International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Briefings (page 1 of 15)

Think twice before entering this airspace. Overflight Risk areas in August 2017.

One of our primary missions at FSB is to monitor the world’s airspace and report on new risks to civil aviation. When enough changes occur, we update our “Unsafe Airspace Summary“.

Today, we published a new summary effective 16AUG2017 – version “INDIA”.

First up, the map as things stand:

Red is Level 1 – Avoid this Airspace
Orange is Level 2 – Assessed Risk
Yellow is Level 3 – Caution.

A live version of this map is always updated at safeairspace.net

 

What’s changed since the last summary?

  • Somalia is downgraded to Level 2, so there are now five Level 1 – Avoid countries: Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea.
  • Saudi Arabia is upgraded to Level 2, due to assessed risk in the southwestern portion of the FIR (Yemen border area)
  • French Guyana no longer a threat as strikes and airspace closures have ended
  • Addition of JapanVenezuela and South Korea at Level 3 – Caution advised

If you have ops to any of these countries, make sure to have a read of the risk information. A full library is at safeairspace.net.

 

Download the latest summary

 

Weekly Ops Briefing: Is Japanese airspace at risk? New North Korea missile threat to civil aviation

Weekly International Ops Bulletin published by FSB for OPSGROUP covering critical changes to Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Subscribe to the short free version here, or join thousands of your Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC/CAA/Flight Ops colleagues in OPSGROUP for the full weekly bulletin, airspace warnings, Ops guides, tools, maps, group discussion, Ask-us-Anything, and a ton more! Curious? See what you get. Rated 5 stars by 125 reviews.

LEBL/Barcelona Security staff at Barcelona airport have announced Industrial action for Fridays, Sundays and Mondays starting from 4th August, with the following time schedule: 0330-0430, 0830-0930, 1430-1530, 1630-1730 UTC.

HAZZ/Ethiopia The government lifted on Aug. 4 a state of emergency that has been in place since last October, AP reported.

DISP/San Pedro, Ivory Coast is closed for two weeks since August 2 to renovate the runway, which is in urgent need of repair, according to Ivorian authorities. The runway has been renovated in the past; however, past repairs were insufficient to prevent the runway from deteriorating to its current state of disrepair.

KZZZ/USA The eclipse is coming! As the moon moves in front of the sun on August 21st, a “path of totality” will develop in portions of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. This rare event has created intense demand for airport services in these areas, and operators should expect delays to ground support, parking and possibly even approach sequencing to busier airports. NBAA has published some useful guidance for business operators in the US.

DFFD/Ouagadougou is reporting some capacity issues, and would prefer not to be filed as an alternate until August 19th.

EDDK/Cologne is PPR for non-scheduled traffic, apply 72 hours prior to flight: +49 2203 40 4310, flightinfo@cgn.de.

VTBD/Bangkok On August 7th, authorities stated that they were conducting an investigation into Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport (VTBD/DMK) following reports that approximately 5,000 passengers were forced to stand in lines for four to five hours at the facility’s immigration checkpoints. The 4 August incident occurred when several delayed flights resulted in increased passenger traffic at the facility. Heightened security measures in place at the airport — resulting in extended immigration screening — exacerbated the security processing delay. Several passengers required medical attention due to poor ventilation in the immigration checkpoint area and lack of available food or water. An airport official stated that the facility would open more immigration counters in response to the incident, which will allow authorities to process at least 1,800 visitors per hour.

YZZZ/Australia Further details have emerged about the foiled attack targeting commercial aviation in Australia, which authorities first revealed on July 30. An Australian Federal Police (AFP) official stated that two Lebanese-Australian nationals plotted to place an improvised explosive device (IED) on an Etihad Airways flight departing Sydney Airport (YSSY/SYD) on 15 July. One of the suspects brought the luggage containing the IED to the airport but then left before reaching the check-in counter. Officials have not yet established why he abandoned the attempt. The man intended to give the luggage to his brother, who boarded the aircraft. Officials stated, however, that the passenger was likely unaware of the contents of the luggage, and therefore have not charged or arrested him. The components used to manufacture the IED, which officials described as a “high-end military-grade explosive,” originated in Turkey and were transported to Australia via air cargo. This development prompted officials to enhance security measures employed to screen cargo aircraft.

