TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ON TRUMP-KIM VISIT

Singapore will operate under a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) during the upcoming Trump-Kim summit. What does this mean for pilots and aircraft flying into Changi? Here’s a primer.

By Jim Simon

As Singapore gears up for the 12 June summit between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a number of security precautions have been announced for the areas near the hotels where VIPs are expected to reside and meet. Anyone within the “special zones” is subject to increased inspection and some items are prohibited.

In the United States, the protection of the president of the United States (POTUS) is enhanced through the enaction of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs). Communicated via standard Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), these TFRs advise pilots of airspace restrictions that are in force wherever the president is.

The forty-fifth POTUS, Donald Trump, likes to spend weekends at his Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, which is a mere 2.1 nautical miles (nm) away from Palm Beach International Airport (PBI). When Mr. Trump is in residence, a TFR is enacted with details similar to:

  • A zone consisting of a 10 nm inner core and a 30 nm outer core from the surface to 17,999 feet
  • All flight operations are prohibited within the 10 nm inner core except for official flight operations such as:
    • The president’s aircraft (known as Air Force One when the president is aboard)
    • Military aircraft supporting the U.S. Secret Service
    • Other approved law enforcement aircraft
    • Scheduled commercial and cargo flights operating under standard security programs
    • General aviation aircraft with specific permission and in accordance with the TFR

Because the POTUS changes locations frequently, sometimes visiting several cities in a day, TFRs can catch normally diligent pilots off guard resulting in pilots “busting” a TFR. Some busted pilots have reported that they were asked to call an air traffic control center to discuss the incursion. Others have found themselves with unexpected company in the form of US military jet escorts to the nearest airport. While it has not yet occurred, a TFR-busting pilot could potentially be shot down if a threat to the POTUS is deemed probable.

For the upcoming Summit, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has published the following TFR covering all of Singapore:

For reasons of national security, the airspace over Singapore is declared temporary restricted airspace. All arrival into Singapore Changi Airport shall be required to reduce speed to 250 knots indicated airspeed or slower WI 40 nm radius from Singapore Changi Airport or when at or below 10,000 ft; be restricted to RWY 02 up to a tailwind of 10 knots unless unable to accept tailwind component. Traffic requiring to land on RWY 02 can expect delay of at least 10 minutes; maintain an in-trail spacing of at least 10 nm; establish on ILS RWY 02C by 10 nm finals. Thereafter, ACFT must not deviate from the LLZ course without ATC clearance.

Bottomline and in plain English: Expect a bit more restrictions and delays for aircraft coming into Changi Airport.