A French ATC strike is due to take place from 18z on Mar 21 until 05z on Mar 23, and it looks like it’s going to be a bad one.
En-route regulations are expected to applied across all sectors – which means big delays pretty much everywhere for overflying traffic. Minimum service will be guaranteed only at the following airports:
LFPG/Paris Charles de Gaulle
and overseas airports
For all other airports, ATS services may not be provided at all at certain times – and you’ll probably need to check the airport’s own Notams for any signs of that.
For real-time updates of any airspace issues once the strike has started, keep an eye on this handy French ATC webpage: http://dsnado.canalblog.com/
(Don’t know what these are? Read “The Three Sisters” for more info!)
All the Tango Routes will be subject to higher than normal demand throughout the period of the strike.
All flights intending to route to/from Canaries, Madeira and mainland Portuguese and Spanish destinations via the Shanwick Oceanic Control Area (OCA) are being requested to flight plan via published routes T9, T213 or T16.
Westbound traffic to North/Central American destinations intending to enter the Shanwick OCA via entry points LASNO, TAMEL or OMOKO are being requested to FPL via BEDRA in order to avoid those entry points associated with Tango routes.
Similarly, westbound traffic to North/Central American destinations and intending to enter the Shanwick OCA via entry points BEGAS, DIXIS, BERUX or PITAX are requested to FPL via PASAS.
Three other things to remember:
1. During the strike period, it looks like ATC won’t let you cross from one Tango Route to another.
2. If you’re entering the Shanwick OCA, you must have HF radio.
3. For oceanic clearance during the strike, you need to make sure you request your oceanic clearance 40 minutes before entry to the ocean.
Re-routes through Algeria
If you want to avoid French airspace by flying through DAAA/Algeria instead, you can do so – and until the end of the strike, you won’t have to get an overflight permit. Just make sure you send a new FPL (plus any subsequent DLA messages) to DAAAZQZX and DTTCZQZX addresses, as they will not have received the original FPL.
Depending on where you’re flying to/from, here’s what you need to do:
1. All traffic overflying DAAA/Algeria airspace with destination within the LECB/Barcelona FIR must file via point LUXUR at FL300 or above, and at only EVEN flight levels. (Traffic with destination LEPA/Palma via LUXUR should FPL UM134-LUXUR-GENIO-UN859-OSGAL with STAR OSGAL.)
2. All traffic departing from the LECB/Barcelona FIR and overflying DAAA/Algeria must file via point SADAF at FL310 or above, and at only ODD flight levels.
3. All traffic departing from LEPA/Palma to any airport in DAAA/Algeria must file max FL290 over point SADAF. Departures from LEPA/Palma must also file SID MEBUT: MEBUT-NINES-UM134-OLMIR-UN861-SADAF at FL290.
4. Entering GMMM/Morocco via DTTC/Tunisia and DAAA/Algeria:
- Route: DOPEL UM126 KAWKA UG14 CSO UA31 CHE should be used. DAAA/Algeria ATC will tactically approve direct routing to ALR where possible.
- Route: DOPEL DCT LUXUR SADAF CHE cannot be planned.
5. Entering DAAA/Algeria and DTTC/Tunisia then LIRR/Italy from GMMM/Morocco:
- Route: CHE UA31 CSO UG14 KAWKA UM126 DOPEL shall be used. DAAA/Algeria ATC will tactically approve direct routing from ALR where possible.
- Route: Traffic between DAAA/Algeria and DTTC/Tunisia via SADAF-KAWKA at FL300 and above (only even flight levels).
Re-routes through Tunisia
Tunisia also let operators fly through their airspace when there’s a French ATC strike on, without having to get a permit. Just make sure you copy your FPL (plus any subsequent DLA messages) to DTTCZQZX and DTTCZRZX.
Even when there’s no strike going on, there are a bunch of routes you can use through DTTC/Tunisia airspace that do not require overflight permission. These are:
a) Traffic between DTTC/Tunisia and DAAA/Algeria via DOPEL-LUXUR at FL310 and above (only ‘odd’ flight levels)
b) Traffic between DAAA/Algeria and DTTC/Tunisia via SADAF-KAWKA-DOPEL at FL300 and above (only ‘even’ flight levels)
During the strike, they also open up routes connecting LMMM/Malta with DAAA/Algeria, for flights from Europe to Africa and South America. For that, you should file FPL using following routes:
- Route: PAN – BIRSA – ELO (after ELO traffic can fly DCT GHA) at FL195-465 to be filed for traffic destination West Africa and South America, or
- Route: PAN – RALAK – EBA at FL195-465 to be filed for traffic destination South/South West of Africa.