LPZZ/Portugal Planned strike action by Portuguese immigration officers on 24 and 25 August 2017 may cause delays entering/exiting.

OTZZ/Qatar It had been reported that Bahrain and UAE authorities had lifted the ban on Qatar registered aircraft using their airspace, but this has been denied by both authorities and the ban still exists. Qatar aircraft have been using airspace above international waters which is managed by GCAA UAE but not airspace above their territory.

KTEB/Teterboro has a new RNAV SID – The Ruudy 6 – effective from August 17th, in response to ATC concerns over pilot deviations – 112 reports filed – on the previous version of the SID.

HSZZ/South Sudan The FAA has extended the warning on South Sudanese airspace for another year. Review the full page at http://safeairspace.net/information/south-sudan/

KZZZ/USA The FAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) – operators with aircraft equipped with ADS-B out systems and meeting specific altitude equipment requirements may no longer need to go through the lengthy and challenging RVSM approval process. Comments due by 06SEP. ADS-B will be mandatory in most US Airspace by Jan 2020.

WIHH/Jakarta Halim The Indonesian government has announced it has decided to transfer all Jakarta outbound Hajj flights from Jakarta Halim to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta Airport effective immediately. A statement issued by the Ministry of Transportation said it had taken the decision after a departing B777 ripped a hole measuring 3x2x0.25m in Halim’s runway on Friday last week. The aircraft was the first of three such flights scheduled to depart from Jakarta Halim during the first day of charters. Repairs to the affected strip took three hours to complete resulting in light delays to other departing flights.

RKSI/Seoul is introducing High Intensity Runway Ops (HIRO) at Incheon, new procedures, review the related AIC here.

VHHH/Hong Kong is now doing the CDM thing (Collaborative Decision Making), so have a read of AIC 12/17 for the details if you’re operating in there and want to know what TOBT and TSAT mean.

Weekly International Ops Bulletin published by FSB for OPSGROUP covering critical changes to Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Subscribe to the short free version here, or join thousands of your Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC/CAA/Flight Ops colleagues in OPSGROUP for the full weekly bulletin, airspace warnings, Ops guides, tools, maps, group discussion, Ask-us-Anything, and a ton more! Curious? See what you get. Rated 5 stars by 125 reviews.

 

BGSF/Sondrestrom to shut on August 27th

For NAT Ops on Sunday August 27th, note that BSGF/Sondrestrom will be closed to all traffic, as they are upgrading infrastructure. Sundays in Greenland see most airports closed in any case, but the option of paying $1000 or so to have them open for you is normally there. On this date,  BGSF won’t be, which may affect your diversion options.

They do say that if there’s an emergency, call them on +299 52 42 27 to determine availability.

Weekly Ops Briefing: New overflight fees Kabul FIR, Venezuela airspace risk – brink of civil war?

Weekly International Ops Bulletin published by FSB for OPSGROUP covering critical changes to Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Subscribe to the short free version here, or join thousands of your Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC/CAA/Flight Ops colleagues in OPSGROUP for the full weekly bulletin, airspace warnings, Ops guides, tools, maps, group discussion, Ask-us-Anything, and a ton more! Curious? See what you get. Rated 5 stars by 125 reviews.

 

RJZZ/Japan The frequency of North Korean missile launches that end with a splashdown in the Fukuoka FIR is of concern. Last weekend, one such missile came close to civil traffic, and this is not the first such event. We are preparing a summary for operators, and would request wider reader input on this. Has your operation/airline/authority made any changes recently to operations in the western portion of the Fukuoka FIR in Japan? Talk to us at bulletin@fsbureau.org.

BGSF/Sondrestrom For NAT Ops on Sunday August 27th, note that BSGF/Sondrestrom will be closed to all traffic, as they are upgrading infrastructure. Sundays in Greenland see most airports closed in any case, but the option of paying $1000 or so to have them open for you is normally there. On this date,  BGSF won’t be, which may affect your diversion options. They do say that if there’s an emergency, call them on +299 52 42 27 to determine availability.

