International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Bullet Items (page 1 of 5)

New slot procedure at VIDP/Delhi

All flights to/from VIDP/Delhi Airport now need to get slots approved, and for international flights, you can only apply for these up to a maximum of 5 days in advance.

They’re calling these slots “Delhi Arrival Clearance Numbers” (DACN) for arrivals, and “Delhi Departure Clearance Numbers” (DDCN) for departures, and you can apply for them by emailing and copying-in

Make sure you put your slot number in Item 18 of your FPL. If you miss your slot time by more than 30 minutes, expect to have to re-apply for a completely new slot.

Also, watch out for long stays – the maximum ground time for everything except scheduled flights is now 3 days, unless you go into a hangar.

Full details of these new rules can be found here.

Tel Aviv Airport closes as a precaution against attack

LLBG/Tel-aviv: Israel’s main airport briefly suspended operations on Feb 10, due to military clashes along the northern border with Syria.

Two Israeli pilots were forced to abandon their F-16 jet, which crashed near the border after being hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile. The jet was on a mission in which it struck an Iranian facility in Syria that had previously operated a drone which Israel shot down over its territory.

This resulted in all flights from LLBG/Tel-aviv Airport being grounded for around an hour starting at 9am local time, as a precaution against any further attacks. The airport is considered a strategic location that could be targeted during military conflict.

Here’s what Israel’s PM had to say about it:

This incident marks the most significant engagement by Israel in the fighting that has been taking place in neighbouring Syria since 2011. Israel has mostly stayed out of the conflict so far, but has recently become more concerned about the increased Iranian presence along its border.

Tonga battered by Cyclone Gita

On Feb 14, operations resumed at Tonga’s main international airport, NFTF/Fuaʻamotu, after it was closed for 2 days for the passage of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

The cyclone caused extensive damage across Tonga, and the government has declared a state of emergency. According to the British Met office, Gita was the most powerful Cyclone to hit Tonga in over 60 years, battering the island nation with winds of over 120kts at its peak.

At least 30 people were reportedly injured during the storm, and around half the buildings suffered damage in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga. Roads across the main island of Tongatapu have been obstructed by storm wreckage and downed power lines, and widespread power outages have also been reported.

At the airport itself, the domestic terminal is still closed due to damage sustained in the storm, and now all domestic flights are using the international terminal instead. Here’s some photos of the damage at the airport:

Gita has since moved westwards into open waters as the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane, with winds of over 100kts, but it’s now expected to head south-west across the ocean, narrowly avoiding direct hits on Vanuatu and New Caledonia – although heavy rain, strong winds and storm surge will affect these areas.

PBCS is coming to Singapore

It’s not only the North Atlantic that will be seeing PBCS being implemented on March 29th – on that same date, the weird acronym is coming to Singapore too!

However, the requirements for Singapore airspace are slightly different to that for crossing the NAT.

The short of it – compliant aircraft will be allowed a reduced separation of 50NM on certain airways: L642, M635, M767, M771, M774 and N884. For everyone else, it’ll be 80NM (or 10 minutes). For Singapore, ‘compliant aircraft’ basically means anything with RNP10, CPDLC and ADS-C capable of the RCP240 / RSP180 performance requirement.

You’ll still need to obtain some kind of operator approval from your State of Registry. As we mentioned in our article on PBCS on the NAT – the best way to do that will probably be to submit an AFM Statement of Compliance for PBCS, showing exactly what data link communication systems you aircraft has, along with the selected performance.

For Singapore, if you want to operate on those airways at the reduced separation, here’s what you’ll need to remember to include in your ATC FPL:

In 10a:

In 10b:

In Item 18:
Make sure you include SUR/RSP180 to show you’re capable of the RSP180 performance requirement.

For more info, check out the full AIC published by Singapore here.

Do you use Bermuda (TXKF) as a NAT alternate at night?

The Bermuda AIP says that they have Fire Category 9 from 07–23 local time, but also that “during uncontrolled hours of operations BFRS/ARFF will be called out at CAT 9″.

So does this mean that Fire Category 9 is essentially ALWAYS available? And how long does it really take to call them out in an emergency?

We got an answer to that question the other day, when an American Airlines B777-200 en-route from KJFK/New York to SBGL/Rio de Janeiro had to make an emergency divert to TXKF/Bermuda due to a suspected fire in the cargo hold.

ATC cleared the flight direct to TXKF/Bermuda. They advised the crew that the tower at the airport was not staffed at the time (although the runway has pilot controlled runway lighting), but that emergency services had been alerted and would be on standby for their arrival.

