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FAA issues new Notam, prohibiting U.S. aircraft to use part of Libyan airspace
7 April 2019

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a new Notam, prohibiting flights for certain U.S. aircraft in a specific area of the Libyan airspace.

The FAA reported that is concerned about increased tensions associated with the current conflict for control of the capital, Tripoli. Libya National Army (LNA) forces have begun operations aimed at seizing control of Tripoli, including Tripoli International Airport.  The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), with support of militias, has conducted counterattacks, including tactical airstrikes on LNA forces. LNA has declared a military zone and is threatening to shoot down aircraft operating in Western Libya. 

Both GNA and advancing LNA forces have access to advanced man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) and likely anti-aircraft artillery.  These ground-based weapon systems present a risk to aircraft, but only at altitudes below FL300.  LNA forces have tactical aircraft capable of intercepting aircraft at altitudes at and above FL300 within the self-declared military zone in Western Libya, which may present an inadvertent risk to civil aviation operations in Western Libya.  While the LNA tactical aircraft threat is likely intended for GNA military aircraft, an inadvertent risk remains for civil aviation at all altitudes due to potential miscalculation or misidentification. This risk necessitates an all-altitude flight prohibition for a specific geographic area West of 17 degrees east longitude and North of 29 degrees north latitude in the Tripoli FIR.


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