International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: North Korea

Here’s why North Korean missiles are now a real threat to Civil Aviation

  • July 2017: First launches of ICBM’s from North Korea
  • Western portion of Japanese airspace is a new risk area
  • New OPSGROUP guidance to Members, Note 30: Japanese Missile risk

The North Korean game has changed. Even if aircraft operators stopped flying through the Pyongyang FIR last year, nobody really thought there was much of a tangible risk. The chances of a missile actually hitting an aircraft seemed slim, and any discussion on the subject didn’t last long.

Things look different now. In July, the DPRK tested two Hwasong-14 Intercontinental missiles (the July 4th one is above), the first ICBM’s successfully launched from North Korea. ICBM’s are larger, and fly further, than the other missiles we’ve previously seen. Both of these landed in the Sea of Japan, well inside the Fukuoka Flight Information Region (Japanese airspace), and significantly, at least one did not re-enter the atmosphere intact – meaning that a debris field of missile fragments passed through the airspace, not just one complete missile.

We drew a map, with our best estimates of the landing positions of all launches in the last year that ended in Japanese airspace. The results are quite clear:


View large image

Zooming in even further, we can see each of the estimated landing sites. It is important to note that the landing positions vary in the degree of accuracy with which it is possible to estimate them. The highest accuracy is for the 28JUL17 landing of the Hwasong-14 ICBM, thanks to tracking by the Japanese Defence Force and US STRATCOM, as well as visual confirmation from land in Japan. The remaining positions are less precise, but in an overall view, the area affected is quite well defined – south of AVGOK and north of KADBO. In 2017, there have been 6 distinct missile landings in this area. The primary airways affected are B451 and R211, as shown on the chart.


View large image

So, in a very specific portion of Japanese airspace, there have been regular splashdowns of North Korean missiles. As highlighted by the Air France 293 coverage, this area is crossed by several airways in regular use, predominantly by Japan-Europe flights using the Russia route.

Determining Risk

The critical question for any aircraft operator is whether there is a clear risk from these missiles returning to earth through the airspace in which we operate. Take these considerations into account:

The regularity and range of the launches are increasing. In 2015, there were 15 launches in total, of short-range ballistic and sub-launched missiles. In 2016, there were 24 launches, almost all being medium-range. In 2017, there have been 18 so far, with the first long-range missiles.

– In 2016, international aviation solved the problem by avoiding the Pyongyang FIR. This is no longer sufficient. The landing sites of these missiles have moved east, and there is a higher likelihood of a splashdown through Japanese airspace than into North Korea.

– Almost all launches are now in an easterly direction from North Korea. The launch sites are various, but the trajectory is programmed with a landing in the Sea of Japan. From North Korea’s perspective, this provides a sufficiently large area to avoid a missile coming down on land in foreign territory.

– The most recent ICBM failed on re-entry, breaking up into many fragmented pieces, creating a debris field. At about 1515Z on the 28th July, there was a large area around the R211 airway that would have presented a real risk to any aircraft there. Thankfully, there were none – although the  Air France B777 had passed through some minutes before.

– Until 2014, North Korea followed a predictable practice of notifying all missile launches to the international community. ICAO and state agencies had time to produce warnings and maps of the projected splashdown area. Now, none of the launches are notified.

– Not all launches are detected by surrounding countries or US STRATCOM. The missile flies for about 35 minutes before re-entry. Even with an immediate detection, it’s unlikely that the information would reach the Japanese radar controller in time to provide any alert to enroute traffic. Further, even with the knowledge of a launch, traffic already in the area has no avoiding option, given the large area that the missile may fall in.

Can a falling missile hit an aircraft?

What are the chances? Following the AFR293 report on July 28, the media has favoured the “billions to one” answer.

We don’t think it’s quite as low.

First of all, that “one” is actually “six” – the number of North Korean missiles landing in the AVGOK/KADBO area in 2017. Considering that at least one of them, and maybe more, broke up on re-entry, that six becomes a much higher number.

Any fragment of reasonable size hitting a tailplane, wing, or engine as the aircraft is in cruise at 450 knots creates a significant risk of loss of control of the aircraft. How many fragments were there across the six launches? Maybe as high as a hundred pieces, maybe even more.

The chances of a missile, or part of it, striking the aircraft are not as low as it may initially appear. Given that all these re-entries are occurring in quite a focused area, prudence dictates considering avoiding the airspace.

