Tag: China (page 1 of 2)

Shanghai airports closed to GA/BA

Both Shanghai airports ZSSS/Shanghai and ZSPD/Pudong will be closed to GA/BA between Nov 1-13. This is due to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) that will be taking place in Shanghai from Nov 5-10.

If you’re attending the CIIE event, then you may still be able to get permission to go to ZSPD/Pudong, but you’ll need an official invitation letter from the event organisers, as well as slot and parking approval. Bear in mind that during this period Nov 1-13, the airport will only allow landings between 0700-0855 local time each day.

For non-CIIE flights wanting to go to Shanghai during this period, the options aren’t great. Drop-and-go’s will not be permitted at either ZSSS/Shanghai or ZSPD/Pudong, and parking is now almost full at nearby airports ZSHC/Hangzhou, ZSNJ/Nanjing and ZSNB/Ningbo.

Here’s the lowdown on those three airports:

ZSHC/Hangzhou
Operating hours? H24.
Does it have an FBO? Yes, but for “domestic flights only”. Weird.
Driving time to Shanghai? 2hrs 30mins (180km)
Any other restrictions? They don’t issue arrival/departure slots to GA/BA between 0700-0859 local time.

ZSNJ/Nanjing
Operating hours? H24.
Does it have an FBO? Yes.
Driving time to Shanghai? 3hrs 30mins (300km)
Any other restrictions? They don’t issue arrival/departure slots to GA/BA between 0700-0859 local time.

ZSNB/Ningbo
Operating hours? H24.
Does it have an FBO? No.
Driving time to Shanghai? 3hrs (220km) – providing you take the road over the Hangzhou Bay Bridge
Any other restrictions? Probably. But no biggies that we know of.

For more info, or to arrange handling/parking/slots arranging at any of these airports (or anywhere else in China for that matter) we think Mainland Ground Express are a pretty good agent. Get in touch with them at ops@mgel.aero

Know a secret airport somewhere near Shanghai where GA/BA can operate to during this period, relatively hassle-free? Let us know!

Beijing Airport Restrictions until September 6

Beijing is hosting the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on September 3 and 4, 2018.

As a result ZBAA/Beijing Capital airport will not allow any GA/Corporate Jet operations from Thursday, August 30 until Thursday, September 6 unless you are attending the forum itself. If you are, you will require a a sponsor letter from the organizing committee to obtain landing permission.

Further restrictions:

  • There will be no take-off for all flights between 0700-0855L, strictly landing only.
  • A maximum of two movements are allowed per hour for all flights between 0600-2355L.
  • Governmental flights require an authorization letter from the respective Embassy to arrange handling services.
  • Flights with diplomatic clearance can still operate to ZBAA even if they are not attending the forum.
  • ZBAA cannot be used as an alternate (except in an emergency) until 6 September (Refer NOTAM E1870/18).

Operators are advised to consider ZBSJ/Shijiazhuang Zhengding airport (139nm away) and ZBTJ/Tianjin Binhai airport (67nm away) as alternative destinations during this time period.

Do you know more? Let us know!

Japan scrambles record number of jets as tensions rise with China

In Short: Japan scrambled a record number of fighter jets in the past year. The number rose to an all-time high of 1,168 in the year to March 2017, easily beating the previous record of 944 set at the height of the cold war in 1984. Chinese aircraft approaching Japanese airspace prompted 851 of the incidents, an increase of 280 over the previous year.

According to official figures released on Thursday, Japan’s Air Self Defense Force is scrambling fighter jets in record numbers as Chinese military activity escalates. Interceptions of Chinese planes rose by half in the year to March 31, in response to increases in the communist country’s activity in and around the East China Sea.

Japan worries that China is probing its air defences as part of a push to extend its military influence in the East China Sea and western Pacific, where Japan controls an island chain stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) south towards Taiwan. The figures highlight China’s growing assertion of military power in East Asia as it expands and modernises its armed forces in line with rapid economic growth.

For the first time, Chinese jets recently began flying through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan, and through the Miyako Strait into the Pacific Ocean.

But it’s not only China that Japan is worried about. Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned North Korea may be capable of firing a missile loaded with sarin nerve gas towards Japan. “There is a possibility that North Korea already has a capability to deliver missiles with sarin as warheads,” he told a parliamentary national security committee.

And then there’s Russia. Scrambles by Japanese aircraft were high throughout the 1980s in response to flights by Soviet aircraft during the cold war. They fell back to 100-200 incidents a year during the 1990s and 2000s, but began to pick up again a decade ago as both China and Russia grew more assertive.

