International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Bullet Items (page 1 of 6)

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 (08/18), 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 (it’s in Spanish) 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 08/18 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/18. 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:

More overnight slots for Hong Kong

Without stating the obvious, Hong Kong is a busy airport and it’s a difficult one to get slots and parking at, if you are a GA/BA operator.

Ok- it’s true, we went as far as calling operations to Hong Kong a PITA in the past.

Well, the latest intel is that the Airport Authority (AAHK) and the Hong Kong Schedule Coordination Office (HKSCO) have decided to trial an increase in slot availability from 4 to 6 total slots each night.

This is the info we have:

Notice on night slot availability (trial from 8 August 2018 until 8 October 2018)

  1. The number of slots available for GA/BA operations between 0000 to 0500 local time (16-21 UTC) will increase from 4 slots daily to 6 slots daily.
  2. The application procedure for these 6 slots will be the same as that for the 4 daily slots currently available.
  3. The above are provided on a trial and temporary basis and are subject to continuous review jointly by AAHK and HKSCO. The procedures will be effective from 0000 UTC on 8 August 2018 until 2359 UTC on 7 October 2018.

Also important to note, as pointed out to us by our friends at the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) – these 6 slots will be made available to all aircraft types, not just the ones currently exempted from the noise abatement regulations. This means that BBJ’s/ACJ’s/Lineage 1000/Globals/G650ER etc can now operate in and out of Hong Kong at night-time, subject to slot availability.

Some days I miss the old Kai Tak airport. My Dad reminded me that the 20th anniversary of its closure just went by last month. I feel old.

If you do too, watch a Kai Tak video to cheer you up 🙂

Extra Reading:

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

Dubai to London – which way is best?

In Short: Two main options, via Saudi and Egypt (safer, cheaper but longer) or via Iran and Turkey (shorter, busier and geo-politically more unstable). It’s a complicated planning climate at present. Review regularly based on latest risk factors.   

There are more business aviation operators flying between the Middle East and Europe than ever before. So we took the time to look over the route options between the two regions. For our example we will be using a flight from Dubai to London, but similar operational considerations are valid for the plethora of route combinations through this whole region.

Firstly, we are sure you are a frequent visitor to our safe airspace website. Updated all the time with the latest notes and risk recommendations based on the latest intel. So, first things first, we want to avoid Syria, Libya and the Sinai Peninsula. As you can see however, this is a complicated geo-political region for flight planning. The direct great circle route would take us through Syria and would be around 3125nm. But that isn’t going to work. So, what else we got?

We will look at the two ways to head over the region. One is via Iran, Turkey and onwards to Europe. The other over Saudi Arabia and Egypt towards Europe.

Option 1: Iran/Turkey

Safety: Both Iran and Turkey are FSB Risk Level: Three – Caution. Iran is involved in the ongoing conflict with Syria and several Russian missiles crossed the Tehran FIR and several busy international routes. There are also increased tensions between the USA and Iran at present – if you had to divert in an N-reg aircraft, Iran would not be the friendliest of places to do so. Turkey borders with Syria and we have received multiple reports of GPS interference in the area.

Distance: an extra 100nm.

Time: About 15 minutes longer than great circle route.

Ease and Cost: Iran has higher overflight costs and for US based operators a reminder of the sanctions for dealing directly with Iran, or agencies in Iran. You’ll want to use an approved agent if you’re from the US (i.e.–not an Iranian company). Iran doesn’t work on Fridays, so be aware there. Turkish overflight costs are reasonable and remember that Turkish authorities require the use of an agent to apply for permits.

Traffic: The biggest issue with this route is that everyone is using it! It’s congested with a lot of airline traffic. It’s a major corridor for Asia-Europe flights also. So, getting the levels you want, and off route deviations are more complicated. Things get busy, as you can see!

Option 2: Saudi/Egypt

Safety: In terms of airspace warnings and risk, this route is slightly better. We have rated Saudi and Egypt airspace as FSB Risk Level: Two – Assessed Risk. Beyond the Sinai Peninsula and the Saudi/Yemen border, generally there is less of a chance of airspace security risks at present.

Distance: An extra 300nm from the great circle.

Time: Around 45 minutes longer.

Ease and Cost: Saudi and Egyptian airspace are generally a cheaper option ($1,000USD+). In Egypt, by law you have to get your permit through an Egyptian agent, but it’s a straight forward process. In Saudi, again, using an agent is best; they normally have three-day lead time – so keep that in mind. Also remember that the CAA only work Sun-Wed during office hours.

