International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Author: Dean Constantinidis (page 1 of 4)

Don’t alpaca your bags for Lima – tech stops forbidden!

What the expanded airport should have looked like in 2018.

For 10 years SPJC/Lima’s Jorge Chavez airport has been desperately waiting for a promised US$1.5bn expansion.

With the rapid growth in the airline industry in Peru over the past few years, it seems the airport authorities are starting to struggle to provide enough capacity, and they are now trying to make it as difficult as possible for anything other than the commercial airlines to operate there!

In a very recent AIC (08/18), notice has been given that effective August 15, 2018, no more technical stops will be permitted at the airport. It also outlines significant slot/time restrictions for GA/BA operations.

Why they are doing it?

According to the AIC:

“In order to optimize the use of airport resources, ensure the safe provision of air traffic services and ensure the balance between demand and available capacity, the DGAC has been implementing capacity management measures.”

You can find the full information here (it’s in Spanish) but we have listed the main operational details below.

  • Tech stops are “forbidden” for “commercial flights and general, national and international aviation” effective 15 August 18.
  • Maximum stay of 2 hours on the civil apron for GA/BA flights. This is counted “from the time of placing chocks.” After two hours, the aircraft must be transferred to another apron, parking area for aircraft or hangar, or must go to a suitable alternate airport. The recommended airport to re-position to is SPSO/Pisco. It has an ILS and a 9900’/3000m runway. It is 115nm away, and open H24.
  • General aviation flights are limited to two operating periods every day. “Flights must perform their take-off and landing” between 0500UTC-0930UTC [0000L-0430L] or from 1800UTC-2359UTC [1300L-1859L]. It’s also noted that the 2-hour maximum ground time still applies, and coordination of ground services should be pre-planned in advance to comply.

The NOTAM also points to the updated information.

A3397/18 - NEW SPECIAL PROVISIONS IN JORGE CHAVEZ INTL AIRPORT IN SERVICE REGARDING WITH: TURN AROUND TIME, TECHNICAL STOPS, AND HOURS OF
OPERATION FOR COMMERCIAL (SCHEDULE AND NON SCHEDULE) AND GENERAL AVIATION FLIGHTS. SEE AIC 08/18 PUBLISHED IN WWW.CORPAC.GOB.PE. 
09 AUG 19:59 2018 UNTIL 07 NOV 23:59 2018. 
CREATED: 09 AUG 20:02 2018

The authorities seem intent on enforcing these rules. One local handler has told us – “The Peruvian FAA is being very strict with the AIC/18. They are rejecting landing permit requests for fuel stops at SPJC.”

If you have any further knowledge or recent experience to share, please let us know!

Extra Reading:

Attention Shanghai: Typhoon inbound, jets must move out

Typhoon Rumbia is expected to make landfall just south of Shanghai early on Aug 17, with gusting winds of up to 55kts.

Just as before with Typhoons Ampil and Jongdari which hit Shanghai earlier this month, both Shanghai airports ZSPD/Pudong and ZSSS/Hongqiao now have restrictions in place for GA/BA flights. They are advising the following:

  1. All GA/BA aircraft currently parked at the airports must either go in the hangar or leave before 1000 local time on Aug 16.
  2. All landing and parking requests of GA/BA aircraft are unlikely to be accepted until 1200 local time on Aug 18, by which time the storm is expected to have passed.
  3. Operators should report outbound schedules of GA/BA aircraft currently parked at the airports as soon as possible.

Best to get in touch with your handler if you haven’t already.

And if you are in the region and have more information to share, let us know!

Extra Information and latest warning texts and graphics:

More overnight slots for Hong Kong

Without stating the obvious, Hong Kong is a busy airport and it’s a difficult one to get slots and parking at, if you are a GA/BA operator.

Ok- it’s true, we went as far as calling operations to Hong Kong a PITA in the past.

Well, the latest intel is that the Airport Authority (AAHK) and the Hong Kong Schedule Coordination Office (HKSCO) have decided to trial an increase in slot availability from 4 to 6 total slots each night.

