International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: Airspace (page 1 of 2)

New 19-state Upper FIR planned for Africa

Africa has inched closer to achieving a broad Upper Area FIR  following the move by 19 regional states to adopt an airspace agreement at the end of May.

Ministers of Justice and the Attorney Generals from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) adopted the legal instrument on common airspace in Lusaka.

The regional airspace agreement aims at achieving a seamless upper airspace for the region which will lead to enhanced competition in air travel and efficiency.

Zambia Minister of Justice, Hon. Given Lubinda, who opened the May meeting said the COMESA seamless airspace programme will contribute to bringing down high costs.

“The draft legal instruments aimed at the implementation of the COMESA Seamless Airspace programme speak to this.”

 

Extra Reading:

Hong Kong near-misses on the rise

According to recent figures released by the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of Hong Kong, 2017 saw an increase in ‘loss of separation’ incidents within it’s airspace.

Twelve times, two aircraft came within 1000 feet and less than 5 nautical miles of each other last year. This is the highest in six years.

Local law makers are now calling for a new ATC system to be implemented. A local pilot operating regularly through VHHH/Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) commented to FSB recently that the Air Traffic Services have been in “constant decline” over the past seven to ten years.

CAD insisted that alerts were issued “in a timely manner as per system design”. It said “losses of separation” were due to a number of factors such as adverse weather, operating procedures and human factors and they did occasionally occur due to the old air traffic system and other systems around the world. “CAD would investigate every individual incident according to established procedures and make necessary improvement,” the department added.

Hong Kong airspace is congested at the best of times. With four major airports within 150 kilometres and many overflights to and from mainland China, the 2016 introduction of a new Air Traffic System known as “Autotrac3” was set to assist in solving some of the complexity whilst increasing safety. The transition to the new system was challenging with various system issues.

The TMA is also complicated by significant terrain and regular adverse weather. Recent statistics show that air traffic is up over 3.5% already in 2018 with 36,000 movements occurring monthly (6.4 million passengers).

The continued massive year-on-year growth has seen the start of work to construct a third runway, expected to be operational in 2023-24 to facilitate the expected 100 million passengers using HKIA by that time.

This will no doubt just put further strain on an already complicated airspace situation.

The new third runway at HKIA- coming 2023-24.

Have you operated through the Hong Kong area lately? Can you provide an update?

Extra Reading:

Russia is not closing its airspace to American flights

On April 17, the Russian Ministry of Transport extended overflight approvals for US airlines through to October 28, 2018 – just hours before the old agreement on overflights was due to expire.

This should bring an end to the rumour that had been circulating all week that Russia has closed its airspace to US aircraft, and were denying overflights. There are a couple of unrelated events which caused this confusion:

1. US strikes on Syria on April 14, with rhetoric of Russia retaliation – which in the end didn’t happen.

2. Spooked about how Russia might respond directly after the strikes, American Airlines temporarily decided not to overfly Russia on some of their flights from the US to Hong Kong… but then they quickly went back to doing so again on April 15.

3. With the deadline looming for extending the agreement, Russian civil aviation officials had reportedly cancelled a meeting in Washington earlier this week to discuss renewing the agreement.

4. Some areas of the Baltic Sea are closed on April 19 for Russian missile firing, which is a routine event.

 

References – all the relevant stories are here:

 

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

 

New Unsafe Airspace Summary and Map

March 20, 2018: One of our biggest missions in OPSGROUP is to share risk information and keep operators aware of the current threat picture. The latest Unsafe Airspace Summary is now published, and available to members here as a PDF download (Unsafe Airspace Summary 20MAR2018, edition LIMA).

The main changes since the last summary are below. For a current risk map, refer to the Airspace Risk map in your member Dashboard.

The situation in Afghanistan remains similar. On March 13, Germany added wording to maintain FL330 or higher,  still recommending against landings at Afghan airports.

Germany also issued updated NOTAMs for Mali, Iraq, and South Sudan. All warnings remain as previous, unchanged from the prior NOTAMs.

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!

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 adnc@baf.mil.bd

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/ 
A) VGFR B) 1802010001 C) PERM E) THE FLW AMDT/UPDATES ARE BROUGHT TO THE AIP-SUPP 01/2018: 
1. ACFT INTENDING TO OPR INTO, THROUGH OR WI BANGLADESH ADIZ SHALL OBTAIN ADC NR FM THE FLW CONTACT DETAILS. 
TELEPHE: +880 2 8901081 
FAX : +880 2 8901081 
E- MAIL: ADNC AT THE RATE OF BAF.MIL.BD 
AFTN : VGHSZQZX 
2. FLT OPR ON ATS RTE P646, N895, M770, L524 AND W112 SHALL NOT REQUIRED TO OBTAIN ADC NR UNLESS DEVIATED TOWARDS THE LAND MASS OF BANGLADESH. 
3. GUARD FREQ. 121.50 MHZ SHALL NOT BE USED TO CTC THE AIR DEFENCE UNIT. 
4. ARTICLE 'L' IN THE PROCEDURES FOR AIR DEFENCE CLEARANCE IN THE AIP-SUPP SHALL BE TREATED AS CNLD. 
5. FOR THE TIME BEING DOMESTIC FLT AND FLT OF STATE ACFT AND GENERAL AVIATION ACFT OF BANGLADESH SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN ADC NUMBER.

