International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: nicosia

US updates its Syria airspace warning

Following the US, UK and French airstrikes on Syria on April 14, the US FAA say there is now a risk posed to civil aviation within 200 nautical miles of the country due to increased military activity, GPS and comms interference, and the potential for more long range surface-to-air missiles in the area.

In the updated US FAA conflict zone Notam and Background Information for Syria, US civil aviation continues to be prohibited from operating within Syrian airspace, but has also now been instructed to “exercise caution” when operating within 200 nautical miles of Syria’s OSTT/Damascus FIR.

As they say in the Background Information doc, here’s why this updated guidance has been published:

“Heightened military activity associated with the Syrian conflict has the potential to spill over into the adjacent airspace managed by neighboring states and eastern portions of the Mediterranean Sea. Military operations may result in the risk of GPS interference, communications jamming, and errant long-range SAMs straying into adjacent airspace within 200 nautical miles of the Damascus Flight Information Region (OSTT FIR). These activities may inadvertently pose hazards to U.S. civil aviation transiting the region. This concern stems from the Syrian military response to previous airstrikes on 10 February 2018, which included Syrian forces launching long-range SAMs. Some of the Syrian SAMs flew into adjacent airspace and landed in Lebanon and Jordan, according to media reporting. GPS interference and communications jamming in the region may also occur associated with the military activity. Some U.S. air carriers have reported GPS interference in portions of the eastern Mediterranean Sea in the period following the 10 February airstrikes, and the interference may have originated from the Damascus Flight Information Region (OSTT FIR) as a defensive response.”

The US FAA haven’t provided a map to show where boundary would lie for 200 nautical miles from the border of Syrian airspace, but we think it would look something like this:

The 200 nautical mile zone would include the entire airspace of Lebanon, Jordan and Israel; half of Turkey and Iraq; and a portion of airspace over the LCCC/Nicosia FIR that covers the whole island of Cyprus!

The area may seem vast, but the possibility of further US, UK and French strikes against Syrian targets does still exist, as well as the Syrian military using surface-to-air missiles in response to any attacks.

During the airstrikes on April 14, the Syrian military reportedly used Russian-made missile systems to attempt to counter the strikes – these included missiles which have the capability to engage aircraft at altitudes well above FL900 and at ranges of around 190 miles.

While there is likely no intention to target civil aircraft, with all the missile defence activity going on in Syria and the spillover into neighbouring countries there still remains a risk of misidentification – and that’s what the 200 nautical mile warning seeks to address.

Amidst continued heavy military air presence in the region, almost all airlines are now avoiding Syrian airspace entirely. Lebanon’s Beirut based MEA has now also re-routed all of their flights to avoid Syrian Airspace (was using it post recent attacks). Only local operators Fly Damas, Charm Wing Airlines, Syrian Air and Iran’s Mahan Air continue to use the airspace.


Here’s what the Pentagon had to say about the airstrikes on April 14:

  • 105 missiles were launched in the strikes against Syria. They included 30 Tomahawk missiles fired from the USS Monterey and seven from the USS Laboon in the Red Sea. Another 23 Tomahawk missiles were launched from the USS Higgins in the North Arabian Gulf.
  • A submarine, USS John Warner, fired six Tomahawk missiles from the eastern Mediterranean and a French frigate in the same area fired another three missiles.
  • At least one US Navy warship operating in the Red Sea participated in airstrikes, as well as US B-1 bombers.
  • The air assault involved two US B-1 Lancer bombers, which fired 19 joint air to surface standoff missiles. The British flew a combination of Tornado and Typhoon jets, firing eight Storm Shadow missiles, while French Rafale and Mirage fighter jets launched nine SCALP missiles.
  • Four Royal Air Force Tornado GR4’s were used in the strikes, launching Storm Shadow missiles at a “former missile base — some 15 miles west of Homs,” according to the UK Ministry of Defense.
  • Syria fired 40 surface to air missiles ‘at nothing’ after allied air strikes destroyed three Assad chemical sites.
  • The United States remains “locked and loaded” to launch further attacks.
  • United States and Allies maintain positive posture of force in the region, especially in the air.

105 missiles launched from multiple locations in the region.
Over 40 Syrian surface to air missiles fired “at nothing”.

