Saudi Arabia

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
Improving airspace risk picture in Saudi Arabia, where there have been no reported drone strikes from Yemen since a ceasefire was agreed in April 2022. However, the ceasefire has not been extended as of Oct 2022 despite intervention from the UN, and there are concerns that the conflict may start up again soon.

If the conflict resumes, Houthi drone and missile attacks on targets in Saudi Arabia pose a potential threat to ops at Saudi airports, and for overflights of the OEJD/Jeddah FIR.

Several countries have airspace warnings in place. The most significant risk is in the south of the country along the border with Yemen, but OERK/Riyadh and OEJN/Jeddah airports have also been targeted in the past.

The primary risk is from Houthi drone and missile attacks on airports across the country, but particularly in the south.
 
Major events:
Oct 2022: The UN is pushing for an extension of the ceasefire agreed in April. There was an attempted Houthi drone attack on an oil terminal in southern Yemen on Oct 21, but so far no signs of any further military escalation.
Apr 2022: All parties in the Yemeni conflict agree a ceasefire.
2020-2022: Frequent Houthi drone and rocket attacks targeting OEAH/Abha and OEGN/Jizan airports along the Yemeni-Saudi Border.
Sep 2020: Multiple Saudi airstrikes on rebels in Sanaa, several near the airport.
Oct 2020: Riyadh briefly on high alert for Houthi cruise missile and drone attack. 

Read: Saudi-Yemen Airspace Update, Oct 2020 (OPSGROUP article)

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
USA FAA Information Note Saudi Arabia/Yemen 17 Mar 2022 Ongoing
Germany AIC 20/22 14 Mar 2022 Ongoing
France AIC 24/22 20 May 2021 Ongoing
Canada AIC 16/22 11 Mar 2021 Ongoing
Saudi Arabia Notam OEJD W0120/21 28 Jan 2021 Ongoing
Source: USA
Issued: 17-Mar-22, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: There is a potential risk to ops at Saudi airports and for overflights of the OEJD/Jeddah FIR due to Houthi drone and missile attacks from Yemen and the associated defensive operations.
Title: FAA Information Note - Saudi Arabia/Yemen: Houthi UAS Attack in Riyadh.

Click the link for full text.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 20/22
Issued: 14-Mar-22, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Potential risk to landing anywhere in Saudi Arabia, but should not operate to airports in the southwest part of the OEJD/Jeddah FIR due to the risk of drone and missile attacks from Yemen.
Level 2 warning (medium). Civil German air operators are recommended not to enter FIR JEDDAH (OEJD) within the southwest sector bounded by waypoints NISMI - MISAM - DASEB - ALNES west along common FIR boundary between SANAA and JEDDAH to waypoint NISMI. Potential risk from anti-aviation and ground to ground ballistic weaponry, unmanned aerial vehicle attacks and military operations.

Civil German air operators are advised to take potential risk into account in their risk assessment and routing decisions within the remaining part of FIR JEDDAH (OEJD). Potential risk to aviation from medium range ballistic missile assaults.
Source: France
Reference: AIC 24/22
Issued: 20-May-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Due to military activity, operators should exercise caution in Saudi airspace, and should not operate to OEAB, OEGN, OENG, OESH, OEWD, OEBA and OEBH airports in the southwest of the FIR.
From 20/05/2021 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested:

- To exercise caution during flight operations in the airspace of Saudi Arabia (FIR JEDDAH (OEJD)) and follow instructions given by the Saudi authorities providing air traffic services, particularly in the southwest of JEDDAH FIR (OEJD) in which ESCAT (Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic) may be activated by NOTAM from the Saudi authorities ;

- Not to operate any flights to Abha (OEAB), Jazan (OEGN), Nejran (OENG), Sharurah (OESH), Wadi Al Dawasir (OEWD), Al Bahah (OEBA) and Bisha (OEBH) aerodromes located in the southwest of JEDDAH FIR (OEJD) in which ESCAT (Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic) may be activated by NOTAM from the Saudi authorities. Such aerodromes shall not be identified as alternate aerodromes when planning flight operations.
Source: Canada
Reference: AIC 16/22
Issued: 11-Mar-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Due to military activity, operators should not enter the southwest part of the OEJD/Jeddah FIR, and exercise caution across the rest of Saudi airspace.
Level 2 (Recommendation)
As of March 11, 2021, and until further notice, Canadian Air Operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are advised to exercise great caution in Saudi airspace (Jeddah FIR (OEJD)), and not to enter the southwest area of OEJD FIR, in which ESCAT (Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic) rules may be activated by NOTAM from the Saudi authorities, due to the hazardous security situation and ongoing military operations in Saudi Arabia.
Source: Saudi Arabia
Issued: 28-Jan-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: ESCAT rules may be activated at any time in the south part of the OEJD/Jeddah FIR, when Saudi air defenses are repelling drone and missile attacks from Yemen. Operators will likely be given a change of route directly out of the airspace, or will be directed to land at the nearest airport.
DUE TO CONFLICT IN YEMEN BETWEEN LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT AND THE HOUTHI MILITIA SUPPORTED BY IRANIAN REGIME ESCAT IS ACTIVATED IN THE SOUTH PART OF JEDDAH FIR FLYING RULES AND INFORMATION ON AVAILABLE ATS ROUTES ARE DESCRIBED IN AIP SUP 02/2021. PILOTS SHALL KEEP LISTENING TO THE APPROPRIATE ATC FREQUENCIES AND SHALL ADHERE STRICTLY TO ATC INSTRUCTIONS WHEN FLYING TO/FROM THE SOUTHERN AIRPORTS DUE TO DEFENSE RESPONSES THAT MAY OCCUR. IN ADDITION, SAUDI ARABIA IS PUTTING IN PLACE MEASURES TO MITIGATE RISK THAT MIGHT RESULT FROM LIMITED LONG-RANGE MISSILES AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM CAPABILITIES THAT MAY TARGET AIRPORTS WITHIN JEDDAH FIR. OPERATORS MAY CONSIDER THIS INFORMATION WHEN CONDUCTING RISK ASSESSMENT.
28 JAN 14:00 2021 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 28 JAN 14:01 2021