Yemen

Risk Level: One - Do Not Fly

[ about risk levels ]
Yemen is an active conflict zone. A civil war which began in 2014 has developed into an international conflict. There is a high risk to civil aircraft. The vast majority of Yemeni airspace (OYSC/Sanaa FIR) should be avoided. The US, UK 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). France completely prohibits aircraft from entering the Sanaa FIR. 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: 2017: OYSN/Sanaa badly damaged by coalition airstrikes. April 2018: Saudi airstrikes on Sana’a in retaliation for Houthi drone attacks across the border. July 2018: Houthi target Abu Dhabi Airport with explosive drones. Throughout 2020: Ongoing Houthi drone and rocket attacks targeting OEAH/Abha and OEGN/Jizan airports along the Yemeni-Saudi Border. September 2020: Multiple Saudi airstrikes on rebels in Sana’a, several near the airport. October 2020: Riyadh briefly on high alert for Houthi cruise missile and drone attack. 

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

Current warnings list :

Source Reference Issued Valid to
France AIC 07/21 09 Apr 2021 Ongoing
Canada AIC 26/21 09 Feb 2021 Ongoing
USA SFAR 115 11 Dec 2019 07 Jan 2022
UK UK AIP ENR 1.1 (1.4.5) 08 Sep 2015 Ongoing
Germany AIC 14/21 20 Jun 2015 Ongoing
Source: France
Reference: AIC 07/21
Issued: 09-Apr-21, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: Operators should avoid Yemeni airspace.
From 09/04/2020 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 (SANA’A)).
Source: Canada
Reference: AIC 26/21
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 2022
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 14/21
Issued: 20-Jun-15, valid until: Ongoing
Plain English: German operators are prohibited from operating on airways over the Yemen landmass within the OYSC/Sanaa FIR.
Level 3 (Highest risk). Civil German air operators are prohibited to plan and conduct flights within FIR SANAA (OYSC). Potential risk to aviation from state of war. Exceptions are airway N315 between KUTVI and ASPUX, airway UL425 between BOVOS and ASPUX, airway UM551 between KI- VEL and ANGAL and airway R401 between KIVEL and SUHIL.
Further information: Website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure of Germany (www.bmvi.de/krisenmanagement).