Ethiopia

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
The conflict in the Northern Ethiopian region of Tigray continues. The country is on the verge of civil war. The Government military are engaged in active fighting with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) who are seeking independence. Several countries have issued airspace warnings cautioning against overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR.

The primary risk to aviation is from misidentification/miscalculation by TPLF or government forces with the use of anti-aircraft weaponry. In other words - civil aircraft being mistaken for something of military interest, or simply caught in the crossfire.

Read: OPSGROUP article: Ethiopia: Increased risk for overflights, Nov 2021

Major Events:
Nov 2021: Six-month nationwide state of emergency declared, following increased fighting between the military and TPLF rebel forces in the north of the country. Several western countries have issued security warnings. The US is now saying “do not travel” to Ethiopia due to armed conflict and civil unrest, and is encouraging those who are in the country to leave. The conflict will likely intensify in the coming weeks - the government has urged people in the capital Addis Ababa to arm themselves, as the northern rebel forces advance to the south.

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 follows reports that militia shot down a military transport plane in the region the previous week, near the capital Mekele. Caution if overflying the area, particularly on airways UM656/UT124 between the HSSS/Khartoum and HAAA/Addis FIRs which have previously been closed due to the conflict.



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 September 7th. Many were not qualified to operate in Ethiopian airspace, due to inexperience.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
Canada Notam CZQX H3734/21 23 Nov 2021 01 Jan 2022
USA Notam KICZ A0035/21 18 Nov 2021 Ongoing
USA US FAA Background Notice 18 Nov 2021 Ongoing
United Kingdom Notam EGTT V0031/21 16 Nov 2021 15 Feb 2022
Germany Notam EDGG B1393/21 15 Oct 2021 12 Jan 2022
Ethiopia Notam HAAA A0222/21 27 Jul 2021 27 Oct 2021
OPSGROUP Airspace Risk Warning ARW11-2020 17 Nov 2020 Ongoing
KACTA Letter of Concern Safety Issues in Ethiopia 30 Aug 2018 07 Sep 2018
OPSGROUP Research Article Ethiopia Covering Up ATC Strike 29 Aug 2018 07 Sep 2018
Source: Canada
Issued: 23-Nov-21, valid until: 01 Jan 2022
Plain English: Caution for overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at or below FL290 due to ongoing ground conflict.
AIR OPERATORS AND OWNERS OF ACFT REGISTERED IN CANADA ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE GREAT CAUTION WHEN FLYING AT OR BELOW FL290 IN THE ADDIS ABABA (HAAA) FIR DUE TO ONGOING CONFLICT BETWEEN OPPOSITION GROUPS AND MILITARY FORCES.
23 NOV 01:32 2021 UNTIL 31 DEC 23:59 2021.
CREATED: 23 NOV 01:32 2021
Source: USA
Issued: 18-Nov-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR should be at FL290 or above. Ongoing conflict on the ground poses a potential inadvertent risk to aviation from weapons fire due to misidentification/miscalculation.
SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ADVISORY FOR ADDIS ABABA FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) (HAAA).

THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) BELOW ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN FLYING INTO, OUT OF, WITHIN, OR THROUGH THE ADDIS ABABA FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) (HAAA) AT ALTITUDES BELOW FL 290 DUE TO ONGOING CLASHES BETWEEN OPPOSITION GROUPS AND MILITARY FORCES.

A. APPLICABILITY. THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO: ALL U.S. AIR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS; ALL PERSONS EXERCISING THE PRIVILEGES OF AN AIRMAN CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE FAA, EXCEPT WHEN SUCH PERSONS ARE OPERATING U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER; AND ALL OPERATORS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT WHEN THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER.

B. PLANNING. THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) PLANNING TO FLY INTO, OUT OF, WITHIN, OR THROUGH THE ABOVE-NAMED AREA ARE STRONGLY REMINDED TO REVIEW CURRENT SECURITY/THREAT INFORMATION AND NOTAMS; COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE FAA REGULATIONS, OPERATIONS SPECIFICATIONS, MANAGEMENT SPECIFICATIONS, AND LETTERS OF AUTHORIZATION, INCLUDING UPDATING B450; AND, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE, PROVIDE AT LEAST 72-HOUR ADVANCE NOTICE OF PLANNED FLIGHTS TO THE FAA AT FAA-WATCH@FAA.GOV WITH SPECIFIC FLIGHT DETAILS.

