Published Tuesday 30 August 2016
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End of Canada Leniency

31AUG Earlier this year Canada introduced a requirement for an eTA - like the US Esta. For a while, it was OK to travel without one. That’s ending in September ... Read the article

Two hurricanes inbound Hawaii

31AUG Madeline is first, followed by Lester - both are tracking west towards Hawaii with landfall expected - should it occur - on Wednesday and Thursday. Read the article

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Tuesday 30th August

 These are new items for this week. "Active Bulletins" from previous weeks are in the full briefing summary further down. 

LTCC/Diyarbakir, Turkey Kurdish militants fired rockets at Diyarbakir Airport in southeastern Turkey. The militants reportedly targeted a security check-point outside the airport lounge. All personnel were taken inside terminal building for safety reasons. No flights were disrupted, and there were no reports of casualties.

EHAM/Amsterdam It’s that time of year again, watch out for the migrating geese in Amsterdam at sunrise and sunset. They operate between 300 and 700ft without transponder.

VVVV/Hanoi FIR If you’re cutting a line through the Hanoi FIR on the W1 airway, you’ll be held down at FL290 unless you have RNAV5. ATC says so.

DNZZ/Nigeria Members of aviation unions staged rallies at four major airports in Nigeria to protest the planned concession of the facilities to private investors. Protests occurred at Abuja (DNAA/ABV), Kano (DNKN/KAN), Lagos (DNMM/LOS) and Port Harcourt. So far, the protests have not disrupted ops. Lagos has been suffering from some power outages lately as well.

SOCA/Cayenne, French Guyana has staff shortages, and from September 1st will not accept any diversions unless in an emergency. Do not plan SOCA as an enroute alternate. If inbound, with an ETA for SOCA 0200-1100Z, you need to call for an arrival slot. If you need it, ATC phone is +594 594 35 9372 or 9302.

OIZZ/Iran has approved the use of its airbases by Russian fighter aircraft; Russia has notified intention to launch missiles in the direction of Syria from the Caspian Sea fleet. The Russian Air Force has deployed six Tu-23M3 BACKFIRE bomber aircraft and multiple Su-34 FULLBACK strike fighter jets to Hamedan Air Base (OIHS/NUJ).

ORBB/Baghdad FIR/Iraq The Iraqi government has given permission to the Russian MoD to use its airspace in support of air operations in Syria. Russian media outlets are also reporting the Russian MoD has requested use of the FIR for the “passage of cruise missiles” as well, highlighting the potential for such activity to occur in the coming days from the airspace over the Caspian Sea.

LTZZ/Turkey Russia has lifted it’s ban on charter flights to Turkey.

HAZZ/Ethiopia Reports indicate that flights to HAGN/Gondar (GDQ) and HABD/Bahar Dar (BJR) have been indefinitely suspended. The suspension of flights comes amid ongoing unrest in Gondar and Bahir Dar, as well as in other cities in the Amhara and Oromia regions, over the marginalization of ethnic groups by the Tigray-dominated Ethiopian People’s Democratic Front (EPRDF) regime. Ethiopian government officials have not commented on the cancellation of flights to those cities or international flights to Addis Ababa, which has not been largely affected by the unabated unrest occurring in outlying regions.

WSSS/Singapore air quality has deteriorated to a Pollution Standards Index (PSI) of 105, due to the cross-border haze from Indonesian slash-and-burn fires. The agricultural practice, during which farmers burn a patch of land in order to clear land for new crops, creates haze, which then drifts through the region. Experts believe the level of pollution -- which in 2015 cost the region more than 700 million US dollars in damage and severely disrupted the aviation sector -- will be lower in 2016 due to a rainy dry season.

NFNA/Suva, Fiji is closed during September for runway repairs. Available wirh 30 mins PN in an emergency. Call them on 9906102.

SUEO/Montevidedo Air Traffic Controllers strike until end of September, closures and departure restrictions in place. Info is sketchy, got some updates? Let us know … bulletin@fsbureau.org.

 Did we miss something? Tell us: we need your input! news@opsgroup.co.

  What is OPSGROUP, exactly?

It’s the most common question we get. What is OPS GROUP ? Well, we’re not exactly sure yet. The question mark may well be part of the name, because to us it represents both a lack of constraints and limitless possibility. A beginners mind.

