International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Author: Dean Constantinidis (page 1 of 3)

What do you Sphinx about this new airport?

We love new airports … and we have a cool one tell you about in Giza, Egypt – known as Sphinx International Airport (SPX, HESX)!

It looks like it’s undergoing a “soft” opening of sorts. Word from handlers we have spoken to on the ground confirm it’s open for business (for the most part).

Here is the info we have so far:

  • ICAO code: HESX
  • IATA code: SPX
  • PCN: 87
  • Runway dimensions: 3650M x 60M
  • The airport is open from Sunrise to Sunset. No night lighting installed as yet.
  • There is no CIQ yet. But it’s coming soon – so it’s not an airport of entry presently.
  • Airport features a general and business aviation terminal, with its own dedicated CIQ unit. The VIP terminal and Royal Lounge are open. A complete fleet of GSE is in place.
  • Jet A1 Fuel is available via Misr Petroleum Company tankers. No Hydrant System yet.
  • Airport features 8 parking stands currently.
  • Most likely the airport will be slot coordinated preserving control on capacity until the new terminals launch.
  • Night stop parking is accepted with a requirement to re-position aircraft to parking bays after passengers disembark.

Some extra info from the local agent:

“The airport has already launched, but not in it’s full capacity as the contracted constructor is still finishing up the exteriors. In addition the check-in software has not been installed, meaning commercial schedule flights haven’t started yet. However the airport is accepting business and general aviation flights during opening hours and with pre-notification of 48 hours.”

Parking spots are well equipped and overnight parking is possible. The airport is only seeing a handful of movements at present and is not busy.

The airport is best suited for those wishing to visit Cairo West or Giza City with the expected launch of commercial flights on 30 June.

Have you landed there yet? Let us know if you have any updates.

p.s. Fun fact- The Great Sphinx of Giza when translated from Arabic to English means: The Terrifying One; literally: Father of Dread. So……Safe landings 😉

Extra Reading:

  • AD 2.HESX-v2 – AIP Information on HESX – Sphinx International Airport.

Frustration with new Curacao FIR billing system

We have previously reported on TNCF/Curacao FIR denying airspace entry if you haven’t prepaid your navigation fees.

Since then, more of our members have reported that the Dutch Caribbean – Air Navigation Service Provider (DC-ANSP) have been charging navigation fees for flights filed but not operated. If there was a mistake on the flightplan or a new one needed to be filed the DC-ANSP has charged the fees for both and refused to issue refunds. To make matters worse, it’s been reported that they are charging $50 to review the matter! Poor form!

From 1 Jan 2018, DC-ANSP switched billing systems – from direct payment to IATA to a new online system provided for by IDS. It’s pretty high tech and fancy. Maybe too fancy if they are charging for flights that didn’t happen….

High tech new billing system!

DC-ANSP’s motto is “We guide you home safely!” – maybe they should add …. “but only when you prepay.

Have you had a similar experience? Let us know!

Updated communication procedures for Hong Kong FIR

AIP SUP A09/18 details new communication procedures for air traffic entering the VHHK/Hong Kong FIR.

The key points:

  • Aircraft shall comply with the following communication requirements to obtain an air traffic control (ATC) clearance:
  • Pilot shall report the aircraft callsign, position (with reference to reporting point), level (including passing and cleared levels if not maintaining the cleared level), transponder code, and other pertinent information (e.g. speed assigned by last ATC, tracking if it differs from the flight plan route) in the initial call before entering Hong Kong FIR.

Also a small change: the requirement for pilots to report the estimate time exiting Hong Kong FIR on first contact with Hong Kong Radar as stipulated in AIP Hong Kong ENR 1.1 paragraph 2.2.4 will no longer be applicable and is hereby cancelled.

Why are you still getting the Ruudy6 wrong? Stop at 1500!

If you’re departing Teterboro any time soon, make sure you stop at 1500 feet – and have a good look at the rest of the RUUDY 6 departure. That’s the message from NY ATC, and the Teterboro Users Group.

The FAA has reported over 112 pilot deviations on the KTEB/Teterboro RUUDY 6  SID.

The Teterboro Users Group has asked us to remind all pilots that strict compliance is required, especially vertically.

