02 Dec 2022 World Airspace Risk Summary Print

Risk Summary
02 Dec 2022

ISSUED BY OPSGROUP
SITA HNLFSXH AKLFSXH
AFTN KMCOXAAL

Danger

In assessing risk to flight over each countries borders, two scenarios are predominant for civil flight:
1. Risk of shootdown, inadvertent or intentional.
2. Aircraft emergency requiring a landing.

Both these elements are taken into consideration in determining a classification. The highest level of risk here is “Moderate”, on the basis that calling it “high” or “severe” would exaggerate the actual level or risk in landing or overflying the territories concerned.

Classification

Three levels of airspace risk are used in our assessment.
LEVEL 1. Moderate risk - No Fly
LEVEL 2. Assessed risk
LEVEL 3. Caution

A current overflight risk map is maintained at safeairspace.net. We encourage operators to report any new information to report@safeairspace.net.

Guidance

This document is intended to provide operator guidance in determining whether to avoid specific airspaces. Exclusion from this advice, naturally, does not mean that other airspace is risk free.

Information Sources

The countries that issue the most relevant updates for unsafe airspace are:

  • US (FAA) – through Notams and SFARs
  • UK (DFT) – AIP
  • Germany (BMVI) – Notam
  • France (DGAC) - AIC

Operators should note that in general, the Civil Aviation Authorities of the countries whose airspace is determined to be unsafe are unlikely to issue reliable guidance. Read more at safeairspace.net.

LEVEL 1: Moderate Risk - No Fly

For these countries, the basis for inclusion is the highly unstable current events on the ground, and in all cases the ground factions having access to MANPADS or SAMS. We strongly recommend avoiding this airspace entirely. All countries have multiple warnings, and your country of registry is likely to have issued specific instructions not to penetrate these airspaces

Yemen
Improving airspace risk picture in Yemen since April 2022, when all parties in the conflict agreed a ceasefire - this resulted in notably reduced hostilities, limited resumption of commercial flights at OYSN/Sanaa Airport for the first in six years, and no reported drone strikes in Saudi Arabia. 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.

Yemen remains an active conflict zone, and the vast majority of Yemeni airspace (OYSC/Sanaa FIR) should be avoided. The US, UK, France and Germany all prohibit aircraft from overflying any land portion of the FIR. US operators can still use UT702 and M999, while UK and German operators can use over water portions of N315, UL425 and R401 with limits as published by Notam (all well off the coast). Saudi Arabian airspace to the north and Somali airspace to the South also have risks.

The primary risk is intentional targeting by terrorist groups with access to sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry. Civil aircraft may also be at danger from on-going high intensity military operations including the use of explosive drones and missiles. Saudi-led airstrikes can occur at any time with little regard to civil traffic, including in the capital Sana’a.
 
Major events:
Oct-Nov 2022: The UN is pushing for an extension of the ceasefire agreed in April. Houthi rebels have conducted several attacks in recent weeks targeting oil facilities in Yemen’s south.
Apr 2022: All parties in the Yemeni conflict agree a ceasefire.
2018-2022: Frequent Saudi airstrikes on Sanaa and other targets in Yemen in retaliation for Houthi drone attacks across the border.
2017: OYSN/Sanaa Airport badly damaged by coalition airstrikes.

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

17Mar22 USA FAA Information Note Saudi Arabia/Yemen 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.
04Nov21 France AIC 24/22 Operators should avoid Yemeni airspace, except at or above FL320 in the oceanic airspace in the east of the OYSC/Sanaa FIR (airway B400 and east of).
09Feb21 Canada AIC 16/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of Somalia, including the oceanic part up to and including airway UT702.
11Dec19 USA SFAR 115 US operators are prohibited from overflying the OYSC/Sanaa FIR north of a line KAPET-NODMA-ORBAT-PAKER-PARIM-RIBOK (i.e. the landmass). The US FAA specifically mentions UT702 and M999 offshore routes as being ok to use.
08Sep15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Operators should avoid Yemen airspace, except airways N315, UL425 and R401.
19Jun15 Germany AIC 20/22 Operators are prohibited from operating on airways over the Yemen landmass within the OYSC/Sanaa FIR.
Iraq
Iraq is an active conflict zone. Local and foreign military continue to fight against an armed insurgency that has existed since 2017. There is a high risk to civil aircraft. Iraqi airspace (ORBB/Baghdad FIR) should be avoided entirely.

Several countries have issued airspace warnings advising against operating in Iraqi airspace at the lower flight levels. The airspace adjoining the Baghdad FIR is also at risk: Iran, Turkey, Syria and Saudi Arabia.
 
The primary risk is intentional targeting by terrorist organisations who possess portable anti-aircraft weaponry. Civil aircraft may also be misidentified by the air defence systems of both local and foreign military who are active in the country. Airspace warnings issued by foreign aviation authorities allow for overflights at the higher flight levels (and eastern airways UM860 and UM688 are heavily flown international air routes), but there is a clear risk to civil aircraft operating throughout the FIR at all levels.
 
Major events:
Sep 2022: Iran closed a section of airspace in the north of the country along the border with Iraq, and is using the area to launch missile and drone attacks at targets near ORER/Erbil Airport. Iran are warning their own operators against flying in Iraqi airspace.
Oct 2021: US operators can now overfly the ORBB/Baghdad FIR above FL320. KICZ Notam A0036/20 which banned flights at all levels has been cancelled, and the SFAR now applies.
Jan 2020: Ukrainian Airlines 737 misidentified and shot down by Iranian armed forced in Tehran hours after retaliatory missile attacks against US bases in Iraq.
Jan 2020: US drone strike near ORBI/Baghdad killed a high ranking Iranian general. Considered a serious escalation. Anything that looks like a US asset or ally is now considered a target.
2020 onwards: Multiple rocket attacks on ORBI/Baghdad and the US embassy.

