International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: FIR (page 1 of 3)

Saudi – Yemen Airspace Update

In Short: Avoid Yemen & Southern Saudi airspace. The armed conflict continues with multiple ballistic missiles still going backwards and forwards.

The conflict between Yemen and Saudi Arabia continues to escalate. Missile launches and counter-attacks by both parties now seems to be almost a daily occurrence.

In the latest of these attacks, on Apr 26, local media reported that Yemeni forces fired a domestically-manufactured missile at a military base in Saudi Arabia’s southern border region of Najran, in retaliation for the Saudi-led military strikes against their country. In another notable attack which happened on Apr 11, Saudi forces claim their air defense systems intercepted a missile that had been fired towards Riyadh. Saudi state-run TV channel al-Ekhbariya carried the official statement as residents of the capital posted on social media their accounts of hearing a loud explosion and seeing smoke in the sky.

So far the only missile attack known to have resulted in any casualties was on Mar 25, when seven ballistic missiles were fired toward Saudi Arabia from within Yemen. Yemeni forces said they were targeting OERK/Riyadh Airport and other sites in the capital. The Saudi government said that all seven missiles were intercepted and destroyed, although one person died and two more were injured by falling fragments of one missile over a residential neighbourhood in Riyadh.

Much of the information comes from state media and cannot always be independently verified. As the propaganda campaign continues, a New York Times investigation suggested that at least one of the most high-profile attacks from 2017 may not have been “shot-down” or intercepted by Saudi defense systems at all.

 

The conflict and insurgency on the ground remains complex and volatile. Safeairspace continues to provide up-to-date information for both Saudi and Yemen airspace.

Yemen is still at FSB Risk Level: One – DO NOT FLY – We strongly recommend avoiding this airspace entirely. The FAA and several other agencies have amended their advice and the current airspace advice map looks like this at present:

SCATANA rules are active in the southern part of Saudi Arabia, due to the current Saudi-led Intervention in Yemen.

This NOTAM, published by authorities in Yemen for the OYSC/Sanaa FIR, can definitely be taken with a grain of salt:

A0026/17 – ALL YEMEN AIRPORTS EXCEPTS TAIZ HODEIDAH AND MUKALLA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS ARE AVAILABLE AND READY TO HANDLE ALL FLIGHTS INTENDING TO FLY TO OR FROM YEMENI AIRPORTS ALSO SANAA ACC IS COMPLETELY READY TO PROVIDE ATC SERVICES TO ALL FLIGHTS OVER FLY SANAA FIR AND BASED ON THE DECLARATION OF DECISIVE STORM TERMINATION WE CONFIRM THAT SANAA FIR AND YEMENI AIRPORTS ARE SAFE EXCEPT THOSE MENTIONED ABOVE. 03 APR 18:00 2017 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 01 JUL 15:24 2017

Extra Reading:

Japan scrambles record number of jets as tensions rise with China

In Short: Japan scrambled a record number of fighter jets in the past year. The number rose to an all-time high of 1,168 in the year to March 2017, easily beating the previous record of 944 set at the height of the cold war in 1984. Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace prompted 851 of the incidents, an increase of 280 over the previous year.

According to official figures released on Thursday, Japan’s Air Self Defense Force is scrambling fighter jets in record numbers as Chinese military activity escalates. Interceptions of Chinese planes rose by half in the year to March 31, in response to increases in the communist country’s activity in and around the East China Sea.

Japan worries that China is probing its air defences as part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south towards Taiwan. The figures highlight China’s growing assertion of military power in East Asia as it expands and modernises its armed forces in line with rapid economic growth.

For the first time, Chinese jets recently began flying through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan, and through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean.

But it’s not only China that Japan is worried about. Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas towards Japan. “There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads,” he told a parliamentary national security committee.

And then there’s Russia. Scrambles by Japanese aircraft were high throughout the 1980s in response to flights by Soviet aircraft during the cold war. They fell back to 100-200 incidents a year during the 1990s and 2000s, but began to pick up again a decade ago as both China and Russia grew more assertive.

Mr Abe has been trying to negotiate with Russian president Vladimir Putin over the future of four disputed islands in the Kuril chain to Japan’s north, but has made limited progress, with the jet scrambles showing Moscow’s determination to make its presence felt on its eastern border. There were 301 scrambles to intercept Russian aircraft during the year, 13 more than the previous year, including incidents where Russian jets circumnavigated the Japanese Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands to the south.

Extra Reading:

Qatar airspace update – military jets intercepting civil flights

In short: The situation is volatile and constantly changing, even by the hour. Military interception has been reported so the best advice is to be vigilant with sticking to assigned routes for all operations around the region.

The airspace blockade of Qatar has been ongoing since June 2017 with little end in sight.

But over the past few months, tensions have been escalating;

Here is the latest operational information we have:

A reminder that Qatar does not have its own FIR. It sits entirely within the Bahrain FIR- you will find Qatar airspace NOTAMs under OBBB. The Doha TMA extends SFC to FL245. Above this sits the Bahrain UIR.

Bahrain and Egypt have relaxed some of their initial restrictions. Saudi and UAE have not.