“The most common error being a climb straight to 2000’ without honouring the requirement to cross WENTZ at 1500” – Capt. David Belastock, President, TUG

This week the FAA issued the following notice which explain the issue and the serious consequences of non-compliance, namely the reduced vertical separation with KEWR/Newark arrivals:

Teterboro Airport SID Deviations

Notice Number: NOTC7799

The Ruudy Six departure continues to incur both lateral, but in particular, vertical pilot deviations. Due to the proximity of Newark and other area airports it is imperative to follow the RNAV(RNP1) departure procedure to Performance Based Navigation (PBN) standards. Do not drift left off course to avoid noise monitors. Do not climb above 1500 until passing Wentz intersection. There is only 1000 feet of separation with overhead traffic at Wentz. When issued the clearance to “climb via the SID” all altitude restrictions must be complied with as depicted on the chart.

Attached are excerpts from the Aeronautical Information Manual and the Controllers handbook explaining the Climb Via procedure. An expanded explanation is in chapter 4 and 5 of the AIM.

Further information can be found on the Teterboro Users Group website http://teterborousersgroup.org and in KTEB Notice to Airmen (Letters to Airmen section)

There has been an extensive education campaign underway for a long period including guidance material, pilot meetings, educational podcasts and even a FlightSafety International eLearning course. Despite these efforts, pilot deviations continue to occur.

A great guide has been created by Captain Belastock and its very useful for any crews operating out of KTEB.

Know of any other procedures with unusually high non-compliance?

Let us know!

Don’t forget to file MACH number in NY Oceanic Airspace

KZWY/New York Oceanic FIR last month published a NOTAM requiring Flight Plans to be submitted with MACH crusing number, rather than TAS in Field 15A for the flight plan. So far, most operators are not doing this. But you should!

This includes flight departing TXKF/Bermuda.

A0178/18 – ALL ACFT ENTERING THE NEW YORK OCEANIC FIR (KZWY), INCLUDING THOSE DEPARTING BERMUDA (TXKF) , MUST FILE A MACH NUMBER INSTEAD OF A SPEED OF KNOTS IN THE EXPECTED CRUISE SPEED FIELD (FIELD 15A) OF THEIR FPL. 03 MAY 17:08 2018 UNTIL 31 MAR 23:59 2019. CREATED: 03 MAY 17:09 2018

Reports are that compliance so far has been low.

So why do it?

NY ARTCC tell us:

This minor adjustment enables the ATC computer system to effectively probe flight plans and proactively offer more favorable routes and/or reroutes.

Help ATC out! Thank you.

 

New 19-state Upper FIR planned for Africa

Africa has inched closer to achieving a broad Upper Area FIR  following the move by 19 regional states to adopt an airspace agreement at the end of May.

Ministers of Justice and the Attorney Generals from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) adopted the legal instrument on common airspace in Lusaka.

The regional airspace agreement aims at achieving a seamless upper airspace for the region which will lead to enhanced competition in air travel and efficiency.

Zambia Minister of Justice, Hon. Given Lubinda, who opened the May meeting said the COMESA seamless airspace programme will contribute to bringing down high costs.

“The draft legal instruments aimed at the implementation of the COMESA Seamless Airspace programme speak to this.”

 

Extra Reading:

Just about nowhere to land in London at night this summer

Jet noise! It seems that Londoners are sick of it. Corporate operators watch out; London basin airports of EGGW/Luton, EGSS/Stansted, EGKK/Gatwick, EGLL/Heathrow, EGKB/Biggin Hill, EGWU/Northolt, EGLF/Farnborough and EGTK/Oxford airports are now effectively closed or restricted for overnight flights.

EGGW/Luton is the biggest hit with a curfew this summer: from 1 June to 30 September, arrivals/departures will be prohibited between 23-7 local time each night.

Over at EGSS/Stansted, where local authorities have already reduced the number of night-time slots for GA/BA to just 10 per week, new noise restrictions have also been introduced which mean that aircraft rated above QC1 are unlikely to receive slot approval at all during the night period:

Who’s to blame?

Local airlines, mainly the low-cost ones. Late arrivals have used up much of the cumulative noise footprint at both airports.

So, what’s left?
  • EGMC/Southend (40 miles away) & EGBB/Birmingham (115 miles away) are the only airports with no restrictions (thus far).
  • EGLL/Heathrow & EGGK/Gatwick: Pretty much a no-go zone for business aviation these days
  • EGLC/London City: closed from 1030pm to 0630am
  • EGWU/Northolt: closed from 8pm to 8am on weekdays
  • EGLF/Farnborough: closed from 10pm to 7am on weekdays
  • EGKB/Biggin Hill: closed from 11pm to 6.30am on weekdays, and 10pm to 8am on weekends
Who’s most affected?

