Yemen

Risk Level: One - Do Not Fly

[ about risk levels ]
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)

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
USA FAA Information Note Saudi Arabia/Yemen 17 Mar 2022 Ongoing
France AIC 24/22 04 Nov 2021 Ongoing
Canada AIC 16/22 09 Feb 2021 Ongoing
USA SFAR 115 11 Dec 2019 07 Jan 2025
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 08 Sep 2015 Ongoing
Germany AIC 20/22 19 Jun 2015 Ongoing
Source: USA
Issued: 17-Mar-22, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: There is a potential risk to ops at Saudi airports and for overflights of the OEJD/Jeddah FIR due to Houthi drone and missile attacks from Yemen and the associated defensive operations.
Title: FAA Information Note - Saudi Arabia/Yemen: Houthi UAS Attack in Riyadh.

Click the link for full text.
Source: France
Reference: AIC 24/22
Issued: 04-Nov-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: 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).
From 04/11/2021 and until further notice, pilots in command of aircraft performing air services mentioned in paragraph 1.1 are requested not to penetrate into the airspace of Yemen (OYSC FIR (SANAA), except for routes located in the maritime part of FIR OYSC (SANAA), east of route B400 included, on which a flight level above or equal to FL320 is requested to be maintained at all times.
Source: Canada
Reference: AIC 16/22
Issued: 09-Feb-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should not enter the airspace of Somalia, including the oceanic part up to and including airway UT702.
Level 2 (Recommendation)
As of February 9, 2021, and until further notice, Canadian Air Operators and owners of aircraft registered in Canada are advised not to enter the airspace of Yemen (Sana’a FIR (OYSC)) northwest of the line created by the waypoints PAKER-ORBAT-NORMA on jet route UT702, due to potential risks from dedicated anti-aviation weaponry and Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems operations.
Source: USA
Reference: SFAR 115
Issued: 11-Dec-19, valid until: 07 Jan 2025
Plain English: 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.
The FAA continues to assess that opposition elements in Yemen do not possess functional medium-/long-range strategic SAM capabilities or control territory from which surface-to-air weapons possessed by those opposition forces are capable of reaching air routes off the southern and western coasts of Yemen. Therefore, the FAA maintains without change the boundaries of its prohibition on U.S. civil aviation operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC). Operations on jet routes UT702 and M999 continue to be permitted.

Therefore, as a result of the significant continuing risks to the safety of U.S. civil aviation in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC), the FAA extends the expiration date of SFAR No. 115, § 91.1611, from January 7, 2020 until January 7, 2022. By this action, the FAA prohibits flight operations in the specified areas of the Sanaa FIR (OYSC) at all altitudes by all: U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA, except when such persons are operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier; and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when the operator of such aircraft is a foreign air carrier.
Source: UK
Issued: 08-Sep-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should avoid Yemen airspace, except airways N315, UL425 and R401.
Hazardous Situation in Yemen

Potential risk from dedicated anti-aviation weaponry.

Operators are strongly advised not to enter the territory and airspace of Yemen (Sana’a FIR).

This advice does not apply to those aircraft operating on Airways N315, UL425 and R401.
Source: Germany
Reference: AIC 20/22
Issued: 19-Jun-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators are prohibited from operating on airways over the Yemen landmass within the OYSC/Sanaa FIR.
Level 3 (Highest Risk - Do Not Enter). Civil German air operators are prohibited to enter FIR SANAA (OYSC). Potential risk from state of war.

Excluded from this prohibition are airway N315 between KUTVI and ASPUX, airway UL425 between BOVOS and ASPUX, airway UM551 between KIVEL and ANGAL and airway R401 between KIVEL and SUHIL.

Further information: Website of the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport of Germany (www.BMVI.DE/KRISENMANAGEMENT).