International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Author: Declan Selleck (page 1 of 23)

New things in OpsGroup – gocrow, new alerts, Daily Brief, George 2, Foxes


Summer – for those of us in northern parts, at least – is progressing, and so are we. I’m excited to tell you about a whole bunch of new things we’ve built for OpsGroup, to make your life easier (which is why you’re in the group in the first place, yes?)

Here’s the game changer: We’re starting to reach a point where you and your fellow members are reporting things to the Team every day, at a level that means we’re really covering most of the important operational news out there. Now, we are working on better ways for you to find it … read on.

Not a member yet? We LOVE welcoming new members to the group

Choose a plan – JOIN OPSGROUP


As the crow flies – pop in your departure and destination, and get all the information that we have for your route – Planning data – distances, times, fuel, Ops News and Alerts, Permit requirements, Airport Spy reports.

What’s new?

  • Sort News by last 7 days, 30 days, 3 months, year
  • Permit information for each country you overfly or pass near
  • Drag and change route – just click the yellow line, all info is recalculated
  • OPSGROUP Airport Spy reports along your route
  • Change underlays
  • now works on iPad
New underlay options, show different maps under your route (more coming).
Airport Spy reports are automatically pulled for your route.
Customized news report for your route.
Get country by country permit information.

New Dashboard

What’s new?

  • Re-designed and improved look
  • A notifications tab for Ops Alerts and new Airport Spy reports.
  • A live map of alerts, toggle 7 days/ 1 month / All, searchable news feed
  • Daily Brief archives in publications
  • FSB Blog posts now appear here also
  • Report it tool

New Alerts Window

All ops-alerts issued by FSB for the group now have their own home at You can also find them in slack in the #ops-alerts channel, which will push notifications to your phone.

Each alert now has a category, validity dates, active marker, and link to more information:


You know George from before, but we sent him for remedial training in North Korea and now he’s back, smarter, sharper, and better. George is a bot. We can’t call him AI, because he’s not that intelligent, but he understands a whole load of new commands: permitsweather, ICAO codes, airport names, countries, keyword searches. Go to the #george channel in slack to test him out.


OpsGroup has set up a trusted network of spies: Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, Dispatchers, and Ops Specialists – that can report directly into our system, adding categorized reports, based on what they see and know at their home base, or visited airport. We call this network OpsFox.

You can view the live map, or search for a specific country, or location:

Daily Brief

We love that you all love the Daily Brief! It’s been the most popular feature of the year – and we are happy to bring you daily updates every morning.

See those little fox badges? When we get a report from a Fox, we’ll mark it like that on the Daily Brief. If you’re a ground handler, and want to have your name listed as a reporter, then tell us and we’ll credit you for any reports you file – so that our members can contact you directly for more.

Also, as a fox, you earn points. Here’s the current Top 5!

We really hope you enjoy the new features! We listen to what the members want, and we build it – so keep your ideas coming to us. And of course, when you hear about something new:

Please! whether you’ve just checked in to the Holiday Inn at Teterboro, or are enroute with some fancy satcom wi-fi, let the other members know when you hear something important:

We hope you have a wonderful week! As always, keep us posted on anything the group should know about.

Oh – and if you REALLY liked something we added, hit reply and let us know! We’d love to hear.

Kind regards,
The Team.

Quick links – OPSGROUP members:


Choose a plan – JOIN OPSGROUP


FSB Daily Brief – subscribe to free trial

Every morning, FSB provides the latest International Flight Operations updates across 18 categories – including Airports, ATC, Runways, Fuel, Airspace, Procedures, Delays, Risk, Hazard, Severe Wx, Costs, Strikes, and Events – direct by email.

The brief is provided to OpsGroup members. If you’re not a member, you can try out it out for a while by signing up below, for free. You’ll get it in your inbox every morning!