Transatlantic crossings that plan to arrive in London late at night (after a morning departure from the US) or late-night London departures. Plan ahead and speak with your FBO so you don’t get stuck in a noisy bind.

Extra Reading:

Russian bombers intercepted off Alaskan coast (again)

Reports this week of two Tu-95 Russian bombers being intercepted by US F22 fighters off the coast of Alaska.

The Tu-95 bombers were flying in the Air Defense Identification Zone in the Bering Sea north of the Aleutian Islands, where they were visually identified and shadowed by the U.S. jets at 10 a.m., said Navy Capt. Scott Miller, a North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman.

The bombers did not enter North American sovereign airspace, he said in a statement. Miller declined to say how close the bombers came to U.S. land. Some outlets reported they flew as close as 55 miles off Alaska’s west coast.

Friday’s encounter was the first of its kind in just more than a year, Miller said. A similar incident occurred off Alaskan waters in April 2017 in what U.S. officials have described as routine if not tense encounters between adversarial aircraft where territorial lines meet.

The ADIZ extends about 200 miles off the Alaskan coast and is mostly international airspace, Miller said, though Russian military activity will often prompt an in-kind response for U.S. warplanes. Intercepts in the zone occurred about 60 times from 2007 to 2017, The New York Times reported last year.

Extra Reading:

Bad NOTAMS = Runway overruns in Hamburg

If you’re headed to Hamburg, watch out. The runway is shortened, and the Notams are vague.

Poorly written NOTAMs struck again this week in Hamburg, Germany, when an A320 and a B737 both overran Runway 05 on landing – the first by SAS on May 11  and the second by Ryanair on May 15.

Runway 05 in EDDH/Hamburg has been undergoing works and a litany of related NOTAMs and AIP SUP were issued to explain.

A1608/18 – RWY 05 LDA 2370M. 12 APR 04:00 2018 UNTIL 23 MAY 21:00 2018. CREATED: 05 APR 09:50 2018

A1605/18 – SHORTENED DECLARED DISTANCES FOR RWY 05/23. AIP SUP IFR 09/18 REFERS. 12 APR 04:00 2018 UNTIL 23 MAY 21:00 2018. CREATED: 05 APR 09:42 2018

A2223/18 – TWY A1, A3, A4, A5 CLOSED. 02 MAY 10:26 2018 UNTIL 01 JUL 04:00 2018. CREATED: 02 MAY 10:27 2018

A2044/18 – ILS RWY 05 NOT AVBL. AIP SUP IFR 09/18 REFERS. 23 APR 09:17 2018 UNTIL 23 MAY 21:00 2018. CREATED: 23 APR 09:17 2018

A1725/18 – CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT IN DEP SECTOR ALL IFR DEPARTURES RWY 05. PSN WITHIN AN AREA 533810N 0095948E AND 533805N 0100023E. MAX ELEV 89 FT. NOT MARKED AND LIGHTED. SUP 09 2018, CONSTRUCTION WORK EDDH REFER. 12 APR 04:00 2018 UNTIL 23 MAY 20:00 2018. CREATED: 09 APR 13:10 2018

A1609/18 – RWY 23 CLOSED FOR ARR. 12 APR 04:00 2018 UNTIL 23 MAY 21:00 2018. CREATED: 05 APR 09:52 2018

Despite this, both were unable to stop before the last open exit (A6) and vacated further down the runway. Thankfully both resulted in no injury because all construction equipment was kept clear of, and beyond, taxiway E6.

A better NOTAM may have been:

RWY 05 IS SHORTER THAN USUAL DUE TO CONSTRUCTION WORK AT 23 END. REDUCED LANDING DISTANCE IS 2370M. LAST TAXIWAY OPEN FOR EXIT IS A6. CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT ON RUNWAY BEYOND TAXIWAY A6. 

You get the idea. Concise and plain language in one NOTAM to make it clear what the issue is and the consequences of going beyond 2370m of runway.

