View Full Version : Nicosia/Ercan

23rd Jul 2007, 01:37
I have not flown through that area in a while. Ercan was always very nice and seemed to understand the hierarchy. While it was an odd Air Traffic Control environment, there were no problems.
Is it still gentlemen-like, or have there been Air Traffic Control conflicts between Nicosia and Ercan in the last year?

23rd Jul 2007, 02:04
None that I've heard of recently, seems to work OK as when it was established in the mid-seventies.

23rd Jul 2007, 02:38
I was based in Erçan in the late 1970s for a few months, as a B-720 captain on ACMI with KTHY... was a nice little operation, with short flights, to Istanbul, Ankara, and Adana. Of course, we were not "recognized" by Athens ACC nor Nicosia. Erçan claimed its airspace, but not recognized by ICAO.
Thereafter, I flew that aispace often, on flights between Europe and the Middle-East, and I knew well, what to do when leaving the Turkish airspace, heading for Syrian or Lebanese FIRs... essentially you had to communicate on 2 VHF radios, and report to both Nicosia and Erçan, and not to mention "the other" to be politically correct. Back then, if I remember correctly, Erçan was on 126.7 as frequency.
I think the only very minor incident I ever had, was as to the proper transponder code requested. Nicosia might tell you 1234, and Erçan requested 2345. And obviously, you did not request a flight level change in that contested airspace, to avoid any conflicts.
I never had problems with them, as I knew "better" thanks to my brief career operating for KTHY... but I heard many airplanes getting confused as to proper frequencies and who to report to. The problem was essentially the lack of clarity on the enroute charts, as to "whose airspace" and "which frequencies" to communicate. Since Erçan ACC was not recognized by ICAO, Jeppesen chart were long to publish a certain frequency to use to keep them and Nicosia happy.
Just a personal word here, when I was based there, we were in a small but nice hotel in "Gyrne" (Kyrenia) on the North coast of Cyprus, devoid then of any tourists. It was a little paradise, great food, and the local population, both ethnic Turks or Greeks were very nice to us. The only inconvenience or regret is that we could not pass the "border" to visit the "other side".
Even found my PA notes in Turkish for KTHY, phonetically, it was "Sayin yolyularemoz, kaptan (my name) veh ekibi utsagameza hosh geldiniz. Kabin ekibi, luften otorun. Kalkusha haziriz. Means "hello, I am captain xxx and my crew welcome you aboard, cabin crew please be seated, we will takeoff shorthly...
Happy contrails

23rd Jul 2007, 03:16
Hi gentelmen

I fly the region extensivelyand like the other two gentelmen reported,it is still a nice operation provided you don't offend either Nicosia or Ercan's egos...even ercan's frequency is still 126.700.
I always presume that both are listening on each other's frequencies;so if Nicosia tells me to fly direct from VESAR to BALMA..i will say thank you will do then on the other set,i ask Ercan if he could please clear me direct to BALMA and the answer is always affirmative
I also make sure any transponder code change by one is always cleared with the other,and no problems so far

safe flying to all

Dan Winterland
23rd Jul 2007, 03:26
Flying for a Government who didn't recognise North Cyprus but had to transit the Ercan airspace was a nightmare. As far as Nicosia were concerned, we were in their airspace and we had to call them. But we alos spoke to Ercan for safety reasons - hoping the two wouldn't give conflicting advice!

23rd Jul 2007, 13:44
Any difficulties if your UK-Cyprus-UK route might involve FSK & IMR where control changes twixt LG and LT? It used to be said that both sides to the regional friction could be apt to get on their high horses on the lines of "how could you possibly get here coming from/going to that 'other' place". Hopefully civil aviation is much more civil than it could be.

23rd Jul 2007, 18:26
The whole process is detailed in the Jepps. Haven't got a copy on me right now so can't direct you to the exact spot....but it's there. Follow it there's no dramas. As an aside have a bo peep at http://www.planningcharts.de if you've not been through there for a while. There's some really good stuff on Gerts website. Interesting if nothing else.


24th Jul 2007, 10:36
The procedures are all stated in the Jepps.
I have been flying/crossing in that area for the past sixteen years and never had any snags. You basically talk with Nicosia and relay everything to Erçan; just don't ignore one or the other, like some guy did yesterday. He was overflying Larnaca, but talking to Erçan.

