Developments in Iran should be closely monitored, especially for US operators. On 21 Jun 2019, the US FAA issued an Emergency Order to US Civil Aircraft, prohibiting all operators from entering the Tehran FIR in the area above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. This came after Iran shot down a US military drone the previous day over the Strait of Hormuz. The US say it was over international waters, Iran say it was within their FIR. Either way, SAM missiles are now being fired in the area and this increases the possibility of misidentification of aircraft.
The US has different Notams in place for different parts of Iran. Ultimately, US operators are prohibited from overflying the Tehran FIR in the overwater area above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman (KICZ Notam A0019/19). For the rest of the overwater airspace in this region, as well as the airspace over Iran’s landmass itself, operators are advised to “exercise caution” due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions which present an inadvertent risk to civil aviation operations due to the potential for miscalculation or mis-identification (KICZ Notams A0022/19 and A0024/19 respectively).
Consider carefully overflights of the Tehran Fir (OIIX), as landings in Iran for US operators especially could be an issue. A Norwegian 737 was stuck in Iran for two months, due to sanctions around spare parts. The US says that Iran has publicly made threats to US military operations. They also warn of increased GPS jamming by Iran throughout this region.
An older warning issued by the US in Sept 2018 also warns of the Iran overflight risk posed by missile launches fired from sites in the far west of the country against targets in Syria - these missiles also transit Iraq’s airspace (ORBB/Baghdad FIR), crossing over several busy international routes.
09Sep19 USA Notam KICZ 0024/19 Exercise caution when operating in the OIIX FIR.
19Aug19 USA Notam KICZ A0022/19 Exercise caution in the overwater airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman region.
22Jun19 Italy Notam LIXX A4578/2019 Unsafe situation in Persian Gulf
22Jun19 India DGCA Notice 22JUN19 Indian aircraft operators required to avoid 'affected' part of Iranian airspace.
21Jun19 UAE Safety Decision 2019-04 Risk to UAE Operators over Gulf, required to conduct risk assessment for overwater area of Tehran FIR.
21Jun19 USA Notam KICZ A0019/19 Do Not Fly in the overwater airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman region.
21Jun19 USA US FAA Background Notice FAA concerned about the escalation of tension and military activity within close proximity to high volume civil air routes.
09Sep18 USA US FAA Background Notice Exercise caution when operating in the OIIX FIR.
Since the Arab Spring, Egypt’s stability and security situation as a state has declined.
-July 2019: British Airways suspends Cairo operations for one week due to security concerns
-In February 2017 an an SA-7 anti-aircraft missile tube was found less than a mile from HECA/Cairo airport.
-In October 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.
There remains a threat from terrorism in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsular - most countries advise against operating to airports in this region, as well as overflights below FL260.
01Oct19 Ireland Notam B1015/19 Avoid overflying the Sinai Peninsula below FL260
30Mar19 USA Notam KICZ A0010/19 Avoid overflying the Sinai Peninsula below FL260; if planning to do so, provide 3 days notice to the FAA.
25Mar19 Egypt Notam A0266/18 Do not plan RNAV approaches at Cairo.
30Dec18 USA US FAA Background Notice Avoid overflying the Sinai Peninsula below FL260
24Dec18 Germany Notam B1634/18 Entire Sinai Peninsula presents a risk below FL260, as do landings at HEAR/El Arish, HEGR/El Gora, HETB/Taba, HESC/St. Catherine, HESH/Sharm-el-Sheikh.
08Oct15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overfly Egypt's Northern Sinai region at less than FL250.
Ongoing political and social crisis in Venezuela. On 1st 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. The order comes on a day of an information battle waged between Maduro and Guaidó, and although the coup status is uncertain, one thing is clear: taking your aircraft to Venezuela is not a good idea.
01May19 USA Notam KICZ A0013/19 Flights are prohibited below FL260
Due to military activity related to the involvement in Yemen, as well as ground to ground missile strikes, it is suggested to avoid the southwestern region of the Jeddah FIR. However, airports in the north, such as OEJN/Jeddah and OERK/Riyadh, are still very much on the radar for the Houthis, who launched missile attacks against these airports on multiple occasions throughout 2018. There is definitely a risk to operations in Saudi airspace, even outside the SCATANA area.
23Sep19 Germany Notam B0877/19 Operators should avoid overflying or landing anywhere along within the border with Yemen in the southwest part of the OEJD/Jeddah FIR, within an area that covers multiple airports: OENG/Nejran, OEGN/Gizan, OEAB/Abha, OEBH/Bisha, OEBA/Al Baha, OWED/Wadi Al-Dawasir and OESH/Sharurah.
