International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: russia (page 1 of 2)

Russian bombers intercepted off Alaskan coast (again)

Reports this week of two Tu-95 Russian bombers being intercepted by US F22 fighters off the coast of Alaska.

The Tu-95 bombers were flying in the Air Defense Identification Zone in the Bering Sea north of the Aleutian Islands, where they were visually identified and shadowed by the U.S. jets at 10 a.m., said Navy Capt. Scott Miller, a North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman.

The bombers did not enter North American sovereign airspace, he said in a statement. Miller declined to say how close the bombers came to U.S. land. Some outlets reported they flew as close as 55 miles off Alaska’s west coast.

Friday’s encounter was the first of its kind in just more than a year, Miller said. A similar incident occurred off Alaskan waters in April 2017 in what U.S. officials have described as routine if not tense encounters between adversarial aircraft where territorial lines meet.

The ADIZ extends about 200 miles off the Alaskan coast and is mostly international airspace, Miller said, though Russian military activity will often prompt an in-kind response for U.S. warplanes. Intercepts in the zone occurred about 60 times from 2007 to 2017, The New York Times reported last year.

Extra Reading:

Japan scrambles record number of jets as tensions rise with China

In Short: Japan scrambled a record number of fighter jets in the past year. The number rose to an all-time high of 1,168 in the year to March 2017, easily beating the previous record of 944 set at the height of the cold war in 1984. Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace prompted 851 of the incidents, an increase of 280 over the previous year.

According to official figures released on Thursday, Japan’s Air Self Defense Force is scrambling fighter jets in record numbers as Chinese military activity escalates. Interceptions of Chinese planes rose by half in the year to March 31, in response to increases in the communist country’s activity in and around the East China Sea.

Japan worries that China is probing its air defences as part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south towards Taiwan. The figures highlight China’s growing assertion of military power in East Asia as it expands and modernises its armed forces in line with rapid economic growth.

For the first time, Chinese jets recently began flying through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan, and through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean.

But it’s not only China that Japan is worried about. Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas towards Japan. “There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads,” he told a parliamentary national security committee.

And then there’s Russia. Scrambles by Japanese aircraft were high throughout the 1980s in response to flights by Soviet aircraft during the cold war. They fell back to 100-200 incidents a year during the 1990s and 2000s, but began to pick up again a decade ago as both China and Russia grew more assertive.

Mr Abe has been trying to negotiate with Russian president Vladimir Putin over the future of four disputed islands in the Kuril chain to Japan’s north, but has made limited progress, with the jet scrambles showing Moscow’s determination to make its presence felt on its eastern border. There were 301 scrambles to intercept Russian aircraft during the year, 13 more than the previous year, including incidents where Russian jets circumnavigated the Japanese Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands to the south.

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:

 

Overflight risk – Radioactive Russian airspace

Media reporting in the last 24 hours has raised concerns amongst operators about a possible Nuclear accident in Russia, leading to a radioactive cloud in the region of Chelyabinsk, in the Ural mountains. USCC/Chelyabinsk is about 100nm south east of USSS/Ekaterinburg Airport.

Russia has denied that any such accident occurred, but cannot account for the increased levels of radioactivity in the region, which were 1000 times higher than normal. Through the Russian met service, they have confirmed the high radiation levels.

Approximate source of radioactivity

However, assessing a report last week from the French Nuclear watchdog, ISRN, we believe there should not be any risk to operators, especially for overflights. The facts are as follows:

  • The high levels of radiation were first detected at the end of September in Europe
  • Since the beginning of October, levels have decreased in Europe
  • ISRN says they are not concerned about risks to health, even at the higher levels
  • However, no recent data is presented from Russia

Further reading:

The mystery of the missing Russian Weather

A little while ago, Russia stopped sending out METAR and TAF weather updates on the international wires for a whole bunch of airports.

This made life difficult for international operators, especially airlines and business jet operators that use Siberian alternates. If you don’t have the weather reports, you can’t use it.

In OpsGroup, one of our members reported that they now had issues getting weather for places like
UHHH/UHMA/UHMM/UHPP/UIBB/UIII/ULAA/ULLI/UNAA/UNKL/UNNT/USCC/USNN.

Then, another member pointed us at this official site – http://metavia2.ru/index.php?lng=en. But to register, you need to send an email, and nobody got replies.

