International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Briefings (page 2 of 26)

Italy ATC strike CANCELLED

Update 17 July: The 24hr ATC strike planned for July 21 has now been CANCELLED.

Controllers at all the ACC sectors were planning to take part, and additional strikes were planned at the local level at at the following airports: LIRA/Rome Ciampino, LIRF/Rome Fiumicino, LIEE/Cagliari, LICC/Catania, LICA/Lamezia, LICJ/Palermo, LIBP/Pescara, LIPZ/Venice

But now the strike has been cancelled. Normal ops now expected at all ACC’s and airports across the country.

Further reading:

  • All the latest official information about Italy ATC strikes can be found here. Just make sure you have your Google Translate tool enabled on your browser!

Islands of the South Atlantic – enroute ETOPS and diversion options

Operating a flight across the South Atlantic is complicated by very limited en-route diversion options.

There are only really three airports worth considering between Brazil and Africa, south of the equator. All have their own complexities.

Your three best bets:

NameRAF Ascension IslandSt HelenaFernando De Noronha
ICAOFHAWFHSHSBFN
IATAASIHLEFEN
PCN31/F/A/W/T52/R/B/W/T30/F/C/X/U
RWY Dimensions3054m x 46m1850m x 45m1845m x 45m
FireCAT 8CAT 7CAT 5
Airport of EntryYesYesNo
GA/BizAv handlers/capabilitiesNo- closed to all commercial and privately owned aircraft except in emergency situations.YesYes
Fuel Jet A1Jet A1Jet A1- only available to Brazilian Military aircraft
Any other procedures/considerationsMilitary facility. Limited instrument approach’s. High terrain. Runway beyond its life cycle. Subject to ‘severe windshear’. Runway on top of hill. Good instrument approach options to both runways. Good facilities on the ground for passengers (if required). Limited ground handling and parking. Scheduled commercial flights regularly. Good facilities for passengers. Not suitable for wide-body ops.

Operational Considerations:

FHAW/RAF Ascension Island

Wideawake Airfield (FHAW) is a military facility operated jointly by the USAF and the RAF. Under the terms of the joint agreement, only state aircraft are authorized to land at Ascension. A monthly RAF flight arrives from the UK and weekly USAF C17 movement occurs.

We have also been advised by local authorities that “the runway is beyond its life cycle and we have imposed aircraft maximum weight limitations on its use to extend its operation”.

Because of these restrictions, passenger links to/from UK were stopped.

To file as an ETOPS/EDTO alternate or not?

The official line is here.

“The US Air Force has agreed its airfields may be identified as ETOPS emergency landing sites for flight planning purposes. This is consistent with the policy that an aircraft can land at any US Air Force airfield if the pilot determines there is an inflight emergency that would make continued flight unsafe. However, we also understand there are published criteria for ETOPS airfields and our policy concerning emergency use is not agreement or certification that Air Force airfields meet those criteria.

Ascension Island is a remote location with resources (accommodations, medical, hangars, crash/fire/rescue, etc) limited to levels essential for support of assigned personnel and the military mission. The airfield is available “as is” for emergency use only as indicated above. Whilst FHAW may be declared as an alternate for ETOPS flight planning purposes, it cannot be used as a weather alternate, except for flights departing from or destined for St Helena.”

However! After FSB enquired with local authorities, we received the following response:

“As this is a USAF military only field, it is not allowable to nominate as an ETOPS alternate. There are no lodging facilities here on the island, and there is only very limited medical capability.

We will always accept an emergency divert and have done so in the recent past. Nomination as an alternate drives a set of requirements that we do not meet – hotel, medical, 24 hour operations, etc. Since we cannot meet those requirements, nomination is not allowed. If an aircraft were to experience and emergency and need to land, we would make do with what we have.”

As we have reported in the past, it can be costly to nominate enroute alternates sometimes.

Famously, a Delta 777 diverted to Ascension back in 2013 after experiencing engine troubles.

