International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Briefings (page 1 of 27)

Hurricane Florence: Latest Airport closures and Operational impact

Latest update: 1900z, Sept 17th.

Most airports have reopened, with the exception of KILM and KOAJ (see below).

The National Weather Service have warned – “Florence is forecast to bring a large area of rainfall of 20-40 inches to parts of NC/SC. We cannot overstate the threat of catastrophic flooding this storm will bring!”

Severe disruption is expected across the entire region spanning from KSAV/Savannah in the south up to KRIC/Richmond in the north, with multiple airport closures planned.

As of 1900z on Sep 17th, the situation is as follows:

  • ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KAVL) @flyavlnow
    Airport is open and operational.
  • CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (KCHS) @iflyCHS
    Airport is open and operational.
  • CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA (KCHO) @CHOAirport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA (KILM) @ILMAirport
    The airport is open, but it’s not recommended to operate, no power, no ILS, no tower. One runway is open for rotor aircraft.
  • FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KFAY) @flyFAYairport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA (KMYR) @FlyMyrtleBeach
    Airport is open and operational, some equipment outages, keep an eye on Notams.
  • GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA (KGSO) @flyfromPTI
    Airport is open and operational.
  • HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA (KHXD)  @hiltonheadSC
    Airport is open and operational.
  • NORFOLK, VIRGINIA (KORF) @NorfolkAirport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • RALEIGH-DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA (KRDU) @RDUairport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • SAVANNAH, GEORGIA (KSAV) @fly_SAV
    Airport is open and operational.
  • WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA (KINT)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA (KLYH) @lynchburggov
    Airport is open and operational.
  • RICHMOND, VIRGINIA (KRIC) @flack4RIC
    Airport is open and operational.
  • CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (KCLT) @cltairport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • NEW BERN, SOUTH CAROLINA (KFLO)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • FLORENCE, NORTH CAROLINA (KEWN)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • PITT-GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KPGV)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KOAJ)
    The airport is closed – scheduled to reopen Sept 18, accepting military and rescue flights.
  • ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA (KRWI)
    Airport is open and operational.

Do you know more and can add to this list? Let us know!

 

Extra Reading:

  • Google Crisis Map
  • You can view the latest projections and forecast maps with the NOAA here.
  • You can view the latest information from the FAA here. The latest flight delay information is here

Paris Le Bourget – New Requirement to list parking in Flight Plan

In the recent France AIP August update a new requirement was added for all aircraft inbound to LFPB/Paris Le Bourget to list their parking position and handler on Field 18 of their flight plan.

Mentioned twice in the local traffic regulations (the translation is a little iffy but you get the idea):

Mandatory assistance by approved based companies. The name of the assistant society must be stated in field 18 of the FPL as a remark (RMK).

and

It is required to the crews to indicate in field 18 of the flight plan, the traffic area of destination and the name of the handling provider.

We understand that this came about due to “much confusion” of the parking stand locations after aircraft land.

Remark 18 should include

  1. Handler Name
  2. Your parking stand location (e.g. HANDLER ABC T1 APRON FOXTROT 2)
    • For heavy aircraft (A330/A340/A350/B747/B787/B767/C130) apron Golf, Sierra or Foxtrot 3 will suffice. Your local handler should give you confirmation ahead of your expected flight.
  3. Your handlers phone number.

So it should look something like this:

(FPL-FGTRY-IG

-C525/L-SDFGRWY/S

-LFMD0610

-N0360F340 OKTET UM733 GIPNO UT26 LOGNI UN854 DJL

-LFPB0120 LFPN

-PBN/A1B2D2S1 DOF/180903 IFP/MODESASP ORGN/KBLIHAEX RMK/HANDLER ABC TERMINAL 1 APRON FOXTROT 2 TEL : +3312345678)

Do you know more? Feel free to comment or drop us a line!