False Capture
24th Jul 2007, 11:15
Details and procedures can also be found on GEN pages 7 and 8 of the Aerad Europe & Middle East Supplement.

We went through Chaos Corner yesterday and it was surprisingly stress-free ... especially as my mate was doing the radio work.:ok:

24th Jul 2007, 12:04
That brings back memories! My very first post on PPRuNe was about this. I'd recently heard a C-5 crew being chewed out by Nicosia for flying in their airspace with only an Ercan clearance. So got them to come up on UHF, explained the problem with the squabbling locals and advised them to explain that they'd been told by Ankara to work Ercan, not Nicosia. Which they did - and the Nicosia controller calemd down a lot!

Dan - we were strictly forbidden to talk to Ercan! Despite asking Arsecoat Ops to sort out an acceptable protocol, they never did. Ercan does not have any internationally-recognised airpsace apart from their ATZ in Turkish-occupied Cyprus. But they are always very nice to anyone who does talk to them as it helps them to legitimise their continued occupation of northern Cyprus.

Coming towards Turkey from the south-west, I used to work Nicosia, then call Ankara 5 min before the FIR boundary. If they told me to recall on a different frequency which subsequently turned out to be Ercan, I just ignored them and called Ankara again at the boundary on the correct frequency with a full position report.

Going south-west, I just called Nicosia just before the boundary for onward squawk and clearance (and, if possible, a 'direct'). Then when told by Ankara to call Ercan, just told them precisely at the boundary that I would be changing to Nicosia with whatever squawk Nicosia had allocated..... Fun listening to the subsequent reaction from Ankara!

When will this stupid bickering end?

galaxy flyer
26th Jul 2007, 16:59
Ercan was always a good question for C-5 (and anyone) on their first line check! Yes, Beags, this was gone over with MAC crews despite their demonstrated confusion.

The Jepp website has a briefing bulletin on the issue, recently updated. Click on "online publications", go to briefing bulletins or IFR publications. Damned silly situation to go on for this long.


26th Jul 2007, 19:27
The story behind the whole thing from the Cyprus ATC association:

The Cyprus political problem and its implications in ATC
Cyprus is the third largest island of the Mediterranean, located between Turkey (to the North),Egypt (to the South) and Syria and Lebanon (to the East). Until 1960 it was a British colony, part of the shrinking British empire. Following an armed uprising by the Greek inhabitants it became an independent republic and a full member of the United Nations on the 1st of October 1960. Its population of 600 000 has been 80% Greek and 18 % Turkish.

Despite the ancient rivalry between the two mother lands the people of Cyprus lived peacefully with each other, both before and after the independence. The political instability of Greece and Turkey in the late Sixties, however, inevitably affected Cyprus, corrupting the relations between the two communities.

In July 1974 a failed coup d' etat initiated by the Greek military Junta with the purpose of overthrowing the Cypriot president, gave Turkey the excuse it was looking for to invade the island. Turkey claimed that it wanted to protect the Turkish Cypriots, bur despite the fact that order was restored in a few days Turkish troops went on with the invasion and occupied 37% of the island's territory. The effects were catastrophic: 200 000 refugees, 2500 killed and 1619 missing. Today, more than a quarter of a century later the turkish occupying forces are still on the island and the refugees still cannot return to their homes. All this despite repeated United Nations resolutions demanding that Turkey withdraws its troops. The new millenium finds Cyprus one of the last divided countries in the world.

Cyprus geographical location not only gives it a significant strategic importance but also makes it a busy destination for tourists and business people from all over the world. Sun, sea and an excellent range of business services combine to attract almost 3 million visitors a year. Since most of these travel by air, Cyprus has become a significant node of civil air traffic. Added to that is traffic transiting between continents and so the Cyprus FIR has become one of the busiest in the region.