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Exercise caution in Saudi airspace, and do no operate to OEAB/Abha, OEGN/Jazan, OENG/Nejran, OESH/Sharurah, OEWD/Wadi Al Dawasir and OEBH/Bisha airports located in the southwest of the FIR.
11Oct18 Saudi Arabia Notam W0438/18 When a Notam like this is published, SCATANA rules become active in the southern part of Saudi Arabia.
Only one international warning exists, that of France, recommending overflight above FL200 in the far southern and western edges of the country (west of the 27°E and south of 13°N) near to the border with South Sudan, Central African Republic, and Chad.
Sudan temporarily closed its airspace all day on APR 11 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.
Although the airspace reopened on APR 12, the military has declared a three month state of emergency, and has deployed soldiers to secure key sites around Khartoum, with armoured vehicles and tanks parked in the streets.
Local handlers at the airport have told us: “The airport is now functioning normally with more security support”.
In response to the coup, the U.S. has now issued an updated Travel Advisory for Sudan and raised its level of advice from “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” to “Level 4: Do Not Travel.”
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Maintain FL200 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).
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.
31Oct19 Germany Notam B0990/19 Potential risk of attacks at all airports in Pakistan.
23Mar19 USA Notam KICZ A0008/19 Exercise caution flying into or over Pakistan due to extremist and militant activities.
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Overflights should be at FL240 or above.
30Dec18 USA US FAA Background Notice Exercise caution flying into or over Pakistan.
08Oct15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying OPKC/Karachi and OPLR/Lahore FIRs below FL250.
The South Sudanese civil war has been ongoing since 2013. The security situation in Juba has been relatively calm since the July 2016 crisis. Daily reports of fighting throughout the rest of the country. Worsening civil war. July 17, 2017: State of emergency declared for 4 states in the NW of the country. ‘Anti aviation weaponry’ risk to overflights. In addition, the South Sudanese army has declared intention to shoot down Aircraft without permits. Most Authority guidance recommends min FL260. We think FL300 is a better minimum for overflights.
23Sep19 Germany Notam B0873/19 Overflights should be at FL260 or above.
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Overflights should be at FL240 or above, in the part of the HSSS/Sudan FIR above South Sudan.
08Aug18 USA Notam KICZ A0014/18 Exercise caution blow FL260 and give 3 days notice if overflying.
16Jun16 FSB Research Article Army of South Sudan will shoot down aircraft.
12Jun15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying South Sudan airspace below FL250.
Kenya is affected by the ongoing Somali Civil War. There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping. The main threat comes from extremists in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia. IED attack at HKJK/Nairobi in 2014.
26Feb19 USA Notam KICZ A0002/19 Exercise caution below FL260 in Kenya's airspace east of 40 degrees East longitude (the border region with Somalia) due to extremist and militant activity.
26Feb19 USA US FAA Background Notice Exercise caution 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 FL250.
Despite the ongoing conflict in Somalia the risk level is determined to be Assessed, the threats to aviation only exist below specified levels. However, our recommendation is to avoid the airspace entirely. 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. The advice from our information sources is all similar; “do not operate below a minimum of FL240 in the airspace of Somalia”. (Note UR401 SIHIL-AXINA is excluded from this by one authority) “There is a high risk to overflying aircraft from anti aviation weaponry”.
31Oct19 Germany Notam B0989/19 Do not operate to airports in Somalia, and do not overfly the airspace below FL260 except for UR401.
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Overflights should be at FL240 or above.
13Apr18 Somalia Notam A0035/18 Armed conflict and a lack of Aeronautical information present a safety and security risk to aircraft.
13Dec17 USA Notam KICZ A0001/16 SFAR 107 prohibits US airmen from operating below FL260 in the airspace of Somalia.
13Dec17 USA SFAR 107 SFAR 107 prohibits US airmen from operating below FL260 in the airspace of Somalia.
08Jan16 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Operators should avoid overflying Somalia airspace below FL250.
There are two risk issues in Ukraine.
First: arms fire. Including MH17, multiple aircraft (the others all military) have been shot down since the beginning of the Donbass region war in 2014. Multiple ceasefires have been declared and violated. This risk is contained within the Dnipropetrovsk FIR – UKDV.
