America’s civil aviation safety regulator has banned U.S. operators from flying over the war-torn country, fearing a reoccurrence of MH17.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued the no fly zone via a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and cited an updated risk assessment for the ban. ‘The ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment in Syria poses a serious potential threat to civil aviation’ the FAA said. ‘Armed extremist groups in Syria are known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons which have the capability to threaten civilian aircraft.’
The FAA highlighted the ability of opposition groups who have ‘successfully shot down Syrian military aircraft using these anti-aircraft weapon systems’ as a major reason why ‘there is a continuing significant potential threat to civil aviation operating in Syrian airspace.’
The conflict in Syria has been ongoing since early 2011 after protests and civil uprising against the Assad government turned bloody. However, after Malaysian flight MH17 was shot down in approved airspace in mid-July, regulators and aviation bodies have been forced to re-evaluate what is considered to be ‘safe’ airspace.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) advised ‘Australian air operators and pilots considering operations in Eastern European airspace to take into account all available safety notices and bulletins regarding flights in the Ukraine region.’
CASA also called for ‘Australian air operators and pilots to be diligent and vigilant in making themselves aware of all available safety and other relevant information should they be considering conducting operations in any location experiencing turmoil of the kind currently occurring in Ukraine and the Middle East.’
The full text of the NOTAM issued by the FAA reads:
!FDC 4/4936 (KFDC A0036/14) ZZZ PART 1 OF 2 SECURITY SYRIA POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION–DAMASCUS (OSTT) FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) DUE TO THE POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS SITUATION CREATED BY THE ARMED CONFLICT IN SYRIA, ALL FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN THE DAMASCUS (OSTT) FLIGHT INFORMATION REGION (FIR) BY THE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A BELOW ARE PROHIBITED UNTIL FURTHER ADVISED. A. APPLICABILITY. THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO: ALL U.S. AIR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS; ALL PERSONS EXERCISING THE PRIVILEGES OF AN AIRMAN CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE FAA, EXCEPT SUCH PERSONS OPERATING U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER; AND ALL OPERATORS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT WHERE THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER. B. PERMITTED OPERATIONS. THIS NOTAM DOES NOT PROHIBIT PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A FROM CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN THE DAMASCUS FIR (OSTT) WHEN SUCH OPERATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED EITHER BY ANOTHER AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE FAA OR BY A DEVIATION, EXEMPTION, OR OTHER AUTHORIZATION ISSUED 1408182230-1412312359EST END PART 1 OF 2
!FDC 4/4936 (KFDC A0036/14) ZZZ PART 2 OF 2 SECURITY BY THE ADMINISTRATOR. OPERATORS SHOULD CALL THE FAA WASHINGTON OPERATIONS CENTER AT 202-267-3333 FOR FAA AUTHORIZATION OF OPERATIONS. C. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. IN AN EMERGENCY THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE DECISION AND ACTION FOR THE SAFETY OF THE FLIGHT, THE PILOT IN COMMAND OF AN AIRCRAFT MAY DEVIATE FROM THIS NOTAM TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY THAT EMERGENCY. THE PROHIBITION ON OPERATIONS IN THE AIRSPACE SPECIFIED IN THIS NOTAM AND THE ASSOCIATED JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS SPECIAL NOTICE WILL BE RE-EVALUATED BY 31 DEC 2014. THIS NOTAM IS AN EMERGENCY ORDER ISSUED UNDER 49 USC 40113(A) AND 46105(C). 1408182230-1412312359EST END PART 2 OF 2
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