2022 Flight Ops Changes: The Big Ones

By Opsgroup Team

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Dear Santa…

We do hope we’ve been good little boys and girls this year. Last Christmas we received no presents from you at all, which was disappointing.

We did get one from ICAO that got lost in the post and then turned up in January – an update to the NAT Doc 007. Truth be told, Santa, we didn’t actually like that very much.

It’s been another busy year of international flight ops changes, Santa!

We thought you probably missed most of it, hunkered down in your Arctic grotto, beavering away on all the presents you must be making for us this year. So we’ve written you a little list – just the big stuff that’s happened this year.

If you don’t want to read it all, that’s okay, we know you’re busy! You can get nearly all the same info by playing our Snakes On A Plane & Ladders game that we made! 🐍 🪜

We designed it in bright  RED  and  YELLOW  colours to make it easier for you to play in the dim pre-dawn light as you’re zipping around the skies on Christmas Eve! 🎅

You can download a PDF of the game here, or just click on the picture!

Click to download PDF.

In fact, before we get to the long-version list of stuff that’s happened…

Our Christmas Wishlist

  • No more hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, floods, domestic conflicts, international invasions, drone and missile attacks, or global pandemics please. We’ve put this one at the top, because this is the one we really want the most.
  • An EU-LISA teddy bear. The one where you press its tummy and it tells you a nice clear definition of what a “carrier” is.
  • A set of walkie-talkies. We’ll keep one and give the other to North Korea, so they can use it to tell us when they’re launching test missiles.
  • A big pair of scissors. So when we’re doing flights over Greece or Turkey we can snip out all the pages of whingey, irrelevant Notams they publish about each other.
  • Some earplugs. We’ll use them in January when the postman knocks on the door with ICAO’s annual NAT Doc 007 present, late again.

Ok, Santa, on to the good stuff – here’s the long-version list of stuff that’s happened…

January

  • The US went into a ground stop at their west coast airports after North Korea launched a missile. Read
  • The US delayed their 5G roll out because of concerns at airports. Read
  • Honduras got new airport – MHPR/Palmerola. Read
  • UAAA/Almaty airport, Kazakhstan closed (and later reopened) due to violent protests and unrest across the country. Read
  • The Yemen conflict reached the UAE when several ballistic missiles targeted Abu Dhabi. Read
  • NFTF/Fua’amotu airport in Tonga closed after the eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai, and the ash also disrupted some overflights in the South Pacific. Read

February

  • Airlines started to avoid Ukrainian airspace after Russia’s invasion, and insurance companies started cancelling cover for flights in Ukraine. Read
  • Singapore mandated RNP4 and RNP10 on some of its main oceanic airway from FL290 and above. Read
  • NAT Tracks were abolished from FL330 and below. Read

March

  • As the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated, Russia brought in “tit for tat” flight bans, including bans on all US operators, and operators had to start finding new routes avoiding Ukraine and Russia. Read
  • Spillover into Europe from the conflict and “traffic jams” in other airspace started occurring. Read
  • We first heard mention of EASA’s new dreaded EU-LISA (EES/ETIAS) system. Read
  • Iran kicked off against Iraq again, sending missiles towards ORER/Erbil region. Read
  • In the US, the military ran tests on GPS interference and it jammed civilian aircraft. Read
  • Fuel shortages in Nigeria and bandits at the airport raised concerns. Read
  • Ethiopia announced a ceasefire between fighting factions in the Tigray region. Read

April

  • EASA’s new fuel policy was announced and it was really hard to read. Read
  • A new airport opened in Mexico City (MMSM/Santa Lucia) and everyone said don’t use it. Read
  • Fuel prices started rising due sanctions particularly on US east coast; and in other countries they started to announce shortages, particularly across Africa. Read
  • FAA announced new flight planning codes for advanced capabilities. Read
  • Iceland became completely covered with ADS-B. Read
  • The mass ATC walkout in Poland was narrowly avoided. Read

May

  • Reports of flights being tracked for nefarious reasons started to concern BizAv folk. Read
  • We talked about EMAS because no-one seemed to know what it was. Read
  • ATC returned to Somalia with Class A reinstated above FL245 during the day. Read
  • We took a look at some common NAT Conundrums! Read
  • US eased rules for flights to Cuba. Read

June

  • Everyone was still confused by EU-LISA, who still couldn’t make it clear which operators need to register to use the new system (i.e. who counted as a “carrier”). Read
  • The South China Sea dispute got worse with China building islands and putting weapons on them and running lots of military drills. Read
  • Sri Lanka completely ran out of fuel Read
  • Bahamas delayed their Click2Clear because no-one understood it. Read
  • Antigua brought in new Nav/ATC fees that they want in advance if you’re overflying up to FL245. Read
  • Saudi Arabia risk level was reduced as Houthi attacks drop off. Read
  • We published a book on European Slot Rules. Read
  • Kathmandu got RNP (and you should use it). Read
  • The 5G rollout was delayed in US. Read