Mr Abe has been trying to negotiate with Russian president Vladimir Putin over the future of four disputed islands in the Kuril chain to Japan’s north, but has made limited progress, with the jet scrambles showing Moscow’s determination to make its presence felt on its eastern border. There were 301 scrambles to intercept Russian aircraft during the year, 13 more than the previous year, including incidents where Russian jets circumnavigated the Japanese Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands to the south.

Extra Reading:

Beijing bans charter flights

ZBAA/Beijing airport authorities have said the airport is now so busy, they will not accept any new requests for charter flights between now and Mar 31, at the earliest.

No official document has been published on this yet, and the authorities have said it will not be published on the Notams either – but the new rule is already in effect.

For GA flights, the same rules apply as usual: maximum 24hrs parking, no ops allowed from 23-01z, and an aircraft cannot have two peak hour slots between 01-14z during one day. Many operators choose to go to ZBTJ/Tianjin instead, or ferry there for parking.

For more information on ops to China, download our Lowdown guide by clicking the image below:

China-Taiwan airway dispute turns nasty

Taiwan is demanding an immediate end to China’s M503 airway over the Taiwan Strait.

China first started using this airway back in March 2015, but only for north-to-south traffic. Most airlines used this route to get to Hong Kong, Macao, and Southeast Asia.

Taiwan didn’t like it – they complained that the airway was too close to the FIR boundary between the two countries (it sits around 8km inside China’s ZSHZ/Shanghei FIR), and they claimed it interfered with services between Taiwan’s main island and the islands of Kinmen and Matsu close to the coast of China’s province of Fujian.

Now China have opened up the airway to south-to-north traffic too. Figures from 2017 showed that flights from Hong Kong to Shanghai were getting delayed at an average of over 100 minutes, so China have decided to start using this airway for northbound traffic to ease congestion a bit.

In response, Taiwan have said that China’s action undermines cross-strait relations and stability in the region – which follows weeks of reports about Chinese military jets and navy ships approaching Taiwanese territory.

China don’t seem too concerned though. The government official from their ‘Taiwan Affairs Office’ had this to say on the matter:

“The mainland started south to north operation of the M503 flight route from Jan 4 this year, which involves no Taiwan flight route or destination and will not affect Taiwan flight safety… The M503 flight route is located close to the mainland in the Taiwan Strait and in the Shanghai Flight Information Region. The establishment and operation of the M503 route is routine work for the mainland’s civil aviation authorities.”

So for now, if you’re flying from the VHHK/Hong Kong FIR in the south to any number of airports in northern China, the Chinese authorities are quite happy for you to route via M503. Taiwan won’t like it, but it seems there’s very little they can do about it.

More information:

  • For flights to or from Taiwan: you’ll have to completely avoid overflying or landing in China. Full details here.
  • For flights to China: make sure you know about the hidden costs of operating there here.
  • If you want to know exactly how to get your landing or overflight permits, check out our Permit Book – this tells you how to get a permit for each and every country in the world!

Ops to Taiwan? You’ll have to avoid China

We’ve had lots of questions on this subject lately. So here’s what you need to know:

  • Foreign-registered aircraft are prohibited from operating direct between China and Taiwan.
  • You’ve got to make a tech stop somewhere between the two countries – most choose to do so in either VHHH/Hong Kong or VMMC/Macau.
  • Importantly, the same rules apply for China overflights – if you’re flying to Taiwan from any third country, you can’t overfly China. 
  • Only Chinese and Taiwanese registered aircraft are able to operate direct between China and Taiwan.

The Chinese authorities are reluctant to provide any kind of official document stating any of this – we haven’t been able to find any precise wording anywhere in their AIP which states these restrictions.

To test the theory, we applied to the Chinese authorities for a landing permit for a direct flight from Taiwan to China. After we applied, we received an immediate call from CAAC emphasising that they will not deal with such applications for foreign registered aircraft. They advised they will not process this application and verbally rejected it.

The Chinese authorities circulate an official document to Chinese handling agents about this issue, which sets out the rules quite clearly. For some reason, they don’t like these to be distributed outside of China… so naturally, we got our hands on a translated copy!

So here’s a handy chart showing exactly what you can / can’t do:

There’s one more scenario that is apparently also not allowed:

You can’t overfly both China and Taiwan and then land in a third country. For example, you’re departing from RPLL/Manilla in the Philippines, then overflying Taiwan (RCAA FIR), then overflying China (ZSHA FIR), and then landing in a third country like RKSI/Seoul in South Korea – according to the Chinese authorities, this is not allowed, and they won’t issue an overflight permit!