38 minutes later, at 12.18 am, the flight landed, and the emergency services were indeed there as promised.

The whole cargo fire thing turned out to be a false alarm, although we’re very thankful to one of the passengers–the supermodel Joan Smalls–for documenting the ordeal on social media.

We contacted the airport authority to check exactly how long they really need for emergency diverts, and whether they really do provide Fire Cat 9 in these situations. Here is their response:

“ARFF is available 24hrs and yes will be staffed at the appropriate level to be cat 9 at all times. After 2300 Local Time when the local airport is uncontrolled , ARFF requires 20 minutes for call out for such events like diversions.”

So there you have it. You can always rely on Fire Cat 9 at TXKF – just make sure you give them at least 20 minutes notice!

Bangladesh is now one big ADIZ

Bangladesh has decided to establish an ADIZ over the entire country, including a massive chunk of airspace off their south coastline that actually extends over much of the adjoining Indian VECF/Kolkata FIR.

Aircraft intending to fly into, through, or within this new Bangladesh ADIZ must now obtain an ADC (Air Defence Clearance) number beforehand. Just file your flight plan, and they will send this to you by AFTN. Make sure you write it down – as they will ask you for it on HF before you enter their airspace.

If you don’t have AFTN access, you can get the number by calling +880-2890-1081 or emailing

The authorities in Bangladesh have released a scary sounding AIC on all this, which you can read in full here. What they fail to mention there, but have published by Notam, is that there are actually a bunch of airways over the ocean (P646, N895, M770, L524 and W112) where you won’t have to get this ADC number, unless you deviate towards the landmass of Bangladesh.

As the Notam clarifies:

A0032/18 NOTAMN Q) VGFR/QXXXX/IV/BO/AE/000/999/ 
TELEPHE: +880 2 8901081 
FAX : +880 2 8901081 

So you won’t need an ADC number on those airways, but for everywhere else in that big red ice-pick-shaped chunk of airspace, you’ll need to get authorisation. As the Bangladesh AIS office politely warn in their AIC: “Aircraft flying without a valid ADC number or failing to comply with any restriction or deviating from flight plan will be liable to interception by Bangladesh Air Force Interceptor aircraft according to ICAO Standard Interception Procedure.”

Beijing bans charter flights

ZBAA/Beijing airport authorities have said the airport is now so busy, they will not accept any new requests for charter flights between now and Mar 31, at the earliest.

No official document has been published on this yet, and the authorities have said it will not be published on the Notams either – but the new rule is already in effect.

For GA flights, the same rules apply as usual: maximum 24hrs parking, no ops allowed from 23-01z, and an aircraft cannot have two peak hour slots between 01-14z during one day. Many operators choose to go to ZBTJ/Tianjin instead, or ferry there for parking.

For more information on ops to China, download our Lowdown guide by clicking the image below:

That MMEL thing: here’s an update

We expect an announcement soon from the joint FAA/EASA workgroup that will provide a solution to the long-running MMEL vs MEL debacle.

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

However, it looks like an end to the problem may be in sight: we expect the FAA will soon issue a notice requiring international operators to obtain new D195 LOA’s, and in return EASA will halt any findings for a period of 12 months to allow for these new LOA’s to be issued.

Swiss restrictions for the Davos World Economic Forum

The Davos World Economic Forum is on from Jan 23-26.

LSZH/Zurich along with most other airports in the area will be busy during this period. So if you’re planning on attending— or even if you’ll just be passing through—best get your slot/PPR request in as soon as possible.


  • Will be congested, so apply for slots early if you’re actually planning on stopping there. You might not get the slots you requested, particularly if you want to arrive/depart at peak times.
  • Earliest non-scheduled landing for a wide body aircraft without parking permission will be 1300z daily.
  • Maximum 3 hour ground time for general aviation without parking permission (so drop-and-go’s are fine, as long as they stay within that 3 hour window).
  • You will not be able to use LSZH as an alternate to flights going to LSZS/Samedan.
  • Airport operates from 0500-2100z daily, and overtime is not available – make sure you land before closing time or you’ll get diverted to another airport.
  • There should be space for most aircraft who want to park here for the Forum, but all other GA/BA aircraft might struggle to get parking approval.   


  • Located in downtown Zurich. Normally a military airfield, but opens to civilian traffic each year for the Forum.
  • Open 0600-2000z weekdays, and 0800-1900z on Saturday, closed on Sundays, with no overtime available.
  • Should have lots of parking available.
  • Slots not required, but PPR is.
  • Customs clearance is provided in the military terminal building.
  • For handling, email the airport handler direct on:
  • The airport publishes a special ‘Air Crew Guide’ for any aircraft coming there during the Forum week each year. Bunch of info about the airport and approaches, etc. Give it a read by clicking here.


