Israel

Risk Level: One - Do Not Fly

[ about risk levels ]
Israel is now an active conflict zone. The Israeli cabinet officially declared war against Hamas on Sunday Oct 8th. As such, all lessons learned regarding civil operations in conflict zones over the last nine years since MH17 need to be applied. The risk of a passenger aircraft becoming a casualty of this war is high.

Therefore, Israel is elevated to Level 1: Do Not Fly.

The primary risk is not just the threat of missiles or anti-aircraft weaponry, but also complacency (aka, a false sense of security). For decades, we have seen sporadic conflict in Israel - even in quieter periods, rocket attacks on Israel are the norm. Despite this, operations to LLBG/Tel Aviv have continued routinely, and operators have become used to raised threat levels in Israel. For many operators, risk assessment is extremely challenging to get right. Commercial and political pressures go against the normal 'err on the side of caution' principle in flight operations.


The secondary risk is a multitude of factors from operating in a conflict zone: misidentification, debris from air defences, GPS spoofing, false EGPWS alerts (now common in Israeli airspace), and reduced route and diversion options in the event of an aircraft emergency.


Despite the elevated risk, no state has issued any actual restrictions on operations to Israel other than the Russian Federal Agency for Air Transport (Daylight hours only, no ops before 0900Z). Neither EASA nor the FAA have published any prohibitions or restrictions. This is troubling, considering that in the 2014 Hamas rocket attacks, the FAA responded with a 2 day prohibition for LLBG and EASA advised operators to suspend flights. Larger operators may have the ability to complete dedicated risk assessments, but the majority need better guidance from aviation authorities.


OPSGROUP recommends:
- Avoid all Israeli destinations (LL**), especially LLBG/Tel Aviv
- Avoid overflight of Tel Aviv FIR (LLLL)
- Carefully consider route choices into OJAI/Amman, Jordan and other OJ** airports