What did we learn from MH17?

Whenever we discuss missiles and overflying civil aircraft in the same paragraph,  the valuable lessons from MH17 must be remembered. In the weeks and months leading up to the shooting down of the 777 over Ukraine, there were multiple clues to the threat before the event happened.

Of greatest relevance was that State Authorities did not make clear the risk, and that even though five or six airlines decided to avoid Ukrainian airspace, most other operators did not become aware of the real risk level until after the event.

Our mission at Flight Service Bureau is to make sure all aircraft operators, crews, and dispatchers have the data they need to make a fully informed decision on whether to continue flying western Japan routes, or to avoid them.

Guidance for Aircraft Operators

Download OPSGROUP Note to Members #30: Japan Missile risk (public version here)

Review the map above to see the risk area as determined by the landing sites in 2017.

Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it. It is unlikely that North Korea would risk or target a landing of any test launch onto actual Japanese land.

Check routings carefully for arrivals/departures to Europe from Japan, especially if planning airways R211 or B451. Consider the previous missile landing sites in your planning.

– Monitor nti.org for the most recent launches, as well as flightservicebureau.org and safeairspace.net.

OPSGROUP members will be updated with any significant additions or updates to this Note through member mail and/or weekly newsletter.

References

– Nuclear Threat Initiative – nti.org

– Opsgroup Note to members #30 – Public version

OPSGROUP – Membership available here.

– Weekly International Ops Bulletin published by FSB for OPSGROUP covering critical changes to Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Subscribe to the short free version here, or join thousands of Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC/CAA/Flight Ops colleagues in OPSGROUP for the full weekly bulletin, airspace warnings, Ops guides, tools, maps, group discussion, Ask-us-Anything, and a ton more. Curious? See what you get. Rated 5 stars by 125 reviews.

– Larger area map of Japan airspace risk 2017

– Contact team@fsbureau.org with any comments or questions.

Germany issue new warnings, Manila may not ban GA after all

Germany issues new warnings 25JAN Germany has issued fresh warnings on the airspace of EgyptSouth Sudan, and North Korea, in three separate Notams issued in the last week. We have updated the SafeAirspace.net country information pages with the specifics. Read the article

 

Manila may not ban GA after all 25JAN RPLL/Manila is not moving as quickly towards a complete ban of non-scheduled and General Aviation traffic as feared. This is good news for International Operators. Read the article.

 


 

HEZZ/Egypt, HSZZ/South Sudan, ZKZZ/North Korea Germany has issued fresh warnings on the airspace of EgyptSouth Sudan, and North Korea, in three separate Notams issued in the last week. We have updated the SafeAirspace.net country information pages with the specifics.

RPLL/Manila is not moving as quickly towards a complete ban of non-scheduled and General Aviation traffic as feared. This is good news for International Operators. Read the article.

NTAA/Tahiti The airport is open again as of Monday morning local time, after closing due to flooding after torrential rains, but many taxiways remain flooded. Expect delays in handling and tech stops.

KZZZ/USA Announced yesterday and expected to come into force this week, is an immediate ban on US visas (and therefore US travel) for citizens from 7 countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. This is distinct from the Visa Waiver Program ban in effect since January 2016.

GBZZ/Gambia FSB Risk Level changed from Level Three to “No Warnings” on Jan 24. New president has taken power. Parliament revoked State of Emergency. Situation calm.

SBZZ/Brazil In the last bulletin we had a headline about a Boeing 767 shot on approach in Brazil. A bullet was found lodged in the wing. Some updates to that story are here, and safeairspace.net’s Brazilpage is updated.

VZZZ/Southeast Asia Don’t forget it’s New Year in Asia this weekend. Travel-related delays and government office and business interruptions will peak 27 Jan to 01 Feb, and could last longer in Taiwan, Vietnam and China, where the holiday will be celebrated through 02 Feb.

EDDB/Berlin Brandenburg will now not open until 2018, as they found more problems with the fire system this week. This is a recurring story, which dates back to 2012. So, for the foreseeable, you’re stuck with Tegel and Schoenefeld.

LTFJ/Sabiha Gökçen (Istanbul) Due to insufficient capacity at LTFJ, applications for individual non-scheduled flights will be refused, and private/charter flights can only be operated at “non-busy hours”.