This is the info we have:

Notice on night slot availability (trial from 8 August 2018 until 8 October 2018)

  1. The number of slots available for GA/BA operations between 0000 to 0500 local time (16-21 UTC) will increase from 4 slots daily to 6 slots daily.
  2. The application procedure for these 6 slots will be the same as that for the 4 daily slots currently available.
  3. The above are provided on a trial and temporary basis and are subject to continuous review jointly by AAHK and HKSCO. The procedures will be effective from 0000 UTC on 8 August 2018 until 2359 UTC on 7 October 2018.

Also important to note, as pointed out to us by our friends at the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) – these 6 slots will be made available to all aircraft types, not just the ones currently exempted from the noise abatement regulations. This means that BBJ’s/ACJ’s/Lineage 1000/Globals/G650ER etc can now operate in and out of Hong Kong at night-time, subject to slot availability.

Some days I miss the old Kai Tak airport. My Dad reminded me that the 20th anniversary of its closure just went by last month. I feel old.

If you do too, watch a Kai Tak video to cheer you up 🙂

Extra Reading:

Runway? Who needs one when you have a taxiway!

It’s happened again.

Around midnight on a perfectly clear night last week in Riyadh, a Jet Airways 737 tried to take off on a taxiway. The crew mistaking a new taxiway for a runway!

The crew, with thousands of hours experience, took off on a surface that didn’t have runway markings or runway lights. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt.  It’s too early to exactly say why this happened, but it’s clear that some sort of “expectation bias” was a factor. Expecting to make the first left turn onto the runway. One has to ask – was ATC monitoring the take off?

After the tragic Singapore 747 accident in Taipei, technology was developed to audibly notify crew if they were about to depart “ON TAXIWAY”. This is known as the Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS).

Sadly the Riyadh incident is not isolated. There have been a plethora of near misses in the past few years (more details in Extra Reading below).

There have also been more than a few “incidents” of aircraft from C17’s to 747s landing at the wrong airports! The most notable near miss recently was that of an Air Canada A320 nearly landing on a taxiway full of aircraft at KSFO/San Francisco. But it’s happened to Delta and Alaskan Air recently too.

It is an even bigger issue at a General Aviation level (and not just because Harrison Ford did it!). The FAA safety team recently noted;

The FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) has advised of an increase in, “Wrong Surface Landing Incidents” in the National Airspace System (NAS).

Incidents include:

  • Landing on a runway other than the one specified in the ATC clearance (frequently after the pilot provides a correct read back)
  • Landing on a Taxiway
  • Lining up with the wrong runway or with a taxiway during approach
  • Landing at the wrong airport

The FAA published some shocking statistics:

  • 557wrong surface landing/approach events” between 2016-2018. That’s one every other day!
  • 89% occurred during daylight hours
  • 91% occurred with a visibility of 3 statue miles or greater


So what to do?

There are numerous ‘best operating practices’ pilots can use to help avoid such incidents.

  • Be prepared! Preflight planning should include familiarization with destination and alternate airports to include airport location, runway layout, NOTAMs, weather conditions (to include anticipated landing runway)
  • Reduce cockpit distractions during approach and landing phase of flight.
  • Use visual cues such as verifying right versus left runways; runway magnetic orientation; known landmarks versus the location of the airport or runway
  • Be on the lookout for “Expectation Bias” If approaching a familiar airport, ATC might clear you for a different approach or landing runway.  Be careful not to fall back on your past experiences.  Verify!
  • Always include the assigned landing runway and your call sign in the read back to a landing clearance
  • Utilize navigation equipment such as Localizer/GPS (if available) to verify proper runway alignment

It’s worth spending a few minutes watching this.

Extra Reading

 

Great Australian Bight – RNAV/RNP only airways

Australian AIP flight plan requirements (GEN – FPR – 18 – section 7.4) have been updated to remind operators to file the right navigation specifications on their ATC flight plan or risk a re-route for flights over the Great Australian Bight (in the YMMM/Melbourne FIR).

Specifically, for flights operating on the following airways: Q32, Y135, Q33, Q158, Y53.

Aircraft flight planning on these routes should meet the following navigation specifications.