Either way- it’s another ‘interesting’ approach.

 


 

FHSH/St Helena

This is a new airport.

It’s windy! It is subject to “severe” windshear and the runway is on top of a mountain and it’s short! There is only limited flights to/from Namibia with an E190 and a monthly flight connects onwards to RAF Ascension.

Even the first commercial flight there need to ‘go-around’ due to the wind.

It was closed shortly after it opened due to these safety concerns, but it’s back up and running now.

 


 

SBFN/Fernando De Noronha

Small island airport. Very scenic on approach and great beaches! Limited ground handling and parking options. Close to the ITCZ – susceptible to unstable weather at times. Regular commercial flights from the island and popular tourist destination with appropriate passenger facilities. Fire fighting only CAT 5. PPR – expect to pay for parking by the hour. Not an airport of entry and no fuel available to non-Brazilian military aircraft. Handling all done by island island administration and special permit landing permit required. Also important to note that the runway will be closed for maintenance between 2001 and 1131 UTC, between May 24th until Dec 31st, 2018 and that all runway lights are unavailable also.

Extra Reading:

EU SAFA ramp checks NOT on the rise – but are you ready for one?

In Short: SAFA ramp checks are continuing at the normal pace. Avoid the common mistakes of Fuel/Calc and Flight Routing (with SID/STAR), PRNAV/RNAV-1, incorrect flight plans and TCAS 7.1. If you do get a finding, expect to get a follow up ramp check the next few times you visit, to ensure compliance.

There have been more reports in Airport Spy recently which suggest there may be an increase in SAFA (Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft) ramp checks in Europe. So we reached out to a dozen SAFA offices around Europe to check if it was true.

Here’s what they told us:

  1. No, they’re not conducting significantly more ramp checks at the moment.
  2. No, they’re not looking more closely at certain items.
  3. Rather, the items checked during the SAFA/SACA inspections are based on a risk based approach and can differ from operator to operator (for example depending on findings raised during previous inspections). Meaning that operators who get ramp checked with findings will most likely get ramp checked again, to see if they’ve sorted out the problems!

Common Findings

But what are some common findings and the things to make sure you are doing right so you don’t get caught out?

  1. Fuel Calculation and Flight Routing: Alternates must be planned with a SID/STAR routing.

In many parts of the world it is common to plan DCT but not in many European countries. Non-compliance during a ramp inspection could lead to either a Cat 2 finding when sufficient fuel was taken into account such that the required fuel is above the minimum, or a Cat 3 finding when this was not the case.

  1. PRNAV/RNAV-1 capability.

Non-compliance constitutes a Cat 3 finding when landing at airports (such as EHAM/Amsterdam) that require it. The finding will also be reported to the aeronautical oversight department who can give fines for such violations.

  1. Filing incorrect flight plans – specifically saying you are 8.33 MHz equipped and PRNAV/RNAV-1 capable.

Again, this could lead to findings and fines beyond the SAFA programme. An easy one to miss.

  1. TCAS 7.1

The TCAS 7.1 requirement became mandatory in EU Airspace from 1st of December 2015 and became a worldwide standard under ICAO from 1st of January 2017.  One to also watch out for if operating to EU overseas territories in the Caribbean where this requirement has also been implemented and during ramp inspections is enforced the same way.

How to prepare for one?

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.

Back in 2016, EASA published new guidelines for inspectors to assess which aircraft should be prioritised for SAFA ramp checks in Europe and SAFA compliant states. For an overview of those guidelines, check out our article.

Have you been ramp checked recently? Let us know, by joining OpsFox! This is a community system, where every Pilot, Air Traffic Controller, Dispatcher, Handler, and CAA can add categorized reports, based on what they see and know at their home base or visited airport. Opsfox blurs the white noise and keeps only the relevant and current information at your fingertips, before you fly.