Also- here is a video of a Beech Bonanza flying under the Eiffel Tower 

OPSGROUP featured on Al Jazeera

As a group of 4000 pilots, dispatchers, and controllers, we stand for safety ahead of commerce. Al Jazeera interviewed our founder, Mark Zee, about the current risk in Ethiopian airspace created by the ATC strike, and why we care so much about getting the truth out to our members.

 

ATC Strike over, but nine Ethiopian Air Traffic Controllers remain in jail

5th September, update:

As of this morning, most controllers have returned to work. Some concessions made by ECAA. Addis ACC and TWR are again staffed with qualified controllers, so the safety situation, for now, is restored. However, 9 remain in jail. Returning controllers were forced to sign an ‘admission’ of illegal strike action in return for amnesty. IATA In Flight Broadcast Procedure requirement for Addis FIR remains in place, meaning you must broadcast on 126.9 as in other areas of concern in Africa. Further as we get it.

 

4th September:

Last week we were one of the first to expose the attempted ATC Strike cover up by the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority.

As a reminder, untrained and uncertified foreign controllers, retired and local non-operational ATC personnel are being used to control air traffic over Ethiopia. 

It is a catastrophic misjudgement, creating a safety risk in the Addis FIR and at Ethiopian Airports for pilots and passengers alike.

Here are some more updates since our last article:

  • On August 29, The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Association (IFATCA) penned a letter to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. You can read it here.
  • The neighbouring controllers in Kenya warned that flights in and out of Addis Ababa are not safe. You can view their letter here – specifically they warned that the ‘possibility of air misses’ is real.
  • The ECAA over the weekend rejected concerns regarding the safety of Ethiopian airspace, specifically calling the claims from Kenya as “outright lies.”  The ECAA has said that ATC are operating “in accordance with ICAO Annex 1 provisions.” They did not deny however that foreign and retired ATC are being used.
  • The ECAA also outlined that the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has “awarded” veteran Air Traffic Controllers,  who are performing their national obligation.
  • However on Monday, the local state affiliated broadcaster, Fana BC, reported that the Federal Police Commission had detained nine individuals on suspicion of attempting to disrupt international flights and coordinating a strike that began last week. This has been quickly condemned on social media, as many locals called on the government to resolve the issues raised by the ATCs rather than resorting to intimidation.

The ECAA claims that “some” of the striking controllers have returned to work.

Major airlines and uninformed passengers continue to fly into and over Ethiopia and this continues to be a major safety risk.

Do you have more to add this story?  Please, let us know!

Updated holding fuel advice for Australia

Australian traffic holding is a funny one; you can fly 16 hours directly from a place far far away, and then just before landing you get told to hold for 20 minutes – even though you have been in Australian airspace for sometimes 7 hours plus, they wait until the last few minutes to slow you down. 🤷

A recent AIP update and AIC Supp (H25/18) has updated the Airborne Holding Requirements for the four major Australian airports:

YBBN/Brisbane and YMML/Melbourne now are all in line with YSSY/Sydney

  • Daily, 2000Z-1300Z (0600L-2300L) = 20 Minutes 

YPPH/Perth Monday to Friday ONLY

  • 0100Z-0500Z (0900L-1300L) = 10 Minutes
  • 0500Z-0900Z (1300L-1700L) = 5 Minutes
  • 0900Z-1300Z (1700L-2100L) = 10 Minutes

There has been a slight change in the AIP requirements also. Instead of publishing “holding fuel advisories” – it’s now called airborne traffic delays”. So they aren’t really advising you on what fuel to carry anymore. In fact they go as far as saying that:

“All traffic delay estimates are an indication only. Actual holding may differ from the estimate, and operators should use their own judgement on fuel carriage decisions. More detailed historical holding data is available from the NCC on request.”

But… if you arrive at a destination without sufficient holding fuel for “actual traffic holding” then… “you will not be accorded a priority approach unless you declare an “emergency”.

So keep an eye on the NOTAMs for updated daily requirements. Even as recently as this week, 30 minutes holding was being required in YSSY/Sydney due to ATC shortages.

