Hello Suriname. Tell us about yourself.
Who are you?
Ik ben een klein land… Translating Translating… I am a small land in norther South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, and sandwich between Guyana, French Guiana and Brazil.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself
I am the only country outside of Europe where Dutch is the main language.
Wow, cool, so why are we interviewing you today?
Well, folk flying over from Europe and Africa probably overfly me if they are routing to the western side of South America.
And I have had two big ‘issues’ recently that might impact them..
Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good…
No, it hasn’t been.
On February 17, 2023 a load of my ATS staff were not available so we had to close the airspace in SMPM/Paramaribo. It was only from 1800z to 0100z on Feb 18, but it means contingency routes and levels were in place, and we had to coordinate with adjacent centers for everyone trying to get in and out of SMJP/Paramaribo.
We did issue a Notam on it – A0024/23
Well done on the Notam. Tell us about this other issue?
Well, as it it turns out, people aren’t very happy. Actually, this might have been where all my ATS staff were.
On February 17 there was a lot of civil unrest in the capital Paramaribo. Folk were storming about and a state of emergency was declared.
The US embassy issued a warning on security concerns, and advised there could be a suspension of ops at SMJP/Paramaribo if it happens again.
What can folk do who are heading to the area?
Keep an eye out for Notams and news related to:
- More ATC zero events (and contingencies)
- Suspension or disruption at SMJP/Paramaribo (Johan Adolf Pendel) airport
- Think about security on the ground if you do head in
- Contact SMJP tower – 00597325176 / 00597325313 – if you have queries
- Share your contact for handling agents on the ground there if you have
Give us some last handy tips
If you do want to head in or overfly then you’ll need a permit (a permit for everything!)
You need to give three days notice and apply direct to the authorities. Dionne Paskald is very helpful in the CAA. Send a fax with all of the documents, then send those same in an email. If landing you will need to provide copies of vaccination certs for yellow fever with the permit application for all crew members. You should also send passenger and crew manifest when applying for a landing permit.
We told a story about Suriname in 2021
They had an ATC zero event back in 2021 as well, and we wrote about it here with much more info on the contingency procedures (in case you need them again in the future).
Someone told us a story about SMJP/Paramaribo ages ago (2015)
“We arrived on a flight from Sao Paulo Guarulhos (SBGR) from UL776. We were cleared from our last enroute fix to the Paramaribo FIR boundary fix Tirios (TIR) NDB. Communications with Amazonica Control became broken at best and unreadable most of the time. We tried contacting Paramaribo Control without handoff as we approached TIR but all the frequencies on the Hi en route chart did not work. After numerous tries back to Amazonica on last assigned frequency we finally picked up 133.3 as a good frequency for Paramaribo. We were instructed by Paramaribo to fly 080 degree heading out of TIR to intercept the YZ (VOR) 200 degree radial to YZ. Out of 6000”
If you have a new one, file it at Airport Spy.
Here is some other info we dug up:
- SMJP/Paramaribo airport has one runway (11/29) which is 11,417′ (3480m) and has an ILS for 11 and an RNP for 29
- There us another international airport, for GA – SMZO/Zorg en Hoop – but its runway is only 750m long so probably not one you want to plan on using
- SOCA/Cayenne, French Guiana is the closest alternate (173nm)
- SYCJ/Georgetown, Guyana is the next closest (194nm)
More on the topic:
- More: No overnight ATC in Suriname airspace
- More: Midweek Briefing 22JUN: Iceland ATC strike – end in sight, Israel FPL changes