Further Reading:

A0454/18 – INFORMATION TO AIRSPACE USERS

THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS IS CONTINUOUSLY MONITORING THE GEOPOLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION AND WILL NOTIFY THE AVIATION COMMUNITY IF AND WHEN ANY RELEVANT AN RELIABLE INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE THE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION IS TAKING ALL APPROPRIATE ACTION TO SAFEGUARD THE SAFETY OF FLIGHTS. 12 APR 15:25 2018 UNTIL 12 JUL 15:00 2018 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 12 APR 15:26 2018

If you have anything to share that we’ve missed, please tell us by email bulletin@fsbureau.org

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.

International Bulletin: Winter is Coming, Updated Canada Requirements

Winter is coming 09NOV With the clocks changing, it’s a reminder that we’re not far away from the snowstorms, deicing delays, cancelled flights, airport shutdowns, and those big invoices for de-icing fluid. Our new author Frank Young has an article.

Updated Canada requirements 09NOV From tomorrow, November 10, an eTA is now mandatory for flights to Canada (for most people), and there’s an update to flying to Canada with a previous conviction. Read the article.


BIKF/Keflavik Long a destination for flight certification testing (because it’s cold and windy), will not accept test flights until February next year, thanks to runway renovation work.

ZZZZ/Worldwide Last week we ran a story about the new ICAO SID/STAR phraseolgies. In short, some countries are implementing, and others aren’t. We’re going to make a list of who’s doing what, so that you as an operator or pilot will have some idea. Can you help us? What is your country doing? Tell us at bulletin@fsbureau.org.

LTBA/Istanbul At about 0100 local time on 6 November, two people on a motorcycle opened fire outside Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, prompting a temporary closure. Reports indicate that authorities apprehended both suspects and did not find additional weapons or explosives on their persons. Officials briefly placed the airport on lockdown but reopened the facility at about 0130. The incident reportedly did not affect flights, and the gunfire harmed no civilians or police officers.

CZZZ/NAT Region The FAA has recently determined that time estimates provided by pilots in oceanic CTAs are less accurate than expected, particularly when adverse weather causes pilots to deviate from the planned course. These inaccurate estimates can compromise the separation of aircraft. Have a read.

YMML/Melbourne Be aware of recent hoax ATC calls. Someone with a handheld radio has been making “go-around” transmissions on the Tower frequency, and at least one aircraft has responded. Airservices says there have been 15 such transmissions in the last few weeks.

CZZZ/Canada The NBAA has issued useful updated info for flying to Canada with previous convictions – Canada is known for refusing entry based on DUI charges. Today, November 9, is also the last day that you can enter Canada without an eTA.

PWAK/Wake Island – an ETOPS alternate – is closed on 11NOV for Veterans Day. They do say they will attend with 30 mins notice, so maybe two ETOPS circles are required for that day. Check other US ETOPS alternates on this date also.

UCZZ/Kyrgyzstan Since 4 November, if you’re staying for longer than 5 days, you must register with the local authorities.

PKMJ/Majuro is downgraded to Cat 6 until November 23, which may affect some operators using this as an ETOPS alt.

EGNX/East Midlands airport has some weekend closures for the next six weeks.

VIZZ/India announced on 8 November that 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes will cease to be legal tender as of 0000 local on 9 November 2016.

EVLA/Liepaja (one of Latvia’s three international airports) is now closed to all operations. They say they will be open again in Spring 2017. Fingers crossed.

LAZZ/Albania has been experiencing heavy rains, high winds and flooding throughout the country, causing road blockages, school closures, and disruptions in ferry services. The army has been mobilized for rescue and relief operations.

LFLL/Lyon If you’ve been using LFLL as an alternate at weekends, you’ll have to cut that out from December 10th, they don’t want weekend diversions of non-sched flights.

EGKK/Gatwick has advised of a new series of rail strikes that will run through to January next year.

MHTG/Central America FIR reminds operators that a CENAMER notification by AFTN is required for all flights planning to enter the airspace.

MTZZ/Haiti The US has published updated advice for Haiti: U.S. citizens are advised not to travel to the southern peninsula of Haiti, commonly referred to as the “southern claw.” The U.S. Embassy has currently banned unofficial travel to the southern peninsula and allows official travel only after consultation with its security office. There is widespread devastation throughout the southern claw with the most affected areas on the western tip of the peninsula. Travelers can expect difficult travel conditions with roads made impassable by landslides, damaged roads, and bridge failures. There is also widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure, including gas stations and cell towers, loss of electricity, and shortages of food and potable water. U.S. citizens who choose to travel to the southern claw in spite of these risks should carry sufficient water, food, fuel, and medicine to last longer than their anticipated stay. The security environment around the southern claw is fluid and uncertain.