Insider tip: If you see the winds in Sydney from the west gusting more than 25 knots, you will see a NOTAM for traffic holding that increases the 20 minutes to 50 minutes or more due to single runway ops. You can expect to see similar NOTAMs when any low visibility operation kicks in at the other airports.


A few other quick updates for operations around Australia that you might have missed.

  • YPPH/Perth now has a Category III Instrument Landing System. Perth is a very isolated airport, especially for long-haul widebody operations, with the nearest diversion alternates being over 600-1000nm away.
  • YBBN/Brisbane‘s main runway, 01/19, will be changing designation to include a LEFT and RIGHT in early November in preparation for the certification of the parallel runway in 2020.

Have we missed anything? Then let us know!

The diversion dilemma over London

A few months back an Air Canada A330 suffered a hydraulic failure as it started it’s Atlantic crossing from France to Canada. The crew decided to turn back and wanted to divert to EGLL/London Heathrow – this was denied.

Since then, other reports have been received of other aircraft requesting similar non-emergency diversions over the UK and them being denied. We understand the “non-acceptance of diverts” policy is in place for EGGW/Luton, EGSS/Stansted and even as far away as EGHH/Bournemouth. It is important to note however that if you declare an emergency (PAN/MAYDAY) – then all bets are off and you can divert wherever you like.

This week we saw EGGW/Luton go as far as publishing a NOTAM to that effect.

A2663/18 – DIVERTS SHALL ONLY BE ACCEPTED FOR ACFT THAT HAVE DECLARED AN  EMERGENCY.

So what’s going on?

We understand it’s a mix of things.

  1. With the heavy summer traffic situation all across London (which is being compounded by the various curfew and overnight flight limitations) it seems that the major airports don’t want an aircraft landing and disabling their runway.
  2. We have heard specific concerns stating that there is nowhere to park overflow aircraft. One aircraft might be manageable but multiple during peak disruption maybe not so easy.
  3. Some Opsgroup members have reported that the main driver of this policy at EGGW/Luton and EGSS/Stansted may be down to ‘their fear of adverse publicity on social media’ regarding aircraft sitting there waiting to go somewhere else and passengers tweeting away the problems with the airport and its facilities.
  4. Luton also put forward the argument that they do not want to interrupt the home-based operators by allowing other operators in. However, at the same time they are automatically denying home-based operators a diversion unless you declare an emergency.
  5. Border Control has also bought into the argument, especially at EGSS/Stansted, saying their manning levels can’t cope with an influx of extra passengers at short notice.

There are a whole host of other factors at play which make diversions in the London area a headache, particularly at night time. Opsgroup member Diego Magrini from Jet Concierge Club sums it up nicely:

“Minor airports close early in the evening, for example EGSC/Cambridge, EGTK/Oxford, EGLF/Farnborough, EGWU/Northolt. These would all be very good alternatives, but become unavailable pretty early. Let’s be honest: no business jet want to divert to EGLL/Heathrow or EGKK/Gatwick (costs, slots, friendliness, etc), and most cannot go to EGLC/London City due to training and approval. This is of course on top of Heathrow and Gatwick not accepting diversions most of the time, or not having slots available. Some airports outside London, although open and accepting traffic, do not have an FBO presence during the night, and this cannot be arranged at short notice for a diversion. Combining all of this in the very short timeframe of a diversion can be very tricky!”


There is a cool video that shows just how busy London does get on any given day….

If you have any further knowledge or recent experience to share, please let us know!

Extra Reading

Don’t alpaca your bags for Lima – tech stops forbidden!

What the expanded airport should have looked like in 2018.

For 10 years SPJC/Lima’s Jorge Chavez airport has been desperately waiting for a promised US$1.5bn expansion.

With the rapid growth in the airline industry in Peru over the past few years, it seems the airport authorities are starting to struggle to provide enough capacity, and they are now trying to make it as difficult as possible for anything other than the commercial airlines to operate there!