  • RNP2; RNP4; RNAV5 with GNSS or IRS/INS RNAV10 or RNP10.

Aircraft flight planning on these routes without correctly indicating their relevant navigation specification will be re-cleared by ATC on a “more suitable route”.

One to check next time you’re flying through the area, especially for a flight to/from YPPH/Perth.

Further reading:

European ATC delays are up 133%

In Short: European ATC delays are on the increase, caused by staffing and capacity shortages. Monitor the Network Operations Portal and be flexible in your routing options if bad weather or capacity constraints are expected.

It’s been a great few days on a sun-soaked Mediterranean island. Your passengers are onboard, you are about to close the door, and then you get told your Calculated Take Off Time (CTOT) is an hour from now! Sound familiar? You’re not alone! 🙄

European air travel this summer is surging and about to hit maximum intensity. Problem is, the ATC system doesn’t seem to be coping, and the misery of long flight delays keeps getting worse.

Delays are up

IATA has recently reported the following:

“Data from Eurocontrol shows that in the first half of 2018, Air Traffic Management (ATM) delays more than doubled to 47,000 minutes per day, 133% more than in the same period last year. Most of these delays are caused by staffing and capacity shortages as well as other causes such as weather delays and disruptive events such as strikes. The average delay for flights delayed by air traffic control limitations reached 20 minutes in July, with the longest delay reaching 337 minutes.”

As an operator, you may be used to seeing alerts like these daily:

EDYY (Maastricht)

Several sectors regulated due to Airspace Management and ATC Staffing/Capacity.

Moderate to high delays.

LFMM (Marseille)

Several sectors regulated due to ATC Capacity/Staffing.

Moderate to high delays.

So is it a story of too many planes and not enough airspace (capacity) or just not enough controllers (staffing)?

Local airlines are not impressed. Ryanair took to twitter this week calling the delays “unjustified”.

In a unusually aggressive statement IATA commented that “key ANSPs in Europe have not made needed investments in their businesses, preferring instead to make super-normal profits.”


Some of the things we recommend to keep on top of expected delays

  • Review the Network Operations Portal regularly – This will assist in making operational planning decisions based on the current delays and capacity restrictions. Also keep an eye on the NOC tactical briefing for the following day which may also assist.
  • Avoid the early morning rush of departures if you can (0900z).
  • Be flexible in your routing options if bad weather or capacity constraints are expected.
  • Discuss with the local FBO for latest on-ground situation to better plan arrival and departure.
  • Monitor Opsgroup – members are always posting the latest information on recent airport and overflight experiences. Not yet a member? Go here!
  • Subscribe to our Daily Brief to get all the latest info on ATC strikes, Airport  closures, and everything else causing delays.

Got any tips or tricks on how to avoid or minimise most of these delays? Is there certain bit of airspace, airports or a time of day you’ve found that works best? Let us know!

Extra Reading:

The risks posed to civil aircraft by surface-to-air missiles

In Short: Worldwide the SAM threat is deemed to be “low” by ICAO with the caveat that this can change quickly when flying over or near conflict zones. The best risk mitigation is centred around which airspace you are operating over and what information you have access to. As we have explained before: There is no safe altitude from a large SAM.

What are surface-to-air missiles, and who has them?

Surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) are large, complex units, with the capability of reaching aircraft at cruising levels well above 25,000 ft, and they are designed to be operated by trained military personnel.

They are distinct from Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS), which are the smaller, shoulder-launched systems, the most dangerous of which being the FIM-92 Stinger which has an operational ceiling of 26,000 ft.

SAM systems vary but they are all designed to track and destroy military targets in flight. Due to the size and predictable flight paths, civil aircraft represent easy and highly vulnerable targets.

Many SAMs are mobile and can be moved quickly between locations. Many are located on warships. It is estimated that more than 70 States around the world have acquired SAMs as part of their military capability. A small number of non-State actors (i.e. militant groups) have also reportedly acquired SAMs, but as they require a radar system as part of the mechanism, they may not have the technical capability to use them. To date, SAMs have never been used by terrorists.