The second issue affects the Simferopol FIR which is Disputed Airspace. (Ukraine:UKFV, Russia:URFV). In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. The ATC Center is in Simferopol, Crimea, and is now run by Russia. Russia claims the airspace. Ukraine refuses to recognise the change, and asks crews to talk to Ukrainian controllers in Dnipro/Odesa ACC instead of Simferopol ACC. As the FAA point out, the risk here stems from aircraft “receiving confusing and conflicting air traffic control instructions from both Ukrainian and Russian ATC” when operating over the region.
25Apr19 Ukraine Notam A0920/19 Ukraine asks aircraft within Dnipro, Odesa, and Simferopol FIRs to only speak to Ukrainian ATC - callsigns Dnipro Radar and Odesa Radar. (Comment: for Simferopol, Russia says only talk to Russian ATC - hence the problem)
26Feb19 Russia Notam A0937/19 Russia declares iteself as the valid source of information for Simferopol FIR.
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Overflights of the UKFV and UKDV FIRs in the east of the country should only be on four airways: M854, M856, M860 and L851.
19Oct18 USA SFAR 113 US operators are now allowed to operate on airways M856, M854, M860, and L851 over the Black Sea, and to three Ukrainian airports: UKHH/Kharkiv, UKDD/Dnipropetrovsk and UKDE/Zaporizhzhia.
19Oct18 USA Notam KICZ A0021/18 This is just a pointer Notam, directing people to read the SFAR which contains complete information about the US restrictions on Ukraine airspace.
13Oct17 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Operators should not enter UKDV/Dnipro or UKFV/Simferopol FIRs with the exception of airways L851, M856, M860, and M854.
20Feb15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Possible conflicting ATC instructions due to disputed airspace in the Simferopol FIR
There is an ongoing war in Afghanistan, which since NATO’s withdrawal in December 2014, has been fought between the state and several factions. Diversion/Landing to Afghanistan – don’t. Nowhere is safe. Overflight advice averages out at a minimum FL250, though as with other mountainous countries we think FL320 is a better starting point. There are comms issues in the Kabul FIR – long periods without ATC contact is possible. Monitor TCAS and Air-to-Air channels.
01Oct19 Germany Notam B0898/19 Overflights should be at FL330 or above.
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Overflights must be at FL240 or above.
23Dec18 USA Notam KICZ A0027/18 Stick to airways, and maintain FL330 or higher. If you have to land at airports in the country, minimise ground time; aircraft on the ground at airports have been damaged or destroyed by indirect rocket or mortar fire from extremist/militant attacks.
08Oct15 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying OAKB/Kabul FIR at less than FL250.
Until November 2017, we maintained a Level 1 – No Fly entry for Iraq. With a reduction in conflict on the ground, and more control in government hands, the airspace risk has reduced. Consequentially, foreign authorities are softening their stance on Iraq. On November 27, 2017, several international airlines (Emirates, Turkish) resumed Iraq overflights after their national authorities removed restrictions. Risk area remains in the Northwest, but airways UM860 and UM688 – running north/south in the eastern half of the FIR, are far less of a threat. All four countries who regularly publish conflict zone warnings (US, Germany, UK and France) have now issued new advice, allowing overflight of Iraq at certain flight levels.
02Oct19 Germany Notam B0905/19 Due to ongoing military operations in the north of the country, overflights should be at FL260 or above.
24Jan19 France AIC 03/19 Overflights should only be on airways UM860 and UM688, and UL602 between TASMI and ALPET. Fly at or above FL320.
26Oct18 USA Notam KICZ A0023/18 Overflights prohibited below FL260. More details in SFAR 77.
26Oct18 USA SFAR SFAR 77 All US Operators can overfly Iraq, but at FL260 or above.
29Jul18 South Africa Notam A2919/18 Overflights should be above FL300
05Dec17 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Overflights should only be on airways UL602 to ALPET, UM860 and UM688, and should be above FL250.
The Northern Mali conflict continues, and there has been no improvements in stability. It remains the deadliest place to serve in the UN. US, Germany, and the UK all have warnings in place, advising to operate FL250/260 or higher, and avoiding GATB, GAGO, and GAKL airports.
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 (click here
to see a rough map of the area) due to military ops across the region.
23Sep19 Germany Notam B0875/19 Avoid GATB, GAGO, GAMB and GAKL airports. Overflights should be at FL260 or above.
26Feb19 USA Notam KICZ A0003/19 Avoid flying over or into Mali below FL260. If you plan to, notify the FAA 3 days in advance.
26Feb19 USA US FAA Background Notice Exercise caution if operating below FL260 in Mali's airspace.
09Jun17 UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) Risk to aircraft overflying Mali airspace below FL250.