Read: Iraq Airspace Risk For Overflights, Sep 2022 (OPSGROUP article)
06Oct22 USA FAA Information Note Iraq Ongoing political turmoil, militant activities, and military operations in Iraq poses an elevated risk to aviation and airspace safety. In recent months, militants have fired rockets in Baghdad’s Green Zone, causing flight disruptions at nearby ORBI/Baghdad airport; Iran continues to target northern Iraq with missile and drone attacks; and Turkey has been launching attacks along Iraq’s northern border.
20Sep22 USA SFAR 77 US operators are prohibited from overflying the ORBB/Baghdad FIR below FL320 due to risks posed by military activity, and terrorist attacks against airports.
12Sep22 UK Notam EGTT V0028/22 Overflights of the ORBB/Baghdad FIR should be at FL320 or above. (Supersedes the info in the UK AIP which says that overflights should be on airways UL602 to ALPET, UM860 and UM688, when operating above 25,000ft AGL.)
05Sep22 Iraq Notam ORBB A0546/22 Iraq is warning operators to expect GPS jamming on approach to ORER/Erbil Airport, as well as for overflights heading southbound in the northern part of Iraq along airway UM688 from RATVO to VAXEN.
02Sep22 Germany AIC 20/22 Overflights of the ORBB/Baghdad FIR should be at FL280 or above.
28Apr22 France AIC 24/22 Overflights should only be on airways UM860 or UL602/L718 northbound or UM688 southbound, at or above FL320.
18Nov21 Canada AIC 16/22 Operators should not overfly the ORBB/Baghdad FIR below FL320.
22Oct21 USA FAA Information Note Iraq US operators can now overfly the ORBB/Baghdad FIR above FL320. KICZ Notam A0036/20 which banned flights at all levels has been cancelled, and the SFAR now applies.
15Jun21 USA FAA Information Note Iraq ORBI/Baghdad airport was targeted by weaponized drones on June 14, for the second time in a week. Local militia continue to show intent to target US interests at airports. This is exposing low level aircraft to risk from rocket and drone activity along with air defence systems.
08Jun21 USA FAA Information Note Iraq Recent rocket and drone attacks on ORBI/Baghdad and a nearby air base. Local militia are showing a renewed intent to target US interests at airports. This is exposing low level aircraft to risk from their activities, along with misidentification or miscalculation by air defence systems.
23Apr21 USA FAA Information Note Iraq More weaponised drones and indirect fire attacks are likely across Iraq, increasing the risk to aviation. At least three rockets were fired at ORBI/Baghdad on Apr 22, which wounded one person. Several more unfired rockets were found stashed on the rooftop of a nearby building which overlooks the airport. Iranian backed militia are thought to be responsible and continue to actively target US interests at airports throughout Iraq.
15Apr21 USA FAA Information Note Iraq Explosive drone attack by militia on US interests at ORER/Erbil Airport on April 14. It is unique as these kinds of attacks usually use less accurate rockets and mortars. It may signify that militia have increasing access to more sophisticated weapons which may pose a new threat to airports throughout Iraq including ORBI/Baghdad.
11Apr20 South Africa Notam FAJA A1491/20 Overflights should be above FL300.
08Jan20 Iraq Notam A0018/20 Iraq issues warning to operators that Iran fired missiles into the ORBB/Baghdad FIR, altitude and trajectory unknown.
Syria
Syria is an active Conflict Zone. A civil war is ongoing since 2011. There is a high risk to civil aircraft. Syrian airspace (OSTT/Damascus FIR) should be avoided entirely. Airspace adjoining the Damascus FIR is also at risk: Cyprus, Turkey, Israel. Total flight ban for US, UK and German operators, and several other countries have issued warnings to avoid the airspace of Syria.

The primary risk is a misident by Syrian air defense systems. Civil aircraft may be targeted in error, or caught in crossfire during ongoing air attacks involving Israel, Russia, Iran. Missiles may erroneously lock on to civil aircraft. Israeli airstrikes on Syria are regular, and do not show any regard for civil traffic. There is a clear risk to civil aircraft operating on airways UL620, UW74, UR18, and UP62. In simple terms, if you find yourself planned overwater east of Cyprus, reconsider your route.

Major events:
June 2022: OSDI/Damascus airport closed for several days following Israeli airstrikes. Runways and terminal building both sustained damage.
Feb 2020: An A320 enroute OSDI/Damascus caught in crossfire during attack by 4 Israeli F-16’s, forced to divert to Russian controlled air base.
Sep 2018: Russian IL-20 shot down in error on FIR boundary with Cyprus (Nicosia FIR) - airline flights on UL620 within 50nm of this position.

Read: OpsGroup Note -Syria, Sep 2018 (PDF)

23Apr21 USA FAA Information Note Syria/Israel An errant surface-to-air missile fired by Syrian air defences missed its target and landed in Israel on 22 Apr 2021. Syria is actively using long range anti-aircraft weaponry which poses a risk to civil aircraft in the region. While US operators are banned from the OSTT/Damascus FIR, the FAA warns the threat is extended to adjacent FIRs in the Eastern Mediterranean region including the LLLL/Tel Aviv, OJAC/Amman, OLBB/Beirut and LCCC/Nicosia FIRs. Use caution if operating in the area. 
27Nov20 USA SFAR 114 US operators are prohibited from entering the OSTT/Damascus FIR.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Operators should avoid Syrian airspace.
09Feb20 Canada AIC 16/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of Syria, and there is a potential risk to aircraft within 200nm of the Damascus FIR.
22Oct18 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Potential risk to aircraft within 200nm of the Damascus FIR.
14Apr18 USA Notam KICZ A0009/18 Exercise caution within 200nm of the Damascus FIR due to military activity. Possibility of GPS Interference, Communication jamming, and long-range surface to air missiles in the area.
15Oct15 Germany AIC 20/22 Do not enter Syrian airspace.
12Jun15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) UK operators must avoid the airspace of Syria.
Ukraine
Ukraine closed its entire airspace to all civil traffic on Feb 24, 2022, due to a military invasion by Russia. There is an ongoing active conflict in Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Russia, Belarus and Moldova have closed large sections of their own airspace near to their FIR boundaries with Ukraine.

All the major countries who regularly issue airspace warnings (the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany) have since issued total flight bans for Ukraine due to risk from military activity at all levels. (Several other countries have also issued flight bans for Ukraine but we have not listed them all here due to sheer volume).

The primary risk is an unintended targeting of civil aircraft by military, including misidentification (as with MAS17, UIA752), or confusion.

The secondary risk is potential lack of Ukrainian Air Traffic Control Service at short notice (Cyber Attack), and other unforeseeable non-normal operating environments for civil aircraft.

Read: OPSGROUP article: Ukraine and Russia Update March 2022

Prior to February 2022, there were two areas of concern in Ukraine - the conflict in the far east of the country (affecting UKDV/Dnipro FIR) and the double claim over ATC and airspace in Crimea (UKFV/URFV/Simferopol FIR).
24Nov22 UK Notam EGTT V0037/22 UK operators are prohibited from Ukrainian airspace.
17Nov22 France AIC 24/22 French operators should not enter the airspace of Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova; should also not enter the airspace of Russia within 200nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine.
14Nov22 USA FAA Information Note Russia/Ukraine The Russia/Ukraine conflict spillover risk is increasing. Russia periodically launches missiles targeting Ukraine which transit Moldovan airspace. Reports of comms and GPS jamming outside the conflict zone, particularly over the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Expanded drone activity, especially around Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
12Oct22 Ukraine Notam UKBV A0640/22 Ukraine airspace remains closed to all civil flights (since Feb 2022) due to Russian invasion and ongoing conflict.
24Feb22 USA Notam KICZ A0004/22 US operators are prohibited from the airspace of Ukraine.
24Feb22 Canada AIC 16/22 Canadian operators are prohibited from the airspace of Ukraine.
24Feb22 Germany AIC 20/22 German operators are prohibited from Ukrainian airspace.
06Oct21 USA SFAR 113 This SFAR bans US operators overflying the eastern part of the UKDV/Dnipropetrovsk FIR due to a continued threat of arms fire in the region.
20Feb15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Possible conflicting ATC instructions due to disputed airspace in the Simferopol FIR.
Libya
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. 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:
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.
Oct 2019: The US issued an emergency order prohibiting US operators from overflying the HLLL/Tripoli FIR except for altitudes at or above FL300 “outside of Libyan territorial airspace” - which is basically the international airspace over the southern Mediterranean Sea that is managed by Libya.
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, Oct 2019 (OPSGROUP article)
19Apr21 Germany AIC 20/22 Operators should avoid Libyan airspace.
27Jul20 USA SFAR 112 US operators are prohibited from overflying the HLLL/Tripoli FIR except for altitudes at or above FL300 “outside of Libyan territorial airspace” - which is basically the international airspace over the southern Mediterranean Sea that is managed by Libya.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Operators should avoid Libyan airspace.
18Feb20 Canada AIC 16/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of Libya.
12Jun15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) UK operators must avoid Libyan airspace.
Afghanistan
US and allied forces have pulled out of Afghanistan, and the Taliban have taken control of the country. Afghanistan’s airspace is now effectively closed to overflights - the OAKX/Kabul FIR is uncontrolled, and overflying traffic should route around the country.