The energy within the group has astounded us. The OPS GROUP team has answered over 200 questions from members, but that engagement is not what surprised us. When we put questions back to the group ( in the form of curated Members Questions), the willingness to help, share and assist others is what did.

So, what we’re seeing is that amazing things happen when you connect similar, but different, people. In the Industry, we have great groups for Airlines (IATA, and our own Airline Cooperative), Business Aviation (NBAA), ATC (CANSO), Private Aviation ( AOPA). But they all combine like with like.

Like the best relationships,  matching with a little bit different is far more interesting.

OPS GROUP – sticking with the big letters – brings everyone together in INTL FLT OPS. We all share the same airspace and go to the same airports. We all struggle to stay up to date, find most Notams confusing, hate having to organise permits, and wonder what will be next to change on the North Atlantic. Ask us to go somewhere new, and watch the stress levels rise.

And so we have a weird and wonderful group. The all-alone Corporate dispatcher, the overworked B777 F/O, the midnight supervisor at Eurocontrol, the grumpy Airline Dispatcher (yes Eric, that’s you), the permanently-airborne G4 driver, the Airbus ops team, and of course the Boeing guys and girls, the Irish ATC supervisor, the German Airline COO, the Russian CAA guy, the Australian meteorologist, and many hundreds more. Fast approaching 1000 members, in fact – and therefore becoming more useful for everyone. Literally hundreds of experts within the group.

When we started, we thought that OPS GROUP would just be a collection of people that wanted updates on International Ops from our Flight Service Bureau. We still run our now famous bulletin every Wednesday, and our Lowdowns, Ops Notices, Alerts, and Special Briefings – but the group is becoming huge amounts more than just receivers of information.

Personally, I think the key value of the group is it allows each one of us to feel more connected to International Flight Ops. Realising that there are hundreds of others in the same position that appreciate both your question and the group answer.

So, if I could try to best summarise OPS GROUP right now – it’s a secure environment where you’ll be ahead of the relentless changes in International Flight Ops, you’ll directly receive all FSB summaries of the big changes, can get answers from the team or the entire group for that troublesome ops question. You also get to feel really good when you share new information with the others, and answer the question that you’re an expert on.

But really, we’re still not quite sure what OPS GROUP is. Maybe when we pass 2000 members it will become clearer. Let’s see.

More about OPS GROUP:

New Control Panel for OPSGROUP: A Sneak Preview. Join for Access.

This is a preview of the new control panel for OPSGROUP. Join for Access.

Planning Map

OPSGROUP members have access to our current Planning Map, in beta test. Beta version works in Firefox, Chrome, Safari. Join for access.
Overflight and Security Map

We are now moving the map into OPSGROUP, and will be making the information current for members, to provide overflight and security info, and news updates as per the bulletin. Join for access.

There are many more reasons to join OPSGROUP, and all members see increased benefits as membership grows - more expertise and experience within the group helps everyone. See the full list of benefits and join your colleagues.

Who is in the group? International Operators, Managers, Dispatch, Pilots, ATC and Aviation Authority leaders. We would love to have you on board!

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS For the coming week

01SEP Uzbekistan - Independence Day, Slovakia - Constitution Day, Eritrea - Commencement Day of Eritrean Armed Struggle
02SEP Vietnam - Independence Day
03SEP San Marino - Feast of St. Marinus and Republic Day
04SEP New Zealand - Queen's Birthday
05SEP Canada, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Bermuda - Labour Day
06SEP Bulgaria - Unification Day, Mauritius - Ganesh Chaturthi, Sao Tome and Principe - Armed Forces' Day, Swaziland - Independence Day
07SEP Brazil - Independence Day, Fiji - Constitution Day, Mozambique - Victory Day

World Overflight Security/News Map

Updated weekly/Last changes: 12AUG Kenya, 24AUG North Korea
Check current map

Active Bulletins Summary

Your check of critical flight information for each region

We've improved this section recently: it's shorter, with more concise bullet points, and only the critical information you need to know if operating to the region.
Full version restricted to OPSGROUP members
EHAM/Amsterdam The military will help provide security at the airport, sharing responsibility with border patrol officers for inspecting trains and vehicles. Without providing additional details, Dutch officials stated that they received information about a threat to the facility. Expect delays of approximately 30 minutes.