Extra Reading:

Ongoing Bali volcanic threat – update

Update June 29, 2018:

Following the volcanic eruption on Jun 28 at Bali’s Mount Agung, the airport has been closed all morning today, Jun 29, and only just reopened at 1430 local time (0630z). Over 500 flights have already been cancelled as a result. Big delays expected all day and into the weekend. Further closures due to volcanic ash are still possible.

Per latest report from Darwin VAAC, there is a volcanic ash cloud observed up to FL160 in the area, but they predict winds will carry the ash southwest toward Java, Indonesia’s most densely populated island.

 


 

In Short: Continued vigilance required for operations to Bali; The alert level for Mt Agung eruption remains at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Last ash plume on 26 March rose to at least an altitude of 11,650 ft.

When Mount Agung erupted in November 2017, airlines faced travel chaos as flights were cancelled due to the lingering ash cloud. Since then, visitor arrivals have dropped by more than 70 percent. Facing $1bn in lost tourist revenue, the Indonesian government is trying to lure tourists back to the holiday island.

The 3,000metre high volcano sits roughly 70 kilometres away from the tropical paradise’s main airport and popular tourist areas.

In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (PVMBG) reported that at 1009 on 26 March an event at Agung generated an ash plume that rose at least to an altitude of 3.6 km (11,650 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zone continued at a 4-km radius.

Best up-to-date information:

The current one to watch:

Mount Sinabung – located in Medan, Indonesia is also very active at the moment (last spewing ash on Friday April 6) and may disrupt air operations to Malaysia and Singapore.

Current Aviation Color Code: RED, Eruption with volcanic ash cloud at 09:07 UTC (16:07 local). Eruption and ash emission is continuing. Ash-cloud moving to west – south. Best estimate of ash-cloud top is around 23872 FT (7460 M) above sea level, may be higher than what can be observed clearly. Source of height data: ground observer.”

We will keep an eye on this one.

Mount Sinabung roared back to life in 2010 for the first time in 400 years. After another period of inactivity it erupted once more in 2013, and has remained highly active since.

If you have travelled through the region lately and can provide members with more of an update, please get in touch. 

LFMM/Marseille weekend ATC strike June 30 to July 2 – CANCELLED

Another French ATC strike has been announced for the LFMM/Marseille ACC, spanning the entire weekend June 30 – July 2. The strike will run from 0430z on Saturday 30th June to 0430z on Monday 2nd July.

Key points:

– It’s just the the controllers of the LFMM/Marseille ACC en-route airspace above FL145 who are on strike. Big delays expected for any flights trying to overfly the sector during the strike.

– Just like the previous LFMM/Marseille ACC strikes, they expect a lot of controllers will join this one. We fully expect the warning will be the same as before: “minimum service expected for the whole period” – that means that as little as 50% of FPL’s will get accepted.

– Eurocontrol are currently busy writing their Mitigation Plan, which will include recommended routes for flights to airports within the LFMM/Marseille sector during the strike, but it will be based on the info found here: http://dsnado.canalblog.com/

– Algeria and Tunisia are both expected to open-up their airspace for re-routes.

Each French ATC strike is different, but there are some things that are pretty much the same every time. For everything you need to know in order to survive, read our article!

Is Athens busy, or does it just hate Business Aviation now?

Summer parking restrictions at Greek airports are now in full swing. In previous years, it was mainly just the island airports that suffered, and airports on the mainland were used to reposition aircraft for longer stays. This year however, parking at LGAV/Athens is becoming a nightmare too.

We’ve had several reports from Opsgroup members of requests for longer stays at Athens being denied, and also previously approved requests being revoked. If you are headed to Greece, don’t count on using Athens for anything for other than a quick tech stop.