LFOB/Paris Beauvais is closed overnight from 2200 to 0600Z, for 14-25 November inclusive, due to stuff.

HAZZ/Ethiopia On November 8, the Command Post – the body tasked with implementing Ethiopia’s state of emergency – lifted the restriction imposed on foreign diplomats, which restricted them from traveling more than 25 mi/40 km outside of Addis Ababa. The Command Post also lifted and revised several other state of emergency provisions; however, the changes are minor and are not likely to affect the current situation. The curfew and communication restrictions remain in place

NFTF/Tonga Fua’amoto (the main airport) has new operating hours – these are, in UTC: 1600 SUN TO 0530 MON, 1025 MON TO 0800 TUE, 1600 TUE TO 0530 WED, 1000 WED TO 0800 THU,0900 THU TO 1200 THU, 1600 THU TO 0530 FRI, 1600 FRI TO 0800 SAT. They’ll accept div traffic outside these hours, call +676 22 608 – but prefer no surprises on Sundays.

OMAA/Abu Dhabi will see heavy traffic for the Grand Prix on November 27, avoid if possible.

SBZZ/Brazil The office that processes Foreign Civil overlight and landing permits has updated hours of operation: Mon-Fri 1230Z-2230Z.

SBCT/Curitiba airport would like 4 hour PPR notice for non-scheduled flights, and request that you call them on 55-41-3381-1478 to arrange that.

SPJC/Lima, Peru has an upcoming APEC meeting 14-21 November, with a decent increase in traffic expected, and a few restrictions. They’ve also warned pilots to pay attention to radios and transponder codes to avoid them sending up the jets – good advice.

TVSV/ET Joshua Airport is closed due to flooding.

VECC/Kolkata Radio has a new HF frequency: 8861, with hours 1330Z-0130Z. Use this if 6556 or 10066 isn’t working for you.

CZQX/Gander is going to auto-send you a “Confirm Assigned Route” message from 01DEC, on entry into their OCA – if you are FANS 1/A equipped. If you’re not sure how to feel about that, read our previous article.

LCCC/Nicosia There’s a good deal of mil activity – UN, and Russian – in the Cyprus region at the moment. Read the LCCC and surrounding FIR Notams carefully. Oh, and if you’re not up to date on your Greek-Turkish FIR dispute, add LGGG and LTBB to that. As 2016 draws to a close, enough regional history has been published for an entire novel. This weeks Notam series covers the 1923 Lausanne Peace Treaty.

NZZC/New Zealand published a change to SID procedures today, and our brain hurts. We’re not sure if this is related to the 10NOV ICAO SID/STAR changes, or .. something else. If you’ve got it deciphered, let us know. THE STANDARD INSTRUMENT DEPARTURE (SID) SPECIFIES IN BOTH DIAGRAMMATIC AND NARRATIVE FORM ANY OF THE FOLLOWING: THE DIRECTION OF TURN, HEADINGS, TRACK, DISTANCES, SIGNIFICANT POINTS AND ALTITUDE REQUIREMENTS. WHERE TRACKING TO OR FROM A NAVIGATION AID IS NOT POSSIBLE, DESIRED TRACKS ARE SHOWN AND DUE ALLOWANCE FOR WIND IS TO BE MADE. AIRCRAFT ARE TO CONTINUE CLIMBING THROUGHOUT THE SID UNLESS IN COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLISHED ATC MAINTAINS, DEPARTURE MINIMUM SAFE ALTITUDE (MSA) OR AS OTHERWISE INSTRUCTED. WHERE CONTINUOUS CLIMB TO THE END OF THE SID IS NOT REQUIRED A DEPARTURE MSA MAY BE DEPICTED ON THE RELEVANT CHART. THE DEPARTURE MSA REPRESENTS THE LOWEST ALTITUDE FOR OBSTACLE CLEARANCE ALONG THE ENTIRE DEPARTURE ROUTE (INCLUDING TRANSITIONS). IT REMAINS THE PILOT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO MEET SUBSEQUENT ENROUTE MSA/MINIMUM FLIGHT ALTITUDE (MFA)/MRA/MEA REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE AFTER SID TERMINATION. DEPARTURE MINIMUM SAFE ALTITUDES DO NOT ENSURE CONTROLLED AIRSPACE CONTAINMENT.