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.”

PBCS: New rule on the NAT from March 29, 2018 – RCP240 and RSP180

Update March 16th, 2018: PBCS is turning into a PITA. After OPSGROUP input, we have an update on the latest status including rumours of delays, A056 LOA’s, and Aircraft that have failed to comply with PBCS.

For the latest changes and updates on the North Atlantic, including our most recent Guides and Charts, use our NAT reference page at flightservicebureau.org/NAT.

ICAO is introducing another acronym in the North Atlantic Region. This time, it’s PBCS (Performance Based Communication and Surveillance), and from March 29th 2018 you will need to be compliant if you want to fly on the half-tracks between FL350-390.

Initially, there will only be a maximum of three daily tracks where you will need to be PBCS-compliant between FL350-390. These will likely be the same tracks as we currently see being assigned as ‘half-tracks’ each day.

This requirement will eventually be extended to all the NAT tracks between FL350-390, but we understand that will only happen when the filing of PBCS designators on flight plans reaches the 90% mark, or 28th March 2019 – whichever comes first. Either way, the ‘transition period’ for this PBCS implementation is set to last six months, so the roll-out of the requirement to all the tracks won’t happen until Oct 2018 at the earliest!

But from March 29th 2018, Shanwick and Gander will basically just continue the concept used in the RLatSM trial – whereby daily tracks spaced at less than 60nm from an adjacent track will be specified as a ‘PBCS Track’ and will be notified in the Track Message Remark-3.

So what is PBCS?

PBCS is the thing that will replace two trials in the NAT which are both coming to an end on March 29th:

  • RLATReduced Lateral Separation Minimum: where a reduced lateral separation of 25 nm has been implemented on the tracks between FL350-390 (so now there are extra “half tracks” each day, spaced by one-half degree of latitude)
  • RLong – Reduced Longitudinal Separation Minimum: in the Shanwick Oceanic Control Area (OCA), longitudinal separation has been reduced to 5 minutes between aircraft following the same track.

When these trials end, PBCS standards will be introduced to continue to allow the application of both reduced lateral and longitudinal separation for aircraft that meet the Required Communication Performance (RCP) and Required Surveillance Performance (RSP) specifications.

How do I comply with PBCS standards?

To operate on the PBCS tracks between FL350-390, you will need to be RNP4 compliant, with CPDLC capable of RCP240, and ADS-C capable of RSP180.

But watch out! Some aircraft do have ADS-C and CPDLC but have never demonstrated RCP or RSP, and have no statement of compliance (e.g. most Honeywell Primus aircraft and several early Boeing aircraft). These aircraft may struggle to get approval to operate in PBCS airspace. Which brings us neatly on to…

Do I need PBCS approval from my state of registry?

PBCS approval will differ depending on which country operators are from.

For UK operators, check the requirements here.

US operators will need to update their LOA for Data Link Communications (A056). The FAA have published a new guide, which tells operators exactly what they need to do to get this authorisation, namely:

  1. Submit an AFM Statement of Compliance for PBCS, showing exactly what data link communication systems you aircraft has, along with the selected performance
  2. Since July 2016, various oceanic FIRs have been collecting data on whether certain aircraft meet RSP and RCP criteria. You need to make sure your aircraft isn’t already listed as having failed to meet these criteria, by checking here: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/separation_standards/pbcs_monitoring/

What new codes do I need to put down on my flight plan?

  • FANS 1/A CPDLC equipped aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert the appropriate designator (J2, J3, J4, J5 and/or J7) in Item 10a of the flight plan.
  • FANS 1/A CPDLC RCP 240 compliant aircraft intending to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert the designator P2 in Item 10a of the flight plan.
  • FANS 1/A ADS-C compliant aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert the designator D1 in Item 10b of the flight plan.
  • FANS 1/A ADS-C RSP 180 compliant aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert SUR/RSP180 in Item 18 of the flight plan.
  • RNP 4 compliant aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert PBN/L1 in Item 18 of the flight plan.

If I’m not eligible for PBCS, where can I go? 

ATC may allow you to do either of the following, depending on how stressed/busy they are (i.e. decided on a ‘tactical basis’):

  • You can infringe on the daily PBCS tracks between FL350 – FL390 at only one point (including Oceanic Entry/Exit Point) i.e. cross but not join an NAT PBCS track
  • You can climb or descend through levels FL350 – FL390 on a PBCS track provided the climb or descent is continuous.