KBPI/Palm Beach is going to see some new TFR restrictions due to the proximity of Donald Trumps Mar-a-Lago estate. If operating when he’s down here, you’ll have to depart from a gateway airport to PBI – those are TEB, HPN, IAD, MCO and FLL. NBAA has the details.

LSGG/Geneva EBACE is on from Monday, 22 May through Wednesday, 24 May 2017. Now would be a good time to get those slots booked if you’re planning to head over.

LFMN/Nice has a new procedure where ATC will alert crews to windshear.

MSLP/San Salvador‘s only runway 07/25 will be closed from 1600-1700 each day until Feb 3rd.

VGHS/Dhaka The UK Department for Transport (DfT) announced today that it recently carried out assessments of security at Dhaka International Airport. Following this, the DfT has assessed that security at Dhaka airport does not meet some international security requirements (they haven’t said which).

OMAD/Abu Dhabi (Al Bateen) is hosting the International Defence Exhibition in February, so will not be available to IFR traffic daily between 0600-0800Z until Feb 23rd. There are also restrictions on using it as an alternate.

DNAA/Abuja The latest on the Abuja closure is that it will be completely closed to all traffic from March 8th – April 19th.

SKCG/Cartagena‘s only runway 01/19 is closed daily 0530-1100Z until Feb 6th.

NVZZ/Vanuatu Health authorities have declared a dengue outbreak following a large increase in suspected cases in December 2016 and January 2017. Protect yourself against mosquito bites

WSZZ/Singapore is implementing the new ICAO SID/STAR phraseologies from March 2nd. Read AIP SUP 29/17.

LIRF/Rome Fiumicino is working on 16R until March, so 25 will be used for deps and 16L for arrivals. This means delays, especially if you want 16L/34R for departure – they say up to a 60 minute taxi time.

UKZZ/Ukraine amended the military boundaries of its airspace on Monday Jan 23rd, identifying the Donbas conflict zone region as a separate area. More details here.

 

View the full International bulletin 25JAN2017

Updated airspace warnings for Egypt, South Sudan, North Korea

Germany has issued fresh warnings on the airspace of Egypt, South Sudan, and North Korea, in three separate Notams issued in the last week. Germany is one of four states that provides Aircraft Operators with conflict zone and risk advice. We have updated the SafeAirspace.net country information pages with the specifics.

The current Flight Service Bureau summary of each country follows:

Egypt Since the Arab Spring, Egypt’s stability and security situation as a state has declined. In October 2015 a Russian A321 was brought down over the Sinai peninsula by a bomb loaded at HESH/Sharm El Sheikh. In the aftermath, it was initially feared that a missile had caused the crash. Multiple warnings still in place from that fear. 19 May 2016 EgyptAir Flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo disappeared over the Mediterranean, cause unknown. GPS jamming reported at HECA/Cairo several times in 2016. High threat from terrorism in Egypt. Further attacks are likely. Not recommended as a tech stop. [Read full country information]

South Sudan Conflict Zone. South Sudanese Civil War since 2013. The security situation in Juba has been relatively calm since the July 2016 crisis. Daily reports of fighting throughout the rest of the country. The security situation is especially unstable in the Equatorias in the south. MANPADS risk to overflights. In addition, the South Sudanese army has declared intention to shoot down Aircraft without permits. Most Authority guidance recommends min FL260. We think FL300 is a better minimum for overflights. [Read full country information]

North Korea The level of tension on the Korean peninsula can change with little notice. Multiple missile launches in 2016, increasingly without prior notice to ICAO. The range of these has increased – previously safe airways B467 and G711 are now at risk. Over 1000 reports of GPS jamming issues reported by operators in the vicinity of the North/South Korean border. SFAR79 prevents US operators from operating west of 132E, other Authorities restrict operations east of that line. [Read full country information]

 

References:

 

 

International Bulletin: B767 shot on approach to Rio, Updated SafeAirspace Map

B767 Shot on approach to Rio 

18JAN A B767-300 was fired on last night during approach to Runway 15 SBGL/Rio de Janeiro. One 7.62mm bullet lodged in the left wing. Read the article.

Updated SafeAirspace Risk Map 

18JAN We have updated SafeAirspacewith information for Aircraft Operators on The GambiaNorth KoreaBrazilUkraine, and Turkey.