RJZZ/Japan As of 1800 local time (0900 UTC) on August 3, Typhoon Noru was located approximately 350nm east-northeast of Kadena Air Force Base, Japan, and was moving in a northwesterly direction at a speed of approximately 8 knots. At that point, Noru was posting maximum sustained winds of 80 knots with gusts up to 105 knots. Noru is expected to make landfall after 48 hours in southern Japan. Southern parts of South Korea, including the port city of Busan, will also likely experience torrential rainfall, which could trigger flooding and landslides.

LFLL/Lyon has some fuel supply issues ongoing, advising tankering where possible.

FAZZ/South Africa The U.S. Mission to South Africa advises travellers to exercise caution when arranging ground transportation from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to hotels, guest houses, and residences. Numerous U.S. citizens and other travellers have been robbed at gun point while traveling from the Airport to their place of lodging in what are known as ‘follow home’ robberies. In some instances, U.S. citizens have been injured or shot at during these robberies.

RPLL/Manila Increasing levels of reports of laser lights within 10nm of the airport. [more in Aireport]

ZYHB/Taiping No overnight parking for Business or General Aviation due to parking until 30SEP. [more in Aireport]

SPIM/Lima Volcano eruptions from Mount Sabancaya continue to create airspace warnings up to FL250.

FOOL/Libreville Will be closed overnight 2300-0900Z until August 12th. [more in Aireport]

LIZZ/Italy Baggage handlers at Milan’s Malpensa Airport (LIMC/MXP) and Linate Airport (LIML/LIN) staged a last-minute strike on August 1. The handlers apparently warned the airport operator the day prior, although airport officials claim they did not know ahead of time. The strike caused significant delays for passengers.

UMMS/Minsk, Belarus Will be closed for runway maintenance at various times overnight until the end of August.

LGGG/Athens FIR Strike action planned for Air Traffic Safety Personnel (ATSEP) until 05Aug. Emergency frequencies will remain uninterrupted, although the authorities advise caution as “problems to systems may arise affecting communication, navigation and surveillance (CNS) services” during this period. Probably not too much effect.

LTBA/Istanbul Ataturk The airport is balancing “Supply and Demand.”  Here’s the rundown:
– New seasonal charter and cargo flights to land will not be accepted.
– Technical landings and diversions will not be accepted (unless you’re stationed there).
– Business flights are allowed, as long as the hourly flight limits haven’t been exceeded.
– Flights for MX are allowed to LTBA, but you’ll need to get your slot well in advance.
– Make sure you have a valid slot, they’ll reject your plan if not.
– If you have a permit prior to 24JUL, you’ll be accepted. [more in Aireport]

EETN/Tallinn PPR required for all parking needs over 3 hours. Get in contact at ad.apron.control@tll.aero until the end of August. [more in Aireport]

KZZZ/United States The TSA has announced that travelers will be required to separate more electronic devices from their carry-on baggage when passing through security screening points at U.S. airports. Currently, travelers are only required to take out laptop computers from their carry-on luggage for separate screening; under the new regulations, all devices larger than a mobile phone — including tablets and e-readers — will need to be placed in their own bins to be screened separately. The regulations are already in effect as part of a pilot program at 10 U.S. airports and are expected to be rolled out to facilities across the country in the coming months. The enhanced measures will not affect travelers who are enrolled in pre-check security programs.

FOZZ/Gabon New phone numbers for ANAC- +241 1 44 56 54, and +241 1 44 56 58.

ZKZZ/North Korea On August 2, the U.S. Department of State issued a Travel Alert for North Korea, which reads in part as follows: “The Secretary of State published a Notice on Wednesday, August 2, 2017 that will restrict the use of U.S. passports to travel into, in, or through North Korea/the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), effective Friday, September 1, 2017. The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens under North Korea’s system of law enforcement. Persons who wish to travel to North Korea on a U.S. passport must obtain a special passport validation under 22 C.F.R. 51.64, and such validations will be granted only under very limited circumstances. The Department of State will publish information on how to apply for a passport with a special validation on travel.state.gov when OMB approval is effective. Persons currently in North Korea on a U.S. passport should depart North Korea before the travel restriction enters into effect on Friday, September 1, 2017”

EISN/Shannon FIR The introduction of direct routings in the lower FIR was planned for 14SEP but has been delayed to 12OCT (maybe longer).

YZZZ/Australia Security procedures at Australian airports have been tightened, with pictures of huge lineups in the media. This follows a foiled attack plot last week. Sydney is the largest delay location.