In a very recent AIC (10/18), notice has been given that effective August 15, 2018, no more technical stops will be permitted at the airport. It also outlines significant slot/time restrictions for GA/BA operations.

Why they are doing it?

According to the AIC:

“In order to optimize the use of airport resources, ensure the safe provision of air traffic services and ensure the balance between demand and available capacity, the DGAC has been implementing capacity management measures.”

You can find the full information here but we have listed the main operational details below.

  • Tech stops are “forbidden” for “commercial flights and general, national and international aviation” effective 15 August 18.
  • Maximum stay of 2 hours on the civil apron for GA/BA flights. This is counted “from the time of placing chocks.” After two hours, the aircraft must be transferred to another apron, parking area for aircraft or hangar, or must go to a suitable alternate airport. The recommended airport to re-position to is SPSO/Pisco. It has an ILS and a 9900’/3000m runway. It is 115nm away, and open H24.
  • General aviation flights are limited to two operating periods every day. “Flights must perform their take-off and landing” between 0500UTC-0930UTC [0000L-0430L] or from 1800UTC-2359UTC [1300L-1859L]. It’s also noted that the 2-hour maximum ground time still applies, and coordination of ground services should be pre-planned in advance to comply.

The NOTAM also points to the updated information.

A3397/18 - NEW SPECIAL PROVISIONS IN JORGE CHAVEZ INTL AIRPORT IN SERVICE REGARDING WITH: TURN AROUND TIME, TECHNICAL STOPS, AND HOURS OF
OPERATION FOR COMMERCIAL (SCHEDULE AND NON SCHEDULE) AND GENERAL AVIATION FLIGHTS. SEE AIC 10/18 PUBLISHED IN WWW.CORPAC.GOB.PE. 
09 AUG 19:59 2018 UNTIL 07 NOV 23:59 2018. 
CREATED: 09 AUG 20:02 2018

The authorities seem intent on enforcing these rules. One local handler has told us – “The Peruvian FAA is being very strict with the AIC. They are rejecting landing permit requests for fuel stops at SPJC.”

If you have any further knowledge or recent experience to share, please let us know!

Extra Reading:

Attention Shanghai: Typhoon inbound, jets must move out

Typhoon Rumbia is expected to make landfall just south of Shanghai early on Aug 17, with gusting winds of up to 55kts.

Just as before with Typhoons Ampil and Jongdari which hit Shanghai earlier this month, both Shanghai airports ZSPD/Pudong and ZSSS/Hongqiao now have restrictions in place for GA/BA flights. They are advising the following:

  1. All GA/BA aircraft currently parked at the airports must either go in the hangar or leave before 1000 local time on Aug 16.
  2. All landing and parking requests of GA/BA aircraft are unlikely to be accepted until 1200 local time on Aug 18, by which time the storm is expected to have passed.
  3. Operators should report outbound schedules of GA/BA aircraft currently parked at the airports as soon as possible.

Best to get in touch with your handler if you haven’t already.

And if you are in the region and have more information to share, let us know!

Extra Information and latest warning texts and graphics:

That MMEL thing: here’s an update

The FAA is set to issue new guidance to provide a resolution to the long-running MMEL vs MEL debacle. However, it may not be the one we were expecting!

Last year, ramp checks on some US aircraft in France highlighted an important issue – EASA and the FAA have different interpretations of the ICAO standards regarding deferring aircraft discrepancies.

In the US, with FAA authorization operators can use a master minimum equipment list (MMEL) to defer repairing certain equipment. But in Europe, MMEL cannot be used in lieu of an MEL specific to each aircraft or fleet.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) began requiring all aircraft transiting European airspace to have an approved Minimum Equipment List (MEL) for each, individual aircraft. An MEL that references the MMEL was not acceptable.