They did, to their credit, try and tidy it up since the incidents:

A2563/18 – RWY 05 CLSD EAST OF TWY A6. RWY 05 LDA 2370M. RWY 05 NON STANDARD TDZ AND AIMING POINT MARKINGS AT 400M FM THR ISO 300M. ADJUST LDG PERF ACCORDINGLY. 17 MAY 16:30 2018 UNTIL 23 MAY 21:00 2018. CREATED: 17 MAY 16:31 2018

In another serious incident associated with these runway works, a Vueling A320 (another foreign operator) nearly landed at the wrong airport on May 11. Thankfully ATC intervened on that one.

All incidents are now the subject of investigation.

Naturally it’s imperative for crew and disptachers to check and read all NOTAMS thoroughly. But with over 40 current just for EDDH/Hamburg right now, it’s easy to understand why things get missed.

Until then “adjust landing performance accordingly”.

Extra Viewing:

Europe squawks 7600 on ops in the Eastern Med

As we reported last month,  Eurocontrol published a ‘Rapid Alert Notification’ on their website regarding imminent air strikes into Syria.

“Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and / or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean / Nicosia FIR area.”

Around this time LCCC/Nicosia FIR released this vague (and now deleted) NOTAM:

A0454/18 – INFORMATION TO AIRSPACE USERS

THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IS CONTINUOUSLY MONITORING THE GEOPOLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION AND WILL NOTIFY THE AVIATION COMMUNITY IF AND WHEN ANY RELEVANT AN RELIABLE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION IS TAKING ALL APPROPRIATE ACTION TO SAFEGUARD THE SAFETY OF FLIGHTS. 12 APR 15:25 2018 UNTIL 12 JUL 15:00 2018 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 12 APR 15:26 2018

Beyond this alert and NOTAM though; nothing else happened. A few days later, the conflict escalated.

Very few commercial flights operate over Syria, and authorities in the US, UK, France and Germany have all previously issued warnings for Syrian airspace.

But many airlines regularly transit the LCCC/Nicosia FIR: there are frequent holiday flights to the main Cypriot airports of LCLK/Larnaca and LCPH/Paphos; overflight traffic from Europe to the likes of OLBA/Beirut, OJAI/Amman and LLBG/Tel Aviv; as well as traffic from Istanbul heading south to the Gulf and beyond.

What has happened in the few weeks since then?

Normal Eurocontrol protocol is (during expected ATC strike for example) – regular teleconferences with operators, active re-routes and removal of certain overflight approval requirements. So did that happen this time? No.

Essentially just radio silence on Syria and operations in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Right now, it’s a busy place. With all the normal holiday traffic in the region, there is also a large number of military surveillance aircraft from numerous nations patrolling the region. United States assets operating from Greece and Italy. UK air power from Cyprus and the French from bases in Jordan. Add to that the normal Israeli defense air frames and even the odd Swedish gulfstream surveillance flight!  Then there are the Russians conducting aerial operations and defense exercises in and around Syria.

Cyprus has activated a litany of “temporary reserved/segregated areas” inside of Nicosia FIR.

On May 3rd, Cyprus issued this vague information, to ‘exercise caution’.

A0580/18 – NAVIGATIONAL WARNING TO ALL CONCERNED. EXTENSIVE MILITARY OPERATIONS IN NICOSIA FIR PILOTS TO EXERCISE CAUTION AND MAINTAIN CONTINUOUS RADIO CONTACT WITH NICOSIA ACC. 03 MAY 12:00 2018 UNTIL 31 MAY 23:59 2018. CREATED: 03 MAY 11:25 2018

There is also a current warning about GPS interruptions.

A0356/18 – RECENTLY, GPS SIGNAL INTERRUPTIONS HAVE BEEN REPORTED BY THE PILOTS OF THE AIRCRAFT OPERATING WITHIN SOME PARTS OF NICOSIA FIR. AIRCRAFT OPERATORS OPERATING WITHIN NICOSIA FIR ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE CAUTION. 20 MAR 10:04 2018 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 20 MAR 10:05 2018

It may be unfair to blame the authorities completely. At the end of the day, due to the lack of appropriate communication from the various security agencies it’s hard to get accurate information out there. Still, there was enough warning to alert civilian operators of imminent strike – but then nothing else. Shouldn’t airspace customers and users expect more?

So what to make of all this?

Let’s end it with this great 2009 (and still current) NOTAM from the Cypriots.

A0687/09 – NAVIGATION WARNING TO ALL CONCERNED.

15 SEP 09:30 2009 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 15 SEP 09:34 2009

 

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