OEZZ/Saudi Arabia has issued an extension of the policy that requires all aircraft with a destination in Yemen to first land in OEBH/Bisha – through to 08FEB next year. The only exceptions are the UN, Red Cross, and MSF.

VHHK/Hong Kong is going to move to a new ACC and ATC Tower towards the end of this month. There will be delays. The actual date hasn’t yet been notified, we’ll let you know when we hear.

View the full International Bulletin 09NOV2016

Midweek Briefing: Australia Airport Workers Strike, ICAO Toughens Aircraft Tracking

Australia Airport Workers Strike 09MAR The Community and Public Sector Union (CSPU) announced the possibility of a strike during the week of 21 March, as well as three weeks of rolling airport strikes by Border Force and Immigration Department staff at international airports across the country. Airport staff members are expected to begin a work stoppage on 24 March, to coincide with the Easter holiday weekend, and will walk off the job at airports, freight terminals and other related sites. The work stoppages will be held to protest wage freezes and work conditions. Further details are likely to emerge closer to the strike.

ICAO Toughens Aircraft Tracking while in distress 02MAR The ICAO has announced new requirements for the real-time tracking of civilian aircraft in distress, following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 two years ago. The ICAO’s governing council approved proposals for planes to carry tracking devices that can transmit their location at least once a minute in cases of distress. Aircraft operators will have to ensure their flight recorder data is recoverable, while the duration of cockpit voice recordings is being extended to 25 hours, ICAO said in a news release. These changes will take effect between now and 2021.


 

United States Visa Waiver Program Passport Requirements Take Effect April 1. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers must present an e-Passport containing a biometric chip in order to enter the United States visa-free after March 31, 2016.  VWP travelers who do not hold an e-Passport should apply for a new passport as soon as possible to ensure that they can continue to use the program without interruption. The e-Passport requirement applies only to VWP travelers; it does not affect holders of U.S. visas.

Canada Electronic Travel Authorization Deadline Relaxed It has been announced that visa-exempt nationals who plan to enter or exit and re-enter Canada by air will be able to board their flight without an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) from March 15, 2016 until fall 2016.

India has extended its e-Tourist Visa program to applicants from 37 additional countries. Also, the visa-on-arrival program for certain Japanese nationals who are unable to apply for a regular or electronic visa has been relaxed to allow multiple visits per calendar year. Lastly, the deadline for Person of Indian Origin card holders to apply for the Overseas Citizen of India card in lieu of Person of Indian Origin card has been extended until June 30, 2016.

Ecuador The Ecuador’s Geophysical Institute reported that the Tungurahua volcano has experienced a series of eruptions. Pyroclastic flows and fallen ash have collected near the crater. During past eruptions, the volcano’s clouds of ash have disrupted flights to major airports in the region.

KZWY/New York Oceanic has issued NOTAM A0105/16 advising restrictions to routings in the WATRS PLUS area due to the (QVR) Oceana Radar being U/S on March 9th and March 10th between the hours of 14-22Z. The restrictions are issued as follows:

Northbound: L453 will be closed.

Southbound: M201 will be clsd btn int atugi and hanri.

Only aircraft equipped with operational ADS-260B out may use the following routes:

Southbound: L453 between LEXAD and ONGOT

North-eastbound: M201 between HANRI and ATUGI

All ADS-260B out aircraft must file an icao flight plan.

UIBB/Bratsk issued a NOTAM restricting the arrivals to only scheduled services due a fuel shortage until March 31st.

PKMJ/Majuro (Marshall Islands) Monthly tanker replenishment is planned for Mar 21-25. During this time, fuel will not be available.

VTSP/Phuket,Thailand has issued a NOTAM advising that the parking of private aircraft is prohibited overnight until April 25th.

Nigeria has experienced a country wide fuel shortage. Please check with your handler ahead of time to ensure fuel is available. Tankering is highly recommended until further notice.

