International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Author: Declan Selleck (page 1 of 23)

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: warren.strickland@faa.gov

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 flightservicebureau.org/NAT.

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:
-LIRR/Roma ACC.
-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.

Russia is not closing its airspace to American flights

On April 17, the Russian Ministry of Transport extended overflight approvals for US airlines through to October 28, 2018 – just hours before the old agreement on overflights was due to expire.

This should bring an end to the rumour that had been circulating all week that Russia has closed its airspace to US aircraft, and were denying overflights. There are a couple of unrelated events which caused this confusion:

1. US strikes on Syria on April 14, with rhetoric of Russia retaliation – which in the end didn’t happen.

2. Spooked about how Russia might respond directly after the strikes, American Airlines temporarily decided not to overfly Russia on some of their flights from the US to Hong Kong… but then they quickly went back to doing so again on April 15.

3. With the deadline looming for extending the agreement, Russian civil aviation officials had reportedly cancelled a meeting in Washington earlier this week to discuss renewing the agreement.

4. Some areas of the Baltic Sea are closed on April 19 for Russian missile firing, which is a routine event.

 

References – all the relevant stories are here:

 

FSB and OPSGROUP win bid to control 1.8 million km area of Pacific Airspace

Clipperton Oceanic starts operations today, and is the worlds newest piece of airspace.

This one is different though – the users are in charge.

Flight Service Bureau, together with OpsGroup, takes official control today of the Clipperton Flight Information Region (FIR) in the South Pacific, a 1.8 million square kilometre chunk of airspace west of the Galapagos Islands and north of Tahiti. The FIR has been unused since 1958, when the Clipperton Oceanic centre and radio service closed.

Announcing the news in an official Press ReleaseFrancois Renard, PM of the Clipperton Government said: “We are a little island but we are proud of our history in Pacific aviation. The years from 1937-1958, when Clipperton Oceanic was a name known to all passing aircraft, are looked back on fondly here. Now, we look forward – to a resumption of traffic on these once busy routes, and we are confident that FSB and OpsGroup are the key to making this happen”.

For the first time, regulations are set by the users. There is no requirement for PBCS, RNP, ADS-B, ADS-C, GNS, GNSS, HLA, MNPS, RLAT, RLON, SLOP, or any of the other exponentially increasing acronyms that operators struggle to keep up with. No LOA’s, no slots, no delays. And no ramp checks. There are no Notams. Although it is large, it’s a simple piece of airspace, and that allows for a simple approach.

Juergen Meyer, a Lufthansa A350 Captain, and a long standing OpsGroup member said: “We’ve seen enough. Ercan (the Cyprus based Turkish ATC centre) doesn’t officially exist, yet you have to call them every time. French Guyana seems to have abandoned their ATC centre. Several African countries have outsourced their entire Permit Department, meaning you have to pay extortionate amounts just to secure a routine overflight. Greece and Turkey continue to hijack the Notam system for a diplomatic war. CASA Australia, like many others, continues to publish absolutely unreadable Notams, endangering safety. Nobody dares to enter the Simferopol FIR. The French ATC service is on strike more often than they are not. Libya lies about the security risks at their airports. Egypt and Kenya refuse to publish safety information because it would harm their tourism.”

Jack Peterson, an Auckland based operator of 2 G550’s, said: “If all these agencies can exist with a poor service, then why not try something different? Clipperton puts the users in charge, and we get to decide whether any of these rules or procedures actually serve us. Now that we have our own airspace, we can make it safe and user-friendly rather than user-hostile. And the South Pacific is the perfect place to start.”

FSB have also banned Ramp Checks within the region, a practice where pilots are taken hostage by the local Civil Aviation Authority during routine flights, and held accountable for the mistakes of their company, not being released from the ordeal until they submit with a signature.

The Clipperton FIR has a chequered history. The island is named after a Pirate (John Clipperton). First activated in 1937, Clipperton Oceanic Radio provided a Flight Information and Weather service to trans-Pacific flights for 21 years, until it lost funding from a French-British-American government coalition in 1958.

In 1967, the Soviet Union attempted to takeover the airspace, offering to build several Surveillance Radars on the island. That was seen by the United Nations as a cover story, with their interest being more likely centred on having additional monitoring territory proximate to the US.

Since then, the Flight Information Region has remained dormant, appearing in most Flight Planning systems as “XX04”. Until the agreement with FSB, no service of any kind was provided.

The Clipperton FIR, still marked on the Skyvector chart as “XX04” (Click to expand)

The move has been seen by some observers as similar to the delegation of control of Kosovo airspace to Hungary in 2013, under a 5-year agreement that will likely be extended. Reinhard Kettu, newly appointed Oceanic Director, FSB, commented: “It’s not really the same thing. The Kosovo thing was just a delegation of Air Traffic Control, and at that, just for civil aircraft. Here, in Clipperton, FSB is taking full control of the aviation system. That will allow us to introduce an across-the-board user-first system.

On the Notam issue, FSB founder Mark Zee commented: “We’ve made things really simple here. Critical Notams, for the most part, tell us of a binary Yes/No for availability. Runway closed, ILS unavailable, Frequency u/s. It’s basically an On/Off switch, and the existing system handles that pretty well. When it comes to everything else, they fail, badly. So much rubbish about unlit towers, cranes, birds, and the rest. That makes up the noise. So, we’ve banned them in this new airspace, while we work on a better system. We will notify operators through the DCA of any withdrawn essential service or facility, for example if our HF is broken. Nothing else.”

Operationally, there are two new airways, UN351 and UN477, with 8 associated waypoints. HF is provided on the South Pacific MWARA Network, on the same frequencies as Auckland, Brisbane, Nadi, and Tahiti – 5643 and 8867 will be the primary ones.

Flight plans should be addressed to NPCXZQZX and NPCXZOZX. Although only HF is required to enter the airspace, CPDLC is provided and the AFN logon is NPCX. To begin, only a Flight Information Service is provided; no alerting, SAR, or Air Traffic Control service is part of the agreement. The rest is detailed in Clipperton AIC 03/18.

FSB and the Clipperton Government have also partnered with Thales and the KPA Military Construction Unit in a US$27 million agreement to build an entirely new Oceanic Control Centre on the Island, to be completed by 2021. “Until then, we will rely on HF and position reporting, but from 2021 we will be able to use space-based ADS-B”, said Mr. Kettu.

Clipperton Oceanic welcomes all. If you’re passing, say hello on HF. And if you’re planning to enter the airspace, make sure to read AIC03/18.

Media contacts:

Further Reading:

Older posts
International Ops Bulletin
You are welcome to receive our weekly bulletin on upcoming Airport closures, Security issues, ATC restrictions, Airspace changes, and New Charts
Sent to you every Wednesday
Thanks, I'm already a reader.