 

 

Weekly International Ops Bulletin published by FSB for OPSGROUP covering critical changes to Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Subscribe to the short free version here, or join thousands of your Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC/CAA/Flight Ops colleagues in OPSGROUP for the full weekly bulletin, airspace warnings, Ops guides, tools, maps, group discussion, Ask-us-Anything, and a ton more! Curious? See what you get. Rated 5 stars by 125 reviews.

 

Venezuela airspace risk – brink of civil war?

All operators, in particular those with an N-reg on the tail, should be aware of the rapidly deepening crisis in Venezuela. The more tabloid news sources will say that “Venezuela is on the brink of civil war”; while that’s not quite the case (yet), it does give you a good indication of the level of concern. In OPSGROUP Note to Members #29 we will summarise the current situation.

 

 Sanctions  On July 31, the US government imposed sanctions on Venezuela, specifically on President Maduro. This creates an uncertain situation for US registered aircraft operating in Venezuelan airspace. Retaliatory sanctions, even as far as grounding a US aircraft, are not out of the question.

Embassy withdrawals On August 1st, the UK Foreign Office followed the US in withdrawing family of personnel from their respective embassies. This is a common precursor to a deeper security risk, and in the last 5 years we’ve seen this pattern in Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

 Flight Ops  See below on overflight. There have been interruptions to Notam and Metar service throughout 2017. At one point it appeared that SV** had lost its connection to the international AFTN system.

 Aireport  The most recent OpsGroup member reports are not encouraging. The top report on SVMI is titled “Hazardous in Caracas“. “The operating conditions in Caracas have deteriorated to a new level. New ATC controllers that have been installed in the last few months do not speak English very well, if at all, and in some cases and they are issuing clearances not appropriate for IFR or terrain clearance. Tremendous caution should be exercised especially when moving internally within Venezuela. SVMI authorities are now demanding to see the complete insurance policy for the aircraft, not just proof of insurance. We had Spanish speaking personnel with us and when we questioned a local SVMI controller about not using English, his response was that we should all be speaking Spanish! “. More in Aireport. If you’ve been through recently, add your report.

Threats SVMI/Caracas Simón Bolívar airport is located in an extremely high-risk area for armed robbery and kidnappings. The US describes the greatest current risks as social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages.

Travel advice  Western countries are all now recommending against “all but essential travel”. A large majority of airline carriers have now stopped operating to Venezuela, for a mix of reasons – primarily the fact that onward payment of ticket monies have been stopped by the Venezuelan government. There are frequent violent protests.

Overflight Operations through Venezuelan airspace do not require an overflight permit, and so there have been no incidences recorded of US aircraft being denied a permit. However, on several occasions in the last month, Venezuela has for short periods arbitrarily closed its airspace to overflying aircraft. A common problem with Venezuelan overflight is the denial of airspace entry due to unpaid navigation fees, which is why checking this in advance is recommended. This may be a tool used to deny US aircraft entry in the future. Plan operations through the SVZM/Maiquetia FIR with caution. To be clear, we do not assess any risk to enroute aircraft, but be mindful of the fact that if you do enter SVZM airspace, you may end up diverting to an SV** airport. Right now, that’s not ideal.

 

Avoiding Venezuela If you elect to avoid SVZM airspace, to the west will be via Colombia – permit required for all overflights, and to the east will be via the SYGC/Georgetown FIR (Guyana) – permit not required, or via the Paramaribio FIR (Suriname) – permit required. Finally to the east, if you use the SOOO/Rochambeau FIR (French Guyana) – permit required unless operating a GA aircraft under 12.5k lbs. 

 

If you need a tech stop and previously used/considered SVMI, then look at alternatives like TNCC, TTPP, SBEG, SMJP. Use the OpsGroup planning map to figure your best alternate options. 

Published August 2nd, 2017 :

  • The full Note to Members is available to OPSGROUP Members as Note to Members #29 in your OPSGROUP dashboard.
  • We recommend you review this in full before operations in the northern half of South America.

