CPDLC has been fixed in the FAJO/Johannesburg Oceanic FIR following yesterday’s outage. That’s the only thing ATC have currently got to communicate with aircraft, as their radios have been out of action since November.
The FAJO/Johannesburg Oceanic FIR covers a pretty big chunk of airspace:
Aircraft not equipped with CPDLC will have to broadcast on the emergency In-Flight Broadcast Procedure (IFBP) VHF frequency 126.9, and maintain a continuous listening watch on 123.45. Here’s the Notam for that:
A3931/22 - TRANS AND REC U/S. PRI COM IS CPDLC. ACFT NOT CPDLC/ADS-C EQUIPPED MUST BCST AND MNT IFBP (IATA IN-FLIGHT BROADCAST PROCEDURE) ON 126.9 MHZ. 11 NOV 17:57 2022 UNTIL 31 DEC 23:59 2022 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 11 NOV 18:06 2022
You can check IATA’s doc for a quick summary of IFBP here:
As far as we can tell, South Africa hasn’t published its own Contingency Plan to help us work out what to expect when we’re flying through their oceanic airspace and we can’t reach ATC.
But ICAO harmonized the contingency procedures for all oceanic airspace worldwide back in 2020. The basic rule is this: turn from the route by at least 30°, offset by 5 NM, stay at your current level or descend below FL290, then apply a cheeky little vertical offset.
Power outages are an ongoing issue in South Africa. Airports remain unaffected, directly. However, yesterday’s CPDLC outage coincided with a breakdown of several ESKOM powerplants. We aren’t sure whether this was a coincidence on not.
The continued power outage crisis may lead to delays with certain services which have a knock on effect on your operation. The likelihood of civil unrest is also growing so caution on the ground in the country is recommended at this time.
More on the topic:
- More: South Africa’s Unapproachable Approaches
- More: Mogadishu Wishes You a Class A New Year
- More: Is Aviation in South Africa Going South?
- More: We Need To Talk: Some Comms Hot-Spots to Look Out For
- More: International Bulletin: Sharm El Sheikh reopens, New ICAO Phraseologies 10NOV