The FAA bans US operators from Afghanistan’s airspace, only permitting overflights on airways P500 and G500 in the far east of the OAKX/Kabul FIR. EASA, along with authorities in several western countries, have issued similar warnings.

The primary risks are direct and indirect fire targeting airports and from surface-to-air fire targeting aircraft operating at low altitudes. Additionally, the conflict has resulted in limited ATC control across the airspace and an extreme threat to aircraft and crew safety and security on the ground.

Major events:
Aug 2021: US and allied military evacuations have finished at OAKB/Kabul airport. It is now under Taliban control. The FAA advises that there are no longer any ATC services available here, along with the entire OAKX/Kabul FIR.
Nov 2020: Major rocket attack in Kabul. Nearly two dozen rockets were fired from vehicles in several neighborhoods around the city causing multiple casualties. The road between OAKB/Kabul Airport and the Intercontinental Hotel was also targeted with an explosive device.

Read: OpsGroup Note - Afghanistan Ops Update & Situation Overview 13SEP2021

15Dec21 Germany AIC 20/22 Overflights of the OAKX/Kabul FIR should be at FL330 or above.
25Nov21 France AIC 24/22 Operators should not enter the OAKX/Kabul FIR, except on airways P500/G500 at or above FL320.
27Sep21 EASA Information Note There remains an enduring threat to aviation facilities via indirect fire or via suicide bombers, and to overflying traffic due to the lack of ATC.
14Sep21 USA US FAA Background Notice The primary risk on the ground and at lower altitudes relates to the ongoing threat of weapons activity and terrorist attacks - and following the withdrawal of US and coalition forces there are no longer any risk mitigation capabilities available at OAKB/Kabul airport. Although it is unlikely that Taliban would target civil aviation now that they have assumed control of the country, ISIS and other militant groups are still operating in Afghanistan outside of Taliban control. The primary risk for overflights relates to the lack of ATC service, functioning CAA and air navigation service provider. Bottom line, US operators are banned from the OAKX/Kabul FIR except for airway P500/G500.
30Aug21 USA Notam KICZ A0029/21 US operators are banned from the OAKX/Kabul FIR except for airway P500/G500. Flights to and from OAKB/Kabul airport are no longer exempt.
17Aug21 EASA Information Note Due to recent events, civil aircraft operating in the OAKX/Kabul FIR are exposed to a number of risks. There is currently no ATS available, while Taliban forces may have access to aircraft and weapons left behind by retreating forces. Security infrastructure at airports is very poor, if non-existent. EASA recommends commercial operators do not enter the OAKX/Kabul FIR until further notice.
28Jul21 Canada AIC 16/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of Afghanistan except for overflights at or above FL320 on airways P500 and G500.
08Oct15 United Kingdom UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Operators should not enter the OAKX/Kabul FIR, except on airways P500/G500 at or above 25,000ft AGL.
Iran
Following the shoot-down of Ukraine Int Airlines flight 752 over Tehran in Jan 2020, several countries issued airspace warnings for Iran, including: the UK, Canada, Germany, and France. The US has issued an outright flight ban, but all the others advise against landing or overflying the country at the lower flight levels. The airspace adjoining the Tehran FIR is also at risk: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The primary risk is a misident by Iranian air defense systems. Iran has shown willingness to use long-range, advanced anti-aircraft-capable weapons during heightened tensions and in close proximity to heavily flown international air routes. There is also a potential for Iranian surface-to-surface missile fire from western Iran, targeting terrorist positions in Iraq. The secondary risks come from ballistic missile test launches with no warning by Notam, and GPS jamming (including in overwater airspace over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman).

Major events:
Jan 2020: Iranian Armed Forces shot-down Ukraine Int Airlines flight 752 over Tehran, having mistaken the aircraft radar return for an inbound missile. Just hours prior to the shoot-down, the US FAA issued “Emergency Order” Notams banning all US operators from overflying the airspace of Iraq and Iran. This was in response to an Iranian missile strike on US military bases in Iraq, which had occurred earlier that night.
June 2019: Iran shot down a US military unmanned aircraft operating in airspace over the Gulf of Oman with a SAM system.
Since 2017: Iran has conducted multiple ballistic missile test launches without issuing any Notams to warn civil operators, the latest taking place in late December 2019.

Read: Iran Airspace Update, March 2020 (OPSGROUP article)
20Sep22 USA SFAR 117 US operators are prohibited from overflying the OIIX/Tehran FIR due to the risk of misidentification, and unannounced military activities in the region.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Operators should not overfly the western half of the country (everywhere west of 54 Degrees East longitude); overflights of the eastern half should be at or above FL320.
17Feb20 USA Notam KICZ A0016/20 US operators should exercise caution in the overwater airspace in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Avoid the airways nearest to the OIIX/Tehran FIR whenever possible, to reduce the risk of miscalculation or misidentification by air defence systems.
30Jan20 Germany AIC 20/22 Caution in the OIIX/Tehran FIR due to risk posed by anti-aircraft weaponry.
20Jan20 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) UK operators should not overfly the Tehran FIR below 25,000ft AGL
10Jan20 Canada AIC 16/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of Iran.

LEVEL 2: Assessed Risk

Assessed Risk applies to countries that are the subject of airspace warnings by EASA, FAA, UK DFT, German BMVI, French DGAC, but only for specific portions or below certain altitudes

Saudi Arabia
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)

17Mar22 USA FAA Information Note Saudi Arabia/Yemen 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.
14Mar22 Germany AIC 20/22 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.
20May21 France AIC 24/22 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.
11Mar21 Canada AIC 16/22 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.
28Jan21 Saudi Arabia Notam OEJD W0120/21 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.
Somalia
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. 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:
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: OPSGROUP article: Al-Shabab: A Threat Beyond Somalia, Jul 2021
09Feb21 Canada AIC 16/22 Overflights should be at FL260 or above.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Overflights should be at FL260 or above.
11Dec19 USA SFAR 107 US operators are prohibited operating below FL260 in the airspace of Somalia.
13Apr18 Somalia Notam A0035/18 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.
04Feb16 Germany AIC 20/22 Overflights should be at FL260 or above, except for UR401.
15Jan16 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Operators should avoid overflying Somalia airspace below 25,000ft AGL.
North Korea
The primary risk is from debris from missile re-entries striking aircraft overflying the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. North Korea regularly conducts unannounced missile tests in this area. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it.

The US prohibits flights across all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. Several other countries have airspace warnings in place which advise caution due to the risk posed by unannounced rocket launches.

Major events:
Oct 2022: North Korea fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan - the first to incur on Japanese airspace since 2017.
2017: North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles. Both of these landed in the Sea of Japan, well inside the Fukuoka Flight Information Region (Japanese airspace), and significantly, at least one did not re-enter the atmosphere intact – meaning that a debris field of missile fragments passed through the airspace, not just one complete missile.
2015: North Korea gradually stopped notifying ICAO of missile launches, so that aircraft could avoid the launch and splashdown areas.