This was a pain for US operators, as to get an individual MEL approved under the Letter of Authorisation (LOA) from the FAA takes time – but by not doing so, they ran the risk of failing a ramp check in a European country.

At the start of 2018, we understood that the FAA had reached an agreement with EASA: the FAA would start requiring international operators to obtain new D195 LOA’s, and in return EASA would halt any findings for a period of 12 months to allow for these new LOA’s to be issued.

But now we understand the FAA have decided that making operators get new D195 LOA’s will be far too much work for everyone involved!

Instead, they intend to just continue to issue the D095 approvals – but they will more vigorously validate the required components (such as the Preamble and M&O procedures).

This certainly appears to present a reversal of the previous commitment to EASA, who may very well not accept these LOA’s. If that happens, then the approval won’t be valid over in Europe – meaning ramp checks of N-reg aircraft in European countries will once again throw up the old MMEL finding, just like before.

We expect the FAA to officially issue this updated guidance to inspectors in the very near future, to be followed by a FAA InFo Letter to Part 91 Operators. The NBAA have said they will issue a bulletin to share the guidance as soon as it is released.

How to prepare for a ramp check in Europe?

We wrote a 2017 article all about how to make a ramp check painless.

We have also updated the FSB SAFA Ramp Checklist. Download it here.

Keep a copy with you and run through it before you head towards the EU.

 

 

Further reading

Runway? Who needs one when you have a taxiway!

It’s happened again.

Around midnight on a perfectly clear night last week in Riyadh, a Jet Airways 737 tried to take off on a taxiway. The crew mistaking a new taxiway for a runway!

The crew, with thousands of hours experience, took off on a surface that didn’t have runway markings or runway lights. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt.  It’s too early to exactly say why this happened, but it’s clear that some sort of “expectation bias” was a factor. Expecting to make the first left turn onto the runway. One has to ask – was ATC monitoring the take off?

After the tragic Singapore 747 accident in Taipei, technology was developed to audibly notify crew if they were about to depart “ON TAXIWAY”. This is known as the Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS).

Sadly the Riyadh incident is not isolated. There have been a plethora of near misses in the past few years (more details in Extra Reading below).

There have also been more than a few “incidents” of aircraft from C17’s to 747s landing at the wrong airports! The most notable near miss recently was that of an Air Canada A320 nearly landing on a taxiway full of aircraft at KSFO/San Francisco. But it’s happened to Delta and Alaskan Air recently too.

It is an even bigger issue at a General Aviation level (and not just because Harrison Ford did it!). The FAA safety team recently noted;

The FAA Air Traffic Organization (ATO) has advised of an increase in, “Wrong Surface Landing Incidents” in the National Airspace System (NAS).

Incidents include:

  • Landing on a runway other than the one specified in the ATC clearance (frequently after the pilot provides a correct read back)
  • Landing on a Taxiway
  • Lining up with the wrong runway or with a taxiway during approach
  • Landing at the wrong airport

The FAA published some shocking statistics:

  • 557wrong surface landing/approach events” between 2016-2018. That’s one every other day!
  • 89% occurred during daylight hours
  • 91% occurred with a visibility of 3 statue miles or greater


So what to do?

There are numerous ‘best operating practices’ pilots can use to help avoid such incidents.

  • Be prepared! Preflight planning should include familiarization with destination and alternate airports to include airport location, runway layout, NOTAMs, weather conditions (to include anticipated landing runway)
  • Reduce cockpit distractions during approach and landing phase of flight.
  • Use visual cues such as verifying right versus left runways; runway magnetic orientation; known landmarks versus the location of the airport or runway
  • Be on the lookout for “Expectation Bias” If approaching a familiar airport, ATC might clear you for a different approach or landing runway.  Be careful not to fall back on your past experiences.  Verify!
  • Always include the assigned landing runway and your call sign in the read back to a landing clearance
  • Utilize navigation equipment such as Localizer/GPS (if available) to verify proper runway alignment

It’s worth spending a few minutes watching this.

Extra Reading

 

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