 

 


You can request membership of OPSGROUP to receive the full International Ops Bulletin delivered every Wednesday, along with all OPSGROUP member benefits: Members Questions, Group Discussions, Slack, free maps and charts (normally $25),  Full access to aireport for group reviews of handlers and airports, regular alerts for critical international ops info,  complimentary Airports Database (normally $375), Full access to safeairspace.net including updated risk alerts,  and guidance and help when you want it on any International Operations topic (that last one is really useful!). Read 125 different member reviews.

 

 

Weekly Ops Briefing: B747 missile pics, Danger at Bucharest, Venezuela Warning

Weekly International Ops Bulletin published by FSB for OPSGROUP covering critical changes to Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Subscribe to the short free version here, or join thousands of your Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC/CAA/Flight Ops colleagues in OPSGROUP for the full weekly bulletin, airspace warnings, Ops guides, tools, maps, group discussion, Ask-us-Anything, and a ton more! Curious? See what you get. Rated 5 stars by 125 reviews.

 

747 Cockpit pics: unannounced missile launch

28JUL ZKZZ/North Korea Another ballistic missile was fired by North Korea today, landing in Japanese waters. Earlier this week, a B747 crew enroute to Baku captured a series of images of an unannounced missile launch close to their aircraft, over China. Read the article.

26R at Bucharest is SHORT! 2 aircraft have now over-run

28JUL LROP/Bucharest Runway 26R is shortened by about 1250m/4000 feet, and on Tuesday a Ryanair 737 became the second aircraft to run off the end in a couple of weeks: on June 22, a Turkish A321 did the same thing. Word on the street is that there isn’t much in the Notams to remind you of this. Read the article.

SVZZ/Venezuela The U.S. Department of State has updated its travel warning for Venezuela, warning against travel due to social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages. On July 27, the Department ordered the departure of family members and authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. For flight ops to Venezuela, it’s highly recommended to avoid tech stops or unnecessary visits to any SV** locations.

RCZZ/Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has granted visa-exempt status to nationals of 11 Latin American countries. Effective immediately, nationals of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Paraguay are granted visa-exempt stays of up to 90 days while nationals of Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Christopher and Nevis, and Saint Lucia are granted visa-exempt stays of up to 30 days.

EGCC/Manchester Night ops into Manchester? Carry extra holding fuel due WIP until August 17. [more in Aireport]

FEFF/Bangui has had a few interruptions to ATC service due to power cuts – not the only issue in Bangui, but another reason to think twice about travel to the Central African Republic.

OEZZ/Saudi Arabia On 27 July, Saudi air defences shot down a Houthi ballistic missile in the sky over Taif. Reports indicate that the Yemeni-based Houthi rebels fired the missile from northern Yemen; however, the precise target is unclear. The interception did not result in any casualties or damage on the ground.

VTBB/Bangkok Extra holding fuel into Bangkok is recommended for the monsoon season until end of October.

HCSM/Mogadishu FIR HF is unreliable. Here are the alternate contact details, if you do insist on flying through their FIR (and we think you shouldn’t): SATCOM INMARSAT 466601. ATC/FIC Telephone: +254202365679, +254207622774, +254207626028 or +254202445632.

UUZZ/Russia Volcanic activity advisory ongoing for the Sheveluch volcano (56 38 N 161 19E) on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia.

OPKC/Karachi The United States Consulate General in Karachi has resumed the movement of U.S. government personnel traveling to and from Jinnah International Airport in Karachi (KHI). Local security forces have increased security measures at the airport and in the city of Karachi. Movement of U.S. government personnel within Pakistan remains severely restricted due to the overall security environment. The consulate general canceled all travel of U.S. government personnel to and from the airport on 25 July, citing an elevated threat of violence “at or near this location.” The consulate general did not release further details on the nature of the threat.

EDDK/Cologne Don’t use this as an alternate overnight – at their request – that is, from 2000Z-0400Z. [more in Aireport]

LFMP/Perpignan Air show on, check for arrival slot and parking availability if you’re planning to use it between 28-30 July.

LDZZ/Croatia Several hundred taxi drivers are staging protests throughout Croatia on 28 July against the ride-sharing service Uber. Reports indicate that the protests have disrupted traffic in Dubrovnik, as well as around the airports in Split and Zagreb. Thus far there have been no reports of associated violence.

LHDC/Debrecen Limited hours of service, 48 hrs prior notice required if intending to use outside normal hours of service until end of July.