Read: Opsgroup article - Israel: Tel Aviv airport & FIR risk, Oct 2023

Prior Major Events:
May 2023: Israel published a Notam advising caution in the LLLL/Tel Aviv FIR due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, following a major rocket attack on May 10.
Aug 2021: Following an Israeli airstrike on Syria, Syria sent a surface to air missile towards Tel Aviv. The missile detonated off the coast of Israel and there was no damage.
May 2021: LLBG/Tel Aviv Airport was forced to close on several occasions, as air defence systems were activated around the country to repel incoming rocket attacks.
July 2014: Major rocket fire from Gaza against Tel Aviv during the Gaza War. The US FAA responded by imposing restrictions at LLBG/Tel Aviv airport for a two day period, and EASA advised that operators suspend flights, which ultimately resulted in 30 airlines cancelling flights.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
Canada Notam CZQX H0063/24 08 Jan 2024 08 Apr 2024
Israel NOTAM A1092/23 11 Oct 2023 19 Oct 2023
Russia NOTAM A5843/23 09 Oct 2023 16 Oct 2023
USA FDC NOTAM FDC 3/2603 09 Oct 2023 19 Oct 2023
USA FDC NOTAM FDC 3/2050 07 Oct 2023 14 Oct 2023
Italy AIC 33/23 10 Jul 2023 05 Oct 2024
EASA Advisory 12 May 2021 23 May 2021
EASA SIB 2014-22 23 Jul 2014 24 Jul 2014
USA Notam KFDC 4/3630 22 Jul 2014 23 Jul 2014
Source: Canada
Issued: 08-Jan-24, valid until: 08 Apr 2024
Plain English: Caution to Canadian operators in the LLLL/Tel Aviv FIR due to potential risk from military activity.
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT IN RESPONSE TO THE SECURITY SITUATION IN ISRAEL. CANADIAN AIR OPR AND OWNERS OF ACFT REGISTERED IN CANADA ARE ADVISED TO TAKE ALL POTENTIAL RISK INFO INTO ACCOUNT IN THEIR RISK ASSESSMENT AND ROUTING DECISIONS WHEN OPR IN ISRAELI AIRSPACE AND FIR TEL-AVIV (LLLL) DUE TO POTENTIAL RISK TO AVIATION FROM MIL ACT. 08 JAN 18:38 2024 UNTIL 08 APR 17:00 2024 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 08 JAN 18:38 2024
Source: Israel
Reference: NOTAM A1092/23
Issued: 11-Oct-23, valid until: 19 Oct 2023
Plain English: Israel advises operators to review security, threat information, and NOTAMs.
A1105/23 - SECURITY. ISRAEL ADVISORY FOR TEL-AVIV FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION FIR - LLLL.
1. APPLICABILITY: THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO ALL AIR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS PLANNING TO FLY INTO, OUT OF, OR WITHIN TEL-AVIV FIR - LLLL, AT ALL LEVELS.
2. DUE TO THE ONGOING CONFLICT SITUATION IN THE REGION, BETWEEN ISRAEL AND GAZA BASED EXTREMISTS MILITANTS, OPERATORS ARE ADVISED TO REVIEW CURRENT SECURITY, THREAT INFORMATION AND NOTAMS.
3. OPERATORS ARE INVITED TO CONTACT ISRAEL AIRPORT AUTHORITY- IAA FOR OPERATIONAL INFORMATION.
4. CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF ISRAEL - CAAI IS MONITORING THE SITUATION AT ALL TIMES, ASSESSING THE RISK AND MITIGATING THE RISK TO AN ACCEPTED LEVEL OF SAFETY - ALSO, ACCORDING TO ICAO STANDARDS. NEVERTHELESS OPERATORS ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE CAUTION. DELAYS EXPECTED, OPERATORS SHOULD CONSIDER FUEL ACCORDINGLY.
5. OPERATORS ARE INVITED TO CONTACT CAAI FOR MORE INFORMATION.
11 OCT 11:24 2023 UNTIL 19 OCT 16:00 2023. CREATED: 11 OCT 11:24 2023
Source: Russia
Reference: NOTAM A5843/23
Issued: 09-Oct-23, valid until: 16 Oct 2023
Plain English: Night operations to LLBG/Tel Aviv prohibited, daylight ops only - Russian operators
A5843/23 NOTAMR A5841/23
Q) UUWV/QOAXX/IV/BO/A/000/999/5535N03716E999
A) UUUU B) 2310090000 C) 2310160900 EST
E) DUE TO UNSTABLE POLITICAL AND MILITARY SITUATION IN ISRAEL WEF 0000 UTC 09 OCT 2023 TIL 0900 UTC 16 OCT 2023 EST FEDERAL AIR TRANSPORT AGENCY IMPOSES RESTRICTIONS ON NGT DEP FROM RUSSIAN FEDERATION AP TO ISRAELI AP FROM 2200 UTC TILL 0400 UTC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
AIRLINES SHALL MAKE DECISIONS REGARDING FLT OPERATIONS TO ISRAEL DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS BASED ON A RISK ASSESSMENT, INCLUDING TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE RECOMMENDATIONS OUTLINED IN THE RISK ASSESSMENT MANUAL FOR CIVIL ACFT OPERATIONS OVER OR NEAR CONFLICT ZONES. (DOC 10084 ICAO SECOND EDITION 2018).
Source: USA
Issued: 09-Oct-23, valid until: 19 Oct 2023
Plain English: 2nd NOTAM, FAA advises caution, no restrictions currently, monitor airspace developments.
!FDC 3/2603 ZZZ SECURITY..SPECIAL SECURITY NOTICE..
ISRAEL..POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION -- ISRAEL AIRSPACE DUE TO THE ONGOING CONFLICT SITUATION BETWEEN ISRAEL AND GAZA, OPERATORS ARE ADVISED TO USE CAUTION WHEN OPERATING WITHIN THE TEL-AVIV FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION FIR LLLL. CURRENTLY THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS ON UNITED STATES CERTIFICATED AIRMEN OR OPERATORS TO OPERATE INTO OR OUT OF ISRAEL. OPERATORS SHOULD CLOSELY MONITOR AIRSPACE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION AND FOLLOW ALL AERONAUTICAL PUBLICATIONS AND ATC INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED BY ISRAELI STATE AUTHORITIES. THE CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF ISRAEL IS ACTIVELY MANAGING THE RISK TO CIVIL AVIATION THROUGH DYNAMIC AIRSPACE CHANGES AS APPROPRIATE. EILAT RAMON AIRPORT (LLER) IS OPEN AND AVAILABLE 24/7 AS AN ALTERNATE AERODROME OR AS A PRIMARY DESTINATION. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT FAA CITE WATCH AT 202-267-3203 OR EMAIL FAA-WATCH@FAA.GOV.
Source: USA
Issued: 07-Oct-23, valid until: 14 Oct 2023
Plain English: Exercise extreme caution within Tel Aviv FIR (LLLL)
!FDC 3/2050 ZZZ SECURITY..SPECIAL SECURITY NOTICE
ISRAEL..POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION -- ISRAEL AIRSPACE

