VTZZ/Thailand Most of southern Thailand has been declared a disaster area after flash floods in the region killed 15 people in the past two weeks. Heavy monsoon rains since late November have affected more than 1.5 million people across nine southern provinces, with some areas reporting floodwater as high as two metres. The only airport currently affected is VTSF/Nakhon Si Thammarat, which will be closed until at least Dec 8 due to flooding. However, more rain is forecast in the region through to next week.
DISP/San Pedro Local sources have confirmed that the airport remains closed as of Dec 6, as runway repair work which was supposed to be completed by the end of Nov is still ongoing. No news yet when the airport will re-open.
FQZZ/Mozambique Make sure your travel visa is in order, and expect strengthened border control measures over the festive period, including at the country’s main airport FQMA/Maputo. Mozambique provides an easy entry point for illegal immigrants to neighbouring South Africa. Since the end of November, at least 95 foreign nationals have been denied entry to Mozambique on the grounds of alleged ambiguity over the purpose of visits, visa-related irregularities and other discrepancies.
VIDP/Delhi From Dec 15 to Feb 15, you can’t use VIDP as an alternate if visibility at the airport is less than 550 metres. This is the time of year when the city is regularly blanketed in smog, so check the latest METAR before filing.
UUZZ/Russia From 29 Mar 2018, Russia are introducing RNAV routes in their oceanic airspace above FL265. RNAV 10 out in the oceanic parts of Murmansk and Magadan FIRs (i.e. the area covering the entire northern coastline stretching from Bodo to Anchorage), but RNAV 5 over landmass.
EGMC/London Airport fire workers are set to go on strike between Dec 22 and Jan 6. If the strike goes ahead, this would effectively mean the airport would not be able to operate between these dates.
VNZZ/Nepal Election on Dec 7. Election-related violence, particularly small bombings, has intensified in recent days. Authorities have already sealed a number of land borders with India and China. Expect heightened security measures, checkpoints, patrols and spot-checks.
EGZZ/UK Storm Caroline will bring winds of up to 90mph to northern parts of Scotland on Dec 7, as well as snow and ice to large parts of the UK on Dec 8-9. Authorities have warned that the storm could bring storm surge and potential flooding to coastal areas. Airport ops are expected to be significantly affected only at airports in Northern Scotland.
HTZZ/Tanzania has published a new rule effective December 6th, requiring all travelers to have a Yellow Fever cert, regardless of departure country. Previously, only travelers arriving from affected areas were required to have this.
WAZZ/Indonesia Although Mount Agung has now stopped emitting ash, another large eruption is still likely. The local monitoring agency are registering powerful and continuous tremors, and authorities have ordered locals and journalists within 10km of the volcano to evacuate. All airports in the region have now re-opened and are operating as normal – but check the Notams for some nighttime closures for runway repair at WADD/Bali and WARR/Juanda throughout December.
EGKK/Gatwick The main runway (08R/26L) will be closed every night from 2300-0530z until Dec 20, then again from 2330-0600z Jan 2-31. During that time, the northern runway (08L/26R) will be open – the one that normally gets used as a taxiway! There’s no ILS on this runway, so approaches must be DME or RNAV.
KZZZ/USA The US Supreme Court has allowed President Trump’s revised travel ban to go into effect – banning nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea (plus certain government officials from Venezuela) from entering the US. Judges have said the ban can take full effect straight away, even though legal challenges continue in the lower courts. The U.S. will now refuse entry visas to prospective travellers from these countries, regardless of whether they have “bona fide” links inside the U.S. such as business links or close family relationships.
LEMD/Madrid Sporadic strikes planned by security staff at Madrid airport from Dec 22 to Jan 8. Expect longer queues to get through departures if the strike goes ahead.
EHAM/Amsterdam KLM cabin crew strike planned all day on Jan 8, means potentially no KLM flights will depart from the airport that day.
UUZZ/Russia is expanding its free electronic visa program to all of its Far East international airports by the end of the year. The system allows citizens of the following 18 countries to obtain a free visa online for stays of up to 8 days: Brunei, India, China, North Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.