What has happened in the past?

There have been three documented occurrences where aircraft destruction has occurred due to SAM attacks.

The risk of intentional attack

To date, no documented case of intentional SAM attack on a civilian aircraft has been identified. In the case of MH17 and Iran Air, both occurred during periods of military conflict or high tension, whilst Siberia flight 1812 was shot down during a military training exercise.

ICAO say that “with regard to the States and non-State actors that currently do have access to SAMs, there is no reason to believe that the intent currently exists to target civil aviation deliberately.” And with regards to terrorist groups (as opposed to militarized forces), they say that “even where intent may exist there is currently no evidence of capability (in terms of hardware and trained personnel).”

Overall, the current risk to aviation from intentional SAM attack is therefore currently assessed to be low, the key caveat being to avoid overflying airspace over territory where terrorist groups tend to operate – normally areas of conflict where there is a breakdown of State control.

The risk of unintentional attack

Past events show us that the higher risk to civil aviation is from unintended and unintentional attacks when flying over or near conflict zones – missiles fired at military aircraft which miss their target, missiles fired at civil aircraft which have been misidentified as military aircraft, and missiles fired by State defence systems intended to shoot down other missiles.

Areas where there are armed conflicts going on clearly present an increased risk of an unintentional attack. But when assessing the risk of overflying a particular conflict zone, here are some more specific questions to consider:

Are there increased levels of military aircraft flying around in the region?

This could be anything from fighter jets being operated in a combat role, or for hostile reconnaissance; remotely piloted aircraft; or military aircraft used to transport troops or equipment. If military aircraft are one of the most likely targets for intentional attacks, then the chances of civil aircraft being mistakenly targeted increases in those areas where there are lots of military aircraft zipping around.

Are there likely to be a bunch of poorly trained or inexperienced personnel operating SAMs in the region?

This may be difficult to evaluate, but the risk is likely to be highest where SAMs may have been acquired by non-State actors. The risk is also likely to be higher in places where there is less of a robust command and control procedure for launching missiles, thus increasing the risk of misidentification of civil aircraft.

Is the territory below the airspace fully controlled by the State?

If not, and there are some areas controlled by militant or terrorist groups, the information on the presence and type of weaponry in such areas, as well as the information on who controls them, may not be readily available. In such regions, the information promulgated by the State about the risks to airspace safety may therefore not be 100% reliable.

Does the route pass over or near anywhere of particular importance in the context of the conflict?

These could be areas or locations that may be of strategic importance or sensitivity in the conflict, such as key infrastructure or military sites, which might be considered potential targets for air attack and would therefore be more likely to be guarded by SAMs.


Ultimately, risk mitigation is centred around which airspace you are operating over and what information you have access to. But as has been reported in the past, history has shown us that badly-written information published by the State often does little to highlight the real dangers posed by overflying conflict zones.

There is some evidence to suggest that more States are starting to provide better guidance and information to assist operators in making appropriate routing decisions, but we think this still has some way to go.

That is why we have been running our safe airspace map to provide guidance to assist operators in determining whether to avoid specific airspaces around the world.

 

Extra Reading:

Dubai to London – which way is best?

In Short: Two main options, via Saudi and Egypt (safer, cheaper but longer) or via Iran and Turkey (shorter, busier and geo-politically more unstable). It’s a complicated planning climate at present. Review regularly based on latest risk factors.   

There are more business aviation operators flying between the Middle East and Europe than ever before. So we took the time to look over the route options between the two regions. For our example we will be using a flight from Dubai to London, but similar operational considerations are valid for the plethora of route combinations through this whole region.

Firstly, we are sure you are a frequent visitor to our safe airspace website. Updated all the time with the latest notes and risk recommendations based on the latest intel. So, first things first, we want to avoid Syria, Libya and the Sinai Peninsula. As you can see however, this is a complicated geo-political region for flight planning. The direct great circle route would take us through Syria and would be around 3125nm. But that isn’t going to work. So, what else we got?

We will look at the two ways to head over the region. One is via Iran, Turkey and onwards to Europe. The other over Saudi Arabia and Egypt towards Europe.

