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Published Wednesday 09 November 2016
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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.

 International Ops Briefing 

Wednesday 9th November

This weeks changes. Published by Flight Service Bureau for OPSGROUP covering Airports, Airspace, ATC, Weather, Safety, Threats, Procedures, Visas. Active Bulletins from previous weeks are in the full briefing summary further down. For the full version, join OPSGROUP and receive a welcome pack.

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

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.


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.

#fsb Unsafe Airspace Summary is downloadable, current is 05/16 as of 28SEP. Use together with, and report anything additional you know back to us at

#opsgroup To make it easier to find all your OpsGroup membership content, there is a full Control Panel at the bottom of this brief (scroll down).

#opsgroup we've added slack to the feature list to allow you to chat to other group members in realtime. #dispatch is the newest channel. Request a login from team@

#opsgroup is now live with 2100+ airport reports, full access is available to all members through your control panel. You can now save and print all your own reports.


 Headlines from recent weeks 

NAT changes slow down - RLAT delayed
New airspace warning Turkey and Iran
Caribbean Tropical Storm Matthew
Taiwan pushes back ADS-B requirement to 2020
San Jose opens after Volcano
End of Canada Leniency
Where is Zika? Here's a map
North Korea overflight risk elevated
New Shanwick NAT procedure

 Report it 

Did we miss something? Please tell us: we need your help!


 From our International Ops Blog 

Winter is coming ...

Winter is coming. In some parts of the world, winter is already here. Flying always brings challenges, but winter supplies extra problems that separates mere pilots from imaginative problem solvers. Read the article.


A juggling act: The Flight Dispatcher ...

From the time James arrives at work for his morning shift at 0300z, the unexpected is the rule rather than the exception.  The workload is high: during a twelve hour shift, James might dispatch between 22 and 27 flights.  Read the article.


Robbed by the CAA ...

Three of the most recent headlines are:

Rough Runway, Cash Only
Don’t go you'll be robbed by the CAA
Inbound ATC was frightening.

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



 World airspace risk map 

bookmark and view at
Updated weekly/Last changes:
28 September Turkey, Iran, 24 August North Korea, 12 August Kenya.
Check current map
Download latest Unsafe Airspace Summary (PDF)

 International Public Holidays for the coming week 

10NOV Panama - Shout in Villa de los Santos
11NOV Canada, Bermuda - Remembrance Day, Martinique, Belgium, Serbia, Reunion - Armistice Day, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands - Veterans Day, Poland, Angola - Independence Day
12NOV Azerbaijan - Constitution Day
13NOV Azerbaijan - Constitution Day
14NOVCayman Islands - Remembrance Day, Colombia - Independence of Cartagena, Sri Lanka - II Full Moon Poya Day
15NOV Brazil - Republic Proclamation Day, Cote d'Ivoire - National Peace Day



 News from The Airline Cooperative and FSB

The Airline Cooperative is a group of 225 airlines that work together to make International Ops better.

November News:
  • We launched to depict current overflight security risks, with a map, reporting tool, and current Unsafe Airspace Summary.
  • We continue to welcome new individual members from international airlines, join us.
  • SECEX - Security Exchange group is connecting airlines to share and discuss airport and overflight security threats discretely, email
  • We published core to explain what we do in simple text form.

Flight Service Bureau is the service arm of The Airline Cooperative and provides direct service to Aircraft Operators, with a focus on International Flight Operations support.

November News:
  • We've now completed Boeing 737 delivery #25, Embraer 175 delivery #34, and DHC-6 delivery #60. Email to work with FSB on a ferry or delivery flight.
  • Our Flight Service Store is updated with new permit and planning items.


Cynthia: some of the latest stuff from OPSGROUP

See what's going on in slack

The vast majority of us in International Flight Ops work alone, or in tiny teams. Very very few of us have a console in front of them with a button for 20 different departments ready to help at a moments notice. So when your flight goes south, who’s got to fix everything? Probably you.