GBZZ/The Gambia State of emergency declared on 17th January. Foreign citizens being evacuated. Banjul International Airport (GBYD/BJL) and land borders remain open, for now. More at safeairspace.net/information/the-gambia.

UKZZ/Ukraine Flight Service Bureau has issued an updated summary for Ukraine’s airspace. There are two risk issues in Ukraine. First: arms fire. Including MH17, multiple aircraft (the others all military) have been shot down since the beginning of the Donbass region war in 2014. The 10th ceasefire was declared in December 2016, but not holding. This risk is contained within the Dnipropetrovsk FIR – UKDV. The second issue affects the Simferopol FIR which is Disputed Airspace. (Ukraine:UKFV, Russia:URFV). In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. The ATC Center is in Simferopol, Crimea, and is now run by Krymaeronavigatsiya. Russia claims the airspace. Ukraine refuses to recognise the change, and asks crews to talk to Ukrainian controllers in Dnipro/Odesa ACC instead of Simferopol ACC. Four routes are approved by EASA through the high seas portion of the airspace.

KIAD/Washington and area airports – guaranteed busy during the Presidential Inauguration this Friday, Jan 20. Updated restrictions here. Departure slots required for aircraft departing IAD between Friday, Jan. 20 and Sunday, Jan. 22. Departure slots can be obtained through an IAD FBO of choice (Ross Aviation or Signature Flight Support). Slots will be divided equally between the two FBOs at IAD.

VZZZ/Southeast Asia Lunar New Year holiday season, which falls on 28th Jan. Travel-related delays and government office and business interruptions will peak 27 Jan to 01 Feb, and could last longer in Taiwan, Vietnam and China, where the holiday will be celebrated through 02FEB.

BGBW/Narsarsuaq A seasonal reminder that if you’re planning to use Narsarsuaq as a destination, alternate, or enroute alternate outside of the operating hours (MON-SAT 1000-1900z daily until 03APR), you must contact the airport in advance to apply for them to stay open for you:
Email: bgbw@mit.gl. Also make sure you file your ATC FPL including the AFTN address: BGBWZTZX.

EKCH/Copenhagen A copy of the AOC must accompany fuel release or expect an MOT charge of approximately $1.70 USD to be charged. Next destination must be shown on the fuel release or expect delays.

EGPH/Edinburgh, Scotland Until Apr 1st, you will need PPR to operate to Edinburgh, due to reduced parking capacity.

RPLB/Subic Bay will be closed for maintenance bewtween 0100-0800z until January 20th.

SKZZ/Colombia New Tower and ACC for Bogota. From 16th Jan – 15th Feb moving of Bogota’s ACC will take place. ATS/AIS/COM/MET/ATFM services transition process should not affect operations, however, due to the large change extent foreseen, some failures might occur in the process.  AIC 1/17 outlines contingency procedures in place

SVZZ/Venezuela has closed its land borders with Colombia and Brazil periodically in the last 12 months. Border closures occur frequently, often with short notice. The Venezuelan government will withdraw the 100 bolivar note (VEF 100) from circulation as of 20 January 2017.

LYBA/Beograd If you have any outstanding navigation fees in Serbia, better get them paid, or they’ll add a 9.88% interest charge.

HSSS/South Sudan Flight Service Bureau has issued an updated summary for South Sudan’s airspace: Conflict Zone. South Sudanese Civil War since 2013. The security situation in Juba has been relatively calm since the July 2016 crisis. Daily reports of fighting throughout the rest of the country. The security situation is especially unstable in the Equatorias in the south. MANPADS risk to overflights. In addition, the South Sudanese army has declared intention to shoot down Aircraft without permits. Most Authority guidance recommends min FL260. We think FL300 is a better minimum for overflights.

ZKKP/North Korea Flight Service Bureau has issued an updated summary for DPRK North Korea’s airspace: The level of tension on the Korean peninsula can change with little notice. Multiple missile launches in 2016, increasingly without prior notice to ICAO. The range of these has increased – previously safe airways B467 and G711 are now at risk. Over 1000 reports of GPS jamming issues reported by operators in the vicinity of the North/South Korean border. SFAR79 prevents US operators from operating west of 132E, other Authorities restrict operationseast of that line.

ZZZZ/Worldwide How have you been getting on with the new ICAO SID/STAR phraseolgies? In short, some countries are implementing, and others aren’t. What is your country doing? Tell us at bulletin@fsbureau.org.