So, the mystery remains unsolved. What do you know? Comment below, or email us at bulletin@fsbureau.org.

 

 

 

Big change: Russia finally moving to QNH

If you have a Russia trip coming up soon, then keep a close eye on those charts. The whole feet-meters conversion/QFE/”Descend to height” carry on is going to start disappearing effective February 2017.

Way back in 2011, we told you about Russia’s transition to using Feet instead of Meters, for enroute traffic – above the transition level. Ever since then, we’ve kind of been waiting for the same change at Russian airports.

And now, it’s happening.

  • As of February 2017, ULLI/St. Petersburg will be the first Russian Airport to start using feet and QNH – chosen because it’s pretty close to sea level. And one of the more ‘western’ Russian airports.
  • Descent clearances will be to an altitude in feet, based on QNH
  • The ALT/HEIGHT conversion chart will disappear from charts
  • You’ll get “Descend altitude 3000 feet QNH” instead of “Descend Height 900 meters” from ATC.
  • After the St. Petersburg ‘trial’ is complete, the rest of Russia will slowly follow suit. We don’t yet have a firm date for further airports within Russia, but will update this page when we do (or we’ll tell you in the bulletin).

 

Quick example for ULLI ILS 10L, so you get the idea:

  • The ALT/HEIGHT conversion box is gone
  • The “Alt Set” or Altimeter Setting box shows hPA (Hectopascals) instead of MM (millimeters), which means a QNH-based approach
  • Previously charts showed QFE in bold which meant that was the preferred altimeter setting, now it’s QNH.

 

 

 

References:

 

 

UZZZ Russia FIR’s 2017 Operational Changes

Because there are about 6000 Russian FIRs, we don’t have a page for each. All Russian updates will appear here.

Feb 22nd, 2017 Russia is finally transitioning to QNH. Check this article.

Midweek Briefing: Oceanic and Remote Procedures Update, Rome Airport Closed Friday

Oceanic and remote procedures updated: 12OCT The FAA this week issued a significantly updated version of their “Oceanic and Remote Airspace” procedures document. There’s a lot of good stuff here, even if you’re not operating an N-reg. Take a look at the PDF.

Rome Airport to close Friday 12OCT A reminder that LIRA/Rome Ciampino will close fully from Friday, for two weeks, as a result of urgently required runway maintenance. You can use LIRF/Fiumicino instead, but with significant restrictions.


LLBG/Tel Aviv starts winter runway maintenance work on 01Nov until 17Nov – Runway 21 will become primary landing runway, associated restrictions, not available as alternate during this time – check AIC 3/16.

LOWI/Innsbruck starting December 14th, the airport will introduce parking restrictions for private flights every week from 1800Z Weds until 1800Z Sunday.

TXKF/Bermuda Tropical Storm Nicole is approaching, expect some disruption and check before using as an alternate over the next few days.

HAZZ/Ethiopia The Ethiopian government has declared a six month State of Emergency from 9 October 2016. While details of emergency arrangements are not formalised, measures to restrict communication, movement and political expression are expected. Carry identification, avoid all large gatherings and protests, monitor the media for details on the application of the State of Emergency and follow all instructions issued by local authorities.

SPIM/Lima radar will be off the air on Friday from 19-21Z for repairs, procedural control, expect enroute delays.

EGGX/Shanwick. An exercise to test to the Volcano eruption response is underway, you may see multiple references to an eruption in Iceland – it hasn’t happened, it’s just a test. Stand down. Katla is also back to code Green.

UZZZ/Russia Karymsky volcano in the Kamchatka peninsula is active with colour code Orange, check before operating.

OKAX/Kabul FIR continues to have comms issues in the north east portion of Afghanistan airspace, VHF comms are not working on 118.3 or 128.5. There are some “Nordo” procedures, refer to AIP ENR 1.6-1.

MUFH/Havana has a couple of new entry points to the FIR – FUNDI and IKBIX – but they’re not for use yet, so don’t.

OPRN/Islamabad If operating to OPRN, be aware that on Saturdays and Mondays ATC will be practising non-radar procedural approach from 0500-0900Z until the end of the year.

SPJC/Lima has overnight parking restrictions from 14-21NOV, check with Airport company or handler prior to operating.