Option 1: Iran/Turkey

Safety: Both Iran and Turkey are FSB Risk Level: Three – Caution. Iran is involved in the ongoing conflict with Syria and several Russian missiles crossed the Tehran FIR and several busy international routes. There are also increased tensions between the USA and Iran at present – if you had to divert in an N-reg aircraft, Iran would not be the friendliest of places to do so. Turkey borders with Syria and we have received multiple reports of GPS interference in the area.

Distance: an extra 100nm.

Time: About 15 minutes longer than great circle route.

Ease and Cost: Iran has higher overflight costs and for US based operators a reminder of the sanctions for dealing directly with Iran, or agencies in Iran. You’ll want to use an approved agent if you’re from the US (i.e.–not an Iranian company). Iran doesn’t work on Fridays, so be aware there. Turkish overflight costs are reasonable and remember that Turkish authorities require the use of an agent to apply for permits.

Traffic: The biggest issue with this route is that everyone is using it! It’s congested with a lot of airline traffic. It’s a major corridor for Asia-Europe flights also. So, getting the levels you want, and off route deviations are more complicated. Things get busy, as you can see!

Option 2: Saudi/Egypt

Safety: In terms of airspace warnings and risk, this route is slightly better. We have rated Saudi and Egypt airspace as FSB Risk Level: Two – Assessed Risk. Beyond the Sinai Peninsula and the Saudi/Yemen border, generally there is less of a chance of airspace security risks at present.

Distance: An extra 300nm from the great circle.

Time: Around 45 minutes longer.

Ease and Cost: Saudi and Egyptian airspace are generally a cheaper option ($1,000USD+). In Egypt, by law you have to get your permit through an Egyptian agent, but it’s a straight forward process. In Saudi, again, using an agent is best; they normally have three-day lead time – so keep that in mind. Also remember that the CAA only work Sun-Wed during office hours.

Traffic: For most of the day, much less of a traffic bottle neck.


Bottom line

Of the two options, routing via Saudi/Egypt is cheaper, and safer (as long as you steer clear of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsular and Saudi’s border with Yemen), but it’s going to take slightly longer.

What about Iraq?

We don’t think it’s a good idea. There’s a lot of information out there saying certain airways are ok but only at higher levels. But if you needed to get down fast, or even make an unexpected landing, Iraq isn’t the place you would want to go at present. Treat with caution.

Which one is your favourite choice? Let us know!

Further reading:

Eruption possible: Öræfajökull volcano, Iceland

The Department of Civil and Emergency Management in Iceland have issued a new status for Öræfajökull volcano saying that it shows clear signs of unrest. They added that the volcano is in typical preparation stage before an eruption.

For more than 250 years Öræfajökull has been lying dormant. The volcano is covered with an ice cap which forms the southernmost part of Vatnajökull glacier. The cauldron formed last winter in the ice cap of the volcano’s crater.

The mountain stands at 2,110 m (6,921 ft) above sea-level.

If it does erupt – it has the potential to cause significant impact to aviation across the Atlantic. We all still remember Eyjafjallajökull !

You can keep updated by keeping an eye on

Unsafe aircraft not welcome in Europe

Eurocontrol and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have brought live an automated system which alerts air traffic controllers when unsafe aircraft enter European airspace.

How does it work?

Network Management Director at Eurocontrol Joe Sultana, explained that “We have added another parameter to our system, and this is now checking if an aircraft coming from outside of Europe is coming from a state where the regulatory environment is accepted by the European Aviation Safety Agency”.

So in short: The system will now take an automatic look at the Third Country Operator Authorisation and alert ATC if there is a flight being operated from a aircraft on the banned list.

The regulation that a plane coming from a non EU country must have a Third Country Operator Authorisation has been in place since 2014, but controllers have had no way to implement it across the 30,000 flights it receives into Europe each day, until this new component was entered into their systems.

As a reminder, Eurocontrol receives the flight plans of all aircraft entering into European air space, while the EASA holds the Third Country Operator Authorisations information which confirms that planes are from countries with recognised safe regulatory practices.

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