 

View the full International Bulletin 18JAN2017

Midweek Briefing 03AUG: TSA/eAPIS increase in US fines, Vanuatu Runway concerns

TSA/eAPIS increase in US fines 03AUG Fines and penalties for getting your CBP Arrival/Departure manifest wrong will increase from 01AUG. That means, screw up the eAPIS and you are looking at a potential fine of $1,312. Read the article.

Vanuatu Runway concerns 03AUG Following interim repairs to the runway in Port Vila (NVVV/VLI) earlier this year, concerns have been raised once again about the condition of the runway, with diversions on Monday. Read the article.


LFPZ/Paris Airports Couple of upgrades in progress, LFPO has 06/24 closed until 29AUG, and LFPG is installing a new ILS until 03OCT; both will cause some delays.

YZZZ/Australia The Australian Border Force have announced a strike for Friday, 12 August. This marks a resumption of Industrial Action in Australia after a 3 month ‘ceasefire’ was agreed. The strike period is 24 hours, precise impact not yet clear, but AQIS/Biosecurity/Quarantine will also take part to some degree.

OMDB/Dubai is reopening with a single runway following a full airport closure early on 03AUG due to 777 crash.

UIII/Irkutstk has no air starter available for large aircraft until the end of August.Irkutsk is a common enroute diversion airport.

ZKZZ/North Korea is back in action with the missile launches again, on 03AUG they fired two ballistic missiles, one of which landed in Japanese waters inside the country’s economic exclusion zone. Another missile reportedly exploded immediately after the launch. The missiles were fired at 2250 UTC on 2 August from a region southwest of the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang.

MZZZ/Caribbean Tropical Storm Earl, multiple weather warnings for Jamaica, Caymans, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico.

VABB/Mumbai continues their Continuous Descent Approach trials in the TMA. Interestingly, part of the procedure calls for pilots to call in on 121.9 after landing and report the total amount of fuel saved (how do you work that out?), and then send a detailed brief by email to cdomumbai@aai.aero. We forecast a relatively empty inbox.

AGGH/Honiara has some surface damage on the International Apron, taxi slowly.

SBZZ/Brazil On 02AUG, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro declared 4 August a new public holiday for the Olympic Games. The extra holiday comes after the mayor has already designated 5, 18 and 22 August as public holidays in Rio de Janeiro, and after the city experienced severe traffic congestion with the implementation of Olympic-designated lanes. On 1 August, the Olympic tracks caused more than 60 mi/100 km of traffic jams, with the worst traffic taking place on the Linha Amarela.

DZZZ/Lome UTA Following changes last year to the airspace over Benin and Togo (the two long thin countries squeezed between Ghana and Nigeria) – there’s still some confusion over who does what. In simple: Low Level (FL240 and below) is controlled by Cotonou Approach. High Level (FL250 and above) is controlled by Lome ACC.

EGGW/London Luton will close overnight weekends in November for some big repair work.

HLLL/Tripoli FIR Airstrikes this week by the USAF

LHPP/Pecs has no Jet A1 at the moment, back on 05AUG.

HEZZ/Egypt On 01AUG, reports announced that a semi-private company would take over responsibility for passenger and luggage screening at Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport (HESH/SSH). The same company, which is a joint public-private entity, will take over security at Terminal 2 of Cairo International Airport (HECA/CAI) beginning in October 2016 when the terminal is scheduled to reopen. The company will later take over screening procedures at Hurghada (HEGN/HRG), Borg el-Arab (HEBA/HBE), Marsa Alam (HEMA/RMF), Aswan (HESN/ASW) and Luxor (HELX/LXR) airports. Egyptian police will continue to be responsible for perimeter security around Egyptian airports, including the terminal and the tarmac.

LOWS/Salzburg starts a multilateration (MLAT) trial on 05SEP. Keep your Mode S on, they ask.

SBBZ/Brazil Olympic Games kick off in a few days, if you are operating to Brazil read through the current NOTAMS carefully, there are a bunch of flow restrictions, special routes, and procedures.

FABL/Bloemfontein is carrying out major works during August. Diversions not accepted. Jet A1 is supplied by bowser during this time, and not hydrant as this is also being worked on.