URRP/Platov The new airport in Rostov will officially open on Dec 7, replacing the old airport, URRV/Rostov. By 08z on Dec 7, all airlines will switch to the new airport. The old airfield will officially close to all traffic from March 1, 2018.
UHPP/Petropavlosk Mt Shiveluch in the far-east of Russia has erupted again, ash cloud currently up to FL330, moving south-east out over the Pacific Ocean at 20 knots.
GOBD/Dakar New international airport set to open at Dakar, called GOBD/Blaise Diagne International Airport. From 1430z on Dec 7 onwards, all scheduled operations will switch to there from the current airport – GOOY/Dakar. However, possible travel disruption on Dec 7 itself, as there’s a protest by local residents set to take place on the road to the new airport on the opening day.
LATI/Tirana Severe flooding across the country, including the capital, Tirana. Over 120,000 households are without power, and the army has now been sent in to evacuate people. Flights to and from the airport were temporarily suspended over the weekend.
ZKZZ/North Korea Cathay Pacific crew onboard a flight from from San Francisco to Hong Kong on Nov 29 witnessed the re-entry of North Korea’s latest missile near their position. They said they saw it “blow up and fall apart near our current location”, highlighting again the danger posed to aircraft in this region from debris fields of missile fragments.
LGTS/Thessaloniki Chaos at the airport the moment, as both of the main runways are closed, and the parallel taxiway “F” of RWY 10/28 has established as the only functioning runway – they’ve called it RWY 10L/28R. There’s currently no radio control facility, and there’s a whole bunch on obstacles which are affecting the take-off flight path area and the visibility of the runway lights (check the Notams for those). Easyjet have already cancelled flights to the airport, as it no longer meets their safety standards. If you’re planning on operating there any time soon, you’ll want to read their AIP SUP 04/17 for full details, plus all the charts you need. The runway repair work is not expected to be finished until around March next year.
WARR/Juanda Airport will be closed for runway repair from 16-22z daily until Jan 06.
WADD/Denpasar Bali’s airport will be closed for runway repair from 18-23z daily (except Saturdays) until Dec 31.
OYSN/Sanaa Worsening fighting over the past few days is now moving toward the airport. Last week, the Saudi-led coalition said they would resume issuing clearances for humanitarian aircraft to land at the airport, but so far they have not done so, and the UN have been unable to evacuate staff from the city.
FSZZ/Seychelles has lifted the travel restrictions it imposed last month against flights to/from Madagascar, following the plague outbreak there. No more 7 day quarantine for incoming passengers any more. Air Seychelles are set to resume flights to Madagascar on Jan 12.
DNZZ/Nigeria Long lines at filling stations reported across the country as people are panic buying fuel. Fuel shortages and the subsequent hike in prices seems to happen around this time every year in Nigeria. Shortage of Jet A1 fuel is a common problem here, and often leads to grounding of flights. International operators are being advised to tanker wherever possible, particularly over the coming festive period.
LIZZ/Italy Alitalia services likely to be disrupted on Dec 15, as some staff will be on strike all day. And expect some delays on the trains across the country on Dec 17, when some staff are planning an eight-hour strike from 9-17 local time.
KPHX/Phoenix Expect delays from Jan 8 – Feb 21, as RWY 8/26 will be closed for repair. The airport will be operating with lowered arrival and departure rates during this time. The most likely periods for delays will be during IMC conditions: 07-10 and 17-20 local time (14z-17z and 00-03z).
CYYZ/Toronto Since More reports of laser strikes on arriving aircraft. Since mid-November, there have been 23 laser strikes on commercial jets in the Toronto area.
KBUR/Burbank is close to the California wildfires affecting the region at present, but airport ops are normal. Transport to/from is affected, some trains/buses cancelled as not able to operate. No delays or restrictions at the airport itself. That said, there is smoke in the METAR, so it may change.
KZZZ/Worldwide The latest Unsafe Airspace Summary is available to members here, published 29NOV – edition JULIETT. Primary changes Iraq, North Korea, Saudi Arabia.
More on the topic:
- More: Storm in the Cockpit: Tales of Conflict and Clashes
- More: Major Earthquake in Turkiye
- More: Not Another French ATC Strike
- More: Optimise your Descent
- More: OPSGROUP is coming to AIROPS23!