Western Sahara

Risk Level: Three - Caution

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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 declared war on Morocco this week. The FAA Threat Analysis Division has since 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. 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. GCCC/Canarias FIR has issued a warning for all aircraft to stay above FL200, and the FAA advise aircraft operating in the region is to stay in touch with ATC and be prepared for possible airspace restrictions and reroutes.

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
Spain Notam GCCC B0090/21 07 Jan 2021 21 Jan 2021
USA FAA Information Note Western Sahara Conflict - 19 NOV 2020 19 Nov 2020 19 Nov 2021
Source: Spain
Issued: 07-Jan-21, valid until: 21 Jan 2021
Plain English: Airspace warning for Western Sahara issued by the GCCC/Canarias FIR. Aircraft on three major airways (UY601, UN728 and UT975) should avoid flying below FL200 due to a risk of anti-aircraft fire from ground conflict.
OPERATORS ARE REQ TO EXERCISE PARTICULAR CAUTION DURING FLT OPS IN WESTERN SAHARA AS PART OF FIR CANARIAS. IT IS RECOMMENDED TO AVOID OVERFLIGHT AT FLT LEVELS BLW FL200 ON THE FOLLOWING ROUTES: UY601, UN728 AND UT975.
07 JAN 08:11 2021 UNTIL 21 JAN 23:00 2021. CREATED: 07 JAN 08:12 2021
Source: USA
Issued: 19-Nov-20, valid until: 19 Nov 2021
Plain English: Potential new conflict zone in Western Sahara, including anti-aircraft weaponry which may pose an inadvertent risk to civil aircraft up to FL120.
FAA Threat Analysis Division Information Note warning of potential new conflict zone in Western Sahara. Regional forces in the east have declared war on Moroccan forces in the west, and likely have access to anti-aircraft weaponry which may pose an inadvertent risk to civil aircraft up to FL120. Download PDF for full report.