Ethiopia

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
Improving airspace risk picture in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region since a peace deal was agreed to end the conflict in early Nov 2022. Airspace warnings remain in place for now though - several states say to avoid the area.



The primary risk to aviation is from any large-scale ceasefire violations involving missiles or anti-aircraft weaponry, which may present a risk to overflights in the region - civil aircraft being mistaken for something of military interest, or simply caught in the crossfire.

Major Events:
Nov 2022: Peace deal agreed between the Ethiopian government and TPLF rebel forces in the Tigray region in the north of the country. Ethiopian Airlines is reportedly planning to resume flights to HAMK/Mekele airport soon.
Nov 2021: Several western countries issued airspace warnings, as well as “do not travel” travel warnings for the Tigray region following increased fighting there.
July 2021: HAAA/Addis FIR published a Notam closing a section of airspace below FL290 over the Tigray region along the Ethiopia/Eritrea border. This followed reports that militia shot down a military transport plane in the region the previous week, near the capital Mekele.
Nov 2020: Major escalation of the conflict in the Tigray region, along the Ethiopia/Eritrea border. Some airways were closed by the Ethiopian and Sudanese CAAs. Other airways that were still open were very close to the conflict zone. These are frequently used by international operators on the Europe-East Africa route. In particular: UN321, UG300 and UL432. Multiple airports were targeted by rockets. Missiles were fired across the border into Eritrea, targeting HHAS/Asmara. Within Ethiopia, HABD/Bahir Dar and HAGN/Gondar were also targeted.
Sep 2018: Risk due to hidden ATC strike. Ethiopian ATC controllers went on strike, and the ECAA and Ethiopian Airlines recruited both retired and foreign controllers to pick up the slack. Ethiopia denied several times that there was in fact a strike happening at all. The strike ended Sep 7. Many were not qualified to operate in Ethiopian airspace, due to inexperience.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
United Kingdom Notam EGTT V0003/23 19 Jan 2023 18 Apr 2023
France AIC 24/22 17 Nov 2022 Ongoing
Germany AIC 20/22 11 Jan 2022 Ongoing
Canada AIC 3/23 22 Nov 2021 Ongoing
OPSGROUP Airspace Risk Warning ARW11-2020 17 Nov 2020 Ongoing
KACTA Letter of Concern Safety Issues in Ethiopia 30 Aug 2018 Ongoing
OPSGROUP Research Article Ethiopia Covering Up ATC Strike 29 Aug 2018 Ongoing
Source: United Kingdom
Issued: 19-Jan-23, valid until: 18 Apr 2023
Plain English: Potential risk to overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at all altitudes from anti-aviation weaponry.
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT. SECURITY - HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA. UK CIVIL AIR OPERATORS ARE ADVISED TO TAKE POTENTIAL RISK INTO ACCOUNT WITHIN THE ADDIS ABABA FIR (HAAA) / TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF ETHIOPIA. POTENTIAL RISK FROM ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONRY. CONTACT UK DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT +44 (0)207-082 6639 OR +44 (0)207-944 5999 OUT OF HOURS. 2021-09-0870/AS6. SFC - UNL, 19 JAN 15:21 2023 UNTIL 17 APR 11:59 2023. CREATED: 19 JAN 15:34 2023
Source: France
Reference: AIC 24/22
Issued: 17-Nov-22, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should not fly in the northern section of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR, and should exercise caution across the rest of the country’s airspace below FL320.
From 17/11/2022 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested:
- not to penetrate into the part of the ADDIS ABABA FIR (HAAA) corresponding to the TMA (terminal manoeuvring area) of MEKELE airport as well as in the portion of airspace defined by the points 135914.7N - 0362048.9E, 130042.8N - 0365122.9E, ETOBU (132132N -0373433E), TILUD (134116N, 0375950E), EVITO (142911N – 0382424E), the boundary between the ADDIS ABABA (HAAA) and ASMARA (HHAA) flight information regions and the boundary between the ADDIS
ABABA (HAAA) and KHARTOUM (HSSX) flight information regions,
- to exercise great caution when overflying within the rest of ADDIS ABABA FIR (HAAA) below FL 320.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 20/22
Issued: 11-Jan-22, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: German operators are prohibited from entering a northern section of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at all flight levels, due to risks associated with the ongoing conflict there. The prohibited area includes the Mekele TMA and airspace to the west up to the HSSX/Khartoum and HHAA/Asmara FIRs.
Level 3 (Highest Risk - Do Not Enter). Civil German air operators are prohibited to enter FIR ADDIS ABABA (HAAA) within Mekele TMA and within the airspace defined by joining the following successive points and lines: 135915N 0362049E 130043N 0365123E ETOBU (132132N 0373433E) TILUD (134116N 0375950E) EVITO (142911N 0382424E), the common FIR boundary between ADDIS ABABA and ASMARA and the common FIR boundary between ADDIS ABABA and KHARTOUM.

Potential risk from military activity and anti-aviation weaponry.

Further information: Website of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport of Germany (www.BMVI.DE/KRISENMANAGEMENT).
Source: Canada
Reference: AIC 3/23
Issued: 22-Nov-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Caution for overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at or below FL290 due to potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military operations.
Level 1 (Information)
SECURITY – HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA. Canadian Air Operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are advised to take all potential risk information into account in their risk assessment and routing decisions when operating at a flight level equal to or below flight level FL290 within FIR Addis Ababa (HAAA). Potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military operations.
Source: OPSGROUP
Issued: 17-Nov-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Airspace Risk warning for Ethiopia/Eritrea - Tigray Conflict Zone. Risk to overflights on adjacent airways, and airports in region.
See PDF for full content.
Source: KACTA
Issued: 30-Aug-18, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Kenyan ATC Controllers have listed out several major issues with safety both in Ethiopia and in the area shared with Kenyan airspace.
Source: OPSGROUP
Issued: 29-Aug-18, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Ethiopian ATC Controllers went on strike, and ECAA and Ethiopian Airlines used foreign and retired controllers to cover, causing safety concerns.
See link for full story.