In their NAT OPS Bulletin 2018_001, ICAO have published a handy little picture to demonstrate this:

 

Further information:

  • For a great FAQ on all things PBCS, check out the latest FAA document here.
  • For more info on the PBCS implementation, check out the full UK AIC here.
  • To figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have, check out our quick reference guide here.
  • Special thanks go to Mitch Launius at 30westip.com for help with this post. For assistance with international procedures training for business aviation crews worldwide, and to watch an excellent webinar about all things PBCS-related, check out the 30westip.

 

Flying to the Superb Owl?

So you’re heading to watch some sports games in Minnesota. We’ve got to be careful to not call it a certain thing, so we’ve taken to calling it the Superb Owl. If you’re operating to the Minneapolis area between Jan 31 and Feb 7, you’ll need a few items:

Ramp Reservations:
MSP: +1 612 726 5700 / MSP@signatureflight.com
STP: +1 612 726 9086 / STP@signatureflight.com

Contact them right away for ramp space, it’s going fast, and it’s all first come, first serve. Once you get your reservation number, you’ll need to include that in your RMK section of the flight plan.

Those will be the two main airports, but if you’re operating to these other airports, contact the local FBO or airport authority to get your ramp reservation:

 Flying Cloud Airport FCM
 Crystal Airport MIC
 South St. Paul Municipal/ Richard E. Fleming Field SGS
 Airlake Airport LVN
 Anoka County-Blaine/Janes Field ANE
 Lake Elmo Airport 21D
 Albert Lea Municipal Airport AEL
 Austin Municipal Airport AUM
 Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport BRD
 Buffalo Municipal Airport CFE
 Duluth Airport DLH
 Chippewa Valley Regional/Eau Claire Airport EAU
 Faribault Municipal Airport FBL
 La Crosse Regional Airport LSE
 Maple Lake Municipal Airport MGG
 Mankato Regional Airport MKT
 Simenstad Municipal/Osceola Airport OEO
 Owatonna/Degner Regional Airport OWA
 Red Wing Regional Airport RGK
 Rochester International Airport RST
 St. Cloud Regional Airport STC
 New Richmond Regional Airport RNH

Required Routes:
Keep an eye on this site: http://fly2sb52.org/msp-ga-stmp.aspx, the FAA will be updating preferred routes for MSP/STP. Be sure you’re being diligent in closing your flight plan upon landing. They’ll be refusing any airborne IFR filing or airborne changes of destination within 250NM of Minneapolis airspace.

Flying Internationally?
You’ll need to get your landing rights from CBP. Email at 3501-landrights@cbp.dhs.gov, and include:
-Aircraft Registration and Type
-Names of Crew members
-Foreign Departure Point
-Arrival Location and Time (in local time)
-Number of Pax and Crews.

They actually want the eAPIS to be submitted prior to landing rights request, so make sure to send that in so they see it in the system.

Also, don’t plan on flying within 10NM of the stadium on Sunday, as the TSA needs to make a full inspection of your aircraft. Keep this in mind if you’re planning on operating on Sunday (during the game) because both MSP and STP are within 10NM of the airport (also MIC). The FBO can help you schedule your inspection if required.

Within 30NM of the stadium (the second circle), you must be in constant contact with ATC, and have a working transponder. They will scramble the jets for this event. You can use 121.5 if you’re not in contact for any reason.

For any additional information, the FAAs site has you covered: http://fly2sb52.org/Default.aspx

Enjoy the game!

Airspace Changes Coming for the OMAE FIR

On October 12th, GCAA announced the changes to the OMAE FIR.  They’ve got it all detailed in the latest AIRAC (AIP link below).

The major change–all aircraft require RNAV1 with GNSS to operate in the Emirates FIR, starting December 7th.  This is a change from the previous RNAV5.  With that, you can expect changes to SIDs, STARs, all ATS routes, holding procedures, communication frequencies, and others.  It’s a major overhaul to anticipate for the expected increase in traffic.

We’ve got for you:

AIC 04/2017
AIP Link (you can find all the specifics to the changes here)
UAE ENROUTE CHART

OMAE/UAE 
TRIGGER NOTAM - PERM AIRAC AIP AMDT NR 13/2017 WEF 07 DEC 2017
RNAV 1 WITH GNSS OPS RQMNTS MANDATED
RNAV 1 ROUTES ADDED
STD ROUTINGS AMD
CONDITIONAL ROUTES ADDED
ENR HOLDINGS ADDED
WAYPOINTS ADDED, DELETED AND AMD
OMR-51 LOWER LIMIT AMD
ADDED FREQ FOR EMIRATES FIR. 
07 DEC 00:00 2017 UNTIL 21 DEC 23:59 2017.

 

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