Ethiopia

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
There has been an increase in clashes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region lately, despite a ceasefire agreed earlier in 2022. Airspace in the north of the country should be avoided - several states maintain active airspace warnings for the HAAA/Addis FIR, and Ethiopia still have a Notam in place banning all flights at FL290 and below:



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.


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
France Notam LFFF F1290/22 16 Aug 2022 18 Nov 2022
United Kingdom Notam EGTT V0024/22 04 Aug 2022 02 Nov 2022
Germany AIC 17/22 11 Jan 2022 Ongoing
Canada AIC 16/22 30 Dec 2021 Ongoing
USA Notam KICZ A0035/21 18 Nov 2021 Ongoing
USA US FAA Background Notice 18 Nov 2021 Ongoing
Ethiopia Notam HAAA A0220/22 27 Jul 2021 27 Aug 2022
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: France
Issued: 16-Aug-22, valid until: 18 Nov 2022
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.
FRENCH AIR CARRIERS AND CAPTAINS OF AIRCRAFT IN CHARGE OF AIR SERVICE OPERATED BY CARRIERS HOLDING AN OPERATING LICENCE ISSUED BY FRANCE, WHETHER THEY ARE CONTRACTUAL CARRIERS AND/OR OPERATING CARRIERS, OR PERFORMING AIR SERVICE THROUGH A WET LEASE OR A CODESHARE AGREEMENT AND ANY FLIGHT MADE WITH AN AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN FRANCE, ARE REQUESTED :
- NOT TO PENETRATE INTO THE PART OF THE ADDIS ABABA FIR (HAAA) CORRESPONDING TO THE TMA (TERMINAL MANEUVRING AREA) OF MEKELE AIRPORT AS WELL AS IN THE AIRSPACE DEFINED BY THE FOLLOWING POINTS: 1359'14.7''N - 03620'48.9''E, 1300'42.8''N - 03651'22.9''E, ETOBU (1321'32''N - 03734'33''E), TILUD (1341'16''N, 037 59'50''E), EVITO (1429'11''N - 03824'24''E), 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 FL320.
16 AUG 06:20 2022 UNTIL 17 NOV 23:59 2022. CREATED: 16 AUG 06:20 2022
Source: United Kingdom
Issued: 04-Aug-22, valid until: 02 Nov 2022
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 REGISTERED AIR OPERATORS ARE ADVISED TO TAKE POTENTIAL RISK INTO ACCOUNT IN THEIR RISK ASSESSMENT AND ROUTING DECISIONS 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, 04 AUG 10:50 2022 UNTIL 02 NOV 15:00 2022. CREATED: 04 AUG 11:09 2022
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 17/22
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 16/22
Issued: 30-Dec-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Caution for overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at or below FL290 due to ongoing ground conflict.
Level 1 (Information)
As of November 22, 2021, and until further notice, Canadian Air Operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are advised to take all potential risk information into account in risk assessment and flight planning decisions when operating at a flight level equal to or below flight level FL290 in the airspace of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa FIR (HAAA)), due to the hazardous situation created by the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia.
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: Ethiopia
Issued: 27-Jul-21, valid until: 27 Aug 2022
Plain English: All operators are prohibited from FL290 and below in the north of the country due to ongoing conflict.
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 ASMERA AND THE COMMON FIR BOUNDARY BETWEEN ADDIS AND KHARTOUM. REF AIP SUP A04/2021.
GND - FL290, 27 MAY 09:00 2022 UNTIL 27 AUG 09:00 2022. CREATED: 26 MAY 06:45 2022
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.