Libya

Risk Level: One - Do Not Fly

[ about risk levels ]
A civil war has been ongoing since 2014. Some progress made in Oct 2020 with the formation of a new government, but Libya remains an active conflict with armed clashes between various rival militia groups across the country. There is a high risk to civil aircraft. Libyan airspace (HLLL/Tripoli FIR) should be avoided entirely. Essentially a total flight ban for US and UK operators, and several other countries have warnings in place.

The primary risk is a misident by Libyan air defense systems, or by militia who have threatened to shoot down aircraft operating in western Libya, including HLLM/Tripoli Mitiga airport. Military activity reported over the high-seas which is either operating as OAT or not in control with ATC. Risk remains high across Libya at all flight levels, and avoidance of all airspace and airports is strongly recommended.

The secondary risk is that reliable ATC services cannot be guaranteed. The past few years have seen regular ATS and radar outages across the HLLL FIR airspace, and severe limitations in VHF capability, with operators having to communicate with Malta ATC for guidance.

Major events:
Aug 2022: Militia air defense forces claimed to have shot down a US MQ-9 UAS operating in the vicinity of Benghazi during a period of increased tensions and threats of renewed violence between competing militias vying for control of Tripoli.
June 2022: Failed attempt by militia to enter Tripoli to seize control of government offices, resulting in armed clashes and suspension of flights at HLLM/Mitiga airport.
Jan 2020: Multiple airstrikes targeting HLLM/Mitiga airport. Videos on social media showing planes landing at the airport as shells are falling in the background.
Nov 2019: Militia advancing on the capital, Tripoli, declared a no-fly-zone around the city, threatening to shoot-down civil aircraft attempting to fly to HLLM/Mitiga airport.
2014: HLLT/Tripoli airport closed after clashes between rival militias destroyed most of the airport's facilities. The airport remains closed to this day; most flights operate out of HLLM/Mitiga airport.

Read: Libya Airspace Update, Mar 2023 (OPSGROUP article)

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
USA SFAR 112 21 Mar 2023 20 Mar 2025
Germany AIC 20/22 19 Apr 2021 Ongoing
France AIC 24/22 09 Apr 2020 Ongoing
Canada AIC 3/23 18 Feb 2020 Ongoing
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 12 Jun 2015 Ongoing
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 112
Issued: 21-Mar-23, valid until: 20 Mar 2025
Plain English: US SFAR updated: flights remain prohibited in the HLLL/Tripoli FIR, but are now permitted in the overwater airspace off the north coast of Libya and a tiny portion in the south of the FIR over Chad.
This action amends, with modifications to reflect changed conditions in the Tripoli Flight Information Region (FIR) (HLLL) and the associated risks to U.S. civil aviation safety, the prohibition against certain flight operations in the Tripoli FIR (HLLL) by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; 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 operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier. Specifically, with this final rule, the FAA removes the prohibition against U.S. civil aviation operations at altitudes below Flight Level (FL) 300 in those portions of the Tripoli FIR (HLLL) that are outside the territory and airspace of Libya. The FAA also republishes the approval process and exemption information for this SFAR consistent with other recently published flight prohibition SFARs. The FAA also modifies the title of the relevant section of the Code of Federal Regulations to reflect that the geographic scope of FAA's flight prohibition for U.S. civil aviation is now limited to the territory and airspace of Libya.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 20/22
Issued: 19-Apr-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should avoid Libyan airspace.
Level 2 warning (medium). Civil German air operators are recommended not to enter FIR TRIPOLI (HLLL). Potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military operations.
Source: France
Reference: AIC 24/22
Issued: 09-Apr-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should avoid Libyan airspace.
From 09/04/2020 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested not to penetrate into the airspace of Libya (HLLL FIR (TRIPOLI)).
Source: Canada
Reference: AIC 3/23
Issued: 18-Feb-20, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Canadian operators should not enter the airspace of Libya, due to the potential risk from anti- aviation weaponry and military operations.
Level 2 (Recommendation)
SECURITY – HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN LIBYA. Canadian Air Operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are recommended not to enter FIR Tripoli (HLLL). Potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military operations created by the current level of internal instability.
Source: UK
Issued: 12-Jun-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: UK operators must avoid Libyan airspace.
Hazardous Situation in Libya

Potential risk to aviation overflying from dedicated anti-aviation weaponry. In accordance with Direction under the Aviation Security Act 1982, UK registered operators so served shall not enter the territory and airspace (including Tripoli FIR) of the State of Libya.

UK operators not currently subject to direction under the Aviation Security Act should contact UK Department for Transport (DfT) before operating in this area.