And this is why we’re excited. We’re already seeing lots of examples of you guys helping each other out, and while we know that a lot of you appreciate the info that the team here puts together, it’s even more rewarding for us to stand back and let you connect directly.

Login to Slack

Using aireport

  • Do you know that you can find all the airport reports you've submitted in one place?  This is handy, because you can print them or export in Excel format ... find them here.
  • To file a new report, just go here.
  • And if you want to browse some of the worst ones, you can also do that, and see where to avoid.

Login to aireport


 Active Bulletins Summary 

Your check of critical flight information for each region
Valid: Wednesday 9th November

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 available to OPSGROUP members
LTZZ/Turkey Also, we've had reports of GPS intermittent dropouts in the Ankara and Istanbul FIRs, which might not be overly surprising given the proximity to Syria and Iraq. Let us know if this has affected you.

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

EHAM/Amsterdam The military will help provide security at the airport, sharing responsibility with border patrol officers for inspecting trains and vehicles. Expect delays of approximately 30 minutes.

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.
EISN/Shannon ATC would like to remind eastbound operators of a simple but important procedure when crossing 15W, entering the Shannon domestic UIR after Shanwick. After 15W you will normally receive a clearance to fly to the exit point of Irish airspace, and this may involve a healthy turn to the north or south. However, some aircraft are turning BEFORE the boundary (eg. MALOT, LIMRI, DOGAL) and this can lead to a loss of separation for Shanwick (who operate without radar). So - make sure that you fly OVER the 15W boundary point before taking that new direct.

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 in advance. There will be additional costs, especially heavy on a Sunday.

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. 
EZZZ/Europe Eurocontrol has confirmed the date of 01JAN18 for all aircraft to be 8.33 kHz compliant. Currently 8.33 kHz is required only above FL195 but as of 01JAN18 it will be required below FL195 to the surface. Europe has an ongoing shortage of voice communication frequencies.

EGZZ/Scotland Glasgow ATC - at both EGPK and EGPF - has sporadic closures overnight at present due to staffing issues. Keep an eye on Notams.

EZZZ/Europe Due to the introduction and continuation of border controls in the European Union, travellers to Denmark, Belgium and other EU countries will need to present travel documents to enter from another Schengen country. Expect delays.

UZZZ/Simferopol FIR EASA published an updated SIB 2015/16 regarding the use of Simferopol FIR on 17FEB. This airspace provides routes UL851 and UM856 (Odesa South Sector), which since 17FEB are suggested by EASA for use by overflying traffic.

EZZZ/Europe New Wake Turbulence Categories began a slow introduction in Europe on 22MAR where the current four (Light, Medium, Heavy, Super) will become six: Light, Medium (with Lower and Upper), and Heavy (with Lower, Upper and Super). Read full article.

LTZZ/Turkey. We've been alerted to a change in Overflight Requirements - aircraft with M- and VP- registrations, and any other countries without a bilateral agreement, require an Overflight Permit. See the new Turkey Lowdown for full information.

EZZZ/Europe as of 05APR Eurocontrol as been publishing Target Time information together with Calculated Take-off time (CTOT) in the Slot Allocation and Slot Revisions Messages (SAM and SRM), to show your flights planned time at the congestion point in the air, rather than solely providing the CTOT.

UKZZ/Ukraine FIR's There are two distinct areas at issue in the Ukraine. Simferopol FIR is closed to international traffic since 03APR14 due to a dispute between authorities over control. Dnipropetrovsk FIR has had the eastern half closed by the Ukrainian CAA on 18JUL following the shootdown of MAS17. Most operators are avoiding the entire FIR. The remainder of the Ukraine FIR’s are open (L’viv, Kiev, Odessa) with majority of airlines operating through. Heaviest Traffic flows are via G724 (North) and UL852 and UP975 (South).