Read: North Korea Missile Threat, Oct 2022 (OPSGROUP article)

03Nov22 UK Notam EGTT V0034/22 Due to the risk posed by unannounced rocket launches, operators should not enter the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR, and should exercise caution over the Sea of Japan.
19Oct22 Canada Notam CZQX H3658/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of North Korea due to risk posed by unannounced rocket launches. (Supersedes info in AIC 16/22 which just "advises caution" in the airspace).
12Oct22 USA FAA Information Note North Korea North Korea’s continued failure to provide advance warning of missile test launches presents an enduring safety hazard to civil aviation. Further missile test launches are likely, some of which could travel beyond the boundaries of the Pyongyang FIR and into adjacent airspace. Operators should maintain close contact with ATC and follow instructions.
07Sep20 USA SFAR 79 Flights are prohibited in all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan, due to the threat posed by unannounced North Korean missile launches and air defense weapons systems.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Caution advised for all North Korea overflights, especially in the maritime part over the Sea of Japan (due to unannounced rocket launches).
19Dec19 Germany AIC 20/22 Potential risk to overflights of North Korean airspace (ZKKP FIR) due to launching of test missiles without prior notice.
09Aug17 OPSGROUP Note To Members: Japan Missile Risk Since 2015, North Korea has been test-launching missiles with increasing regularity. The absolute lack of warning, coupled with an emerging picture of a focus area for re-entry, creates a risk to flight operations in the western portion of Japan’s Fukuoka FIR over the Sea of Japan. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it. Check routings carefully for arrivals/departures to Europe from Japan, especially if planning airways which connect with the UHHH/Khabarovsk FIR at waypoints IGROD and AVGOK.
Ethiopia
There has been an increase in clashes in Ethiopia’s Tigray region lately, despite a ceasefire agreed earlier in 2022. Airspace in the north of the country should be avoided - several states maintain active airspace warnings for the HAAA/Addis FIR, and Ethiopia still have a Notam in place banning all flights at FL290 and below:





The primary risk to aviation is from misidentification/miscalculation by TPLF or government forces with the use of anti-aircraft weaponry. In other words - civil aircraft being mistaken for something of military interest, or simply caught in the crossfire.

Major Events:

Nov 2021: Six-month nationwide state of emergency declared, following increased fighting between the military and TPLF rebel forces in the north of the country. Several western countries have issued security warnings. The US is now saying “do not travel” to Ethiopia due to armed conflict and civil unrest, and is encouraging those who are in the country to leave. The conflict will likely intensify in the coming weeks - the government has urged people in the capital Addis Ababa to arm themselves, as the northern rebel forces advance to the south.

July 2021: HAAA/Addis FIR published a Notam closing a section of airspace below FL290 over the Tigray region along the Ethiopia/Eritrea border. This follows reports that militia shot down a military transport plane in the region the previous week, near the capital Mekele. Caution if overflying the area, particularly on airways UM656/UT124 between the HSSS/Khartoum and HAAA/Addis FIRs which have previously been closed due to the conflict.

Nov 2020: Major escalation of the conflict in the Tigray region, along the Ethiopia/Eritrea border. Some airways were closed by the Ethiopian and Sudanese CAAs. Other airways that were still open were very close to the conflict zone. These are frequently used by international operators on the Europe-East Africa route. In particular: UN321, UG300 and UL432. Multiple airports were targeted by rockets. Missiles were fired across the border into Eritrea, targeting HHAS/Asmara. Within Ethiopia, HABD/Bahir Dar and HAGN/Gondar were also targeted.

Sep 2018: Risk due to hidden ATC strike. Ethiopian ATC controllers went on strike, and the ECAA and Ethiopian Airlines recruited both retired and foreign controllers to pick up the slack. Ethiopia denied several times that there was in fact a strike happening at all. The strike ended September 7th. Many were not qualified to operate in Ethiopian airspace, due to inexperience.
17Nov22 France AIC 24/22 Operators should not fly in the northern section of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR, and should exercise caution across the rest of the country’s airspace below FL320.
27Oct22 United Kingdom Notam EGTT V0030/22 Potential risk to overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at all altitudes from anti-aviation weaponry.
25Aug22 Ethiopia Notam HAAA A0366/22 All operators are prohibited from FL290 and below in the north of the country due to ongoing conflict.
11Jan22 Germany AIC 20/22 German operators are prohibited from entering a northern section of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at all flight levels, due to risks associated with the ongoing conflict there. The prohibited area includes the Mekele TMA and airspace to the west up to the HSSX/Khartoum and HHAA/Asmara FIRs.
30Dec21 Canada AIC 16/22 Caution for overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR at or below FL290 due to ongoing ground conflict.
18Nov21 USA Notam KICZ A0035/21 Overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR should be at FL290 or above. Ongoing conflict on the ground poses a potential inadvertent risk to aviation from weapons fire due to misidentification/miscalculation.
18Nov21 USA US FAA Background Notice Aircraft below FL290 in the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR are at increased risk from anti-aircraft fire which may soon include flights operating in and out of HAAB/Addis Ababa airport if the conflict continues to escalate. 
17Nov20 OPSGROUP Airspace Risk Warning ARW11-2020 Airspace Risk warning for Ethiopia/Eritrea - Tigray Conflict Zone. Risk to overflights on adjacent airways, and airports in region.
30Aug18 KACTA Letter of Concern Safety Issues in Ethiopia Kenyan ATC Controllers have listed out several major issues with safety both in Ethiopia and in the area shared with Kenyan airspace.
29Aug18 OPSGROUP Research Article Ethiopia Covering Up ATC Strike Ethiopian ATC Controllers went on strike, and ECAA and Ethiopian Airlines used foreign and retired controllers to cover, causing safety concerns.
Moldova
There is an ongoing active conflict in Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Ukraine closed its entire airspace to all civil traffic on Feb 24. Russia and Belarus have closed large sections of their own airspace near to their FIR boundaries with Ukraine. Moldova initially closed all their airspace too, but have since opened a section on their western border with the LRBB/Bucharesti FIR for flights to LUKK/Chisinau airport.

The primary risk is an unintended targeting of civil aircraft by military near the Moldova-Ukraine border, including misidentification (as with MAS17, UIA752), or confusion.

Read: OPSGROUP article: Ukraine and Russia Update March 2022
17Nov22 France AIC 24/22 French operators should not enter the airspace of Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova; should also not enter the airspace of Russia within 200nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine.
14Nov22 USA FAA Information Note Russia/Ukraine The Russia/Ukraine conflict spillover risk is increasing. Russia periodically launches missiles targeting Ukraine which transit Moldovan airspace. Reports of comms and GPS jamming outside the conflict zone, particularly over the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Expanded drone activity, especially around Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
07Oct22 Moldova AIP SUP 14/22 Moldovan airspace (the LUUU/Chisinau FIR) was closed on Feb 24 due to the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Ukraine. But there is a section of airspace along the western border with the LRBB/Bucharesti FIR that is open for flights to LUKK/Chisinau airport.
24Feb22 Canada AIC 16/22 Canadian operators are prohibited from the airspace of Moldova.
Egypt
There remains a threat from terrorism in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsular. Only the UK and Germany still have active airspace warnings here - both countries essentially advise against overflights below FL260 in the northern part of the Sinai region. The US had a similar warning in place until it was rescinded in March 2022.