URSS/Sochi, Russia has some kind of International Song Contest from 3-9 Sept. The line up is musically questionable, but evidently there’s going to be enough additional traffic to warrant a bunch of restrictions: max parking 2 hours, slots required - see NOTAM 3553.

UUZZ/The Moscow Area will get busy between 26 Aug and 04 Sep (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.

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.

LTBA/Istanbul has issued a long list of restrictions to discourage additional flights from operating to LTBA. New requests for charter flights are denied. LTBA cannot be carried as an alternate on your FPL.

ESSA/Stockholm has a CDM Trial (Slot control locally instead of via Eurocontrol) at present. Start up according to TSAT+5. The current list of CDM airports is: Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Helsinki, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Madrid, Milan Malpensa Munich, Paris CDG, Oslo, Rome Fiumicino, Stuttgart, Venice, and Zurich.

LOWW/Vienna has published a helpful list of rush hour periods - worth avoiding these times as holding is common at VIE. The times are: 0530-0750, 0920-1030, 1140-1240, 1340-1500, 1615-1800, and 1840-1940Z.

EPZZ/Poland has reinstated Border Controls within the Schengen zone. Best advice is to treat each country as having full Border Controls for the moment (so think Passport, GenDec, etc.)

EGZZ/UK Much has been written about Britain’s departure from Europe this month (and we’re talking Brexit, not football), but if you’re having trouble figuring out how this will affect you as an operator, that might be because it won’t. Read the article.

LGZZ/Greek Islands Now that summer is here in Europe, the annual capacity challenge at Greek Islands is most acute on weekends, expect healthy slot delays if operating to LGIR (Iraklion) LGKP (Karpathos) LGMK (Mikonos) LGZA (Zakinthos) LGSR (Santorini) LGSK (Skiathos) or LGSA (Chania).
BGBW/Narsarsuaq Current hours are Monday to Saturday 1000-1900Z. If you want to plan a visit outside these hours, or even use BGBW as an alternate, get permission from bgbw@mit.gl in advance. There will be additional costs, especially heavy on a Sunday.

CYFB/Iqaluit Another NAT alternate favourite, CYFB has some runway closures throughout July.

EINN/Shannon and EICK/Cork will be testing a new Remote Tower system from 06JUN until September, where at quieter times the controller in Dublin will provide the ATC service to flights at Shannon and Cork.

BIKF/Keflavik beginning 01MAY, BIKF is imposing a new Terminal Navigation Charge.

EGGX/Shanwick and Oceanic NAT FIRs - revised definition of Gross Navigation Error, changed from 25nm to 10nm.

North Atlantic Effective 04FEB MNPS Airspace is replaced by HLA/High Level Airspace on the North Atlantic. RNP4 or RNP10 now required. Read our International Ops Notice 01/2016 or our blog post: Did you know MNPS is over?and download the new NAT Planning Chart.

CZQX/Gander FIR / EGXX/Shanwick FIR / North Atlantic Multiple airspace and procedural changes took place 14DEC2015 with RLAT/Reduced Lateral separation in the NAT region. Flight Service Bureau has issued International Ops Notice 11/15 "NAT Track Structure", with a simple summary of the changes.

NAT/North Atlantic To assist Aircraft Operators with the changes on the North Atlantic, we have produced a new Aircraft Plotting Chart effective 03MAR16. A copy is available here. 
The complete curated weekly worldwide Active Bulletins summary is part of the OPSGROUP membership. For the rest of the alerts for:
  • Europe/NAT
  • Pacific
  • Oceania
  • Middle East
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Caribbean
  • The Americas
an OPSGROUP membership is required. Contact join@opsgroup.co for any questions.

Country Lowdowns

A one page summary: critical operating information

What's the Lowdown on Flight Ops to?

Here's a link to some of the more recent ones we've published: Country Lowdown: Cuba, Country Lowdown: Colombia, Country Lowdown: Turkey, Country Lowdown: Russia, Country Lowdown: USA.

To get these delivered to your inbox as soon as they come out, join OPSGROUP.