Nicosia Area Control Center (ACC), the primary station serving the Cyprus FIR was one of the first in the region to be RADAR equipped, providing an excellent level of service since the late 1980s. The political problem however has had in effect on the ATC system as well. Air Traffic Control relies heavily on the coordination between adjacent units. For example, when an aircraft flies from Athens to Cyprus the Greek controller will call his colleague at Nicosia ACC and give him details of the flight, such as the level at which the aircraft flies and the time it estimates to reach Cyprus. This information will enable the Cypriot controller to plan ahead as to what to instruct the pilot of the aircraft in order to reach its destination safely and quickly. As a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974 this communication has been lost between Turkey and Cyprus. The effect of this is that aircraft can enter the Cyprus FIR at its Northern boundaries with Turkey, without allowing the Cypriot controller the time to decide how to handle the aircraft. In order to minimize the problem, the Cyprus Civil Aviation Authority has issued instructions to aircraft operators so that when an aircraft is flying over Turkey on a route that will bring it over Cyprus then the pilot must call Nicosia ACC 10 minutes prior to entering Cyprus FIR, giving details of its flight (level, route etc.) The entry points to the FIR that are affected by this situation are TOMBI and VESAR.

Ankara ACC, in its effort to change the status quo, instructs the aircraft on a southbound course towards Cyprus, on passing ANTALIA or MUT (significant points well before Turkish FIR boundaries) to contact Ercan. Ercan is an illegal ATC station in the occupied part of the island which is not recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO only recognises the legal government of Cyprus and has issued instructions to aircraft operators to obey only Nicosia ACC when in the Cyprus FIR.

Nevertheless, Ercan's irresponsible attitude sometimes causes problems.For example, although Ercan has no direct communication with neighbouring airports such as Beirut and Damascus, it often issues descend clearances to aircraft proceeding to those destinations. Obviously Cypriot controllers must work extra hard to ensure that safety is not impaired at the area of FIR transition and so far we have managed to carry out this task admirably well.

As a result of all this, international airline operators are unwilling to fly over the airspace directly between Cyprus and Turkey,thus making it redundant to air traffic. This airspace is only used by traffic between Turkish-occupied Cyprus and Turkey. The affected airway is A28 North (from Larnaca to point DOREN).

Finally, due to the conflict, Cyprus registered aircraft do not overfly Turkish airspace, so Cyprus Airways flying, say, to Moscow cannot take the direct short route through Turkey but must go round through Greece ! Obviously this costs Cyprus Airways time and money.

It is hoped that the conflict will be resolved peacefully in the near future and flights within Cyprus FIR will become even smoother than what they are today.

3rd Mar 2009, 00:18
What happens if you want to fly from UK to Ercan via Turkey. Who would you talk to, Ercan atc or Nicosia atc who do not reconise Ercan (although Ercan have a icao code) :confused:

3rd Mar 2009, 01:01
If you fly through Turkish airspace to Erçan, as destination, I would say, to only deal with Erçan, frequency 126.7 as you would anyway start your descent around MUT VOR, to cross DOREN FIR at a somewhat low level, you really do not have to deal with Nicosia.
Your alternates should be either Adana or Antalya. Do not make it Larnaca...!
If you come from anywhere in European/Mediterranean area, through Athens and Nicosia FIR, do not put Erçan as your destination, file it as Antalya (maybe) then upon entering the Ankara FIR, change your destination. Turkish ATC will immediately understand why you did so, and amend your route/destination clearance. I was based in Erçan, on ACMI with KTHY in the 1970s with a B-720, and that is the way I would have done it back then.
When you cross Turkey FIR from MUT through VESAR towards NIKAS and Banias, you have to work with both VHF frequencies Erçan and Nicosia. Nicosia ATC is then your controlling agency, your transponder code is the one Nicosia gives you, just inform Erçan (as courtesy) of the Nicosia clearance. And I am sure they "monitor" what Nicosia tells you.
Happy contrails

galaxy flyer
3rd Mar 2009, 01:46

Here is the Jepp Briefing Bulletin regards to Ercan Control and how it is supposed to be handled

Ercan Control Brief (http://www.jeppesen.com/download/briefbull/bulletinjep_06_01.pdf)


3rd Mar 2009, 01:57
We went through Chaos Corner yesterday and it was surprisingly stress-free
500 above may disagree with you there.... But then that may be his fault for starting a fight in a bar somewhere near PFO.