International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Bullet Items (page 1 of 6)

Cape Town – No Fuel!

FACT/Cape Town is facing a fuel restriction, no fuel available as of now (20 MAR 2018). The reason for the restriction is not known, but we have reached out to several suppliers who have all confirmed the same information.

We’re checking up to find the reasoning, as well as an estimated date of availability.

If you have any additional information, you can reach out at team@flightservice.org

Sao Paulo’s second airport to regain international status… for nine days

For the first time in over twenty years, the city’s second airport, SBSP/Congonhas, will be open to international flights, from 9-18th March 2018.

This is happening as the World Economic Forum on Latin America 2018 will be taking place in Sao Paulo from Mar 13-15, and as space is limited at the main airport, SBGR/Sao Paulo International, the authorities think they’ll need extra space for attendees’ aircraft. So at SBSP/Congonhas, only BA/GA will be accepted, and nothing larger than 737BBJ / A319ACJ.

This will also serve as a trial period to check if the airport could regain its international status on a permanent basis. Scheduled international flights stopped operating from Cogonhas back in 1985, and the airport finally lost its international status in 2008.

The airport’s runways were resurfaced last resurfaced back in 2007, but were not extended because of the rapid growth of Sao Paulo, which has now completely surrounded the airport. The longest runway is 1940 meters, and the airport is open from 07-23 local time, seven days a week.

Kenya airspace threat downgraded

The FAA has revised its warning for Kenyan airspace – the area to ‘exercise caution’ is now limited only to that airspace east of 40 degrees East longitude below FL260 (i.e. the border region with Somalia). Prior to this, their warning applied to all airspace in Kenya below FL260.

Published on 26 Feb 2018, the warning maintains the same wording to clarify the type of weapons and phases of flight that the FAA is concerned about, specifically:

  • fire from small arms,
  • indirect fire weapons (such as mortars and rockets), and
  • anti-aircraft weapons such as MANPADS.

The scenarios considered highest risk include :

  • landings and takeoffs,
  • low altitudes, and
  • aircraft on the ground.

The updated guidance is intended for US operators and FAA License holders, but in reality is used by most International Operators including EU and Asian carriers, since only four countries currently provide useful information on airspace security and conflict zones.

The Notam uses FL260 as the minimum safe level, though we would suggest, as usual, that a higher level closer to FL300 is more sensible.

You can read the NOTAM in full on our Kenya page on SafeAirspace.net, a collaborative and information sharing tool used by airlines, business jet operators, state agencies, military, and private members of OPSGROUP.

More direct routings across Europe

Sectors of airspace over southern Germany are ahead of schedule with plans to bring in Free Route Airspace (FRA). With effect from 1st March 2018, FRA will be implemented in the EDUU/Karlsruhe UAC, EDWW/Bremen ACC , and EDMM/Munchen ACC above FL245.

By the end of 2019, most European airspace is expected to have implemented Free Route Airspace, with all airspace having this type of operations by 2021/2022.

We like the idea of Free Route Airspace – direct routing is the way of the future. We also like cool maps. Thankfully, good old Eurocontrol have provided us with some great ones, showing where Free Route Airspace currently exists, and where it will be implemented in the future:

For everything you could possibly want to know about FRA in Europe, check out Eurocontrol’s page on it here: http://www.eurocontrol.int/articles/free-route-airspace

Indonesia mandates ADS-B above FL290

Since the start of Jan 2018, all aircraft flying in Indonesian airspace at or above FL290 need to be equipped with ADS-B (Mode S Transponder and GNSS source position). Below that flight level, it remains optional.

Indonesian airspace is split into two FIR’s – WIIF/Jakarta and WAAF/Ujung Pandang:

To the north, Singapore have required the carriage of ADS-B on certain airways since 2013; and to the south, Australia have mandated ADS-B for all airspace above FL290 since early 2017. So there’s a vast section of connected airspace in the region where ADS-B is now required.

For flight planning, make sure you show the correct ADS-B designators in Item 10 of the FPL:

  • E – Transponder — Mode S, including aircraft identification, pressure – altitude and ADS – B Out capability.
    or…
  • – Transponder—Mode S, including aircraft identification,pressure-altitude,ADS-B Out and enhanced surveillance capability.
    together with…
  • B1  ADS-B “out” capability using 1090MHz extended squitter.
    or…
  • B2  ADS-B “out” and “in” capability using 1090MHz extended squitter.

Further reading:

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 flight.data@gmrgroup.in and copying-in dial.aocc@gmrgroup.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!

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