November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has banned all American carriers from flying over Syria due to the “volatile security environment” in the area.
The ruling replaces the current warning that strongly advises US operators against flying in that airspace and requires then to contact the FAA before departure.
The ban applies to all US registered planes, commercial operators and FAA-licensed pilots. It makes an exception for flights operated with US government permission and US registered aircraft operated by foreign carriers.
Syria is in the middle of a civil war in which an estimated 170,000 people have been killed since 2011.
“Based on an updated assessment of the risk associated with such operations and the lack of any requests from operators wishing to fly in this airspace, we believe it prudent to prohibit U.S. operators from flying into, out of, and over Syria,” the FAA said in a statement.
“The ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment in Syria poses a serious potential threat to civil aviation,” it added.
The FAA said armed extremist groups in Syria are known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons – similar to the equipment used to bring down flight MH17 over Ukraine last month.
Last week British Airways joined fellow airlines in deciding to divert flights to avoid airspace within war-torn Iraq.
Willie Walsh, CEO of BA’s parent company IAG, had previously insisted that the airline would continue flying over Iraq because it was safe.
But BA has changed its policy and is now “temporarily” avoiding Iraqi airspace after the US began airstrikes on Islamic militant troops operating in Iraq on Friday. BA said it would “keep the situation under review”. The move will mainly affect BA services to Dubai and Doha.