More information:

  • If you are planning any flights to China anytime soon, make sure you know about the hidden costs of operating there here.
  • If you want to know exactly how to get your landing or overflight permits, check out our Permit Book – this tells you how to get a permit for each and every country in the world!

Sanya FIR: Do I need an overflight permit?

The 3-second answer: you don’t need a China overflight permit on airways: A1, L642, M771 and N892. You only need one if you’re travelling on airway A202.

That kind of makes sense, as A202 is the only airway right up there at the very top of the Sanya FIR, cutting across Sanya’s landmass, and connecting the VVVV/Hanoi FIR with the ZGZU/Guangzhou FIR. All the other airways are out over the ocean, down to the South of the Sanya FIR, and not going anywhere near the Chinese mainland.

So if you want to operate on A202, you’ll need a China overflight permit. Technically, you’re supposed to submit your request to the CAA by AFTN to: ZBBBZGZX, ZGGGZBZX and ZJSYZRZX, 3 days in advance. However, unless you’ve done it before and you know what you’re doing, we suggest you just use an agent instead – dealing with the Chinese authorities direct can often be a misery.

Regardless of which airway you use, if you’re flying on a call sign, remember to put down the aircraft reg in Field 18 of the flight plan, and fill the accumulated EET to the Sanya FIR. Also, if you’re flying on L642, M771 or N892, you’ve got to be RNP10 approved, otherwise you’ll have to stay below FL280.

US 737 tests the China ADIZ

China: Go away quickly please
US Aircraft: Nope
China: Go away quickly!
US Aircraft: No!

The US is doing us all a huge favour at the moment. In fact, it’s been providing this service to the world for some time.

Every so often, a country extends its borders a little too far – outside the normal 12nm limit, for example. China has been busy. They’ve been building some things in the South China Sea. Islands, in fact. And on those islands they’ve built runways, control towers, and big radars. Naturally, they confirmed last Friday that they are for civilian use only. Hmmm.

So the US dusts off an airplane and knocks on the door. Flies around for a bit. Sees what’s going on. And reminds the country that international waters are just that. They publish a list each year of where they’ve done this. Worth a read.

In 2013 they popped up an ADIZ. And made everyone passing through it copy their Flight Plans to Beijing. In principle, ADIZ’s are a pretty good idea. The normal 12nm isn’t really much time for the military to figure out if you’re coming to bomb them. Especially on the weekend.

But you can’t tell airplanes to get out of an ADIZ. It’s an Identification Zone, not an Intercept Zone. So, normally ADIZ’s require you to squawk something and have a Flight Plan.

That much is OK. But China has been warning aircraft to get out of ‘their airspace’. And it’s not. This 737 (aka P-8 Poseidon) went for a nosey.

These operations help us all operating internationally to have less rules to worry about. Which is good.

 

Initially, most abided by the 2015 ADIZ rules. In 2016 that adherence quietly eroded. And China quietly didn’t care too much. It did threaten a second ADIZ in the South China Sea, but since the first one didn’t really take off, they probably won’t.

It’s part of a bigger diplomatic game. Interesting to watch, though.

China updates: ZBAA, ZBTJ, ZSAM

1. From now until the end of June, ZSAM/Xiamen airport will closed daily between 0010-0610 local time, and business flights will not be allowed to land or take-off between 0700-0900 local time daily as per the CAAC’s regulation (the same regulation applies to over 20 other airports in China including ZBAA, ZSSS, ZSPD, ZGGG and ZGSZ).

 

2. China’s “two sessions” begins this week – two big political conferences (CPPCC and NPC) that are held every year. ZBAA/Beijing gets busier than ever.

Even at the best of times, ZBAA only allows 24 hours maximum parking time for foreign GA, so expect to get sent to ZBTJ/Tianjin for parking: an Airport of Entry that regularly takes overflow traffic from Beijing.

As the nearest airport from ZBAA, ZBTJ is also accepting more ferry flights at the moment – the ZBTJ airport authority has been told to continue to do so until 30th April.

 

3. Be aware it’s going to become more and more common this year for Chinese immigration to record fingerprints of foreign travellers who enter China via international airports.

Midweek Briefing 13JUL: South Sudan off limits, New Zealand airport strike off

South Sudan off limits 13JUL The security situation in Juba, and South Sudan, has deteriorated in the last week, with HSSJ/JUB becoming off limits due to fighting. Read the article.