  • Open 0500-2100z weekdays, and 0800-1900z on weekends, with overtime available on request.
  • No slot or PPR requirements.
  • Parking not usually a problem during the week of the Forum.
  • Be aware as this airport is in Germany, fuel will generally be more expensive as the taxes are higher here.


Bear in mind, landing permits are not required for private GA flights to Switzerland. You’ll only need a landing permit if you’re operating a charter flight on an aircraft not registered in the EU. For that, email the authorities direct at:


No supply issues expected at any of the airports, just expect the normal congestion-related delays with getting a fuel truck out to you on day of departure. For charter flights departing from Switzerland, you can uplift fuel tax free – but be mindful that taxes will become due and payable if you do not then leave the country within 24 hours.

Europe now requires 8.33 VHF radios (almost) everywhere

Effective January 1st, 2018, the official line is that you need an 8.33 VHF Radio to operate anywhere in Europe. If you’re heading to Europe without one, expect problems.

Until now, it’s really only been a requirement above FL195 – 8.33 has been around at the higher levels since 2007. However, Europe is keen to get everyone on the same page and make sure new frequencies can be used by all aircraft at the lower levels also.

However, not everywhere is actually requiring 8.33 just yet.  Eurocontrol have built a handy tool that shows each the requirements for each airspace sector. Click on the image below to check it out.

Can I get an exemption? If you’re operating a ferry, delivery, or some other flight where you don’t have 8.33, then you should be able to get an exemption to operate without 8.33 – but it will vary state to state. Write to the Ministry of Transport for the particular state.

Eurocontrol have published all the details on this as follows:

Above FL195, in the IFPZ, not equipped aircraft may be exempted from the carriage of the 8.33 kHz radios (refer to the national AIP of the state concerned to see if the flight is eligible) in which case the letter Y shall not be inserted in Item 10a (Equipment), but the letter Z shall be inserted in Item 10a as well as COM/EXM833 in the Item 18 (Other Information) of the filed flight plan.

Below FL195, in the airspace of the EU member states (plus Switzerland and Norway) some airspaces may be exempted from the carriage of the 8.33 kHz radios (refer to the national AIP of the state concerned) in which case the airspace is not inserted in the area where the mandatory carriage check takes place. Such exemption will permit a non-equipped aircraft to fly but only if the flight trajectory remains exclusively in airspaces where 8.33 kHz is not mandatory.

Below FL195, in the airspaces of the EU member states (plus Switzerland and Norway), state aircraft non-UHF and non-833 are exempted. The letters Y and U shall not be inserted in Item 10 (Equipment), but STS/STATE shall be inserted in the Item 18 (Other Information) of the filed flight plan.

In the IFPZ, State aircraft that are not equipped with 8.33 kHz capable radios but are equipped with UHF shall be permitted to fly in 8.33 kHz airspace where UHF coverage is provided or special procedures are implemented (see the national AIP of the State concerned). To indicate such, the letters U and Z shall be inserted in Item 10a (Equipment) and ‘COM/EXM833’ shall be inserted in Item 18 (Other Information) of the filed flight plan.


Confused? Here’s a quick crib-sheet of what to do:

When you file a flight plan in Europe, it goes through the automated IFPS system, which is now quite clever at checking for 8.33 kHz radio compliance.

The IFPS system will crosscheck between the concerned airspaces crossed by the flight plan and the radio communication equipment indicated in Item 10: (Equipment) and Item 18 (Other information) provided in the submitted message.

Here’s what will happen, depending on what you put in your flight plan:

  • If Item 10 (Equipment) of the submitted message contains Y, then that flight is considered to be compliant.
  • If Item 10 (Equipment), of the submitted message does not contain Y, but contains Z and U and the exemption indicator COM/EXM833 is present in Item 18 (Other Information), and the flight is a STATE flight, then that flight shall be considered compliant.
  • If Item 10 (Equipment) of the submitted message does not contain Y but contains the exemption indicator COM/EXM833 and the flight is not penetrating the 833_UHF_VHF region and is entirely within the 833_EUR_IFPS, then that flight shall be considered compliant.
  • If Item 10 (Equipment) of the submitted message does not contain Y, neither U and Item 18 (Other Information) contains STS/STATE and the flight is exclusively in the airspace of the EU member states (plus Switzerland and Norway) below FL195 then that flight shall be considered compliant.

In all the other cases, the flight shall be considered not compliant and shall fail automatic processing!

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