FZZZ/Democratic Republic of the Congo: the security picture is uncertain following recent political protests and there have been calls for further protests in Kinshasa, including on 19 October; you should follow travel advice and monitor local media for updates

SPZO/Cusco will not allow overnight parking from 10-20OCT.

FOZZ/Gabon Following the results of recent elections in Gabon, further strikes or demonstrations could occur in the capital Libreville and in Port Gentil. Avoid demonstrations, large crowds and rallies as they may turn violent.

UAZZ/Kyrgyz Republic Multiple embassies located in Bishkek have issued warnings to their citizens of an increased threat of a terrorist attack in the Kyrgyz Republic, possibly involving kidnapping and hostage taking, against Kyrgyz authorities and foreign diplomats during October 2016.

TQPF/Anguilla has introduced a ban on visitors from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with a view to mitigating Ebola risk. Anyone who has been to those three countries in the last 21 days will not be allowed to enter.

VTSP/Phuket is suffering from ramp congestion, and will not allow non-scheduled flights to stay overnight until the end of the year.

WSSS/Singapore Changi has a couple of closures on 18 and 19 OCT due to a military exercise, check local Notams.

ZUUU/Chengdu has a new speed restriction inbound – fly 183 knots from IAF to IF, then 160 knots to 4nm. Notam U2748/16.

View full International Bulletin 12OCT2016

Midweek Briefing 10AUG: EASA Cockpit Rules, Ukraine extends Russia Ban

EASA: New Cockpit Rules 10AUG EASA has published a new SIB with guidance for operators on, well, how best to arrange the swap of pilot-taking-a-pee and flight-attendant-now-up-front … Read the article

Ukraine extends Russia ban 10AUG Ukraine has extended the ban on Russian registered operators overflying or landing, until November 10th, 2016. In an operational notice.. Read the article


UUZZ/The Moscow Area will get busy between 26AUG and 04SEP (we’re not entirely sure why), but … The Main Air Traffic Management Centre (MATMC) has issued notice that there will be increased regulation for flights to UUWW, UUDD, and UUEE. Permission to depart will expire 30 mins after planned off blocks time, after which the Operator (that’s you) must call MATMC for a completely new permit.

MWCR/Cayman recorded its first local transmission of the Zika virus on 08AUG. Several other people on the Cayman Islands have reported symptoms of the virus; however, authorities stated that in these cases the patients contracted Zika during travel abroad.

MKJK/Kingston, Jamaica is carrying out work on its Comms lines until the end of the week, and is expecting to lose some Flight Plans. The outage is 0415-1100Z daily. If you are operating to Jamaica, or through the FIR, it’s worth sending your FPL early, and not during that time. Maybe send it a few times to be sure, should minimise delays due to missing FPL’s.

VIZZ/India Independence Day on 15AUG. Multiple restrictions. No overflights within 150nm of Delhi. VIDP/Delhi will not allow non-scheduled flights 0030-0430Z, and 1030-1330Z. Check with your handler for specific restrictions on 15AUG.

LIRA/Rome Ciampino will be completely closed from 14-29OCT for runway maintenance and upgrades. According to CIA, maintenance work will be carried out on a 24/7 basis on parts of runway 15/33, at various junctions and taxiways.

EVVA/Ventspils is closed for the week from today, due to repairs to the main runway. One of the three main airports in Latvia, it reopens on 15AUG.

GUCY/Gbessia, Guinea Opposition leaders have announced the postponement of opposition demonstrations planned for 10-16AUG. Marchers will reportedly demonstrate on the Autoroute Fidèle Castro, between Aéroport International de Gbéssia (GUCY/CKY) and the Palais du Peuple. The demonstration was originally slated to occur on 4 August but was later postponed until 10 August.

WIZZ/Indonesia Travel advice updated: Political tensions have given rise to occasional mass demonstrations in cities in Papua; take extra care and seek local advice on your travel plans.

SOCA/Cayenne FIR has broken it’s SITA system and has no CPDLC or ADS-C until, they think, at least 14AUG. Revert to HF and use 8855/5526; failing that try 3023.

RJZZ/Japan On 08AUG, Japanese military officials placed the country’s armed forces on alert for the potential of a North Korean missile launch. According to an official statement, the Japanese military will be ready to strike any North Korean missile that threatens Japan. Because some North Korean missile tests are difficult to detect, the current state of alert will last for three months. Previously, Japanese defense officials issued a series of temporary orders in response to imminent North Korean missile launches.