Major events:
July 2019: British Airways suspends Cairo operations for one week due to security concerns.
Feb 2017: An SA-7 anti-aircraft missile tube was found less than a mile from HECA/Cairo airport.
Oct 2015: A Russian A321 was brought down over the Sinai peninsula by a bomb loaded at HESH/Sharm El Sheikh. The group claimed the IED was placed aboard the aircraft prior to departing HESH, raising concerns of potential insider threats at the airport.
13Jan22 Germany AIC 20/22 Sinai Peninsula presents a risk below FL260 for overflights and landings, with a particular focus on the northern part.
30Mar21 USA US FAA Background Notice In March 2022 the US FAA cancelled its airspace warning for the Sinai Peninsula below FL260. We continue to list it here for reference.
18Nov15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying Egypt's Northern Sinai region at less than 25,000ft AGL.
Russia
Ukraine closed its entire airspace to all civil traffic on Feb 24, 2022, due to a military invasion by Russia. There is an ongoing active conflict in Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Russia, Belarus and Moldova have closed large sections of their own airspace near to their FIR boundaries with Ukraine.

The US and Canada have since banned their operators from the section of airspace in Russia along its FIR boundaries with Ukraine, and several other countries have issued airspace warnings for this area (we have not listed them all here due to sheer volume).

The primary risk is an unintended targeting of civil aircraft by military near the Russia-Ukraine border, including misidentification (as with MAS17, UIA752), or confusion.

Read: OPSGROUP article: Ukraine and Russia Update March 2022
17Nov22 France AIC 24/22 French operators should not enter the airspace of Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova; should also not enter the airspace of Russia within 200nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine.
14Nov22 USA FAA Information Note Russia/Ukraine The Russia/Ukraine conflict spillover risk is increasing. Russia periodically launches missiles targeting Ukraine which transit Moldovan airspace. Reports of comms and GPS jamming outside the conflict zone, particularly over the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Expanded drone activity, especially around Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
25Feb22 Germany AIC 20/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of Russia and Belarus within 200nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine.
24Feb22 USA Notam KICZ A0005/22 US operators are prohibited from Russian airspace within 160nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine.
24Feb22 Canada AIC 16/22 Canadian operators are prohibited from the airspace of Ukraine and Russia’s URRV/Rostov FIR; and within 200nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine in Russia’s UUWV/Moscow FIR.
Belarus
There is an ongoing active conflict in Ukraine between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Ukraine closed its entire airspace to all civil traffic on Feb 24. Russia and Belarus have closed large sections of their own airspace near to their FIR boundaries with Ukraine.

The US has issued an outright ban barring its operators from the entire airspace of Belarus, and several other countries have issued warnings for the section of airspace in Belarus along its FIR boundary with Ukraine. Several other countries have also issued warnings for this airspace - we have not listed them all here due to sheer volume.

The primary risk is an unintended targeting of civil aircraft by military near the Belarus-Ukraine border, including misidentification (as with MAS17, UIA752), or confusion.

Read: OPSGROUP article: Ukraine and Russia Update March 2022

Prior to Feb 2022, several countries and aviation organisations had urged airlines and operators to avoid the airspace of Belarus, following the country’s interception of an international flight bound for Lithuania and forced to land in Minsk on May 23, 2021. The forced landing of this flight was politically motivated, and the crew were misled into believing that there was a credible security threat against the aircraft.
17Nov22 France AIC 24/22 French operators should not enter the airspace of Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova; should also not enter the airspace of Russia within 200nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine.
25Feb22 Germany AIC 20/22 Operators should not enter the airspace of Russia and Belarus within 200nm of the FIR boundaries with Ukraine.
24Feb22 USA Notam KICZ A0003/22 US operators are prohibited from the airspace of Belarus (the UMMV/Minsk FIR) due to to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
24Feb22 Canada AIC 16/22 Canadian operators are prohibited from the airspace of Belarus.
02Jun21 EASA Safety Directive 2021-02 EASA is requesting member states to tell their operators to “not conduct operations” in the UMMV/Minsk FIR, unless it is to ensure safe operation in case of unforeseen circumstances.
25May21 EASA Safety Information Bullet 2021-10 EU and Third Country Operators should avoid the UMMV/Minsk FIR.
Kenya
Kenya is affected by the ongoing Somali Civil War - the main threat comes from militants in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia. The US has a warning in place to exercise caution below FL260 in Kenya’s airspace east of 40 degrees East longitude (the border region with Somalia).

The primary risk is from indirect mortar and rocket fire, including MANPADS, which could target aircraft at low altitudes and at airports.

Major events:
Jan 2020: Two US military/govt aircraft (C-146A, DHC-8), and two helicopters, were destroyed in a militant attack on HKLU/Manda Airport, a US/Kenya joint military base in Lamu county, east coast. Security concerns in this part of Kenya have been ongoing for several years.

Jan 2019: Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on a hotel complex in central Nairobi on 15 Jan 2019, killing at least 14 people. There were a number of attacks by Al-Shabab in Kenya in preceding years, but none in Nairobi since the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in 2013.
26Feb22 USA Notam KICZ A0008/22 Avoid operating below FL260 in Kenya's airspace east of 40 degrees East longitude (the border region with Somalia) due to extremist and militant activity.
26Feb22 USA US FAA Background Notice Avoid operating below FL260 in Kenya's airspace east of 40 degrees East longitude (the border region with Somalia) due to extremist and militant activity.
12Aug16 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying Kenya at less than 25,000ft AGL.
Mali
The northern Mali War has been ongoing since 2012, and there have been no improvements in stability. The US, Germany, France and the UK all have warnings in place, advising to operate FL250/260 or higher, and avoiding GATB, GAGO, and GAKL airports, due to ongoing fighting and militant activity. We would suggest, as usual, that a higher level closer to FL300 is more sensible.

The primary risk is from indirect mortar and rocket fire, including MANPADS, which could target aircraft at low altitudes and at airports. The FAA say that militants in Mali primarily target UN and Malian forces which are often based near to Malian airports, and these attacks present an indirect threat to civil aviation.

Major events:
Aug 2020 All airports across the country were closed from Aug 19-20 following a military coup which overthrew the government. Bamako ACC remained operational throughout, with overflights unaffected.
April 2018: Militants attacked UN peacekeepers at two bases near GATB/Timbuktu Airport using both indirect fire weapons and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices.
Jan 2017 and Nov 2016: Militants conducted vehicle-borne improvised explosive attacks against GAGO/Gao Airport, and rocket attacks against GATB/Timbuktu Airport.

Senegal and Niger control the airspace over Mali, and they have long-standing Notams (published under the GOOO/Dakar and DRRR/Niamey FIRs) warning that you can only fly between FL320-400 through the entire airspace in Mali north of the GABS/Bamako TMA due to military ops across the region.



