International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Briefings (page 1 of 16)

CPDLC Departure Clearance for US Airspace – 22Oct

Earlier this month we reported about the transition of the United States ATC system to a National Single Data Authority (NSDA).

The initial phase of this process is scheduled to start this weekend on 22Oct at 0330Z with a single CPDLC logon ID for domestic US airspace (KUSA) and ATC issuing departure clearances using CPDLC.

You can read more details about Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication–Departure Clearance (CPDLC-DCL), general procedures for logging on/notifying, loading the flight plan, receiving the CPDLC-DCL, responding to the CPDLC-DCL message, and disconnecting/logging off  here:

NAS Data Communications Guide

Oceanic ATC’s tell us their position on Iridium Satcom

Last week we reported on an equipment issue with Iridium satcom that prompted a ban by a number of Oceanic ATC agencies. Some aircraft were receiving massively delayed clearances sent by ATC via CPDLC – and one took the instruction and climbed 1000 feet, even though the message was meant for the flight the aircraft operated previously.

Today, we checked-in again with all the oceanic ATC centres, to see what their current policy is on the issue.

EGGX/Shanwick told FSB that they are aware of the issue, reviewed it, but have decided not to ban the use of Iridium for either CPDLC or ADS-C just yet. LPPO/Santa Maria have the same position. So, in this airspace, you can use Iridium, for now.

CZQX/Gander said they did a safety analysis of it, and decided not to ban it. They have all kinds of conformance alerts in place to prevent any problems from happening – so if aircraft deviate they get notified immediately.

BIRD/Reykjavik aren’t that concerned about the issue – they use HF most of the time anyway.

Chile (SCIZ)
Japan (RJJJ)
Anchorage (PAZA)
Oakland (KZAK)
New York (KZNY and KZWY)
All these centres have published Notams instructing crews not to use Iridium for CPDLC or ADS-C. Until the fault is fixed, in those regions you’ll have to either use HF for ATC comms, or use another SAT provider.

Auckland (NZZO) and Brazil (Atlantico SBAO) have applied the ban to CPDLC alone. Use ADS-C if you like.


From Iridium themselves, they told FSB: “We’ve updated their queue management system. Every minute, there is a queue check. If there is any message that is older than 4 minutes, it marks as timed out, and will not be delivered. This update was done at ground level, so it does not require any software updates by the user. We’re still waiting on feedback from FAA workgroup on the fix and if it’s sufficient to allow use of Iridium for CPDLC and ADS-C.”

That’s it for now! We’ll keep you posted, or, even better – tell us below in the comment section if you hear news.


NAT Airspace Closures

Update 18th Oct: No more events are planned at this time. However, we will keep this page updated with the latest news as we get it.


Sections of NAT airspace are set to close on various different dates in October. This is all due to U.S. and NATO joint military exercise that’s going on, called Formidable Shield, which will mean huge chucks of airspace will be closed to civil ops for many hours.

The basics for each event are the same:

  • Airspace closed, SFC-UNL.
  • Aircraft capable of flying in MNPS airspace will have to keep at least 30nm away from the area, other aircraft will need to keep 60nm away.


Event 1 Happened on 25th Sep. 


Event 2 Happened on 7th Oct.


Event 4Happened on 15th Oct. (Yes, Event 4 happened before Event 3 – just to confuse us!)


Event 3 Happened on 17th Oct.

Crew Visa Requirements for India

India has new crew visa requirements.

  • Visa upon arrival is no longer available.
  • It is mandatory for all crew to have visas arranged before arrival to India.

When flying as operating crew you will need an e-Business Visa. Carry a copy with you when disembarking.

Processing time is around 4 to 5 days.

Use the following link to apply.

Keep in mind e-tourist visa is for pax only.

Airspace Changes Coming for the OMAE FIR

On October 12th, GCAA announced the changes to the OMAE FIR.  They’ve got it all detailed in the latest AIRAC (AIP link below).

The major change–all aircraft require RNAV1 with GNSS to operate in the Emirates FIR, starting December 7th.  This is a change from the previous RNAV5.  With that, you can expect changes to SIDs, STARs, all ATS routes, holding procedures, communication frequencies, and others.  It’s a major overhaul to anticipate for the expected increase in traffic.