C. OPERATIONS. ANY PERSON DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) PLANNING TO OPERATE INTO, OUT OF, WITHIN, OR THROUGH THE ABOVE-NAMED AREA SHOULD PLAN TO EXERCISE CAUTION DURING FLIGHT OPERATIONS DUE TO THE POTENTIAL INADVERTENT RISK TO CIVIL AVIATION OPERATING IN OR NEAR AREAS OF FIGHTING. CIVIL AIRCRAFT MAY BE DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY EXPOSED TO GROUND WEAPONS FIRE AND/OR SURFACE-TO-AIR FIRE DUE TO MISIDENTIFICATION AND/OR MISCALCULATION IN SUCH AREAS.

THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) MUST REPORT SAFETY AND/OR SECURITY INCIDENTS RELATED TO THIS NOTAM TO THE FAA AT +1 202-267-3333.

SFC - FL289, 18 NOV 01:25 2021 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 18 NOV 01:26 2021.
Source: USA
Issued: 18-Nov-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Aircraft below FL290 in the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR are at increased risk from anti-aircraft fire which may soon include flights operating in and out of HAAB/Addis Ababa airport if the conflict continues to escalate. 
Click the link for full text.
Source: United Kingdom
Issued: 16-Nov-21, valid until: 15 Feb 2022
Plain English: Potential risk to overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at all altitudes from anti-aviation weaponry.
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNINGS ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT IN RESPONSE TO HAZARDOUS SITUATIONS WITHIN THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF ETHIOPIA. POTENTIAL RISK TO AVIATION OVERFLYING ADDIS ABABA FIR AT ALL ALTITUDES FROM DEDICATED ANTI-AVIATION WEAPONRY. OPERATORS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO TAKE THIS POTENTIAL RISK INTO ACCOUNT IN THEIR RISK ASSESSMENTS AND ROUTING DECISIONS. 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, 16 NOV 08:39 2021 UNTIL 14 FEB 11:59 2022 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 16 NOV 08:40 2021
Source: Germany
Issued: 15-Oct-21, valid until: 12 Jan 2022
Plain English: Caution for overflights in the northern portion of the HAAA/Addis FIR (above 10 degrees north, east of the UN301 airway), due to the risk of anti-aircraft weaponry and other military activity.
SECURITY ETHIOPIA POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION - FIR ADDIS ABABA (HAAA)
HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN ETHIOPIA. CIVIL GERMAN AIR OPERATORS ARE
ADVISED TO TAKE POTENTIAL RISK INTO ACCOUNT IN THEIR RISK ASSESSMENT
AND ROUTING DECISIONS WITHIN THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF ETHIOPIA,
NORTH OF LATITUDE N10 AND EAST OF AIRWAY UN301 (AS PART OF FIR
ADDIS ABABA (HAAA)) INCLUDING LANDING, TAXIING, PARKING AND TAKE-OFF.
POTENTIAL RISK TO AVIATION FROM HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITY AND
DEDICATED ANTI-AVIATION WEAPONRY.
EMERGENCY SITUATION: IN AN EMERGENCY THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE DECISION
AND ACTION FOR THE SAFETY OF THE FLIGHT, THE PILOT IN COMMAND MAY
DEVIATE FROM THIS NOTAM TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY THAT EMERGENCY.
15 OCT 14:03 2021 UNTIL 12 JAN 22:59 2022.
CREATED: 15 OCT 14:04 2021
Source: Ethiopia
Issued: 27-Jul-21, valid until: 27 Oct 2021
Plain English: Airspace closed below FL290 in the north of the country due to ongoing conflict. (This Notam expired on Oct 27, but we are keeping it listed here for reference).
FLIGHT IS PROHIBITED TO FLY AT OR BELOW FL290 WITHIN MEKELE TMA AND WITHIN THE AIRSPACE DEFINED BY JOINING THE FOLLOWING SUCCESSIVE POINTS AND LINES
135914.7N 0362048.9E
130042.8N 0365122.9E
ETOBU(132132N 0373433E)
TILUD(134116N 0375950E)
EVITO(142911N 0382424E)
THE COMMON FIR BOUNDARY BETWEEN ADDIS AND ASMARA AND THE COMMON FIR BOUNDARY BETWEEN ADDIS AND KHARTOUM. REF AIP SUP A 04/2021.
GND - FL290, 27 JUL 09:00 2021 UNTIL 27 OCT 09:00 2021.
CREATED: 01 AUG 05:52 2021
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: 07 Sep 2018
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: 07 Sep 2018
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.