UMMM/Minsk FIR will accept scheduled flights that avoid Ukraine airspace via Belarus airspace based on FPL. Operators should insert the following note in field 18 of the FPL: (RMK/THIS FLT REROUTED DUE TO AVOID UKRAINE) Other flights operating in Belarus airspace shall be guided by Belarus AIP (GEN 1.2-3).


NAT/North Atlantic Phase 2 of the North Atlantic datalink mandate began with Phase 2a on 05FEB2015, at which time flights within the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT) between FL350 and FL390 must be equipped with Fans 1/A controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) and ADS-C systems. The program expands to these altitudes in the entire ICAO NAT region on 07DEC2017, and to all flights in this region above FL290 on 30JAN2020.


YZZZ/Australia will not be implementing the changes in the ICAO PANS-ATM (Doc 4444), as they say they haven’t had enough time to work on the safety case - ie. figuring out if these changes are dangerous in any way. In short, they won’t be saying “Climb via SID” or “Climb via STAR”, which are the new phraseologies.

YBCS/Cairns has issued updated advice that peak times are 2300-0400Z daily (that’s 9am-2pm local), and to plan for 20 minutes holding during these times.

NWWW/Noumea has ongoing staff shortages in ATC, and therefore interruptions in opening hours for the airport. Check before operating.

NVVV/Port Vila has finished the temporary repairs to the main runway, but it’s apparent that it’s only a temporary fix to a larger problem with the surface. The airport will conduct an inspection after each landing by an aircraft heavier than 35 tons (about half the weight of a 737). 

NZQN/Queenstown open for night traffic but only for airlines that meet CAA approval to operate to very specific RNP procedures. 

YZZZ/Australia A last minute relaxation on 25MAY by CASA has exempted Foreign private operators from having to be RNP2 compliant, ahead of many Navaids being switched off. Eff 26MAY around 180 different VOR’s, NDB’s, and other ground-based Navaids are switched off. All international operators will be required to have GNSS/GPS as primary navigation. Read the article.

PAZA/Anchorage ARTCC has new procedures and systems in place effective 17DEC15, including 30/30 RNP4 separation, an update to the Track Advisory program for westbound Russian Tracks, and standard routings. Check the current PAZA NOTAMs for complete information.

PGUM/Agana, Guam, PGSN/Saipan, and PKMJ/Majuro have intermittent fuel shortages at present. Confirmation of fuel supply is generally only available within 72 hours of flight.

PKMJ/Majuro Construction is planned at the eastern end of RWY25; authorities have notified expected delays of up to 30mins including airborne holding.
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.

KZZZ/Socal - USA Since 26SEP, LAX, SAN, and a few other airports in Southern California have begun a new set of Wake Turb rules - reducing separation, with new categories from A-G. If that guy in front looks a little close, read up on the change.

KZZZ/USA For some good reading, the FAA (thanks Andy for passing this on), have updated their Aviation Weather guidance doc. This is the first revision to the document since 1975.

KZZZ/USA Check your passport! Effective 01APR16, if you're travelling to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, you will also need to have a valid e-Passport along with your ESTA.

KZZZ/United States the FAA has updated its list of Critical DME's. When these critical DME's are not available, it results in navigation service which is not sufficient for DME/DME/IRU operations along all or portions of a specific route or procedure. This is mainly an issue for Non-GPS equipped aircraft.

CZZZ/Canada The new Canada Entry Rules - requiring most visitors to have an eTA before departing - came into force on 15MAR; with a caveat. Visa-exempt foreign nationals can enter and exit Canada by air without an Electronic Travel Authorisation until 09NOV16. Read the full article.

KZZZ/USA The requirement for foreign operators to obtain a TSA Waiver for domestic flights within the US has been dropped, but only for aircraft under 45 tons.

KZZZ/USA Several changes to the rules for the US Visa Waiver program are now in effect, restricting the moment of travellers having visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria in the last 5 years. Read more here.