26Feb22 USA Notam KICZ A0009/22 Avoid operating below FL260 in Mali's airspace due to ongoing fighting and militant activity.
26Feb22 USA US FAA Background Notice Avoid operating below FL260 in Mali's airspace due to ongoing fighting and militant activity.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Overflights should be at FL320 or above.
16Aug17 Germany AIC 20/22 Overflights should be at FL260 or above.
09Jun17 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying Mali airspace below 25,000ft AGL.
South Sudan
Following five years of civil war, a ceasefire has largely held since Sept 2018. Significant reduction in violence, but the political and security situation remains volatile. In the event of a serious deterioration, similar to those of July 2016 and Dec 2013, HSSJ/Juba airport may be closed at short notice. The UK, France and Germany still advise against overflying South Sudan below FL250/260 due to the risk posed by anti-aircraft weaponry. The US published a similar warning but rescinded it in Aug 2019.

The primary risk now comes from poor levels of ATC provision for overflights below FL245 or for aircraft operating to HSSJ/Juba airport. In Jan 2021, ICAO published a letter warning of service disruptions and lack of qualified ATC personnel, the lack of contingencies in place, communication issues, the number of withdrawn navigation aids and above all, the lack of information being supplied to operators regarding these issues.

Major events:
April 2019: Military coup in Sudan led to the temporary closure of South Sudan’s airspace.
June 2016: The South Sudanese army declared intention to shoot down aircraft without permits and/or not following proper procedures.
01Nov22 South Africa Notam FACA A3715/22 Risk for overflights of South Sudan below FL245 or for aircraft operating to HSSJ/Juba airport due to poor levels of ATC provision.
02Feb21 South Sudan Notam HSSJ A0021/21 ATC radio is not good enough to cover all airspace in the country. All aircraft must use TCAS.
20Jan21 ICAO Letter AN 13/35-21/5 ICAO letter raising concerns about the risk to civil aircraft in the South Sudan region, below FL245, and into and out of HSSJ/Juba international airport. The letter raises concerns about ATC service disruptions and lack of qualified ATC personnel, the lack of contingencies in place, communication issues, the number of withdrawn navigation aids and above all, the lack of information being supplied to operators regarding these issues. They raise ‘grave concerns’ for the safety of international flights.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Overflights should be at FL260 or above, in the part of the HSSS/Sudan FIR above South Sudan.
16Jun16 OSPGROUP Research Article Army of South Sudan will shoot down aircraft.
26Aug15 Germany AIC 20/22 Overflights should be at FL260 or above.
12Jun15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying South Sudan airspace below 25,000ft AGL.
Eritrea
HHAS/Asmara airport was targeted on 14 Nov 2020 by missiles from the Tigray TPLF, bringing Eritrea into the conflict and meaning that operations here should be avoided. See Ethiopia summary for more detail.
17Nov20 OPSGROUP Airspace Risk Warning ARW11-2020 Airspace Risk Warning for Eritrea
Pakistan
Couple of issues: Conflict with India in the Kashmir region in the northeastern corner of Pakistan, and concentration of terrorist group representation in the country. Military activity by Pakistan and India in the disputed Kashmir region poses a potential inadvertent risk to aviation at all altitudes, particularly in the OPLR/Lahore FIR. The consensus among foreign authorities is to cross the OPLR/Lahore and OPKR/Karachi FIRs at higher flight levels. Diversion/Landing in Pakistan is recommended against. Avoid operating to OPPS/Peshawar and OPQT/Quetta airports - both are near the border with Afghanistan. OPKC/Karachi Airport was attacked in 2014.
01Jan21 USA US FAA Background Notice (This Notice has been withdrawn but we're keeping it listed here for reference). Exercise caution flying into or over Pakistan, particularly at low altitudes, due to the risk posed by small-arms fire, attacks against airports, indirect weapons fire and anti-aircraft fire by extremist/militant elements operating in the country.
29Oct20 Germany AIC 20/22 Overflights should be at FL260 and above; potential risk of attacks at all airports in Pakistan.
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Overflights should be at FL260 or above.
08Oct15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying OPKC/Karachi and OPLR/Lahore FIRs below 25,000ft AGL.

LEVEL 3 : Caution

Caution applies to countries that do not have multiple current airspace warnings, but we consider worthy of a security review before operating into or over

Central African Republic
The security situation on the ground in the Central African Republic is dire. There have been numerous attacks on civilians and peacekeeping troops in recent years. FEFF/Bangui airport is operating under UN control, and is subject to regular power outages. The US and UK advise against all travel to the entire country due to violent crime, civil unrest, and the presence of armed groups who control large areas of the country. There are no official airspace warnings in place for the CAR, but the general advice is to avoid landings here completely.

Major events:
Nov 2022: An unidentified aircraft dropped bombs targeting a militant group 150nm north of the capital Bangui. The group responded with small arms fire. Low flying aircraft in the area may be at increased risk.
Feb 2021: Deteriorating security situation. A state of emergency was declared due to post election violence. The government suspended use of all airspace by foreign governments and NGOs. For the second time, armed rebels attempted to enter the capital Bangui to overthrow the newly elected president. They got within six miles of the city before being pushed back by local and UN forces.
Myanmar
Only one international airspace warning exists, that of Germany, cautioning against flights below FL160 due to a potential risk from military ops, surface-to-air fire and anti-aviation weaponry.

The security situation in Myanmar has deteriorated since the military coup in Feb 2021. There is significant conflict and violence across many parts of the country, involving air strikes and armed clashes. In urban areas, there have been shootings and targeted explosions, although normal city life has resumed in large parts of Yangon.

Major events:
Sep 2022: A Myanmar National Airlines passenger was reportedly shot in the face as bullets passed through the fuselage of the ATR 72 aircraft on approach to VYLK/Loikaw.
Feb 2021: Military coup ousted the government. ATC strike at the end of Feb resulted in no ATC service provided to overflights (read more on that here). Since then, there have been increasing strikes and mass protests by opposition activists, as well as clashes with militia and airstrikes on areas where militia are known to be active.

Read: OPSGROUP Article - Myanmar, Nov 2022
23Nov22 Germany Notam EDWW B1361/22 Caution against flights below FL160 due to a potential risk from military ops, surface-to-air fire and anti-aviation weaponry.
Turkey
The primary risk is misidentification by local militia who infrequently target Turkish military aircraft with MANPADS and weaponsied drones. Operations to LTAJ/Gaziantep should be carefully reviewed given its proximity to the Syrian border. Along the border with Syria and Iraq in proximity to conflict zones, there is a higher level of airborne military traffic, UAS and the risk of proximity to airstrikes.

The secondary risk is from GPS jamming. There are frequent reports from crews of GPS signal interference in Turkish airspace - with some as far away as abeam Baghdad. GPS jamming is common through the LTAA/Ankara FIR, and especially on the border between the ORBB/Baghdad and OIIX/Tehran FIRs.

Major events:
Nov 2022: Shelling and a rocket strike near a town in southern Turkey, near the border with Syria. Turkey has been carrying out airstrikes on Syria and Kurdish regions of Iraq.
May 2021: Attempted drone attack by local militia on LTCC/Diyabakir airport in South Eastern Turkey.
Jan 2019: Turkish security forces intercepted three weaponised drones during attempted attacks against sites in southern Turkey.
06Oct22 Turkey Notam LTAA A6691/22 Expect GPS interference in Turkish Airspace.
19May21 USA FAA Information Note Turkey Drone attack in May 2021 on LTCC/Diyabakir airport in South Eastern Turkey. Local militia targeting military interests are thought to be responsible. While no threats have been made against civil aviation, the militia are known to have access to portable anti-aircraft weaponry which may pose a low-level risk through misidentification.
United Arab Emirates
Improving airspace risk picture in the UAE, where there have been no reported drone or missile 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 the UAE pose a potential threat to ops at airports, and for overflights of the OMAE/Emirates FIR. OMAA/Abu Dhabi Airport has been targeted on several occasions in the past. There are not currently any official airspace warnings for the OMAE/Emirates FIR by any countries, but we are listing this info here for reference.