FSB/OPSGROUP is running a limited-place Opsathon in New York City at the end of September - a get-together of pilots, controllers, and dispatchers to talk about Ops Stuff - share, exchange, learn. It will be over a weekend - all of Saturday and a little bit of Sunday; these are some of the topics. It will be fun. If you want to come, email opsathon@opsgroup.co.


ARTICLES International Ops

End of Canada Leniency

Earlier this year Canada introduced a requirement for an eTA - like the US Esta. For a while, it was OK to travel without one. That’s ending in September - from which time you need one. Read the article.


Zika Map

A few weeks back, we reported that Zika was on the decline, thanks to winter in South America and a declining mosquito population. Turns out, that optimism was premature. Read the article.


What is OPSGROUP, exactly?

Well, we’re not exactly sure yet. The question mark may well be part of the name, because to us it represents both a lack of constraints and limitless possibility. A beginners mind? Read the article.


Intercept Avoidance and Missile Evasion

One of our OPSGROUP members, James Albright, has kindly provided us with this informative piece. James will be familiar to many of you as the author of the amazing Code7700.com ... Read the article.


Elevated Warning: Kenya

We have changed our guidance for Kenya from Level 3 - Caution; to Level 2 - Assessed Risk. Flight Service Bureau publishes a regularly updated guide to Unsafe Airspace for Airlines and Aircraft Operators. Read the article.


Minimum Cockpit Occupancy

EASA has published a new Safety Information Bulletin with recommendations on Minimum Cockpit Occupancy... Read the article.


Ukraine ban on Russian flights extended

Ukraine has extended the ban on Russian registered operators until November 10th, 2016...Read the article.


Turkish airspace: Air Ambulance Flights

The Turkish DGCA has issued a notice relevant to Air Ambulance Operators...Read the article.


Heading to St Kitts? 

An unfortunate naming conflict has been discovered by ATC Authorities in the Caribbean...Read the article.


Fake ASECNA Fees

Be aware of a new take on fake invoices. Read the article.


US Customs and TSA fines increased

Be careful when you're filing your eAPIS, is the message. Read the article.


Typhoon Nida - or is it the end of the World?

With forecast average winds of around 40 knots (that’s a wet Wednesday in Ireland), and maximum maybe 70 knots – the impending doom depicted in the graphic seems overstated  Read the article.


Iceland ATC Strike Over

At last! ... Read the article


Brazil Olympics - Ops Update

From 19JUL - 23SEP, there are a ton of airspace restrictions, slot controlled airports, and changes.. Read the article


What are Hajj Routes?

Every year, millions of pilgrims travel to Mecca and other sites in Saudi Arabia - and this changes the predominant traffic flow over the African continent. Read the article


The Turkish Coup

The FAA initially banned all US airlines, commercial operators, and pilots from flying into Turkey until the 1st of September ... and then didn't.  Read the article


Hijack: It's dark and we're scared

Approaching Gander VOR, the crew typed 7500 into the box before coasting out. Around the same time, they sent a routine ACARS message to Dispatch, with a P.S. “It’s dark and we’re scared”. Read the article


The annual NOTAM battle

Have a look at the Greece-Turkey great NOTAM argument of 2016. This is an almost annual performance, the equivalent of a street argument between two kids.. Read the article


Avoiding the pain of a ramp check

Here’s how a ramp check normally goes down: The flight selected will be the arrival from a gruelling 12 hour jetlag-inducer. As you pull on to the stand, you will notice more yellow vests than normal hanging around. Read article.


Comms problems in Kabul FIR

Aircraft in the eastern sections of the Kabul FIR can expect some radio issues, as a comm unit (VSAT at Ghanzi) is out of action... Read the article


South Sudan off limits

The security situation in Juba, and South Sudan, has deteriorated in the last week, with HSSJ/JUB becoming off limits due to fighting. The ceasefire announced on 11 July is holding; Juba International Airport (HSSJ/JUB) is open to charter operations... Read the article


Oceanic Errors

Over one weekend in April there was one Gross Navigation Error, and two close calls reported on the North Atlantic. Read article.


Brazil Airspace changes for Olympics 2016

A number of airspace changes, and specific procedures for aircrew and ATC, have been created for Brazil in advance of the 2016 Olympic Games, which start on 05AUG. Read article.


