International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: Cruise Missiles

European air traffic warned over Syria strikes

EASA are warning of possible air strikes into Syria being launched from locations within the LCCC/Nicosia FIR over the next 72 hours (Apr 11-14).

Eurocontrol have published a ‘Rapid Alert Notification’ on their website, with a statement from EASA that reads:

“Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and / or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean / Nicosia FIR area.”

Very few commercial flights operate over Syria, and authorities in the US, UK, France and Germany have all previously issued warnings for Syrian airspace.

But many airlines regularly transit the LCCC/Nicosia FIR: there are frequent holiday flights to the main Cypriot airports of LCLK/Larnaca and LCPH/Paphos; overflight traffic from Europe to the likes of OLBA/Beirut, OJAI/Amman and LLBG/Tel Aviv; as well as traffic from Istanbul heading south to the Gulf and beyond.

Last year, two US warships in the eastern Mediterranean fired missiles at an air base in Syria after a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime killed more than 80 people.

This week, following another suspected chemical attack by the Syrian government against civilians in a rebel-held town in Syria, the US President Donald Trump warned there would be a “forceful” response. On Apr 11, he took to Twitter to warn Russia to prepare for strike on Syria:

For the airstrikes on Syria last year, the US gave Russia advance warning of the attack, and Russian forces opted not to attempt to shoot down the missiles using its air defence systems stationed in the region.

However, this time round things could be very different. This week, Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon reminded the US that the head of the Russian military has said his forces in Syria would not only shoot down any missiles that threatened them but would target the source of the weapons as well.

The only US warship currently in the Mediterranean and capable of a possible strike is the USS Donald Cook, which left port in Larnaca and started to patrol in vicinity of Syria on Apr 9. According to some reports, it has since weighed anchor off Syrian territorial waters, and has been “buzzed” by low-flying Russian military jets.

Another 3 warships of the Sixth Fleet are already in the Atlantic Ocean, and on Apr 11 the entire US Truman Fleet (including an aircraft carrier, 6 destroyers, and nearly 6,500 sailors) departed Norfolk, Virginia, to head to the Mediterranean Sea. However, it may take up to a week for any of these warships to arrive.

Here’s an overview of US and coalition forces’ military options currently thought to be on offer in the eastern Mediterranean:

With the downing of MH17 by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine in 2014, as well as all the recent unannounced missile tests by North Korea, there has been increased focus by the aviation community on the risks posed by conflict zones. If any missiles are launched from the Eastern Mediterranean in the next few days, be prepared for possible last-minute reroutes, as any Notams that get published may not give much warning.

Further reading:

One of our biggest missions in OPSGROUP is to share risk information and keep operators aware of the current threat picture. Check out Safeairspace for the most up-to-date information on airspace safety around the world.

Monday Briefing: North Atlantic Changes, Caspian Sea Missiles

19OCT2015 Flight operations in the NAT region will see significant changes in around three weeks time, including new ‘half-degree’ NAT tracks, new Entry Points in Gander and Shanwick OCA’s, and several procedural changes. A Special Bulletin with plotting chart, summarising the changes, will be issued by Flight Service Bureau next week.

19OCT2015 Last week 26 cruise missiles were launched across International air routes in Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Iran, with reports suggesting 4 did not travel as intended. The risk to aircraft operators is summarised in our International Ops Notice 10/15, see below for details.


RPHI/Manilla FIR, Philippines Typhoon Koppu has maintained its strength as it continues to move northward with slightly increasing forward speed along the shores of Ilocos Sur, Luzon. Current location (1200Z Monday) is to the west of RPLI/Laoag Airport. It is forecast to weaken to a Tropical Storm within 24 hours. No reports of airports affected so far.

OMDW/Dubai World hosts Dubai Airshow 08-12NOV. Landing Permit required for all flights, 3 days processing, standard documents and requirements. Slot required for OMDW, window +/- 5mins. Show details at www.dubaiairshow.aero

OPRN/Islamabad, Pakistan closed 1300-1800 daily due runway works 18-28OCT.

SEXX/Ecuador A new DGAC resolution now effective permits non-scheduled aircraft to land without a Landing Permit as long as the aircraft is operating under private ops, will not stay longer than 72 hours in Ecuador, and visits only one location in Ecuador. The official document is here (in Spanish).

VHHH/Hong Kong with effect 25OCT (IATA Winter 2015) will amend slot issuing procedures to give priority to operators with higher capacity aircraft, and where same types conflict for the same slot time, lower noise levels.

LIXX/Italy ATC Strike confirmed for 24OCT (Saturday) 0800-1600, service will be provided to Overflights and Intercontinental flights only.

LTXX/Turkey Traffic operating through the south eastern part of Turkish airspace to/from Tehran and Baghdad FIRs should check Notams for restrictions. Several restrictions up to FL310 due to military operations.

EGXX/Shanwick Large scale Military Exercise ‘At Sea Demonstration’ ASD15 affecting OEP’s ERAKA and GOMUP starts on 19OCT.

LFxx/France Datalink implemented from 22OCT LFRR/Brest and LFBB/Bordeaux ACC from 0900L. Initial phase, no ACL (Clearance via CPDLC), and aircraft must be on Eurocontrol whitelist. Ref France AIC A22/15.

VNXX/Nepal continues to experience shortages of fuel due to a halt in shipments coming from India. Available fuel for domestic airlines is rapidly decreasing, and authorities worry that domestic flights will soon be unavailable. The Nepalese government has requested that international airlines carry return fuel or refuel at airports en route, as Tribhuvan International Airport (VNKT/KTM) has no available fuel.

View the full International Ops Bulletin for 19OCT2015.

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