News Affecting International Flight Operations
IRAQ SITUATION UPDATE: 1 JULY
Fighting between the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Iraqi security forces (ISF) continued in and around Tikrit on 01JUL2014. Reports indicate that airstrikes are also continuing. As of this time, there is no indication that ISF has retaken control of the city from the militants. Additionally, there are some reports which indicate that ISIS seized part of a nearby military base in a counterattack.
AIR FRANCE STAFF TO STRIKE
Air France ground staff announced on 20 July 2014 that they will undertake a strike action on 2 August. No further details are available.
ISLAMISTS RESUME FIGHTING AT TRIPOLI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Islamists resumed fighting at Tripoli International Airport (HLLT/TIP) on 20 July 2014. The attack comes two days after the warring groups agreed to a truce. Residents near the airport indicated the rival Islamist groups were using mortars, rockets and tanks. Damage to the airport is extensive, and officials expect that the facility will have to remain closed for several months.
THAI MILITARY GOVERNMENT INSTITUTES NEW RULES REGARDING VISA OVER-STAYS
On 22 July 2014, the Thai government instituted new rules that pertain to people who overstay their visas. Individuals overstaying their visa by more than 90 days will be banned from re-entering the country for at least one year. Penalties increase depending on how long visitors have overstayed their visa; the most severe of these will be a ten-year ban for anyone overstaying a visa by five years or more. Those penalties pertain to visitors who are found to have broken the law upon departing the country. If immigration officials detain a foreign national overstaying a visa anywhere other than a departure point, the penalties will be more severe. Overstaying a visa by less than one year in that situation would lead to a five-year ban, and overstaying a visa by more than one year would lead to a ten-year ban. For decades, Thailand has been known for its lax immigration and visa policies, but the military regime has made a point to strengthen its immigration regulations and their enforcement.
MILITARY EXERCISES TO CAUSE AIRPORT DELAYS
China’s Civil Aviation Administration announced on 22 July 2014 that ongoing military exercises will cause disruptions in the coming weeks at 12 Chinese airports. The exercises, which commenced on 20 July, will continue through 15 August. The cities that will experience delays include Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Zhengzhou and Qingdao.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION WARNS EBOLA VIRUS LIKELY TO SPREAD
On 27JUN the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is likely to spread to additional countries, as efforts to combat the outbreak have been slow. The WHO warned Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea Bissau specifically that they are at risk. The current outbreak began in March 2014 in Guinea and has since spread to neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia.
UGANDA – IGP SAYS ENTEBBE AIRPORT VULNERABLE TO TERRORIST ATTACK
Ugandan’s inspector general of police (IGP) commented on 30JUN that Entebbe International Airport (HUEN/EBB) is vulnerable to a terrorist attack. The IGP stated that the airport has no nighttime security lighting and that the facility’s other security equipment is “obsolete” or “completely unavailable.” Furthermore, the IGP described the airport’s perimeter fence as “dilapidated” and the security staff as inadequate. In a recent incident, the date of which was not reported, an unauthorized individual was able to approach a military aircraft without being detected. Uganda’s other airports are reported to have similar low security standards.