Iraq

Risk Level: One - Do Not Fly

[ about risk levels ]
There was an Iranian missile strike on US military bases in Iraq on Jan 8, quickly followed by the shooting down of Ukraine Int Airlines flight 752 in Tehran by the Iranian Armed Forces, having mistaken the aircraft radar return for an inbound missile to Tehran.

In the days following these events, many countries issued warnings to avoid the airspace of Iran and Iraq. We now classify both these countries as Level 1 - Do Not Fly airspace. Tehran and Baghdad FIRs are off limits. Operating to airports in either Iraq or Iran is equally unadvisable.

The US and the Ukraine have since prohibited operators from those countries from overflying the airspace of Iraq. Other countries have also issued warnings: the UK, Canada, Germany, and France.

Most airlines other than Middle Eastern carriers have now stopped overflying Iraq entirely. Traffic that normally operates through the Baghdad FIR now needs another route. The predominant choice for east-west flights into the Dubai area is a southerly routing via Saudi Arabia and Egypt. There are warnings for both of these airspaces as well. Northerly reroutes for Europe-Asia flights are predominantly using a Turkey-Armenia-Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan routing.

The aviation security picture in the Middle East, already fragile and unstable, is now unpredictable. For many operators, you may be starting to use routes that are unfamiliar and not before flown. Take the time to ensure your crews have the full package of charts, are aware of the risks in each FIR, are aware of the potential for GPS outages en-route (especially in the Turkish FIR), and have considered drift down over mountainous areas on the northerly routes.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
USA US FAA Background Notice 07 Feb 2020 Ongoing
Germany Notam B0083/20 05 Feb 2020 05 May 2020
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 20 Jan 2020 Ongoing
Ukraine Notam A0068/20 14 Jan 2020 09 Apr 2020
Canada Notam H0044/20 10 Jan 2020 Ongoing
Iraq Notam A0018/20 08 Jan 2020 15 Jan 2020
USA Notam KICZ A0001/20 07 Jan 2020 09 Jan 2020
France AIC 03/19 24 Jan 2019 Ongoing
South Africa Notam A2919/18 29 Jul 2018 Ongoing
Source: USA
Issued: 07-Feb-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: US operators are prohibited from overflying Iraq
On 7 January 2020, Universal Coordinated Time, the FAA published Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0001/20, prohibiting U.S. civil aviation operations in the Baghdad FIR (ORBB). The FAA issued this NOTAM due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East and the associated unacceptable inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations due to the potential for miscalculation or misidentification.

There are a wide array of military, third party, and militia activities occurring in the Baghdad FIR (ORBB) in an environment of heightened regional tension. The FAA assesses these circumstances present an unacceptable risk to U.S. civil aviation due to the challenge of de-conflicting military activities with civil air traffic and the potential for miscalculation or misidentification. On 8 January, Iran conducted multiple retaliatory ballistic missile attacks targeting U.S. airbases in Iraq, which raised tensions in the region. Shia militia groups in Iraq have conducted multiple attacks targeting U.S. armed forces with indirect fire, as well as ongoing, intermittent rocket attacks targeting the U.S. Embassy and Baghdad International Airport (ICAO: ORBI). Additionally, Shia elements armed with various anti-aircraft capabilities, including light anti-aircraft artillery and man portable air defense systems (MANPADS), have publicly threatened to defend their posts, following a string of third party airstrikes in 2019. Extremists/militants operating in Islamic State of Iraq and ash Sham (ISIS)- controlled areas may have access to anti-aircraft weapons presenting a risk to U.S. civil aviation up to 25,000 feet.

In this fluid and tense security environment, military activities affecting U.S. civil aviation safety may occur with little or no warning. In addition to the 8 January Iranian ballistic missile attack, in late May 2019, Iraq closed portions of the international air routes over Iraq due to potential military operations in northern Iraq. Both Iran and Turkey continue to conduct small-scale attacks along and across the northern and eastern borders of Iraq with little or no warning. Additionally, in September 2018, Iran conducted a ballistic missile attack on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq and a no-notice ballistic missile attack targeting ISIS positions in Syria in which the ballistic missiles transited through the Baghdad FIR (ORBB) and over congested civil air routes in eastern Iraq. Additionally, there is a potential inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Baghdad FIR (ORBB) from fielded GPS jammers.

