Following FAA’s decision to prohibit US airlines from flying in Syrian airspace earlier this week, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued its own Safety Information Bulletin. The bulletin draws the aviation community’s attention “to information that indicates the existence of serious risks to the safety of international civil flights and the consequent airspace restrictions implemented.”
However, EASA stopped short of restricting EU airlines from flying in Syrian airspace and instead urges aircraft operators planning to operate flights in this region to “exercise caution.”
The agency said: “Considering current safety risks in the Damascus Flight Information Region (FIR), EASA strongly recommends airspace users to monitor all relevant information, including [notices to airmen] (NOTAMs). National aviation authorities should ensure that all aircraft operators are aware of this information.”
The agency said it will continue to monitor the situation and update information as necessary.
The issue of when to order airlines to avoid certain airspace has gained prominence since the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in July. The airliner, a Boeing 777, was flying over Ukraine, an area where anti-aircraft weapons are being used in an ongoing war.
Since then, FAA ordered a temporary ban on flights in and out of Tel Aviv after rockets landed close to Ben Gurion Airport. But EASA stopped short of a ban, only strongly advising European carriers not to fly to Israel.
ICAO has formed a high-level task force aimed at clarifying how airlines are advised when airspace is potentially unsafe and how to get that information to carriers in a timely manner.