Airport authorities at Athens have now issued a Notam for the whole summer season advising that all GA/BA flights require PPR for stays of longer than two hours:

A1641/18 - DUE TO OPERATIONAL REASONS THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES ARE IN FORCE:
1.FOR AEROPLANES WITH MTOW MORE THAN 5700 KG, PRIOR PERMISSION IS REQUIRED (PPR).
FOR: GENERAL AVIATION, BUSINESS AVIATION, AIR TAXI FLIGHTS AND ALL TECHNICAL STOP FLIGHTS, WITH INTENTION TO STAY ON THE GROUND FOR MORE THAN TWO HOURS AND/OR STAY ON GROUND BETWEEN 1800 AND 0600 UTC.
2.LONG STAY OF AIRCRAFT IS NOT PERMITTED.
14 JUN 18:00 2018 UNTIL 20 AUG 06:00.

Local handlers have confirmed that PPR for tech stops of less than two hours almost always get granted. But for parking requests of more than two hours, prepare to be disappointed. In addition, until the end of the summer the airport will no longer accept any positioning flights without pax on board, regardless of how long you’re staying.

For operators wanting to do drop-and-go’s at Athens, always ask your agent which airports they recommend repositioning to for parking, but some options worth checking (as they do not currently have any restrictions in place for maximum parking length) are: LGKO/Kos, LGSM/Samos, LGIO/Ioannina, LGKV/Kavala, LGRX/Araxos.

Further reading:

Frustration with new Curacao FIR billing system

We have previously reported on TNCF/Curacao FIR denying airspace entry if you haven’t prepaid your navigation fees.

Since then, more of our members have reported that the Dutch Caribbean – Air Navigation Service Provider (DC-ANSP) have been charging navigation fees for flights filed but not operated. If there was a mistake on the flightplan or a new one needed to be filed the DC-ANSP has charged the fees for both and refused to issue refunds. To make matters worse, it’s been reported that they are charging $50 to review the matter! Poor form!

From 1 Jan 2018, DC-ANSP switched billing systems – from direct payment to IATA to a new online system provided for by IDS. It’s pretty high tech and fancy. Maybe too fancy if they are charging for flights that didn’t happen….

High tech new billing system!

DC-ANSP’s motto is “We guide you home safely!” – maybe they should add …. “but only when you prepay.

Have you had a similar experience? Let us know!

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.

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.

 

 

Why are you still getting the Ruudy6 wrong? Stop at 1500!

If you’re departing Teterboro any time soon, make sure you stop at 1500 feet – and have a good look at the rest of the RUUDY 6 departure. That’s the message from NY ATC, and the Teterboro Users Group.

The FAA has reported over 112 pilot deviations on the KTEB/Teterboro RUUDY 6  SID.

The Teterboro Users Group has asked us to remind all pilots that strict compliance is required, especially vertically.

“The most common error being a climb straight to 2000’ without honouring the requirement to cross WENTZ at 1500” – Capt. David Belastock, President, TUG

This week the FAA issued the following notice which explain the issue and the serious consequences of non-compliance, namely the reduced vertical separation with KEWR/Newark arrivals:

Teterboro Airport SID Deviations

Notice Number: NOTC7799

The Ruudy Six departure continues to incur both lateral, but in particular, vertical pilot deviations. Due to the proximity of Newark and other area airports it is imperative to follow the RNAV(RNP1) departure procedure to Performance Based Navigation (PBN) standards. Do not drift left off course to avoid noise monitors. Do not climb above 1500 until passing Wentz intersection. There is only 1000 feet of separation with overhead traffic at Wentz. When issued the clearance to “climb via the SID” all altitude restrictions must be complied with as depicted on the chart.

Attached are excerpts from the Aeronautical Information Manual and the Controllers handbook explaining the Climb Via procedure. An expanded explanation is in chapter 4 and 5 of the AIM.

Further information can be found on the Teterboro Users Group website http://teterborousersgroup.org and in KTEB Notice to Airmen (Letters to Airmen section)

There has been an extensive education campaign underway for a long period including guidance material, pilot meetings, educational podcasts and even a FlightSafety International eLearning course. Despite these efforts, pilot deviations continue to occur.

A great guide has been created by Captain Belastock and its very useful for any crews operating out of KTEB.

Know of any other procedures with unusually high non-compliance?

Let us know!

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