New Zealand airport strike off 13JUL A planned strike by Aviation Security across airports in New Zealand, which would have led to wide scale disruption, has been called off at the last minute. Read the article.


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.

SBZZ/Brazil is the latest country to wield the threat of shooting down aircraft. Last month we reported on the same language from Sudan, in reference to overflight permits. Brazil’s firm stance is in relation to the Olympic Games, and says that unidentified aircraft that violate the protected airspace around facilities of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. “We are not playing,” said Defence Minister Raul Jungmann. This is more of concern to a lost C172 than commercial flights (unlike Sudan, which is the reverse), but worth being aware of.

EGPZ/Poland has effectively dispensed with the Schengen agreement for now, expect full border controls at all international airports (ie. Passport check, Gendec).

EGPZ/Scottish FIR The military are carrying out some GPS jamming trials over the ocean from 12-29JUL. If you’re operating in the region of Benbecula VOR, especially west of it, be aware that your GPS might stop working.

OAKX/Kabul 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. The advice from ATC in Afghanistan is to keep trying the assigned frequency until within range of a different transmitter; in the meantime, a bit of SLOP, IFBP and TCAS should keep you out of trouble. See full article.

MKZZ/Jamaica Significant increase in the number of confirmed cases of Dengue fever in Jamaica during the first half of 2016. Dengue fever is endemic to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year.

ENZZ/Norway FIR Plans are afoot to raise the transition altitude to 18,000ft. It’s an age old question, why does Europe have different TA’s, and the US has just one? Together with surrounding countries, and the Irish FAB, this looks to be changing – but it may take a little while. See Norway AIC 7/16.

YBBB/Brisbane FIR (and Melbourne) will be updating their software on the night of 20JUL, with a hefty 6 hour outage of CPDLC and all the other good stuff.

OAMS/Mazar-E-Sharif Fuel payment is now only accepted in cash.

NZZZ/New Zealand A planned strike by two airport workers’ unions and New Zealand’s Aviation Security Service (Avsec) will now not go ahead. The unions sought increases in compensation, and negotiations on their demands will take place in the coming weeks. Read the article

EYPH/Paluknys is a new location indicator for the airport in Lithuania.

ZBDS/Edros – Ejin Horo, China will open to foreign flights this month. We did battle with AIP China for 30 mins to get further info but lost the fight. If you know more, tell us and we’ll share.

HSZZ/South Sudan The ceasefire announced on 11 July is holding. Juba International Airport (HSSJ/JUB) is open to charter operations; however, commercial flights have yet to resume. U.S. government aircraft evacuated personnel on 12 July; however, a security message issued by the embassy later in the day advised U.S. citizens to continue to shelter in place and not attempt to travel to the airport. Meanwhile, other countries, such as Japan, Uganda, and Germany plan to send military aircraft to evacuate their nationals.

SEZZ/Ecuador A large earthquake (6.4) struck on 10JUL just east of Muisne, on the northwest coast of Ecuador. The quake had a shallow depth and followed 10 minutes after another earthquake that had a magnitude of 5.9. Although strong tremors were reported in Esmeralda and Quito, there were no immediate reports of damage. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning following the quake.

UZZZ/Mt. Klyuchevskoy, Russia continues to produce ash that extends up to 25,000 feet. Movement is towards the east at 10 knots.

PZZZ/Pacific Two hurricanes to monitor: The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Hurricane Celia, located more than 1000 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, and on Tropical Storm Darby, located several hundred miles west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico. Tropical Storm 05E (Darby) is on a strengthening trend…and may reach category 1 hurricane stage over the open ocean in a couple of days. For now both are expected to remain offshore.

DGZZ/Ghana African Union nationals whose countries do not have a visa-free agreement with Ghana are now eligible for a 30-day visa-on-arrival for business and tourism. The visa-on-arrival program will be piloted for three months starting at Kotoka Airport and will be extended to other ports of entry in the future. Travellers can extend their visa upon expiry in Ghana, and business travellers can apply for a longer-term visa at a Ghanaian consular post.

BIZZ/Iceland ATC Strike continues, primarily affecting BIKF/Keflavik, BIRK/Reykjavik, and BIRD/Reykjavik Oceanic for International Operators. Restrictions on landing, eastbound, and westbound overflying traffic. Read the article

LTBB/Istanbul FIR If you’ve got some time on your hands, 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.. If you’re busy, just skip all of it when they appear on your Pre Flight Briefing for Turkey or Greece (which they will).

View the full International Bulletin 13JUL2016

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