Traffic: For most of the day, much less of a traffic bottle neck.


Bottom line

Of the two options, routing via Saudi/Egypt is cheaper, and safer (as long as you steer clear of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsular and Saudi’s border with Yemen), but it’s going to take slightly longer.

What about Iraq?

We don’t think it’s a good idea. There’s a lot of information out there saying certain airways are ok but only at higher levels. But if you needed to get down fast, or even make an unexpected landing, Iraq isn’t the place you would want to go at present. Treat with caution.

Which one is your favourite choice? Let us know!

Further reading:

Updated communication procedures for Hong Kong FIR

AIP SUP A09/18 details new communication procedures for air traffic entering the VHHK/Hong Kong FIR.

The key points:

  • Aircraft shall comply with the following communication requirements to obtain an air traffic control (ATC) clearance:
  • Pilot shall report the aircraft callsign, position (with reference to reporting point), level (including passing and cleared levels if not maintaining the cleared level), transponder code, and other pertinent information (e.g. speed assigned by last ATC, tracking if it differs from the flight plan route) in the initial call before entering Hong Kong FIR.

Also a small change: the requirement for pilots to report the estimate time exiting Hong Kong FIR on first contact with Hong Kong Radar as stipulated in AIP Hong Kong ENR 1.1 paragraph 2.2.4 will no longer be applicable and is hereby cancelled.

Don’t forget to file MACH number in NY Oceanic Airspace

KZWY/New York Oceanic FIR last month published a NOTAM requiring Flight Plans to be submitted with MACH crusing number, rather than TAS in Field 15A for the flight plan. So far, most operators are not doing this. But you should!

This includes flight departing TXKF/Bermuda.

A0178/18 – ALL ACFT ENTERING THE NEW YORK OCEANIC FIR (KZWY), INCLUDING THOSE DEPARTING BERMUDA (TXKF) , MUST FILE A MACH NUMBER INSTEAD OF A SPEED OF KNOTS IN THE EXPECTED CRUISE SPEED FIELD (FIELD 15A) OF THEIR FPL. 03 MAY 17:08 2018 UNTIL 31 MAR 23:59 2019. CREATED: 03 MAY 17:09 2018

Reports are that compliance so far has been low.

So why do it?

NY ARTCC tell us:

This minor adjustment enables the ATC computer system to effectively probe flight plans and proactively offer more favorable routes and/or reroutes.

Help ATC out! Thank you.

 

Just about nowhere to land in London at night this summer

Jet noise! It seems that Londoners are sick of it. Corporate operators watch out; London basin airports of EGGW/Luton, EGSS/Stansted, EGKK/Gatwick, EGLL/Heathrow, EGKB/Biggin Hill, EGWU/Northolt, EGLF/Farnborough and EGTK/Oxford airports are now effectively closed or restricted for overnight flights.

EGGW/Luton is the biggest hit with a curfew this summer: from 1 June to 30 September, arrivals/departures will be prohibited between 23-7 local time each night.

Over at EGSS/Stansted, where local authorities have already reduced the number of night-time slots for GA/BA to just 10 per week, new noise restrictions have also been introduced which mean that aircraft rated above QC1 are unlikely to receive slot approval at all during the night period:

Who’s to blame?

Local airlines, mainly the low-cost ones. Late arrivals have used up much of the cumulative noise footprint at both airports.

So, what’s left?
  • EGMC/Southend (40 miles away) & EGBB/Birmingham (115 miles away) are the only airports with no restrictions (thus far).
  • EGLL/Heathrow & EGGK/Gatwick: Pretty much a no-go zone for business aviation these days
  • EGLC/London City: closed from 1030pm to 0630am
  • EGWU/Northolt: closed from 8pm to 8am on weekdays
  • EGLF/Farnborough: closed from 10pm to 7am on weekdays
  • EGKB/Biggin Hill: closed from 11pm to 6.30am on weekdays, and 10pm to 8am on weekends
Who’s most affected?

Transatlantic crossings that plan to arrive in London late at night (after a morning departure from the US) or late-night London departures. Plan ahead and speak with your FBO so you don’t get stuck in a noisy bind.

Extra Reading:

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, and 12nm off the east coast of Kenya). 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.

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