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FAA lifts flight restrictions over northern Ethiopia, citing improved security situation
5 February 2015
Ethiopian airspace

Ethiopian airspace

Citing an improved safety and security situation in northern Ethiopia, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) removed the prohibition against certain flights within the territory and airspace of Ethiopia.

The FAA issued SFAR No. 87 on May 12, 2000 , due to concerns regarding potential hazards to U.S. civil flight operations within the territory and airspace of Ethiopia north of 12 degrees north latitude. In 1998, a military conflict had erupted between Ethiopia and Eritrea over the exact demarcation of the border between the two countries. Armed forces of both countries, which included modern surface-to-air missile systems and interceptor aircraft capable of engaging aircraft at cruising altitudes, were engaged in hostilities near their common border. The FAA was concerned that civil aircraft operating in the region could be threatened by the conflict.  The August 29, 1999, downing by Ethiopian military forces of a U.S.-registered Learjet operating in the area, which they had mistaken for an Eritrean reconnaissance aircraft, was evidence of the seriousness of the threat.

Since the safety and security situation has ‘significantly improved’, according to the FAA, it is deemed safe for U.S. civil flights to be operated within the entire territory and airspace of Ethiopia, subject to the approval of and in accordance with the conditions established by the appropriate authorities of Ethiopia.

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