LWKS/Skopje Flooding on 6-7AUG2016 in Skopje and neighbouring areas has resulted in over 20 deaths. Some roads, including part of the Skopje ring-road, are closed. Alternative routes are available, but traffic may be slow moving. You should travel with extreme care.

LTZZ/Turkey Per new dictat from the DGAC in Turkey, all Ambulance flights entering Turkish airspace are to report “ACTIVE AMBULANCE FLIGHT” on first contact with Turkish ATC.

DIZZ/Cote D’Ivoire Effective 15SEP2016 Ivory Coast will withdraw the following HF frequencies: BOUAKE 5710KHz, 1578KHz; DALOA 5701KHz, KHOROGO 6673KHz; Man 5710.5 KHz; ODIENNE 6673 KHz; SAN PEDRO 6012KHz

EDDV/Hannover has special runway configurations on 14AUG due to (yet another) bomb from WW2 being removed. Between 1100-1400Z all approaches to 27L/09R are suspended.

VVZZ/Hanoi ACC reports that a lot of flights operating through the Hanoi ACC area of responsibility have not been submitting flight plan messages to VVHNZRZX or VVHNZQZX. In order to avoid missing / delay of FPL messages, copy these AFTN addresses when submitting your FPL’s.

EGZZ/United Kingdom 8AUG Rail staff in southern England, including London, began a five-day strike, which will reduce rail services by 40 percent. Travellers should expect major delays and large-scale traffic disruptions

BGSF/Kangerlussuaq Daily Closures between 09AUG and 30AUG for runway work. Double check NOTAMR A0295/16 for complete list of timings. Only Medivac, Search and Rescue and PPR confirmed operations allowed.

KTEB/Teterboro Landing Fees here are to increase by about 25% on September 1st. Comments regarding the fee changes can be submitted to The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and must be received by 10AUG2016.

Measles Myanmar/Taiwan On August 6th health officials confirmed a measles outbreak in the Sagaing region, a mountainous area located in northern Myanmar, bordering eastern India. We have also received report from Taiwanese health officials confirming a link between two cases of measles and Taipei’s Songshan International Airport (RCSS/TSA). The two cases, which were first detected on 15JUL, involved an airline ground crew worker and a passenger who traveled to the airport.

SECU/Cuenca, Ecuador Operations at Cuenca airport will be suspended from mid-August 2016 for 3 weeks to 1 month due to the need for additional runway works.

OMDB/United Arab Emirates On 04AUG both runways at Dubai International Airport (OMDB/DXB) resumed full operations following the 03AUG 777 accident. Expect delays and some cancellations as the airport is still struggling to catch up.

UTZZ/Turkmenistan and UAZZ/Kazakhstan On 04AUG Turkmenistan temporarily closed its border with Kazakhstan, citing security concerns. Officials stated that the closure will last for five days. Turkmenistan instituted a similar border closing on 20JUL. Authorities did not release details on the purported security concerns that prompted 04AUG closure.

UZZZ/Russia 03AUG Polish officials stated that they did not have a specific date to reopen visa-free border traffic between Poland and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Security concerns associated with the NATO Summit and Roman Catholic Church’s World Youth Day led officials to temporarily restart border checks at Poland’s borders. Residents of border areas, however, will be able to travel across the border for cultural, social or family reasons.

UNKL/Yemelyanovo Runway11/29 is closed for all types of aircraft THU 0600-0700, WED FRI 0610-0710, MON TUE SAT SUN 0500-0700, 01SEP until 29OCT

View the full International Bulletin 10AUG2016

Ukraine ban on Russian flights extended

Ukraine has extended the ban on Russian registered operators until November 10th, 2016. In an operational notice issued by each of the countries Flight Information Regions on August 9th, Ukraine has extended the closure of it’s airspace to Russian airlines and commercial operators.

The original ban was issued in November 2015, when  Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk declared during a cabinet meeting that “Russian airlines and Russian aircraft are not entitled to use Ukrainian airspace anymore”

The ban is in response to a similar edict by the Russian State authorities, banning Ukrainian flights from operating to and through Russian airspace.

 

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