MMMX/Mexico City They’re planning on building a new airport near Mexico City. The outlines of the runway have already been painted onto the surface of a dry lake in the exact position it will be built, including full markings. These are all clearly visible when departing from the existing Mexico City Airport (MMMX) RWY 05 and approaching on RWY 23. These painted lake bed surfaces are not intended for use as a runway!

LGAV/Athens Prior permission required – contact ASOC@AIA.GR 24 hours before arrival. [more in Aireport]

CYYZ/Toronto Pearson Ground crew workers launched a strike on 27 July over a labor dispute with their employer, Swissport. Reports indicate that approximately 700 workers — including baggage handlers, cargo handlers and cabin cleaners – are participating in the strike. Swissport serves 30 airlines at Pearson.

KZZZ/USA Qualifying citizens of India are now eligible to apply for Global Entry membership. Applicants who meet program requirements and pass a background check can benefit from expedited entry to the United States at designated airports.

UBBB/Baku If you’re headed down Baku way – be aware that they are pretty much out of fuel. Check latest.

EYVI/Vilnius is closed from 14 July – 17 August due to the reconstruction of the runway. The most suitable alternate is EYKA/Kaunas, but also consider EYSA, EYPA, EVLA, EVRA.

MMPR/Puerto Vallarta has overnight closures at present, check Notams.

CYFB/Frobisher Bay has multiple closures and restrictions on going, check before using this as your NAT enroute alternate or tech stop.

FAOR/Johannesburg Another robbery occured on July 8 in a process that is becoming common here: Armed robbers followed a couple from the terminal and forced the victims to stop their vehicle in Centurion, on the corner of Rietvlei Dam Street and Delmas Road, and proceeded to steal belongings. The victims were not injured.

ENGM/Oslo From July 17-August 2, if you’re bringing your 777, 787, 330, or other Code E or larger aircraft to Oslo, plan on not getting fuel there, due to work on fuel pits and pipes – carry onwards fuel.

 

Weekly International Ops Bulletin published by FSB for OPSGROUP covering critical changes to Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Subscribe to the short free version here, or join thousands of your Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC/CAA/Flight Ops colleagues in OPSGROUP for the full weekly bulletin, airspace warnings, Ops guides, tools, maps, group discussion, Ask-us-Anything, and a ton more! Curious? See what you get. Rated 5 stars by 125 reviews.

Enhanced Security – new rules for US Inbounds

KZZZ/USA The US has opted for ‘Enhanced Security’ instead of a wider laptop ban. In fact, the existing ban is likely to end once airports can comply with the new rules. The information in the official DHS release is somewhere between vague and zero, which kind of makes sense.

So, the story is pretty simple – there is no wider laptop ban, but no specifics have yet been released publicly as to what exactly ‘Enhanced Security’ means for Aircraft Operators. The DHS will work directly with larger AO’s directly affected.

How to avoid delays into Greece – new procedures

Following on from the privatisation of Greek Airports this summer (see our article from earlier in June – Summer of Pain), there are new procedures for Greek Slots.

With delays super high into some of the smaller islands, especially at weekends, attention to the correct slot procedure is pretty important.

The slot you’ll get from the HSCA is valid +/- 30 mins. If you go outside that, then you’ll get a flight suspension message from Eurocontrol that looks like this.

FLIGHT PLAN SUSPENSION
ACCORDING TO YOUR FLIGHT PLAN
IFPLID 01020304
ARCID N765AC
ARCTYP C56X
EOBD 160201
EOBT 1945
ADEP LOWI
ADES LGMK
ELDT 2050
NO CORRESPONDING AIRPORT SLOT WAS RECOGNISED

To get a new slot, or the initial one, the official process is this:

  1. Go to www.online-coordination.com, check for avail times
  2. Pick a handler, and ask them to apply for it – use www.hsca.gr to find a handler.
  3. Refile the FPL with the Slot ID

If you have any issues, you can call H24 this number in Greece re. slots: +30 210 997 2656. And, we think, this email should also work: slot-hsca@athensairport.gr

References

 

 

 

Qatar – What We Know

There have been many reports of countries cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar.  We’ll leave the speculation to the media, we want to break down what it means for operators and aircraft owners.  Just the facts.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Libya, Yemen, Maldives, and Mauritius have all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

As of now, only Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and UAE have placed flight restrictions on flights to/from Qatar. No known restrictions (beyond those known for Libya and Yemen anyhow) for the remaining countries mentioned in reports.