We’ve got for you:

AIC 04/2017
AIP Link (you can find all the specifics to the changes here)

07 DEC 00:00 2017 UNTIL 21 DEC 23:59 2017.


After Hurricane Maria – Airport Status

Post Maria Airport and Airspace status:

Updated October 20, 2017 2100Z


  • MYMM/Mayaguana: Open and operating
  • MYSM/ San Salvador: Open and operating

Turks & Caicos

  • MBPV/Providenciales: Open and operating
  • MBGT/Grand Turk: Open and operating

Dominican Republic

  • All Airports Open and operating

Puerto Rico

TJZS all aircraft should use caution when operating within the interior or near the Island due to numerous low flying rotary wing aircraft.  For additional operation information click here.

  • TJSJ/San Juan: Open and operating. Airport continues to be under massive strain and Humanitarian flights are still top priority. The VHF frequencies and radar are working but intermittent.  CPDLC unavailable.  Fuel is available. Operators must make contact with Aerostar or handler for gate allocation. Slots now only required if you’re using the contingency ramp there. Call MFOC at 001-850-283-5994 all other flights file FPL normal. Overnight parking is available.
  • TJIG/Isla Grande: Open and operating from 0600-1900. Customs open 0800-1730.  Frequency 121.7 for advisory. Tower is operational. Overnight parking available.
  • TJBQ/Aguadilla: Military and Relief flights only. Tower is open and operating. Limited water, electricity, and internet. For services phone contact has been more successful due to internet complications.
  • TJPS/Ponce: Military and Hurricane relief and Air Carriers with PPR. Due to equipment problems the airport is closed and expects to reopen Oct 23 1130Z.
  • TJRV/Ceiba: Military, Hurricane relief, and GA flights only. Sunrise to Sunset only due to airport lighting down. VFR only no ATC or Tower. Fuel available. No PPR needed. No heavy equipment available to offload supplies.
  • TJVQ/Vieques: Open and operating. Sunrise to Sunset only due to airport lighting down. Internet not available.

For more information on operating into Puerto Rico

For Ops reports in Puerto Rico

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • TISX/St.Croix: Open and operating. A contingency ramp has been established for FEMA/DOD flights they require Slot reservation contact MFOCC at 1-850-282-0236. All aircraft should contact Longhorn Ops on 251.9 or 139.9 (+/-20min) before landing to arrange parking and fueling. Normal ATC procedures. Customs available.
  • TIST/St.Thomas: Open and operating. Airport hours are 0900-1800 local time.  Customs available 0800-1600LT. Equipment available for Cargo offload.  Fuel available. Fema permit NOT required.  Tower and unicom frequency is 118.8. Limited coverage from SJU Center.  ATIS, navaids, ILS, runway lights – all out of service.  For services contact St.Thomas Jet Center (email is best as phones are intermittent Contact Roy Romney: 340-690-5076/ or Terri Thomas: 340-626-5270 for immediate questions.
    Include the following when requesting services:
    Company name
    Tail #
    Make and model of aircraft
    Date of arrival/departure
    Local time ETA/ETD
    Number of crew and pax both in and out
    Method of payment
  • TIST have island curfew 1900-0800 still in place

For more information on operating into TIST/STT

British Virgin Islands

  • TUPJ/Beef Island-Tortola: Open and operating 1130-2100z, but VFR only. Fuel available, limited internet, and electrical power.  The perimeter fence was badly damaged by hurricane Irma, so the airport is no longer secured. No overnight parking. Only Property owners, residents and citizens are allowed in the territory at this time.  ATS services reduced to 5nm radius of the airport. Flights will need to get PPR here: or via email:
  • TUPA/Anegada: Airport closed.
  • TUPW/Virgin Gorda: Airport closed.

Sint Maartin

  • TNCM/Princess Juliana: Open and Operating 0700L-Sunset (due to no lighting). Fuel is available.  File FLP from point of origin due to com difficulties.  Equipment to offload cargo is fine, Menzies in charge of the cargo loader.  Main Frequency 118.7. ATC is operational (1100Z-Sunset daily). 3 fire vehicles active at the airport, fire CAT 9. Hotel rooms are difficult to find but handler can help arrange.

For information on TNCM/SXM

St. Kitts & Nevis

  • TKPK/Basseterre: Open and operating
  • TKPN/Nevis Island: Open and operating


  • TAPA/Antigua: Open and operating.