The primary risk is from incidental damage from Houthi drone and missile attacks on airports. Also note that short notice airspace disruptions are likely, along with air defence activity near major cities.

Major events:
Feb 2022: At least three drones were shot down by surface-to-air missiles in UAE airspace on Feb 2. This time militants in Iraq have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Jan 2022: Houthi ballistic missile targeting Abu Dhabi was destroyed on Jan 30 - the third attack in two weeks. Flights at OMAA/Abu Dhabi were briefly affected.

Read: OPSGROUP article: Has The Yemen Conflict Reached The UAE? Jan 2022

16Feb21 United Arab Emirates Notam OMAE A0404/21 Risk from Houthi weapons targeting UAE territory. (This Notam was cancelled in May 2021 and not re-issued, but we are keeping it listed here for reference).
Japan
The primary risk is from debris from missile re-entries striking aircraft overflying the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. North Korea regularly conducts unannounced missile tests in this area. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it.

The US prohibits flights across all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan. Several other countries have airspace warnings in place which advise caution due to the risk posed by unannounced rocket launches.

Major events:
Oct 2022: North Korea fired a ballistic missile directly over Japan - the first to incur on Japanese airspace since 2017.
2017: North Korea launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles. Both of these landed in the Sea of Japan, well inside the Fukuoka Flight Information Region (Japanese airspace), and significantly, at least one did not re-enter the atmosphere intact – meaning that a debris field of missile fragments passed through the airspace, not just one complete missile.
2015: North Korea gradually stopped notifying ICAO of missile launches, so that aircraft could avoid the launch and splashdown areas.

Read: North Korea Missile Threat, Oct 2022 (OPSGROUP article)

07Sep20 USA SFAR 79 Flights are prohibited in all North Korean airspace, including the oceanic part of the ZKKP/Pyongyang FIR over the Sea of Japan, due to the threat posed by unannounced North Korean missile launches and air defense weapons systems.
09Aug17 OPSGROUP Note To Members: Japan Missile Risk Since 2015, North Korea has been test-launching missiles with increasing regularity. The absolute lack of warning, coupled with an emerging picture of a focus area for re-entry, creates a risk to flight operations in the western portion of Japan’s Fukuoka FIR over the Sea of Japan. Consider rerouting to remain over the Japanese landmass or east of it. Check routings carefully for arrivals/departures to Europe from Japan, especially if planning airways which connect with the UHHH/Khabarovsk FIR at waypoints IGROD and AVGOK.
Azerbaijan
On Sep 12, 2022, there were renewed border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia - the worst flare-up in hostilities since the war ended in 2020. The waypoints along the border between the two countries (VETEN, PEMAN, ELSIV, MATAL) were temporarily closed on Sep 13, but reopened the next day, after Russia said it brokered a ceasefire to end the fighting. Some flights between Europe and Asia are still overflying the border region again, whilst others are continuing to detour through Georgian airspace to the north (the UGGG/Tbilisi FIR), avoiding Azerbaijan.

Several foreign airspace warnings for Armenia or Azerbaijan were withdrawn at the end of the war in 2020. Following recent events in Sep 2022, only Canada has issued a new airspace warning (for both countries) advising caution due to potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military ops.

The primary risk is from any further large-scale ceasefire violations involving missiles or anti-aircraft weaponry, which may present a risk to overflights in the border region.

Major events:
Sep 2022: Clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia temporarily closed all border waypoints.
Sep/Oct 2020: Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan led to large sections of closed airspace along the northern border. Azerbaijan warned of threat posed by long-range missiles which they claimed Armenia had been using to target locations throughout Azerbaijan. Germany and France issued airspace warnings of a potential risk to aviation from military operations including anti aviation weaponry.

30Nov22 Canada Notam CZUL H4113/22 Caution in the airspace of Azerbaijan due to potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military ops.
Armenia
On Sep 12, 2022, there were renewed border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia - the worst flare-up in hostilities since the war ended in 2020. The waypoints along the border between the two countries (VETEN, PEMAN, ELSIV, MATAL) were temporarily closed on Sep 13, but reopened the next day, after Russia said it brokered a ceasefire to end the fighting. Some flights between Europe and Asia are still overflying the border region again, whilst others are continuing to detour through Georgian airspace to the north (the UGGG/Tbilisi FIR), avoiding Armenia.

Several foreign airspace warnings for Armenia or Azerbaijan were withdrawn at the end of the war in 2020. Following recent events in Sep 2022, only Canada has issued a new airspace warning (for both countries) advising caution due to potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military ops.

The primary risk is from any further large-scale ceasefire violations involving missiles or anti-aircraft weaponry, which may present a risk to overflights in the border region.

Major events:
Sep 2022: Clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia temporarily closed all border waypoints.
Sep/Oct 2020: Conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan led to large sections of closed airspace along the northern border. Azerbaijan warned of threat posed by long-range missiles which they claimed Armenia had been using to target locations throughout Azerbaijan. Germany and France issued airspace warnings of a potential risk to aviation from military operations including anti aviation weaponry.

30Nov22 Canada Notam CZUL H4113/22 Caution in the airspace of Armenia due to potential risk from anti-aviation weaponry and military ops.
Western Sahara
A new conflict zone is emerging in Western Sahara. The country is split down the middle - Morocco controls the west, and the region’s independence movement, the Polisario, controls the east. The Polisario have declared war on Morocco.

The primary risk is from anti-aircraft fire from the conflict. The FAA has published a note warning that the Polisario likely have access to anti-aircraft weaponry which may pose an inadvertent risk to civil aircraft up to FL120. The GCCC/Canarias FIR issued a Notam warning operators to avoid using the airways over Western Sahara below FL200 (this Notam was withdrawn in Nov 2021).

The secondary risk is from lack of continuous ATC coverage. Western Sahara does not control its own airspace - it falls within both the GCCC/Canarias and the GOOO/Dakar FIRs, which may complicate airspace management should the conflict escalate. The FAA advise aircraft operating in the region to stay in touch with ATC and be prepared for possible airspace restrictions and reroutes.

Read: Opsgroup article - Western Sahara Airspace Update, May 2021.

19Nov20 USA FAA Information Note Morocco/Western Sahara Potential new conflict zone in Western Sahara, including anti-aircraft weaponry which may pose an inadvertent risk to civil aircraft up to FL120.
Sudan
Ops resumed at HSSK/Khartoum Airport on Oct 27 following a military coup in Sudan on Oct 25. The main risk to aviation is the security situation on the ground. Civil unrest is widespread and there have been fatal clashes with police. There's no increased risk for overflights in the HSSS/Khartoum FIR, but keep in mind the lack of security if you need to divert - things are volatile.

Only one international airspace warning exists, that of France, recommending overflight above FL260 in the far southern and western edges of the country (west of the 27°E and south of 13°N) near to the borders with South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Chad.

The primary risk here now relates to its proximity to South Sudan - which has poor levels of ATC provision for overflights below FL245.