This confluence of circumstances presents a continuing unacceptable risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Baghdad FIR.

Posted: 7 Feb 2020
Source: Germany
Reference: Notam B0083/20
Issued: 05-Feb-20, valid until: 05 May 2020
Plain English: Potential risk across the entire ORBB/Baghdad FIR below FL260.
B0083/20 (Issued for EDGG EDMM EDWW)
SECURITY IRAQ POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION FIR BAGHDAD (ORBB)

POTENTIAL RISK TO AVIATION WITHIN FIR BAGHDAD (ORBB) BELOW FL260 DUE TO ONGOING MILITARY OPERATIONS AND ANTI AVIATION WEAPONRY. CIVIL GERMAN AIR OPERATORS ARE ADVISED TO TAKE POTENTIAL RISK INTO ACCOUNT IN THEIR RISK ASSESSMENTS AND ROUTEING DECISIONS.

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.

05 FEB 10:51 2020 UNTIL 05 MAY 23:59 2020. CREATED: 05 FEB 10:52 2020
Source: UK
Issued: 20-Jan-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: The UK published Notam V0006/20 on 20th Jan 2020, with advice for Iraq airspace: UK operators should not overfly the Baghdad FIR, except on airways UL602 to ALPET, UM860 and UM688, when operating above 25,000ft AGL. (The previous Notam issued by the UK on 9th Jan 2020, advising UK operators that they must not enter the Baghdad FIR, is now cancelled).
Hazardous Situation in Iraq

Potential risk from dedicated anti-aviation weaponry in Iraq. Operators are advised not to enter the territory and airspace of Iraq (including the Baghdad FIR) with the exception of routing on Airways UL602 to ALPET, UM860 and UM688 when operating above 25,000 ft above ground level (agl).

Operators are advised to take this information into account in their own risk assessments and routing decisions.
Source: Ukraine
Reference: Notam A0068/20
Issued: 14-Jan-20, valid until: 09 Apr 2020
Plain English: Ukranian operators are prohibited from overflying Iraq
A0068/20
(Issued for UKBV UKDV UKFV UKLV UKOV)

ACCORDING TO THE SAFETY DIRECTIVE OF THE STATE AVIATION ADMINISTRATION OF UKRAINE NUMBER 2020-01 DATED 08.01.2020 UKRAINIAN AIR OPERATORS ARE PROHIBITED TO PERFORM FLIGHTS WITHIN AIRSPACE OF ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN AND REPUBLIC OF IRAQ.

14 JAN 09:00 2020 UNTIL 09 APR 23:59 2020 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 14 JAN 09:03 2020
Source: Canada
Reference: Notam H0044/20
Issued: 10-Jan-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Canadian operators advised not to enter the airspace of Iraq
H0044/20 (Issued for CZUL CZQM CZQX)
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT IN RESPONSE TO THE VOLATILE SECURITY SITUATION IN IRAQ.

POTENTIAL RISK FROM HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITY AND DEDICATED ANTI-AVIATION WEAPONRY IN IRAQ. AIR OPERATORS ARE ADVISED NOT TO ENTER THE AIRSPACE OF IRAQ, INCLUDING THE BAGHDAD FIR (ORBB).

10 JAN 17:48 2020 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 10 JAN 17:48 2020
Source: Iraq
Reference: Notam A0018/20
Issued: 08-Jan-20, valid until: 15 Jan 2020
Plain English: Iraq issues warning to operators that Iran fired missiles into the ORBB/Baghdad FIR, altitude and trajectory unknown.
ORBB A0018/20

ACCORDING TO MEDIA INFORMATION MISSILES WERE REPORTED BEING LAUNCHED FROM OIIX INTO ORBB. ALTITUDE AND TRAJECTORY UNKNOWN. AIRLINES ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE CAUTION.

08 JAN 14:35 2020 UNTIL 15 JAN 23:59 2020. CREATED: 08 JAN 14:34 2020
Source: USA
Issued: 07-Jan-20, valid until: 09 Jan 2020
Plain English: US operators are prohibited from overflying Iraq
KICZ A0001/20

SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE BAGHDAD FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) (ORBB).

THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABLITY) BELOW ARE PROHIBITED FROM OPERATING IN THE BAGHDAD FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) (ORBB) DUE TO HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITIES AND INCREASED POLITICAL TENSIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WHICH PRESENT AN INADVERTENT RISK TO U.S. CIVIL AVIATION OPERATIONS DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR MISCALCULATION OR MIS-IDENTIFICATION.

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 SUCH PERSONS OPERATING U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER; AND ALL OPERATORS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT WHERE THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER.

B. PERMITTED OPERATIONS. THIS NOTAM DOES NOT PROHIBIT PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) FROM CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN THE BAGHDAD FIR (ORBB) WHEN SUCH OPERATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED EITHER BY ANOTHER AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE FAA OR BY A DEVIATION, EXEMPTION, OR OTHER AUTHORIZATION ISSUED BY THE FAA ADMINISTRATOR. OPERATORS MUST CALL THE FAA WASHINGTON OPERATIONS CENTER AT 202-267-3333 TO INITIATE COORDINATION FOR FAA AUTHORIZATION TO CONDUCT OPERATIONS.

C. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. IN AN EMERGENCY THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE DECISION AND ACTION FOR THE SAFETY OF THE FLIGHT, THE PILOT IN COMMAND OF AN AIRCRAFT MAY DEVIATE FROM THIS NOTAM TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY THAT EMERGENCY.

THIS NOTAM IS AN EMERGENCY ORDER ISSUED UNDER 49 USC 40113(A), 44701(A)(5), AND 46105(C).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AT: HTTPS://WWW.FAA.GOV/AIR_TRAFFIC/PUBLICATIONS/US_RESTRICTIONS/.

SFC – UNL, 07 JAN 23:45 2020 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 07 JAN 23:49 2020
Source: France
Reference: AIC 03/19
Issued: 24-Jan-19, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Overflights should only be on airways UM860 and UM688, and UL602 between TASMI and ALPET. Fly at or above FL320.
From 08/02/2018 and until further notice, French carriers are requested not to authorize their aircraft to penetrate into the airspace of Iraq (ORBB FIR (BAGHDAD)), except for routes UM860, UM688 and UL602 (between TASMI and ALPET) on which French air carriers are requested to maintain at all times a flight level above or equal to FL320.
Source: South Africa
Reference: Notam A2919/18
Issued: 29-Jul-18, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Overflights should be above FL300
A2919/18 (Issued for FAJA FAJO FACA)
FLT TO AND FM IRAQ POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION - IRAQ AIRSPACE.
DUE TO THE POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION CREATED BY THE ARMED CONFLICT IN IRAQ. ALL FLT OPS IN THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF IRAQ AT OR BLW FL300 BY THE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A, ARE STRONGLY ADZ UFN.
(1) OVERFLIGHTS OF IRAQ ABOVE FL200 BUT AT OR BLW FL300
(2) OPS AT OR BLW FL300 BY FLT DEP FM THE COUNTRIES ADJ TO IRAQ WHOSE CLIMB PER WILL NOT PERMIT OPS ABV FL300 PRIOR TO ENTERING IRAQI AIRSPACE
(3) FLT ORIGINATING FM OR DESTINED TO AREAS OUTSIDE OF IRAQ TO OR FM ERBIL INTL AP (ORER) OR SULAYMANIYAH INT AP (ORSU) WI THE TERRITORY OF IRAQ NORTH OF 34DEG 30MIN NORTH LAT.
APPLICABILITY: THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO ALL SOUTH AFRICAN AIR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPR, ALL OPR/PERSONS EXER THE PRIVILEGES OF AN AOC ISSUED BY THE SACAA (SOUTH AFRICAN CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY), EXC SUCH OPR/PERSONS OPR SOUTH AFRICAN REGISTERED ACFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER. THIS ADVISORY ON OPS IN THE AIRSPACE SPECIFIED IN THIS NOTAM AND THE ASSOCIATED JUSTIFICATION WILL BE RE-EVALUATED AS THE SITUATION REQUIRES.
29 JUL 06:12 2018 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 29 JUL 06:12 2018