  • TQPF/The Valley: Open and Operating. Open from 1100Z to Sunset only. PPR required. Call sign Anguilla Radio on 118.500 25NM out. Fuel is available, Internet, Water and Electrical in terminal. ATC not available contact: 1-264-476-9642 or 1-264-476-5655. Comms with weather and traffic only. Call Aeronautical station for slot reservations (arrival and departure) 1-264-497-1646 and 1-264-584-5397


  • TFFR/Pointe-a-Pitre: Open and operating


Serious damage. Homes and trees flattened. Recovery efforts are currently being coordinated from the nearby islands of St Lucia and Antigua.

  • TDPD/Roseau: Open and operating with limitations. Hours Sunrise – Sunset. Electricity is via standby generator. Water supply is limited and JetA1 fuel is available only. Comms 118.9 standby radio is working and Fire CAT5. Ground handling available on request. Customs, Immigration, and agriculture officers present. Perimeter fence is limited to 60%.
  • TDCF/Canefield: Open and operating on a limited basis. Largest aircraft that can operate there is a Twin Otter. Only handheld ATC from offsite location, tower was heavily damaged. Difficult to contact as most communications are still down. Most utilizing Helicopters and St.Lucia is being used as a staging airport.
Trinidad and Tobago
  • TTCP: Open and operating normally
  • TTPP: Open and operating normally






Turkey suspends US Visas

Effective immediately Turkey has suspended all Visa services to US citizens. This includes both physical Visa and E-Visa.

  • Any visa granted before 08OCT will stand until expiry of validity date.
  • Any visa granted after 08OCT will be revoked.
  • No new visa will be granted from now.

However, most operating crew will not be impacted. When listed on Gendec as Operating crew and you have a valid crew ID, you may stay up to 72hrs without visa.

We will update any changes here as and when known.

French ATC strike updates

Several ATC unions have called for a national strike, affecting French airports and airspace from Monday evening at 1700UTC (Oct 9) through Wednesday at 0400UTC (Oct 11).

All FIRs are experiencing high delays.

Impact expected to the FIR’s per current  (10OCT) information are as follows:


LFRR/Brest Experiencing high delays

LFFF/Paris All sectors experiencing delays with highest delays in the west. Situation is starting to show signs of improvement.

LFEE/Reims All sectors experiencing delays with highest delays in the East and North

LFBB/Bordeaux Some high delays and with no ease forseen

LFMM/Marseille High delays all around. Regulations will be in place until a least 2359UTC

The following routes are available:
Tango 9 Global and Tango 213 Global, UM30 and UZ180 are fully available.
T9 is still dealing with alot of delays.


LFPG/Paris DeGaulle and LFPO/Paris Orly are experiencing delays and there is a 30% capacity reduction in both airports plus at the following airports:

LFOB/Beauvais, LFLL/Lyon, LFML/Marseille, LFMN/Nice, LFBO/Toulouse and LFRS/Nantes
LFSB/Basel – unconfirmed as of yet but may be used as an alternate
LFPB /Paris-Le Bourget will not be affected.


Expect high impact. Ops over or to France are best avoided today.

We will continue to post any further information here as soon as received.

Tropical Storm Nate headed for U.S. Gulf Coast

Tropical Storm Nate is currently just off the northern coast of Nicaragua, moving NW at 8kts with sustained winds of 35kts.

It’s forecast to move on towards Louisiana over the weekend as a Cat 1 Hurricane.

Heavy rain expected across Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Belize and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsular.

No airport closures anywhere yet, but keep an eye on the forecast for MMUN/Cancun, as that’s directly in the path of the storm.

CPDLC for US Airspace: The Implementation Process.

Update 03Oct: The FAA has released AC_90-117, which is their updated overview of Data Link Communications.

  • The United States ATC system transition to a National Single Data Authority (NSDA) is here.
  • The changeover will take place on 22Oct at 0330Z
  • A single CPDLC logon ID (KUSA) will be provided for domestic US airspace.
  • The initial phase is set up to issue departure clearances only
  • En-route CPDLC communications within US airspace will be implemented at a later time.
  • More details about the transition process are found here NSDA – Data Comm Program
  • We’ll post further information as it becomes available
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