LTZZ/Turkey – post Coup. As of 01AUG, the situation in Turkey continues to stabilize, as the government continues to step up security measures and conduct operations to detain alleged coup plotters. Turkey remains under a state of emergency, which allows the government to drastically restrict civil liberties, and will likely remain so for the next three months. Raids and security operations are continuing throughout the country. Travellers should note that Turkish authorities have reportedly been conducting ID checks in the busier areas of Istanbul. 

 Demonstrations have continued over the past several days. While the threat of violence remains a concern at demonstrations throughout Turkey, most have been conducted peacefully. Travellers should nevertheless take care to avoid such gatherings as a precaution, because violence can occur with little notice. Additionally, terrorists have targeted major demonstrations in the past.

FLFI/Lusaka ACC have called out some AFTN addressing issues, if you are operating to land in Zamabia, then file to FLKKZAZX and FLHNZAZX respectively. OMMM/Muscat ACC has a radar-less day on 18th August, 0600-1700Z. Turn that TCAS up.

WADL/Lombok, Bali has reopened after a closure on Monday 01AUG due to the eruption of Mt. Rinjani. The last closure was in OCT2015.

View the full International Bulletin 03AUG2016

Midweek Briefing 27APR: Rome Airport Closures, Strike: Germany, France

Rome Airport Closures 27APR Private flights (any non-commercial traffic) will not be allowed to operate to or from LIRA or LIRF on 30APR and 01MAY, as the result of a Papal Restriction. Refer to Italian NOTAMs for details.

Strike: Germany, France 27APR Widespread, mostly without notice, strike action across Europe today affecting operations for the coming few days. France and Germany worst affected (EDDF, EDDM, EDDK in particular); Lufthansa has cancelled all domestic flights. Monitor Eurocontrol NOP for latest.


 

KLAX/Los Angeles Due to a runway and taxiway construction project at LAX, arrivals (mostly general aviation) from the north and west can expect to be routed to arrive on the south side of the airport via the LEENA FIVE STAR between 09MAY and 06AUG.

KTPA/Tampa Due to an unforeseen required runway repair, TPA has closed 01R/19L and 10/28 until 09MAY. The airport is operating under single runway ops so you can expect ATC delays until the runway is fixed.

KDEN/Denver has opened a new train line that connects the airport to downtown. Named the ‘A Line’, it will take passengers to downtown in 37 minutes and cost $9 USD each way.

MKJS/Montego Bay increased traffic and possible delays into and out of MBJ 27APR-29APR due to the Airports Council International Convention.

SEZZ/Ecuador As of 23APR, 654 people have been killed, 113 people have been rescued alive, 58 people remain missing, and more than 25,000 remain displaced as a result of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Ecuador on 16APR.

LZBB/Bratislava will be introducing free route airspace in their FIR above FL245 on 28APR. All ATS routes have been withdrawn above this flight level.

MTPP/Port au Prince, Haiti On 24APR, approximately 2,000 protesters marched through Port-au-Prince in opposition of the postponement of the runoff elections. While the protest did not turn violent, it severely disrupted traffic in Port-au-Prince, as protesters set up roadblocks of burning tires in the streets

EZZZ/Europe The European Commission has officially offered citizens of Ukraine visa-free travel across Europe.

HEZZ/Egypt UK FCO Advice: there is a heightened threat of terrorist attacks targeting celebrations of Orthodox Easter (24APR-01MAY).

RJFT/Kumamoto has reopened after closing for several days following the Japanese earthquakes. At this point, the airport can only handle arrivals, due to damage the terminal building sustained, which has effected the airports ability to perform security checks and handle luggage.

RZZZ/Japan The Immigration Bureau will be closed 29APR through 05MAY for Golden Week holiday observance. Foreign nationals should expect processing delays for immigration applications filed before or after this period.

ZZZZ/Worldwide On 25APR the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a likely increase in the upcoming months in worldwide cases of Zika. Experts believe Europe will be next to experience an increase of Zika virus cases due to the approaching summer.

ZSHC/Xiaoshan The airport authority has requested that all private flights arrive with their specific tow-bar on board to mitigate any departure delays. The expectation is in effect until SEP16.

ZKZZ/North Korea At 0930Z on 23APR the North Korean military launched a submarine-based ballistic missile off the Sea of Japan. The missile flew for approximately 16nm before falling into the sea.