July

  • We decided Safety used to be far more sexy and tried to bring it back again. Read
  • Flights to/from Israel got easier as Israel got friendlier with their neighbours. Read
  • EASA published new All Weather Operations stuff and we were all confused by it. Read
  • EU-LISA is postponed (thank goodness!). Read
  • VHHH/Hong Kong’s new runway finally opened. Read
  • ICAO expanded SELCAL to include new codes. Read
  • The FAA postponed the final phase of Northeast Corridor Atlantic routes project until April 2023. Read
  • We made a picture book to help people understand the new EASA fuel rules. Read

August

  • Qatar finally got the go-ahead from ICAO to set up their own airspace. Read
  • China got angry with Taiwan and held massive drills that shut Taiwan because they effectively surrounded it with prohibited areas. Read
  • Canada delayed their ADS-B mandate until Aug 2023 to give folk time to install equipment. Read
  • NAT 006 is updated, and we’re proud of our James Bond pun which no-one else got. Read
  • EIDW/Dublin opened a new runway. Read
  • We put together on the London Airport options, made with help from the London Underground tube map publishers, circa 1962. Read
  • EASA updated their RIM and we posted a reminder of all the things people keep getting into trouble with during ramp checks! Read

September

  • The hurricane season was in full force with Earl closing Bermuda, Kay closing La Paz in Mexico and then the massive Fiona reaching Canada, and Ian devastating parts of Florida.
  • A big military exercise threatened to close a chunk of EGGX/Shanwick impacting the NAT, but then it didn’t. Read
  • EASA delayed their ELT mandate by 2 years. Read
  • Azerbaijan and Armenia kicked off again and the border airspace closed, then quickly reopened. Read
  • CYYZ/Toronto capped slots for GA/BA flights. Read
  • African ATC went on a mega strike! They brought in fake ATC and we put out a big safety alert over it. Read
  • The FAA extended their Iran and Iraq warnings for another 2 years. Read

October

  • North Korea sent a missile directly over Japan causing them to issue a public warning. Read
  • Major airways in Iraq are in close proximity to areas of airspace with high risk from drones and missiles. Read
  • Florida airports reopened after Hurricane Ian raged through.
  • We discovered more info on the CPDLC trial in the US and how BizAv are (or aren’t) involved. Read
  • The FAA published new winter holdover times. Read
  • Everyone started planning for the Qatar world cup because Doha is small and no-one was sure where to park. Read

November

  • A cyber attack brought down a fair few Jeppesen planning products. Read
  • ADS-B privacy issues reared its head again with more groups questioning the privacy and security. Read
  • Shannon published info on level busts and US BizAv are to blame for a lot of them! Read
  • KTEB/Teterboro added new waypoints to help with the challenging circle for RWY 01. Read
  • Canada published a safety watchlist that applies to everyone, everywhere really. Read
  • The Russia-Ukraine spillover impacted more countries, with a wayward missile hitting Poland and concerns about UAS. Read
  • Saudi Arabia got CPDLC from FL150 up. Read
  • We started to worry about Turkey – they are fighting with Syria and Iraq and their southern region is higher risk. Read
  • Germany issued a warning against low level flights in Myanmar. Read
  • An Emirates aircraft might have been hijacked. Read

December

  • Possibly because of power outage issues, but South Africa lost CPDLC and FAOR/Johannesburg Oceanic airspace turned into one big IFBP area for a day or so. Read
  • Ski season started in Europe with parking restrictions and PPR requirements aplenty. A lot of folks also head off to the Caribbean this time of year. We made our own pirate map. Read
  • Auckland got bad fuel. Not ideal for long haul flights (so any flight trying to get to Auckland). Read
  • Someone asked us about weird Mexican timezone changes and we realised that in April 2023 most of Mexico will stop using DST but some places along the border won’t. Highly bamboozling. Read
  • France banned domestic airline flights under 2.5 hours. Read
  • KPHL/Philadelphia decided they didn’t want international GA flights heading in there anymore. More

Fare-thee-well, 2022

And that brings us bang up to date, Santa, if you’re still reading.

If not, we hope this whirlwind of flight ops bulletpoints has been of interest to someone out there. Maybe a few of you weary aviation folk who have stuck with us throughout the year 👍

And on that note, as the year draws to a close, we wanted to say a big “thank you” to everyone in OPSGROUP for showing up, trading stories, experiences, and information, and in turn keeping us all safe and up to date. ❤️⚡✈️🧑‍✈️

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