Egypt

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
There remains a threat from terrorism in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsular. Only the UK and Germany still have active airspace warnings here - both countries essentially advise against overflights below FL260 in the northern part of the Sinai region. The US had a similar warning in place until it was rescinded in March 2022.



Major events:
July 2019: British Airways suspends Cairo operations for one week due to security concerns.
Feb 2017: An SA-7 anti-aircraft missile tube was found less than a mile from HECA/Cairo airport.
Oct 2015: A Russian A321 was brought down over the Sinai peninsula by a bomb loaded at HESH/Sharm El Sheikh. The group claimed the IED was placed aboard the aircraft prior to departing HESH, raising concerns of potential insider threats at the airport.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
Germany AIC 17/22 13 Jan 2022 Ongoing
USA US FAA Background Notice 30 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2022
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 18 Nov 2015 Ongoing
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 17/22
Issued: 13-Jan-22, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Sinai Peninsula presents a risk below FL260 for overflights and landings, with a particular focus on the northern part.
Level 2 warning (medium). Civil German air operators are recommended not to enter FIR CAIRO (HECC) within the northern part of Sinai Peninsula between 311800N 322000E and 293000N 324000E EAST to FIR CAIRO boundary below FL260. Potential risk from anti-aviation and ground to ground weaponry.
Source: USA
Issued: 30-Mar-21, valid until: 31 Mar 2022
Plain English: In March 2022 the US FAA cancelled its airspace warning for the Sinai Peninsula below FL260. We continue to list it here for reference.
FAA Background Information Regarding U.S. Civil Aviation – Egypt Sinai Peninsula in the Cairo (HECC) Flight Information Region (FIR).

Due to ongoing fighting between military forces and extremist/militant elements and the continuing extremist/militant threat to civil aviation, the FAA assesses there is continued risk to U.S. civil aviation operating into, out of, within, or over the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in the Cairo Flight Information Region (FIR) (HECC), within the lateral limits described in NOTAM A0010/21, at altitudes below Flight Level (FL) 260.

Civil aircraft operating on established international civil air routes transiting the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula in the Cairo FIR (HECC) at altitudes below FL 260 and aircraft operating to and from Sinai airports are at risk from extremist/militant attacks involving a variety of anti-aircraft capable weapons, including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), small arms-fire and indirect fire weapons, such as mortars and rockets targeting aircraft and Sinai airports. Some MANPADS present a risk up to a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet.

The Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham in the Sinai (ISIS-Sinai), an Egypt-based affiliate of ISIS, continues to conduct attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, some of which have demonstrated their intent and capability to target critical infrastructure and civilian targets. During 2020, ISIS-Sinai continued attacks against Egyptian security forces and civilian targets in northern Sinai, including multiple improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against residential areas and an attack against a gas pipeline. From 2014 to 2017, ISIS-Sinai attacked multiple aviation-related targets, most notably in December 2017, when the group used an anti-tank guided missile to destroy a military VIP helicopter at Al ‘Arish International Airport (ICAO: HEAR).

While predominately operating in the northern portion of the peninsula, ISIS-Sinai has demonstrated the capability to conduct attacks in southern Sinai. In February 2017, ISIS-Sinai militants in southern Sinai fired rockets across the border toward Eilat, Israel. In October 2015, ISIS-Sinai claimed responsibility for an IED attack, which destroyed a Russian passenger aircraft en-route to St. Petersburg, Russia, shortly after its departure from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport (ICAO: HESH) in the southern Sinai. The group claimed the IED was placed aboard the aircraft prior to departing HESH, raising concerns about potential insider threats at the airport. In June 2015, ISISSinai fired rockets towards El Gora Airport (ICAO: HEGR), located in northern Sinai. Regarding aircraft in flight, in January 2014, ISIS-Sinai fired small arms at an Egyptian military aircraft and used MANPADS to shoot down an Egyptian military helicopter flying at low altitude. Although MANPADS have not been used to target civil aircraft in the Sinai, extremists/militants have the capability to do so with little or no warning.

The FAA will continue to monitor for changes in the risks to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Cairo (HECC) FIR and will adjust its advisory for U.S. civil aviation operations as conditions warrant.
Source: UK
Issued: 18-Nov-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Risk to aircraft overflying Egypt's Northern Sinai region at less than 25,000ft AGL.
Hazardous Situation in Egypt

Potential risk to aviation overflying Egyptian airspace in Northern Sinai Governate within the area bounded by 311400N 0322200E - 294000N 0324000E - 293000N 0345400E - 312000N 0341200E - 311400N 0322200E (Cairo FIR, Sinai Peninsula) at less than 25,000 ft above ground level (agl) from dedicated anti-aviation weaponry.

Operators are strongly advised to avoid operating at less than 25,000 ft agl in this airspace.