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Dash 8 set on fire in Papua New Guinea, airport closed indefinitely

AYMN/Mendi has been closed indefinitely after protesters set fire to and destroyed an Air Niugini Dash 8 aircraft, which had just arrived from Port Moresby. The protest was in response to a court ruling confirming the election of the Southern Highlands governor William Powi.

Radio New Zealand reported:

“(Initially) the local police station commander Gideon Kauke had said police were guarding the aircraft to ensure there was no further damage, after its tyres had been flattened.

But he said his team of about ten police couldn’t contain a mob of uncountable numbers, particularly after missiles were thrown, forcing them to retreat; “we were guarding the plane but compared to them we were outnumbered and they came in all directions, all corners. Missiles were thrown, bush knives were thrown.”

Mr Kauke said some of the protestors, who continue to behave menacingly in Mendi as their numbers build up, were carrying guns. He said the protest was in response to a court ruling in Waigani confirming the election of the Southern Highlands governor William Powi.”

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs is cautioning all to “reconsider your need to travel” to the regions affected by the unrest and to also “exercise a general degree of caution” for the whole of PNG.

The local NOTAM says it all.

A0773/18 – AD CLSD TO ALL ACFT OPS DUE CIVIL UNREST. 14 JUN 05:35 2018 UNTIL 13 JUL 06:00 2018 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 14 JUN 05:52 2018

Additional reporting indicates that the aircraft was shot at on landing, deflating the tyres.

Are you currently in PNG and can fill us in on more? Please comment below, or email us.

Daily Brief – subscribe here

We’d like you to help test our New Daily Operations Brief

Every morning, FSB provides the latest updates across 18 categories – including Airport, Runway, Fuel, Airspace, Procedures, Delays, Risk, Hazard, Severe Wx, Costs, Strikes, and Events – direct by email.

How? Subscribe below, and once you’ve seen a few, give us feedback on it.  

OPSGROUP Members are already subscribed, no need to join again.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief


FSB continues to provide the weekly International Ops Bulletin every Wednesday to 50,000 readers.


Further reading

  • About OpsGroup – the heart of International Flight Operations
  • Feb 20, 2018 – new members being accepted, read why.
  • Join OpsGroup – single and team, Flight Department memberships available.


Escape from Teterboro .. FL400 or above

Skip the line up at Teterboro! The FAA has launched an initiative to allow some high-performance business aviation aircraft an escape route during SWAP events to mitigate delays at KTEB and KHPN. The goal is to offer flights that are filed to cruise at FL400 and above an exclusive route that would get them above the airline traffic. This route may add a few extra miles but will minimize ground delays.

As the FAA is required to test the route for ATC automation and familiarity, they are seeking pilots willing to participate in this test as early as this weekend, preferably in the morning, before traffic demand peaks. Aircraft participating in the test would be routed over GREKI and then on to westerly or southwesterly destinations.

If you’re willing to participate in the test this weekend, please at your earliest opportunity contact FAA Deputy Director System Operations, East-North Warren Strickland:

If you’re unable to participate in this weekend’s test, please advise Warren of other dates that may work for you.



Have you met Norm? He’s learning what a Notam is.

Actually, he already knows.  He’s seen more than 2 billion of them, read through them, grouped the words, and in the same way that you or I would, learned what different Notams look like, mean, and what they are about.

What Norm has no idea about though, is how important any particular Notam is. Until he learns from the people that know, he won’t know the difference between grass-cutting times, and airport closure times, in terms of criticality to crews.

Norm (full name Norman the Notam Organizational and Recognition Model) is an Artificial Intelligence ‘bot’ being built by ICAO and FSB. Calling him a bot does him a disservice; he’s already much smarter than a bot, but needs more training.

Norm  has one job: identify critical NOTAMS and highlight them, so that crews and dispatchers don’t miss the important stuff.

For this, FSB needs human pilots and dispatchers to teach him what is critical and what is not. When presented with a new NOTAM, Norm can then give it a criticality rating. He needs a sample of at least 10,000 NOTAMS to become usable, and 20,000 to become smart.