The new regulations are quite clear. You cannot overfly or land at any airport in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, or UAE with a Qatari registered aircraft. If you have a non-Qatari registered aircraft, and need to operate to/from Qatar and use the mentioned countries airspace you’ll need special approvals from the authorities below:

Saudi Arabia GACA:
+966115253336
special@gaca.gov.sa

Egypt ECAA:
+202 22678535
+202 24175605
AFTN: HECAYAYX

UAE GCAA:
+971 50 642 4911
avsec-di@gcaa.gov.ae

 

No special exemptions have been mentioned by Bahrain, but they’ve given the following routing for those effected by the restrictions:

UT430 OUTBOUND VIA RAGAS
UR659 INBOUND VIA MIDSI

Due to the situation, Iran has published special routing schemes for transitioning their airspace, as they’ll get quite busy:

Qatar to Ankara:
FL150-FL190, RAGAS-UT430-LAGSA-UL223-TESVA/ALRAM

Qatar to Muscat and Karachi FIR:
FL150-FL19, expect climb after KIS
RAGAS-M561-ASVIB (To Karachi)
RAGAS-M561-KHM-BUBAS (To Muscat)

Ankara to Qatar:
Between FL240 to FL300, ALRAM-UT36-MIDSI

Muscat to Karachi to Qatar:
Between FL240 to FL260, N312/A453-MIDSI

Also, if flying from Ankara to UAE (except OMAA), use the below routing:
BONAM-L319-RADID-M317-KUPTO-G666-ORSAR

The situation is fluid, and we will update this post as we continue to collect news.

ATC Nightmare in the Hills

This article was originally published on medium.com

In any one of the plausible alternative endings to this event, a departing Boeing 777 impacts the San Gabriel mountains at about 5000 feet, just east of Los Angeles, at 1.25am.

Exactly how this didn’t happen is almost unexplainable. With 353 people on board, this was 22 seconds away from being the worst air disaster in the US.

For a solid 3 minutes in the early morning, the Boeing was being guided not by the pilots, not by the Air Traffic Controller, but by the precipitous balance between good fortune and tragic fate.

At 1.24 am, level at 5,000 feet, the flight is 40 seconds from impacting a ridge-line west of St Gabriel Peak. A minute later, a wide turn to the right points the aircraft instead at Mt Wilson — now 22 seconds away and above the aircraft. Only a slow climb, the result of fumbled instructions and a gradual realisation by the crew of the danger, released the flight from a certain and conclusive end in the dark hills.

So exactly what happened? On December 16th last year, at 1.19am, EVA 015, a Boeing 777–300ER with 353 occupants, got airborne from Runway 7R at Los Angeles. 2 minutes after departure, the aircraft starts to make a turn in a direction opposite to that expected by the controller. That left turn immediately sets up a conflict and potential loss of separation with Air Canada 788.

With that conflict resolved, more by the natural tendency of airplanes to diverge than by any positive control instruction, the overall scene becomes bleaker. Rattled by the unanticipated loss of separation, the controllers’ picture is lost; fumbled left-right-left instructions confuse the Boeing crew, and very soon, nobody is actually flying the airplane.

Time are in UTC(GMT) — showing the aircraft track for the three minutes starting at 1.23 am local time. 

______

The ATC recording and track replay is YouTube nirvana for the congregation of armchair experts (the writer included). “Terrible controlling” is the common cry. “The pilots were at fault” say the counter-parties.

There is no doubt that this is Air Traffic Control at its darkest. But in any incident where we smugly allocate blame to one individual, we are blind to a bigger story. There is always a systemic failure to look at. In this case, there are several.

Loss of Separation vs. Real collision risk

For an Air Traffic Controller, there is a subconscious difference between the fear of losing separation (the legal minimum distance), and the fear of an aircraft collision. The purpose of ATC is to prevent collisions, but the mindset of an Air Traffic Controller is focused on preventing loss of separation. This is an important distinction.