KZZZ/USA The FAA has now activated 11 of the planned 56 Airports offering CPDLC-DCL. Next up are KTEB/Teterboro and KLAS/Las Vegas on 28MAR.
SUEO/Montevidedo Air Traffic Controllers strike ongoing, closures and departure restrictions in place. Info is sketchy, got some updates? Let us know …

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.

SPZO/Cuzco, Peru is busy at the moment; non-scheduled and GA flights cannot park overnight, and there are Traffic Management procedures inbound. Don't forget if operating to Cuzco that special crew training is required.

SBGR/São Paulo/Guarulhos is not available for selection as an alternate to SBSP or SBKP, nor will they be happy if you change your destination in flight to SBGR. Apron capacity issues ongoing.

SEZZ/Ecuador Non-scheduled aircraft can now land without a Landing Permit as long as the aircraft is operating under private ops, will not stay longer than 72 hours in Ecuador, and visits only one location in Ecuador. The official document is here (in Spanish).

SPJC/Lima, Peru Struggling with Airport capacity. A variety of significant restrictions for General Aviation, Non Scheduled, and Cargo flights in effect. Check carefully with your handler or dispatcher as all movements should be co-ordinated at least 24 hrs in advance.

RPLL/Manila Reports of GPS interference at Ninoy Aquino Airport recently.

ORBB/Baghdad FIR Traffic entering from Baghdad FIR (ORBB) to Ankara FIR (LTAA) shall file their FPL as follows: NINVA-OTKEP-SRT at FL320 and above. NOTAM A4572/16 refers.

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

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.

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.

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.

WIZZ/Indonesia has warned its neighbours that haze from forest fires is beginning to cross the Malacca Strait. In 2015 the smog affected Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, causing disruptions throughout the region, closing airports and delaying flights.

KZZ/North Korea elevated to Level 2 in our Unsafe Airspace Summary. In 2016, there have been increased instances of No Dong and No Dong-2 medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM) launches without prior warning. 

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.

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.

VHHH/Hong Kong The CAD issued a reminder to operators this week that the airport is under strain, and slots issued must be strictly adhered to. It would seem that the Slot Adherence procedure issued earlier in the year isn’t really working. Any local operators have feedback? Let us know.

ZZZZ/China The new 144 hour visa-free rule is extended to Nanjing Lukou Airport of Jiangsu, Hangzhou Xiaoshan Airport of Zhejiang, and all air, sea and railway ports of Shanghai, including Pudong Airport, Hongqiao Airport, Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal, Wusong Passenger Transport Center and all railway stations in Shanghai.

LLLL/Tel Aviv FIR has updated their security procedures for entering the the LLLL FIR. Please see AIC 2/16

RJTT/Haneda the airport authority has changed the number of slots available for general aviation aircraft. Effective 25APR, slots for GA during the daytime (0600-2259 local) will be increased to 16 total for arrival and departure (from eight in the past). Note that there are no slots restrictions for night time operations (2300-0559 local).

ZBAA/Beijing is not available for Non-Emergency diversions or planned as an alternate due to gate/stand shortage daily from 13-23Z daily until 28OCT16.

RKSS/Gimpo is opened South Korea’s first purpose-built FBO on 01MAY. It includes a passenger terminal with customs and a large hangar that can accommodate up to eight large jets.

ZKPY/Pyongyang FIR Many reports that North Korea is jamming GPS signals, also reported by South Korea. Signals have been reported as unreliable or lost when operating in or near to North Korean airspace. Read our DPRK Overflight Risk article from a few weeks ago.

VHHH/Hong Kong is taking a close look at Airlines and AO's that depart outside their allocated slot times. Airport capacity is critical. See of AIC 02/2016 - or Read full article.

VOZZ/India has expanded its e-Tourist Visa (eTV) program to applicants from 37 additional countries. Nationals from a total of 150 countries are now eligible for the program.

OYAA/Aden, Yemen Airport closed and all flights cancelled since 21FEB due to security concerns.

ZZZZ/China Chinese officials stated on 01FEB that they will allow departing flights from Chongqing, Nanchang and Kunming to transit through Taipei (RCTP/TPE).