The current state of play as of 6 April 2018.

CountryNon-QATAR registeredQATAR registered
Egypt (HECC) No NOTAM'd restrictions.No NOTAM'd restrictions.

(NOTAM A0032/18)
Temporary RNAV5 ATS Route T565 established between RASDA-GESAD-RAMKU, FL300-310 for Qatar registered aircraft flights between Beirut and North African Airports.
Bahrain (OBBB)(NOTAM A0204/17)
No flights allowed between Kingdom of Bahrain and State of Qatar and vice-versa.


Multiple restrictions for STATE (and Military) aircraft transiting Bahrain airspace to avoid overflying Qatar. Some operations approved over Qatar but prior approval required. See NOTAMs.

(NOTAM A0219/17)
Operators not registered in Kingdom of Bahrain intending to operate non-scheduled flights or charter flights including private flights, cargo and passenger from or to the State of Qatar via Bahrain airspace shall obtain approval from the Bahrain CAA by providing a copy of detailed manifest of the flight including passenger names at least 24 hours prior to departure to:

Email: schedule@mtt.gov.bh
Ph: +97317329035 or +97317329096
(NOTAM A204/17)
No flights allowed between Kingdom of Bahrain and State of Qatar.


(NOTAM A0219/17) All flights registered in the State of Qatar are not authorized to overfly Bahrain airspace.

*except*

(NOTAM A0220/17)
All routes within Bahrain FIR are available for Flights affected by NOTAM A0219/17, except airways that fall within the Bahrain airspace (over the island of Bahrain).
Saudi Arabia (OEJD)(NOTAM A0596/17)
All NON-Saudi or NON-Qatari registered aircraft intending to use Saudi Airspace to/from Qatar Airports shall coordinate with General authority of Civil Aviation within one-week to obtain permission.

Email: special@gaca.gov.sa
Ph: +966115253336

It appears this does not apply if you are simply overflying Qatar.
(NOTAM A0592+593/17)
All overflights and landing authorizations revoked UFN.
UAE (OMAE)(NOTAM A0848/17) Operators not registered in UAE intending to operate non-scheduled flights or charter including private flights, cargo and passenger from or to the state of Qatar via UAE airspace shall obtain approval from the GCAA aviation security affairs by providing a detailed manifest of the flight including passengers names at least 24 hours prior to departure to:

Email: avsec-di@gcaa.gov.ae
Ph: +971 50 642 4911

This seems to include overflights over UAE bound to Qatar.
Not authorized to overfly UAE airspace, depart or land at UAE aerodromes.

There is however a temporary RNAV1 ATS Route T665 from DAPER DCT KUSBA DCT RORON DCT OVONA (FL220-400) open to Qatari registered aircraft for flights inbound to Qatar. (NOTAM A0459/18)
Kuwait (OKAC)No NOTAM'd restrictionsNo NOTAM'd restrictions
Iran (OIIX)No restrictions.

(NOTAM A0636/18)
There is however an AIP SUP that includes a comprehensive "standard and mandatory traffic orientation scheme" for flights operating into Bahrain FIR bound for Qatar airports.

AIP SUP 03/18
No restrictions however several additional routes have been made available to facilitate movement from Muscat FIR to Qatar. See OOMM & OIIX NOTAMs.
Expect level constraints.

Traffic Orientation Scheme as per AIP SUP 03/18 applies.
Yemen (OYSC)No NOTAM'd restrictions.

See safe airspace map - there is ongoing conflict in the region. FSB Risk Level One - DO NOT FLY. We strongly recommend avoiding this airspace entirely.
Saudi NOTAM A0604/17 purports to be a NOTAM "On behalf of Republic of Yemen/Aden."
"All aircraft registered in the State of Qatar not authorized to overfly Republic of Yemen airspace.
Although it appears Qatar aircraft are not strictly adhering to this. No such NOTAM issued by OYSC FIR.

See safe airspace map - there is ongoing conflict in the region. FSB Risk Level One - DO NOT FLY. We strongly recommend avoiding this airspace entirely.

 

_________________________________________________________________________

Have you been through the region recently? Can you provide an update?

Extra Reading:

Some fascinating reporting about what this whole blockade is all about.

  • How a ransom for Royal falconers reshaped the Middle East” – New York Times
  • What the falcons up with Qatar?” – NPR Podcast

 

Singapore Changi (WSSS) Departure Clearance by Datalink

Starting April 23rd, 2018, Changi Airport (WSSS) will begin giving departure clearance (DCL) via datalink, on certain routes. The idea is to clear up voice communications when DCL can be used. Full details listed in CAAS AIP SUP 013/2018.

To use this, you’ll need ACARS, and be compliant with EUROCAE ED85-A. You’ll login to the ground system at WSSS.

The departures are as below:

– Destinations in Peninsular Malaysia via ATS Routes A457 and B466
– Destinations in Thailand via ATS Routes B466 and B469 / M751
– Destinations in Indonesia via ATS Route A457, R469 and B470
– Destinations in Australia and New Zealand via ATS Route B470
– Flights with allocated Calculated Take-Off Time (CTOT) under Bay of Bengal Cooperative Air Traffic Flow Management (BOBCAT)

A few other notes:

-The DCL message will not include requested crusing levels and final cruising levels. Your planned flight level in 15b will be used, and ATC will give cruise FL when airborne. Sounds like they won’t entertain any requests for a different FL while on the ground.