A loss of separation is a traumatic experience for any ATCO. It results in immediate suspension of the right to work, remedial training, a loss of confidence, and a few sleepless nights. Even if the required separation is 5 miles, and a controller allows aircraft to pass with 4.9, it’s game over.

And so, in any conflict on the radar scope that looks like it might become a loss of separation, the controller (being a human being) will encounter physiological symptoms — shock being the first, activating the autonomic nervous system — increasing heart and breathing rate, and releasing adrenaline. These are helpful for both of the Fight or Flight options, but not for thinking clearly. The psychological impact of the loss of separation blurs the importance of preventing a collision.

Training wins

I’ve worked as both pilot and controller. Faced with pressure, we revert to the level of our training. This is why pilots visit the flight simulator every couple of months. We’ve trained to the point that an engine exploding as we rotate the aircraft off the runway is no longer a shock that renders us useless. If this were to happen in reality, we still feel the adrenaline and shock — but we can plunge straight into the “Engine Failure subroutine”. We have training to revert to. Listen to Aer Lingus Flight 120 experiencing this. You can hear the training, and you can also hear the adrenaline. Training wins.

For Air Traffic Controllers, faced with an unexpected situation, we also revert to training —but we don’t train for our emergencies in the same way that pilots do. The training, in fact, isn’t there to revert to.

As a controller, I’ve held Tower, Approach, and Enroute ratings in different countries. ATC training in how to separate airplanes is excellent. Training in how to recover from the unexpected is not.

Ultimately, it’s the same deal. Both Pilots and Controllers spend 99.99% of their time operating in the routine. It’s not uncommon for a pilot to spend his entire career without encountering an engine shutdown. Similarly, many controllers retire without ever having lost separation.

But it would be unthinkable for an airline to have crews that don’t know what to do in an emergency. Why then, is it acceptable to not offer controllers the same degree of contingency training?

Emergencies and ATC

When we talk about ATC Emergency training, what we are really used to looking at is what to say and do when a pilot has an emergency. Mayday, Pan-Pan, Emergency descent, Hijack.

But what about when ATC has their own emergency. When you’ve missed a conflict, have a deep loss of separation, lost the picture — when you’ve completely screwed up. Somewhere in the manual, there’s probably a few lines about using standard phraseology, exercise best judgement, provide traffic information, don’t interfere with an RA.

As humans, this doesn’t help us. There is no patter to fall into. We need trigger phrases to kick off trained behaviour when the shock of the event wants to take us elsewhere. In the cockpit that I flew in, whatever happened, the trigger phrase was “Take action”. From here, whatever the situation, we knew where to go. Identify the problem, run the checklist, push buttons, talk to ATC.

In the Aer Lingus example above: Mayday, Shamrock 12G, Engine Failure, Climbing straight ahead, Standby.

Alert — Identification — Situation — Intentions — Request.

Clear as a bell.

On the EVA tape, it is clear that the controller has no such place to go to. It’s the equivalent of trying to exit an underwater shipwreck with no guide rope. You need something to hold onto as you find your way back to the surface.

She never did. After the shock of the loss of separation, she was now faced with a 777 heading into the 6500ft San Gabriel hills level at 5000 feet. She did not move on from preventing a loss of separation to preventing a collision with terrain. Even when apparently finally realising the aircraft was heading for high ground, there was little in the way of an urgent climb or turn instruction, and nothing that mentioned to the crew that they were in immediate danger.

Losing the picture

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If we consider ourselves to blame for the situation, it will cloud our judgement, obscuring the true picture. If we allow that to develop further, we can lose the picture entirely. There is nothing in our training that gives us a clear path out of the loss of separation. No mnemonics, no patter, no phraseology.

This is the lesson to be learned from this event. ATC agencies should make available to their controllers the same degree of emergency and “unusual situation” training that airlines offer to pilots. And somewhere in there has to be an ingrained, trained-by-rote-reminder that when you lose separation, you immediately pick up the fallen cards and move on to preventing a collision, whether that is with another aircraft or terrain.

In the EVA 015 incident, we can be thankful that the sheer mercy of fate allowed all on board to thread their way through and out the other side of the San Gabriel mountains. If ATC training were more cognisant of the human factors aspect of the shock of losing separation, we may not have to rely on the mercy of fate next time.

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