LCCC FIR/Nicosia FIR Late notification of a military exercise in LCCC ACC starting on 09/03/2016 0300 UTC until 11/03/2016 1000 UTC. Exercise areas and route closures announced by following NOTAMs:

A0191/16 through A0196/16, A0208/16 and A0209/16 for area specifications. A0215/16 through A0220/16 for the route closures.

Please see the following graphic outlining the area:

Military Exercise Cyprus

View the full International Bulletin 09MAR2016

Monday Briefing: Sinai Airspace avoided, Low Vis creates day of chaos

02NOV2015 HECC/Cairo has requested that traffic through PASOS point on the boundary with LCCC/Nicosia FIR be rerouted, effectively closing airway UL550 and the Sinai peninsula. Shown on radar image above, most traffic is avoiding the area that an A321 crashed in on Saturday. No definite link is being made but Authorities and Operators are naturally cautious.

02NOV2015 Conditions perfect for fog across the UK and western Europe are causing widespread delays this morning. Unusually, almost all airports from EGCC/Manchester to EDDF/Frankfurt are affected by the same conditions, with many airports down to 100 metres vis. Most not accepting diversions. See below for further.


EXXX/Europe High delays in most Airports in a square containing EGCC/Manchester, EBBR/Brussels, EDDF/Frankfurt, and EDDH/Hamburg. Total of approx 120,000 slot delay minutes in Eurocontrol system. Other high delay airports include EHAM, EGLL, EGKK, EGSS. Check NOTAMs as most are not accepting diversions either. Fog forecast to be similar again overnight.

VTBB/Bangkok FIR A minimum departure interval of 4-8 minutes between same direction departures is in force from 30OCT for aircraft departing VTCC VTCT VTUU VTUD VTSP VTSG VTSF VTSB VTSM AND VTSS. Delays during peak hours are expected.

UUBC/Grabtsevo New Russian Airport now fully operational with 2200m runway (12/30) and able to accommodate international traffic up to A320/737 size.

UHSS/Yuzhno Sakhalinsk, a common Polar alternate, is closed due runway repairs 1200-2100Z until 01DEC and therefore not available as ALTN for Flight Planning.

NTTA/Tahiti will be without radar on 03NOV after 1800Z. As with all radar outages there is potential for delays and restrictions.

KXXX/USA Runway current closures: BWI-RWY 10/28, SEA-RWY 16C/34C, LAS-RWY 7L-25R.

KSFO/San Francisco will close Taxiway Q and B on 07/08NOV to resolve a pavement issue. This will create a one-in-one-out restriction for aircraft taxiing to and from all gates west of Taxiway Q1. Specifically, this will affect United Airlines, SFOs largest customer, as a majority of its gates are west of Q1. Additionally, the proximity of the closure area to Taxiway B1 will render B1 unusable due to insufficient wing tip and jet blast clearance with the construction area. The loss of Taxiway B1 means that access to the end-around Taxiway Z will be unavailable.

HKXX/Kenya No longer possible to obtain a visa on arrival for passengers. Must now be arranged prior to arrival online at https://account.ecitizen.go.ke/register.

SOOO/Cayenne FIR, South Atlantic – Aircraft not FANS 1A equipped, east of 50W in the Cayenne FIR, can now expect a maximum level of FL310 westbound.

EXXX/Europe The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) is providing a new tool to calculate Passenger Taxes payable in EU countries. The “PaxTax” tool calculates the total passenger tax for the flight, and breaks down the cost for both departure and arrival for the respective national taxing authorities.

YBBN/Brisbane New $45m international terminal opened 28OCT after 18 months of construction. The facility can handle 7.5m pax annually.

VNxx/NEPAL Fuel supply update: China will supply fuel to Nepal for the first time ever, in response to a dire fuel shortage caused by disrupted supply lines with India. China will supply 1.3 million liters of gasoline, which will be transported to Kathmandu from the border via 100 tanker trucks. Please continue to check local NOTAMs for fuel availability.

DNxx/Nigeria FIR Widespread reports of a strike forcing the closure of Nigeria’s airspace have been deemed unreliable, per the Nigerian CAA. There is unrest and occasional industrial action, but no risk of airspace being closed.

Timezone Changes As DST ends in the Northern Hemisphere, series of clock changes completed on 01NOV as US ended Daylight Savings. Most of Europe completed theirs on 25OCT. Most northern countries are now on Standard Time.

View the complete International Operations Bulletin for 02NOV2015.

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