FSB is using the power of OpsGroup to train him – a collective of 4,000 airlines, operators, pilots, and dispatchers that work together and share information on changes, operational challenges, security, risk, and …. fixing Notams.

There are over 30,000 NOTAMS out there at any moment in time. Some are critical, most are not. Norm will ensure that crews have the option of seeing only the critical ones first.

French ATC strike 22 May – this one’s looking bad

Impact from todays ATC French strike is looking worse than usual.

As things stand at 0600Z, there are a total of 400,000 delay minutes attributed to ATC Industrial Action in the ATC system for Europe,  an average of 20 minutes for every flight in Europe. That average is calculated for all 22,000 aircraft that will operate today in Europe, so assuming at most 2000 flights would operate through French airspace, it works out at around 220 minutes delay for every aircraft. And yep, finishing off the maths, that’s about 4 hours.

Those figures are pretty fluid because the good people at NM (CFMU) work really hard to reroute flights around the worst of it, but it’s safe to say, if you are operating in, over, near, or thinking about France today, you will have a pretty decent delay.

See below for the best places to get updates on todays strike.

Further reading:


NAT Circle of Entry 2018

For the latest changes and updates on the North Atlantic, including our most recent Guides and Charts, use our NAT reference page at

Updated May 22, 2018: Added a centre circle for the PBCS Tracks, updated entry requirements for the NAT Tracks

Confused and overwhelmed with the changes on the North Atlantic of late? Especially with PBCS, RCP240, RSP180, RLAT, RLong, and all that? Yep, us too.

So, we drew a circle. Tell us if this helps. Click on the circle to download the more detailed PDF.

Download the NAT Circle of Change 2018 PDF.

To help ease your NAT Headache further, these goodies will probably also be useful:


New International Operations Daily Brief from FSB

Flight Service Bureau is now publishing a Daily Brief for the 4000+ airlines, pilots, operators, and dispatchers who are OpsGroup members.

Every morning, FSB provides the latest updates across 18 categories – including Airport, Runway, Fuel, Airspace, Procedures, Delays, Risk, Hazard, Severe Wx, Costs, Strikes, and Events – direct to OpsGroup members by email.

To receive the Daily Brief, as a member, you don’t need to do anything additional. To report any update back to the team, just hit reply.

If you are not a member and would like the Brief, plus the other benefits of OpsGroup, then you can check here for the group status and if we are currently accepting new members.

FSB continues to provide the weekly International Ops Bulletin every Wednesday to 50,000 readers.


Further reading

  • About OpsGroup – the heart of International Flight Operations
  • Feb 20, 2018 – new members being accepted, read why.
  • Join OpsGroup – single and team, Flight Department memberships available.


Italy ATC Strike announced for May 8th

All airports in Italy and all ACC’s are planning a strike for Tuesday May 8th, from 08-16Z. Overflights, and intercontinental flights (eg US arrivals) are exempt. Expect disruption on the ground at all airports all day.

On strike from 11-15z:
-The ACC’s: LIBB/Brindisi, LIMM/Milano and LIPP/Padova.
-The airports: LIMC/Milan-Malpensa, LIEE/Cagliari, LICC/Catania, LIRA/Rome-Ciampino, LIBR/Brindisi, LICA/Lamezia Terme, LIMF/Turin and LICJ/Palermo.

On strike from 08-16z:
-The airports: LIRF/Rome-Fiumicino, LIRP/Pisa and LIRQ/Florence.

You can see the full Notam here. For updates, keep an eye on the Eurocontrol NOP page on the day of the strike.

Additional strikes are taking place by ground handlers at LIRP/Pisa, LIMC/Milano Malpsena, LIML/Milano Linate, LIRQ/Florence and LIPY/Ancona – so expect particularly big delays at those airports.

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