 7 onwards, HF radio in Mexico’s oceanic FIR MMFO/Mazatlan will be provided by San Francisco Radio, for all flights above FL195. So for all position reports or route/level change requests, contact them on any of the following: 3413, 5574, 8843, 8915 or 13354 KHZ.
VGZZ/Bangladesh Nationwide strike planned for Nov 30, protesting against recent electricity price hikes. In the capital, Dhaka, expect increased security, transportation disruptions, and possible protests.
LLBG/Tel Aviv Airport workers are planning to stage a 24hr strike from Fri to Sat evening, Dec 1-2. If the strike goes ahead, this would pretty much completely shut down the airport – only a skeleton staff would remain at the airport to deal with emergencies.
SBZZ/Brazil is launching a new e-visa program. From Jan 15, travelers from the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan can apply for visas online. The issuing process should take around 72hrs.
ZZZZ/Worldwide FSB made a permit map. It’s new. It will give you a quick summary of overflight and landing requirements for each country. If you want the full bible, then you can buy the new FSB Permit Book that goes with it. Try the map.