DUE TO THE ONGOING CONFLICT SITUATION BETWEEN ISRAEL AND GAZA, OPERATORS ARE ADVISED TO EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN OPERATING WITHIN THE TEL-AVIV FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION FIR LLLL. FLIGHT CREWS SHOULD REMAIN IN CONTACT WITH AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL AT ALL TIMES
WHILE OPERATING WITHIN THE FIR AND MONITOR NOTAMS FOR POSSIBLE AIRSPACE CLOSURES. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT FAA CITE WATCH AT 202-267-3203 OR EMAIL FAA-WATCH@FAA.GOV.
Source: Italy
Reference: AIC 33/23
Issued: 10-Jul-23, valid until: 05 Oct 2024
Plain English: Italian operators should exercise caution in the LLLL/Tel Aviv FIR and follow Notams and ATC instructions closely (Israel might publish restrictions at short notice when air defenses are repelling attacks from Gaza and Syria).
Air carriers and pilots in command are requested to exercise enhanced caution when overflying or operating flights to Israel (FIR LLLL - Tel Aviv). It is requested to follow instructions from Israeli authorities providing air traffic management, and to pay particular attention to restrictions or interdictions published by notam with very short notice, due to a potentially fast evolving situation.
Source: EASA
Reference: Advisory
Issued: 12-May-21, valid until: 23 May 2021
Plain English: EASA advised operators exercise caution for flights in the LLLL/Tel Aviv FIR, following rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli air strikes on Gaza. Rescinded following the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza agreed on May 21, 2021.
Considering the heightened tensions in Israel, including exchange of rocket fire and retaliatory airstrikes, air carriers operating within Israeli airspace and to or from Ben Gurion International Airport (LLBG/TLV) in particular, should monitor closely these developments and adapt their operations according to Israeli Authorities aeronautical publications.

Several NOTAMs are already in place for FIR Tel Aviv (LLLL) and its commercial aerodromes rerouting civilian aviation flight paths as necessary to ensure safety and security of the air operations. Due to the unstable regional situation, these publications may be more restrictive within short notice.

The situation in the region remains a matter of high concern for commercial aviation – It is recommended to exercise caution by taking into account any relevant information, alongside available guidance or directions from your national authorities as appropriate.
Source: EASA
Reference: SIB 2014-22
Issued: 23-Jul-14, valid until: 24 Jul 2014
Plain English: EASA Service Information Bulletin advising operators to avoid LLBG/Tel Aviv Airport until further notice. The SIB was withdrawn on July 24, 2014.
Due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza, EASA had issued SIB 2014-22 recommending airspace users to refrain from operating to and from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport (LLBG).
Source: USA
Issued: 22-Jul-14, valid until: 23 Jul 2014
Plain English: On July 22, 2014, US operators were prohibited from flying to or from LLBG/Tel Aviv Airport for a period of up to 24 hours. The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from the airport that morning.
SECURITY ISRAEL POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION—ISRAEL AIRSPACE
DUE TO THE POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION CREATED BY THE ARMED CONFLICT IN ISRAEL AND GAZA, ALL FLIGHT OPERATIONS TO/FROM BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (LLBG) BY U.S. OPERATORS ARE PROHIBITED UNTIL FURTHER ADVISED.

A. APPLICABILITY. THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO ALL U.S. AIR CARRIERS OR 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 FROM CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS WITHIN THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF ISRAEL WHEN SUCH OPERATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED EITHER BY ANOTHER AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE FAA OR BY AN EXEMPTION ISSUED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR. SECURITY OPERATORS SHOULD CALL THE DOMESTIC EVENTS NETWORK (DEN) AT 202-493-5107 FOR AUTHORIZATION.

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 WILL BE UPDATED WITHIN 24 HOURS, OPERATORS SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR U.S. NOTAMS FOR CHANGES OR UPDATES.