Sept. 12, 2019
Operators wishing to assist with hurricane relief operations should take note of two NOTAMs, according to John Kosak, NBAA program manager, weather with NBAA’s Air Traffic Services.
The first is 9/5109, a special security instructions NOTAM, which the FAA is calling a TFR. View the NOTAM. This NOTAM also contains phone numbers for the Bahamian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which is responsible for granting access into the TFR.
While NEMA is in charge of access to the TFR, the FAA has been using airspace flow programs (AFPs) to manage the volume of traffic accessing the Bahamas at any given time in order to maintain safe aircraft separation in that airspace.
Unfortunately, there are a number of aircraft departing from Florida airports and heading over to the Bahamas that are departing VFR and then asking for their IFR clearance when airborne. This is causing significant issues for ATC in the Bahamas. Controllers in the area are being briefed that any aircraft doing this should be held for a time equal (or greater) to the amount of delay they would have encountered due to the AFPs.
The second NOTAM is a set of required routes for operators to use when departing Florida and going to the following four airports: Treasure Cay (MYAT), Marsh Harbour (MYAM), Sandy Point (MYAS) and Grand Bahama (MYGF). These were issued by Miami Center (ZMA), which has also submitted a set of suggested return routes for flights coming back out of the Bahamas to Florida.
Until those are approved by the Bahamian authorities, it is suggested that operators file and fly normal procedures for returning from the Bahamas.
“As always, we strongly suggest that operators check NOTAMs before each flight to make sure they have the most current and up-to-date information possible during an event like this, due to its fluidity,” said Kosak.
Kosak also noted that the aviation department at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), is requesting that operators involved with relief flights to and from the Bahamas share information about their activities so they can be shared with county leadership.
John Pokryfke, director of airport operations for the Broward County Aviation Department, asked that if operators have medical evacuations “that are being brought back to the FLL, please give the AOCC [Airport Operations Control Center] a call prior to that flight arrival so that the arrival can be coordinated with FLL fire-rescue and they can be on site to provide assistance as necessary.”
Relief flight activities at FLL can be emailed to Pokryfke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, NEMA approval is necessary for operations to Abeco and Grand Bahama. View NBAA resources on how to gain approval.