Major events:
Oct 2021: Military coup on Oct 25. HSSK/Khartoum closed for two days, with all flights suspended.
Jan 2020: HSSK/Khartoum airport was closed for five hours late on 14 Jan following gunfire on the streets of the capital, including in areas close to the airport. The clashes were between the army and former security agents who revolted over severance pay. The airport reopened the next day, with the government saying the violence was over and the situation was under control.
Apr 2019: Sudan temporarily closed its airspace all day on 11 April following a military coup which ousted the country’s longtime President Omar al-Bashir from power. This came after months of on-and-off protests against his rule.

Read: OPSGROUP article: Sudan Airspace Update, Jan 2021
09Apr20 France AIC 24/22 Maintain FL260 or higher in the HSSS/Sudan FIR along its southern edge (where Sudan borders with South Sudan) and western edge (where Sudan borders with Central African Republic and Chad).
Israel
Rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli air strikes on targets in Gaza and Syria could present a risk to civil aircraft operating in the region.

The primary risks are: misidentification or miscalculation by air defence systems, falling debris from air defence activities, ballistic impact while on the ground, and short notice airspace closures.

Major Events:
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: Rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli air strikes on Gaza. 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. Ceasefire agreed on May 21.
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.

Read: Opsgroup article - Israel: Assessing the Airspace Risk, May 2021
12May21 EASA Advisory 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.
23Apr21 USA FAA Information Note Syria/Israel An errant surface-to-air missile fired by Syrian air defences missed its target and landed in Israel on 22 Apr 2021. Syria is actively using long range anti-aircraft weaponry which poses a risk to civil aircraft in the region. While US operators are banned from the OSTT/Damascus FIR, the FAA warns the threat is extended to adjacent FIRs in the Eastern Mediterranean region including the LLLL/Tel Aviv, OJAC/Amman, OLBB/Beirut and LCCC/Nicosia FIRs. Use caution if operating in the area. 
23Jul14 EASA SIB 2014-22 EASA Service Information Bulletin advising operators to avoid LLBG/Tel Aviv Airport until further notice. The SIB was withdrawn on July 24, 2014.
22Jul14 USA Notam KFDC 4/3630 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.
Albania
Pilots should exercise extreme caution while operating in Albanian airspace (the LAAA/Tirana FIR) due to a heightened risk of degraded ATC services.

In April 2021, Albanian airspace (the LAAA/Tirana FIR) along with LATI/Tirana Airport was forced to close, after a number of local air traffic controllers declared themselves temporarily unfit to work.

Local air traffic controllers are working under significant duress and high stress, having been threatened with dismissal (or worse - being arrested and jailed) if they do not declare themselves fit for duty. A number of foreign controllers were temporarily brought in despite not being trained or rated on any of the local positions.

Several international associations have published warnings, including IFALPA and IFATCA.
13Apr21 IFALPA Safety Bulletin Pilots should exercise extreme caution while operating in Albanian airspace (the LAAA/Tirana FIR) due to a heightened risk of degraded ATC services.
10Apr21 IFATCA Press Release Pilots should exercise extreme caution while operating in Albanian airspace (the LAAA/Tirana FIR) due to a heightened risk of degraded ATC services.
Venezuela
Ongoing political and social crisis in Venezuela. On 1 May 2019, the US FAA issued a new Do Not Fly instruction to US operators, barring all operations into or over Venezuela, unless operating at or above FL260, and giving a window of 48 hours to leave the country.
01May19 USA Notam KICZ A0013/19 Flights are prohibited below FL260
Chad
N'Djamena in the past was a popular fuel stop in central Africa, but multiple travel warnings now advise against travel here. No official state Notams have been issued, but danger remains high.  A state of emergency remains in place for the Lake Chad region. High threat for terrorism. Avoid landings.
Cyprus
Two issues the LCCC/Nicosia FIR over Cyprus: proximity to active conflict zone in Syria, and GPS Interference.

The primary risk is from the proximity to Syria: civil aircraft may be targeted in error, or caught in crossfire during ongoing air attacks involving Israel, Russia, Iran. Missiles may erroneously lock on to civil aircraft. There is a risk to civil aircraft operating on airways UL620, UW74, UR18, and UP62. In simple terms, if you find yourself planned overwater east of Cyprus, reconsider your route.

The secondary risk is from GPS Interference. This has been ongoing since 2018. In April 2018, the Nicosia FIR began being used as a military staging for possible strikes in Syria, prompting EASA to issue a warning, and lead to avoidance of the FIR by many airlines.

Major events:
Sep 2018: Russian IL-20 shot down in error on FIR boundary with Cyprus (Nicosia FIR) - airline flights on UL620 within 50nm of this position.

11Feb20 Cyprus Notam LCCC A0211/20 Expect GPS interference in Cyprus Airspace.
14Apr18 USA Notam KICZ A0009/18 Exercise caution within 200nm of the Damascus FIR due to military activity. Possibility of GPS interference, communication jamming, and long-range surface to air missiles in the area.
22Mar18 Cyprus Notam LCEN N0068/18 GPS Outages have been reported in the LCEN/Ercan Advisory Airspace.
Philippines
There has been a high volume of crew reports of GPS Interference in the Philippines, leading to GPS/ADS-B dropouts, especially in the vicinity of RPLL/Manila.
08May17 Philippines Notam RPLL B1584/17 Reports of GPS interference affecting RPLL/Manila Airport.
Lebanon
The primary risk in Lebanon’s airspace (the OLBB/Beirut FIR) relates to its proximity to Syria: civil aircraft may be targeted in error, or caught in crossfire during ongoing air attacks involving Israel, Russia, Iran. Missiles may erroneously lock on to civil aircraft. There is a risk to civil aircraft operating on airways UL620, UW74, UR18, and UP62. In simple terms, if you find yourself planned overwater east of Cyprus, reconsider your route.

Several countries have issued airspace warnings for Syria, banning operators from entering the OSTT/Damascus FIR. Many of these warnings include include the note that there is a potential risk to aircraft within 200nm of the Damascus FIR (i.e. the LLLL/Tel Aviv, OJAC/Amman, OLBB/Beirut and LCCC/Nicosia FIRs) due to military activity - possibility of GPS interference, communication jamming, and long-range surface to air missiles in the area.

Major events:
Feb 2020: An A320 enroute OSDI/Damascus caught in crossfire during attack by 4 Israeli F-16’s, forced to divert to Russian controlled air base.
Sep 2018: Russian IL-20 shot down in error on FIR boundary with Cyprus (Nicosia FIR) - airline flights on UL620 within 50nm of this position.

Read: OpsGroup Note -Syria, Sep 2018 (PDF)

23Apr21 USA FAA Information Note Syria/Israel An errant surface-to-air missile fired by Syrian air defences missed its target and landed in Israel on 22 Apr 2021. Syria is actively using long range anti-aircraft weaponry which poses a risk to civil aircraft in the region. While US operators are banned from the OSTT/Damascus FIR, the FAA warns the threat is extended to adjacent FIRs in the Eastern Mediterranean region including the LLLL/Tel Aviv, OJAC/Amman, OLBB/Beirut and LCCC/Nicosia FIRs. Use caution if operating in the area. 
14Apr18 USA Notam KICZ A0009/18 Exercise caution within 200nm of the Damascus FIR due to military activity. Possibility of GPS interference, communication jamming, and long-range surface to air missiles in the area.