Somalia

Risk Level: Two - Danger exists

[ about risk levels ]
The situation on the ground is highly unstable and there is an inherent risk to civilians and aircraft. The central government has little control of the major cities and ports, with ongoing attacks from extremist militants targeting civilians who continue to show an intent to target aviation interests.

The primary risk is to overflying aircraft at the lower flight levels, which may be targeted by anti-aircraft-capable weapons. The US prohibits flights across Somalia’s airspace below FL260 (except for flights transiting the overwater portion of the airspace going to/from HDAM/Djibouti airport across the border in Ethiopia). Several other countries have issued airspace warnings advising against operating below FL260 (Note UR401 SIHIL-AXINA is excluded from this by one authority).

The secondary risk over the past few years has been the lack of ATC service for overflights of the HCSM/Mogadishu FIR - it has been Class G uncontrolled airspace. However, from 11 May 2022 there’s a new trial implementing Class A airspace here above FL245 each day from 0300-1800z. More info here.

Major events:
Aug 2023: Reports of uncontrolled operations including combat helicopters flying at low levels (FL030) not reporting position, altitude or routing,
Oct 2022: The Somalian government have issued a warning that HCMM/Mogadishu airport may be targeted by militant groups amid the escalating conflict in the country.
2020-ongoing: Multiple instances of Al-Shabaab attacks on HCMM/Mogadishu and nearby targets, including a UN compound.
May 2020: An Embraer EMB-120 was shot down while on approach to Bardale airstrip, killing all six people on board - an accidental shoot-down by Ethiopian forces stationed in the region to combat Al-Shabaab.

Read: Somalia Update (OPSGROUP article), Jan 2023

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
France AIC 17/23 14 Dec 2023 Ongoing
Italy AIC 33/23 10 Jul 2023 05 Oct 2024
USA SFAR 107 27 Dec 2022 07 Jan 2027
Canada AIC 23/23 09 Feb 2021 Ongoing
Somalia Notam A0035/18 13 Apr 2018 13 Jul 2018
Germany AIC 15/23 04 Feb 2016 Ongoing
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 15 Jan 2016 Ongoing
Source: France
Reference: AIC 17/23
Issued: 14-Dec-23, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: French operators should stay at or above FL260 in the HCSM/Mogadishu FIR, except in the overwater portion.
From 14/12/2023 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested to maintain at all times a flight level above or equal to FL260 in the airspace of Somalia (FIR MOGADISHU (HCSM) except in the maritime part of FIR MOGADISHU (HCSM) located North of parallel 113000N where flights are authorized while exercising at all time great caution below an altitude of 5000 ft.
Source: Italy
Reference: AIC 33/23
Issued: 10-Jul-23, valid until: 05 Oct 2024
Plain English: Italian operators should maintain FL260 or above in the HCSM/Mogadishu FIR.
Italian air carriers and captains of aircraft in charge of air services operated by carriers holding an operating license issued by Italy, whether they are contractual carriers and/or operating carriers, or performing air services through a wet lease or a codeshare agreement as well as for any flight made with an aircraft registered in Italy, are recommended to maintain at all times a flight level equal to, or above, FL260 in FIR Mogadishu (HCSM).
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 107
Issued: 27-Dec-22, valid until: 07 Jan 2027
Plain English: US operators are prohibited operating below FL260 in the airspace of Somalia (the HCSM/Mogadishu FIR). Aircraft transiting through the airspace to or from HDAM/Djibouti airport across the border in the airspace of Ethiopia (the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR) are permitted to operate below FL260 providing they remain overwater and fly a published instrument procedure or stay under the direction of ATC.
This action amends and extends SFAR No. 107, title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 91.1613, which prohibits certain flight operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 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, the FAA is amending the flight prohibition to permit overwater operations in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 necessary for climb-outs from, or descents into, Djibouti Ambouli International Airport (HDAM) in the Addis Ababa FIR (HAAA). These operations are subject to the approval of the appropriate authorities of Djibouti and must be conducted in accordance with the conditions established by those authorities and consistent with air traffic control instructions. Operators climbing out of or descending into Djibouti Ambouli International Airport (HDAM) must remain overwater while operating in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 and must be either on a published instrument procedure or under the direction of air traffic control. Because weapons systems to which extremist and/or militant groups active in Somalia likely have access have minimal ranges from the coastline, and aircraft using these approaches and departures would only briefly be present in the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260, the FAA determined such operations present a low risk.

However, the FAA has determined increasing safety-of-flight risks exist for U.S. civil aviation operations in the rest of the territory and airspace of Somalia at altitudes below FL260 from extremist and militant activity, as described in the Discussion of the Final Rule section of this preamble. For this reason, the FAA extends the expiration date of this rule from January 7, 2023, until January 7, 2027. Consistent with other recently published flight prohibition SFARs, this action also republishes the approval process and exemption information for this flight prohibition SFAR.
Source: Canada
Reference: AIC 23/23
Issued: 09-Feb-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Canadian operators overflying the HCSM/FIR Mogadishu FIR should be at FL260 or above, due to the potential risk from anti- aviation weaponry and military operations.
Level 2 (Recommendation)
SECURITY – HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN SOMALIA. Canadian Air Operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are recommended to maintain a flight level equal to or above FL260, within FIR Mogadishu (HCSM). Potential risk from anti- aviation weaponry and military operations.
Source: Somalia
Reference: Notam A0035/18
Issued: 13-Apr-18, valid until: 13 Jul 2018
Plain English: Somalia themselves published a Notam in 2018 saying that armed conflict and a lack of Aeronautical information present a safety and security risk to aircraft.
HCMM/ADEN A0035/18

13APR 0913Z- OPRATORS SHOULD EXERCISE EXTREME CTN AND FULLY ASSES THE POTENTIAL RISKS TO FLIGHT SAFETY AND SECURITY WHEN PLANING OR COMDUCTING OPS INTO MUGADISHU AIRPORT DUE TO LACK OF IMFORMATION OR ARMED CONFLICTS STOP.

13 APR 09:30 2018 UNTIL 13 JUL 09:30 2018.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 15/23
Issued: 04-Feb-16, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: German operators should not overfly the HCSM/Mogadishu FIR below FL260, except for airway UR401.
Level 2 warning (medium). Civil German air operators are recommended not to enter FIR MOGADISHU (HCSM) below FL260. Potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry, military operations and armed conflicts. Excluded from this recommendation is airway UR401 between waypoints SUHIL and AXINA.
Source: UK
Issued: 15-Jan-16, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: UK operators should avoid the HCSM/Mogadishu FIR below 25,000ft AGL, due to the potential risk from anti-aircraft weaponry.
Security - Hazardous Situation in Somalia

UK civil air operators are recommended not to enter FIR MOGADISHU (HCSM) below 25,000 FT above ground level (AGL). Potential risk from anti-aircraft weaponry.

Contact UK Department for Transport +44 (0)207-082 6639 or +44 (0)207-944 3111 out of hours.