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FAA warns pilots for Ethiopian airspace
21 November 2021

FAA warns pilots for Ethiopian airspace

The U.S. FAA is advising pilots to exercise caution when operating in Ethiopian airspace below FL290.

The ongoing conflict between opposition groups and military forces poses potential risks to U.S. civil aviation in the Addis Ababa Flight Information Region (FIR) (HAAA), particularly for aircraft on the ground and aircraft operating at low altitudes, including during the arrival and departure phases of flight. For this reason, on 17 November 2021, the FAA published Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) KICZ A0035/21.

Conflict activity in Ethiopia began in November 2020, when the opposition Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), located in the northern Tigray Region along Ethiopia’s border with Eritrea, claimed autonomy from the Ethiopian central government over political differences. The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) conducted an offensive to attempt to regain territorial control of the Tigray Region, which included airstrikes against strategic targets in Tigray Defense Forces (TDF)-held areas in the north and the closure of airspace over the conflict area in the Tigray Region.

Although there has been no indication of an intent to threaten civil aviation, U.S. civil aviation operating in or near contested areas in the Addis Ababa FIR (HAAA) at altitudes below FL 290 could be exposed, directly or indirectly, to tactical air operations, ground weapons fire, and/or surface-to-
air fire. The TDF likely possess a variety of anti-aircraft capable weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), anti-tank weapons, low-caliber anti-aircraft artillery, and man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS). MANPADS may be capable of reaching up to 25,000 feet above ground level.
Additionally, civil aviation operations during low altitude phases of flight could also be affected by unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations in contested areas and by any potential counter-UAS activity. Lastly, former ENDF SA-3 and SA-2 tactical surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites located in the
Tigray Region, which are now under TDF control, remain a potential risk to civil aviation operating in the airspace over the Tigray Region within which Ethiopia has restricted flight operations.

Mel Air passes IATA safety audit

Mel Air passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Mel Air is an airline with a Maltese AOC and began operating in 2021. It is a subsidiary of the Spanish carrier Air Nostrum.

The airline currently has a fleet of three CRJ-1000 jets aircraft.

The IOSA programme is an evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised quality audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. It was created in 2003 by IATA.  All IATA members are IOSA registered and must remain registered to maintain IATA membership.

More information:

AAIB appointed as Space Accident Investigation Authority for the United Kingdom

Regulations which have come into force in the United Kingdom see the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) nominated by the Secretary of State for Transport to act as the Space Accident Investigation Authority (SAIA) for the UK.

The Spaceflight Activities (Investigation of Spaceflight Accidents) Regulations 2021 set out that the AAIB, acting as the SAIA, now has the authority to conduct safety investigations when there are spaceflight accidents in or over the UK. Spaceflight launches from the UK are anticipated to commence in 2022.

As is the case with aviation, the AAIB will operate independently of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the UK Space Agency. The purpose of having an independent authority is to avoid any conflicts of interest or external influence in the conduct of an accident investigation. Like the aviation investigations conducted by the AAIB, spaceflight accident investigations will seek to improve spaceflight safety by promoting action to prevent recurrence. They will not apportion blame or liability.

The Regulations set out the powers and duties of the AAIB, its designated inspectors and the investigator-in-charge. They stipulate what actions should be taken in the immediate aftermath of a spaceflight accident to preserve evidence and how any investigation will be carried out. The Regulations also include the duty to produce and publish a safety investigation report making recommendations where appropriate to enhance safety.

FAA issues further restrictions on operating in Afghan airspace

The United States FAA issued a Notam, containing further restrictions for U.S. aircraft and crew operating in Afghan airspace.

U.S. aircraft and crew are now prohibited of operating in the Kabul FIR below FL260 due to security concerns in the region. Exceptions are flights into and out of Kabul International Airport and other specifically exempted flights.

Wizz Air UK passes IATA safety audit

Wizz Air UK passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Wizz Air UK is an airline with a United Kingdom AOC and began operating in 2018. It is a subsidiary of the Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air.

The airline currently has a fleet of about 14 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, some of which are currently parked give the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IOSA programme is an evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised quality audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. It was created in 2003 by IATA.  All IATA members are IOSA registered and must remain registered to maintain IATA membership.

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Dutch Safety Board warns return to service of aircraft from COVID-19 storage

The Dutch Safety Board has issued an interim warning for airlines that put their aircraft back into service after they were temporarily taken out of service.

The Board is currently investigating two incidents in which commercial aircraft experienced problems with the speed and altitude indications immediately after take-off. Both aircraft had been out of service for some time prior to the incident because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On October 3, 2020 a TUIfly Boeing 737-800, returned to Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport following an airspeed anomaly.
On April 24, 2021, a Transavia Boeing 737-700 diverted to Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport when the flight crew noticed a discrepancy in the altitude and airspeed data after takeoff from Rotterdam Airport.

In one of these incidents, a protective cover was not removed, in the other incident, some pipes were not correctly connected. In both cases, this led to pilots being presented with incorrect altitude and speed information.

With the warning, the Dutch Safety Board wants to alert airlines to the safety risks that can arise when aircraft are put back into service after a period on the ground. The expectation is that this will happen frequently in the coming months due to the relaxation of the COVID-19 measures.

FAA issues warning for flights in Russia-Ukraine border airspace

The FAA issued Notams (KICZ A0012/21 and A0013/21), warning U.S. airlines to review current security/threat information and to provide at least 72-hours advance notice of planned flights over airspace covering the Russian-Ukraine border.

Reason for this is the potential safety-of-flight risks associated with escalating regional tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which could potentially result in no-notice cross-border skirmishes, increased military activities, and/or conflict.

Operators are to use exercise extreme caution when flying into, out of, within, or over:

  • Dnipro FIR (UKDV),
  • Simferopol FIR (UKFV)
  • Kyiv FIR (UKBV) (includes that portion of the Kyiv Upper Information Region (UIR) (UKBE) airspace within the lateral limits of the UKDV, UKFV, and UKBV FIRs)
  • Moscow FIR (UUWV)
  • Rostov-na Donu FIR (URRV) both within 100nm of the boundaries with the Dnipro FIR (UKDV), the Simferopol FIR (UKFV), and the Kyiv FIR (UKBV) (includes that portion of the Kyiv Upper Information Region (UIR) (UKBE) airspace within the lateral limits of the UKDV, UKFV, and UKBV FIRs)

FAA extends security notice for flights over Egypt Sinai Peninsula

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

The United States FAA extended a security warning for the Egypt Sinai Peninsula by another year due to continuing concern for flight safety.

The initial Notam was issued on March 30, 2015, based on the FAA’s assessment that international civil air routes that transit the Cairo (HECC) Flight Information Region (FIR) over the Sinai Peninsula and aircraft operating to and from Sinai airports are at risk from potential extremist attacks involving antiaircraft weapons, to include Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), small arms fire, and indirect fire from mortars and rockets targeting Sinai airports.

The FAA reports that the Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham in the Sinai (ISIS-Sinai), an Egypt-based affiliate of ISIS, continue to conduct attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, some of which have demonstrated their intent
and capability to target critical infrastructure and civilian targets. During 2020, ISIS-Sinai continued attacks against Egyptian security forces and civilian targets in northern Sinai, including multiple improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against residential areas and an attack against a gas
pipeline.

Based on this information, the FAA continues to advise U.S. airlines and operators to avoid flying below FL260 in this area.

More information:

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