VIAR/Amritsar is currently in the process of upgrading the CAT II ILS to a CAT IIIB ILS which will allow CAT III capable aircraft to land in visibility down to 50 meters. Currently the only other city in India that has a CAT III ILS is Delhi.

View the full International Bulletin for 27APR2016

North Korea overflight getting riskier

The annual posturing between the DPRK (North Korea), and the US/South Korea, follows a fairly regular pattern each year. The cycle involves escalating threats (by both sides), a cooling off process, a long period of nothing, and then a resumption of threats. History tells us that there is nothing to fear, because this is always the way it works on this peninsula, but then a slightly less micro view also tells us that we don’t always make the correct risk assessment.

Prior to MH17 (B777 shootdown, Ukraine), our view of missiles in the commercial aviation community was a little casual.  Post-incident, the rule of ‘overflights are safe’ as a standing principle was removed,  and suddenly a whole lot more interest was applied to what was going on underneath the airways, even if we were up at FL350.

In specific terms, over the last fortnight, North Korea has been launching short and medium range missiles like they are going out of style. Nobody in Pyongyang has any intention of aiming them at civil airliners, but the objective is not where the risk lies. Late last year when Russia fired 30+ missiles into Syria, at least 5 of them went off course (including way above where they should have flown).

This wayward tracking is the greater part of our concern, for all flights within the Pyongyang FIR (ZKKP). Most international overflights are using the North-South airways over water to the east of the landmass, and it’s worth considering that the missiles launched in the last week have been directed out over the sea in this direction (not coincidentally in the direction of Japan, who isn’t on the DPRK Christmas card list either).

US Operators are in any case restricted by SFAR79, but everyone else should be keeping a close eye on their North Korean overflight plans. (If this hasn’t put you off, you can read the full North Korea overflight permit requirements).

Air Koryo B747-8

Midweek Briefing: New Canada Entry Rules, Winter Storms clear Newfoundland

New Canada Entry Rules 10FEB CXXX/Canada Starting 15 MAR 2016, visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Exceptions include U.S. citizens and travellers with an existing visa, and commercial aircrew. Read more …

Winter Storms clear Newfoundland 10FEB Nova Scotia and Newfoundland (CYQX, CYHZ, CYYT) have two severe Winter Storms passing through this week; Halifax will see up to 40cm of snow, affecting diversion choices on the North Atlantic. The visualisation above shows the US Winter storm at the end of January.


 

 

 

MKJK/Kingston FIR Jamaica, has ongoing issues with radar coverage and serviceability, leading to ad-hoc flow management procedures including 15 minute en-route separation, and 10 minute arrival separation at international airports. Latest update indicates this will continue throughout February. We have had several reports from international airlines of delays averaging around 1 hour on departure. Further reports welcome to bulletin@fsbureau.org.

SKED/Bogota ACC, Colombia is applying 20 minute spacing for northbound flights heading into Jamaican airspace due to the increasing delays there.

SPIM/Lima FIR Peru have published new Aircraft Interception procedures for Civil Aircraft. Probably worth a look – although, we must warn you, they are in Spanish only, and exceptionally lengthy. Maybe just double check that overflight permit and keep in touch with ATC instead.

North Atlantic As mentioned last week, effective 04FEB MNPS Airspace is replaced by HLA/High Level Airspace on the North Atlantic. A popular topic. RNP4 or RNP10 now required. Read our International Ops Notice 01/2016 or our blog post: Did you know MNPS is over?

NVVV/Port Vila, Vanuatu Several airlines have suspended operations here effective 01FEB16 over concerns as to the condition of the runway. Airport remains open without restriction.

PACD/Cold Bay has no Jet A1 Fuel avaiable until 29FEB

HRYR/Kigali‘s runway is closed on a nightly basis from 0200-0700 local time (0000-0500 UTC) until 31MAR for repairs.

North Korea launched a long range rocket at 0031Z on 07FEB. According to preliminary reports, the rocket passed over the Japanese island of Okinawa and landed in the Pacific Ocean. US military officials stated that the rocket did not pose a threat to the United States or allies in the region. South Korean media reported that North Korea is preparing for another nuclear test and has the technology necessary for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM).

AYPY/Port Moresby has a number of common VHF frequencies out of service because of a Telecomms fault. ATC advise to call them on HF HF 5565, 8861, 6622, or 8837, if able.

View the full International Bulletin 10FEB2016

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