DTZZ/Tunisia extended the state of emergency on 18OCT, set to expire, by three months. The state of emergency went into effect following a series of terrorist attacks in 2015 and has been extended multiple times.

HAZZ/Ethiopia The Ethiopian government has declared a six month State of Emergency from 9 October 2016. Measures to restrict communication, movement and political expression are expected.

FCBB/Brazaville is experiencing a fuel shortage, following the violence in the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

FEFF/Bangui has an overnight airport curfew from 2200-0500Z until the end of the year.

HECA/Cairo GPS Jamming still occurring at Cairo Airport, RNAV approaches should not be planned. Read the article.

FKKD/Douala now requires PPR 72 hours prior arrival, for non-scheduled flights, due to upcoming space restrictions as a result of WIP. You can make requests directly to Airport admin at

FNZZ/Angola The WHO estimates that there have been 6,000 suspected and 1,000 laboratory confirmed cases of yellow fever since the outbreak began in Angola in December 2015. 

DIAP/Ivory Coast issued a Notam last Friday advising of ‘serious risks to safety’ when operating through the Tripoli FIR. 

HKZZ/Kenya With the UK Dept. for Transport listing Kenya for the first time in it’s warnings, Flight Service Bureau increased the warning level for Kenya to Level 2 : Assessed Risk, the second highest level. Read the article

OYAA/Aden, Yemen
 is open to traffic once again following a closure caused by intensified Saudi Coalition activity. The airport has been intermittently closed during the conflict, which began in March 2015.

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.

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.

GFLL/Freetown, Sierra Leone Updated contact details for ATC and Permit requests. For ATC, contact number is +232 78529329. For permits, email

DNZZ/Nigeria Several Nigerian commercial carriers have issued notice that the worsening shortage of Jet A1 fuel in Nigeria could lead to a grounding of all flights. International Operators are being advised to tanker wherever possible.

GUZZ/Guinea has updated contact information for overflight and landing permit requests through the Air Navigation Agency (ANA) of Guinea. Primary email is now, and we suggest to copy Telephone is +224 622 68 44 52

HSZZ/Sudan has warned it will shoot down any aircraft that infiltrates it’s airspace that has not obtained the proper permission and/or following proper procedures. If you need to transit this airspace please make sure you have all the required documentation.

HLLL/Tripoli FIR, Libya. Overflight Risk due MANPADS. Recommended to avoid entire FIR. Airspace entry prohibited for UK, US, French, US Carriers.

GABS/Bamako ACC, Mali. Overflight Risk due surface weapons. FAA A0004/15 recommends FL260 minimum. Highest risk in North near Mopti.

HZZZ/South Sudan UK NOTAM V0049/15 issued for potential risk to aviation from dedicated surface to air weaponry. Operators are strongly advised not to enter the territory and airspace of South Sudan.

HKZZ/Kenya A visa on arrival is now available again at Nairobi, reversing the previous procedure established last year forcing all visitors to obtain one prior to flying. Online visas are still available.

HUEC/Entebbe ACC, Uganda. ATC in Uganda is reporting a significant increase in the number of flights entering their airspace without prior coordination from Sudan and Congo (Khartoum and Kinshasa FIRs). Regional ATC in Africa is known to be challenging, but this warning deserves attention. Crews should make all efforts to contact each FIR 10 mins in advance - HF 11300, or relay on 126.9 if unable.
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 The FAA has cancelled KICZ Notam A0015/16, thereby lifting all the restrictions that were put in place on Friday night last. There are now no restrictions on US operators or FAA licensed crews operating to Turkey. Read full article

OMAE/Emirates FIR has some updated peak times. Departures need a slot between 0630-0730Z and 1700-0000Z. Arrivals will be spaced 5 mins apart during these times also, as will aircraft entering the OMAE FIR from nearby airports like Muscat, Isa, and Baghdad.