-No revisions allowed over datalink, all changes must be made by voice comms.

-Make your request with RCD message (see format in attached AIC) no more than 20 minutes before TOBT. If you’ve got a CTOT under BOBCAT, you’l need to put that in the message. If you’re routing via ANITO B470, list your FL at ANITO crossing.

If your DCL is rejected, you’ll get a “revert to voice procedures” message. A few auto-rejects:
-Flight routes not applicable.
-RCD message doesn’t comply with ED-85A or inaccurate data.
-Invalid TOBT
-When required due to flow restrictions.

Operating out of WSSS soon?  CAAS AIP SUP 013/2018 is worth a read.

Countries with bans on flights to Israel

Which countries have banned both direct flights and overflying traffic to/from Israel?

It’s a question we get asked a lot. Here’s the answer:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen.

These countries do not officially recognise Israel, and prohibit flights going to/from Israel from using their airspace.

The two exceptions we’ve spotted are:
1. In March 2018, Saudi Arabia started giving Air India permission to use its airspace on flights between VIDP/Delhi and LLBG/Tel Aviv, thus marking the end of the 70-year airspace ban that Saudi Arabia had in place against flights to/from Israel.
2. Sudan, who regularly allow Ethiopian Airlines to use their airspace for their Addis Ababa to Tel Aviv flights:

But for everyone else wanting to do private or non-scheduled flights to/from Israel, Sudan airspace is off-limits.

For anyone wanting to get from Israel to Asia, there is a narrow corridor available down the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and across the Indian Ocean. This takes advantage of the fact that most countries operate with a 12NM rule – that is, if you’re in their FIR, and you’re 12NM away from the landmass, you don’t need a permit.

Israel’s national carrier El Al operates a couple of scheduled flights on this basis – one to Mumbai, and another to Bangkok:

There is no airway down the Red Sea between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, so you have to fly a direct route between the FIRs. As reported by an Opsgroup member, here’s how it works:

FL290 for southbound traffic, and FL300 for northbound. ATC at both Cairo and Saudi FIRs are used to that. When departing from Israel and going southbound, after losing radar contact with Cairo, you are on your own. Report on Africa VHF freq that you are "over International waters southbound / northbound etc." Listen to Saudi control and try to call them - but do not expect an answer. You will need to maintain your own separation visually, although the Saudis will see you on their radar and they are used to jets flying there. Keep your landing lights on 'pulse' for any opposite traffic. Contact Asmara (Eritrea) control 10NM before entering their FIR. Use SAT phone if no one answers on VHF.

On the reverse side, Israel only allow overflights of their airspace to Royal Jordanian Airlines, and only when departing from or flying to the following airports: CYUL/Montreal, EHBK/Maastricht, KDTW/Detroit, KORD/Chicago, LTAC/Ankara.

Although it’s technically possible for other operators to apply for an overflight permit, it can take up to 30 days, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll get approved unless you’re operating some kind of diplomatic or state flight.

More information:

  • For direct flights to Israel, you can only operate from certain authorised airports. See the list of airports here.

  • If you want to know exactly how to get your landing or overflight permits, check out our Permit Book – this tells you how to get a permit for each and every country in the world!

  • Does anything in this article look wrong to you? Let us know, so we can fix it!

Some US GPS Jamming (it’s just a test)

If you’re flying the Great Falls area (KGTF) from now until March 6th, you’ll want to watch out for some GPS outages due to testing.

Right now, they’re testing daily from 1631z-20z, and the impact is all about how high you’re flying. You could lose WAAS, GBAS, and ADS-B.

See the ranges here:

If you do experience outages, you’re asked to only contact ATC if you’re in need of assistance, not to report any outages.

NOTAM INFO: NAV GPS (AFSMO GPS 18-04) (INCLUDING WAAS, GBAS, AND ADS-B) 
MAY NOT BE AVBL WI A 361NM RADIUS CENTERED AT 470259N1103758W (GTF115040) 
FL400-UNL, 
302NM RADIUS AT FL250 
222NM RADIUS AT 10000FT 
213NM RADIUS AT 4000FT AGL 
162NM RADIUS AT 50FT AGL.

The full FAA text is here: https://www.faasafety.gov/files/notices/2018/Feb/AFSMO_18-04_GPS_Flight_Advisory.pdf

 

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.

Full details: Curacao FIR denying airspace entry if you haven’t prepaid

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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:

Expanded Canadian ADIZ

In Nav Canada AIC 2/18, it was announced that the Canadian ADIZ will expand, reaching further north to include most of the Arctic Archipelago. The expansion will occur on May 24th, at 0901UTC. See the expanded area here:

 

Requirements for operations in the ADIZ remain the same. You’ll need a transponder with altitude reporting and a working two-way radio. Remember, you’ll need to include the time and location of ADIZ border crossing in your flight plans RMK section.

Full AIC 2/18 for the detailed lat/long of the expanded area here.

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