VHHH capacity problems

The Hong Kong CAA has issued a couple of warnings to operators to stick carefully to their allocated slots, but it’s not making much of a difference to operations there. Read the article


Berlin's Air Corridors - still alive?

It's a generation ago, and the airway chart landscape is unrecognisable today. For 40 years however, there were only three tiny corridors that allowed a flight into East Germany. Read the article


A lesson in emergency handling from Aer Lingus

A 757 departing JFK suffered a hydraulic failure; the subsequent handling of the emergency provides a lesson on professionalism and communication, from an outstanding crew ... Read the article


Brexit for Aviation: Meaningless

If the media were to be believed, the impending doom of Brexit - Britain's Exit from the European Union - will change the aviation landscape in the EU for ever. But what if it won't? . Read the article


Summer of ATC strikes

European Air Traffic Controllers are striking in a fight against changes emanating from labour reform and the Single European Sky initiative. Read the article


US Entry requirements updated

The US has updated entry processing through ESTA (the online visa system for countries using the Visa Waiver Program).Read the article


We couldn't find a good Airports Database ... 

So we built one - into what we think is the best database for Ops Controllers, Pilots, Airlines, Software developers, and service providers. Best of all, you will get a free copy if you join OPSGROUP with an Annual Subscription ... Read the article


St. Helena - no hope for opening?

It would have made a nice ETOPS alternate, but ... Read the article


Sudan "will shoot down" aircraft

We are concerned at the language being used by the respective Sudanese governments. In response to aircraft operating without a landing/overflight permit, Khartoum and Juba have said they will "take decisive action" and "shoot down aircraft".  Read article.


New China ADIZ - South China Sea

China is preparing to set up a new ADIZ in the South China Sea.  Read article.


Unsafe Airspace - Ops Notice 02/16

Access to reliable information to determine the ever-changing risk level, is by nature of it’s inherent uncertainty, challenging. Today we published International Ops Notice 02/16 - "Unsafe Airspace". Read article.


What is this, 20 questions?

Yep. If you missed the first lot, test your knowledge with this series of International Ops questions! Read article.


EASA New rules for 'Suspect Aircraft'

EASA has published new guidelines for inspectors to assess which aircraft should be prioritised for SAFA ramp checks in Europe and SAFA compliant states. Read article.


Fake Navigation Fees

It’s a concern: instead of sending your Nav Fees payment to Eurocontrol, you’ve actually sent it to a suburb of Lagos. And you’re not going to get it back. Read article.


Overflights without a full Airworthiness Certificate

New deliveries, ferry flights to a new operator, maintenance flights, or positioning to storage, may all have special circumstances that normally result in the aircraft operating with a Special Airworthiness Certificate. Read article.

The three sisters: Shanwick's Tango Routes

With the changes in February this year from MNPS to HLA, the normal confusion over what is required to operate on T9, T16, and T213 has increased. Read article.


Australia is turning off its Navaids on 26MAY

For International Operators, in short, Australia wants you to navigate with GNSS as your primary means of navigation . Read article.


FL200 – or 2,000ft? International differences

The key to this incident in Ireland, just published by the AAIU, is the wording of a departure clearance to a corporate jet departing EIKY/Kerry. Read article.


Ferry Flight From Seattle: Boeing 707

This Flight Log is from the Delivery Flight (KSEA/Seattle-EGLL/London Heathrow) of Boeing 707 G-APFN, which took place on 18NOV1960. Read article.


Most expensive ATC in Europe?

For an hour’s worth of ATC on the Ocean, it’s 50 bucks. Next up, you’ll talk to Shannon – about $300 an hour in your B737. As soon as you enter London’s airspace – it's $1000 an hour. Read article.


IFBP: Belt and Braces for African ATC

ATC in Africa is steadily improving – investment in radar and CPDLC is helping – but vast swathes of airspace remain where ATC, quite simply, is not to be trusted to the same degree as in other parts of the world. Read article.


Caution Wake

New rules slowly being introduced in Europe, where the current four (Light, Medium, Heavy, Super) will become six. Read article.


Simple Information

Our aim with the weekly International Ops Bulletin that we produce is to take relevant operational news affecting International Flight Operations each week, and simplify it. Read article.


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