OEZZ/Saudi FIR 02JUN - Saudi Arabia has intercepted a ballistic missile that was fired from Yemen, after which Saudi aircraft bombarded the missiles platform. A Saudi official stated that the country may reconsider the kingdoms truce with Yemen, as a result of the strike. The missile launch was the second strike in May.

Arabian Peninsula on 11MAY the Centre for Disease Control CDC issued an Alert Level 2 for MERS in the Arabian Peninsula. 

OAxx/Kabul FIR, Afghanistan overflight risk due MANPADS. Germany recommends min FL330, FAA FL260, French FL240.

ORBB/Baghdad FIR, Iraq. Overflight Risk due conflict. Recommended to avoid FIR Entirely. FAA Prohibits US Carriers A0065/14. Most operators avoiding.

OYSC/Sanaa FIR We’ve received input from a number of US Airlines that although Yemeni landmass airspace is prohibited, operations through the OYSC/Sanaa FIR Oceanic portion are available in accordance with FDC5/5575.

HESH/Sharm el-Sheikh remains open but subject to multiple advice notices from international Authorities, after increasing suspicions that a bomb was loaded here onto the A320 which crashed into the Sinai Desert.

OMZZ/United Arab Emirates It has been advised to us, that the new requirement for TCAS 7.1 also applies to the Emirates FIR. All aircraft must be compliant since 01DEC15, or a re-route around UAE airspace will be required. UAE AIP ‘Gen Carriage of ACAS-II’.

OIIX/Tehran FIR Overflight Risk: German DFS Authority recommends overflying the general region of of OITT/Tabriz, OITL/Ardabil, and OIGG/Rasht  at FL260 or higher. A6875/15.

HLLL/Libya FIR All Italian aircraft operators have been prohibited from flying through HLLL FIR. Prior Permission to operate into HL available aerodromes also required from Libyan CAA. A8382/15.

HLLL/Tripoli FIR Additional new southbound route available via RASNO UY751 LOSUL, for those operators using the airspace.

HLLL/Tripoli FIR Libya has issued updated advice regarding airport availability - HLLQ, HLTQ and HLZW are only available for international arrivals, daylight hours only. PPR and Permit is required prior operations.

OZZZ/Middle East Russian military launched 26 missiles on 06OCT15 from 4 ships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria, routed through the airspace of Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. We have published International Ops Notice 10/15 as a summary. To obtain a copy, email

OYSC/Sanaa FIR, Yemen Closed to overflights due to fighting; US aircraft specifically prohibited by FAA from overflying by Notam A10/15. Some countries have noted that the overwater portion is safe for use but this is to be carefully assessed by the individual operator.

OSLK/Basel al-Assad closed to civilian traffic effective 13OCT due to Russian military operations in Syria. Flights will be diverted to OSDI/Damascus.
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.

Zika Virus The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has listed the ZIKA virus as an "Alert Level 2". You can find more details on which countries are specifically affected through the CDC website

MUZZ/Cuba From 27JAN, flight crews of US based aircraft can now remain in Cuba with their aircraft when traveling to the island nation, instead of having to reposition immediately after offloading passengers. 

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. Delays ongoing.

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

MUHA/Havana, Cuba Hotel Capacity in Havana is under severe strain at present. With increased traffic to Cuba, finding a hotel room is now a regular challenge. 

MHTG/Central America FIR now has operational CPDLC with logon MHTG. FPL should contain D1 and either J2, J5 or J7 to indicate the type of datalink capability.

 International Ops Articles 

NAT Changes in the last 12 months

There have been quite a few changes and these are the most important ones. Read the article.


International Ops Bulletin

If you're enjoying reading this bulletin, then how do you make sure you get a copy every week? Read the article.


Aireport now online

OPSGROUP has built a member review site for Handlers, ATC, and Airports - 2000 reports already online. Read the article.


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 ... Read the article.


Minimum Cockpit Occupancy

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


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 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.


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.


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


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


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.


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 Navaids are now off the air

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.


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