LONDON – The European Air Traffic Control agency Eurocontrol has today given carriers 72 hours of warning for the potential air strikes that are to hit areas of Syria.
This comes following a directive from President Trump of the United States that the Syrian area can expect airstrikes following the chemical attack in Khan Shaykun.
“Due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean/Nicosia FIR area,” the agency stated. “The Nicosia FIR area covers the island of Cyprus and surrounding waters. The warning did not specify the origin of any potential threat.”
EASA has issued a notification for airlines on the risk of possible
military action in the eastern Mediterranean. We have published the notification
on the NOP in accordance with normal procedures for disseminating this kind of
— EUROCONTROL (@eurocontrol) April 11, 2018
Citing EASA’s rapid alert notification for areas across the eastern Mediterranean and Nicosia areas, Eurocontrol has said that air-to-ground or cruise missiles could be launched over the next three days over a designated area of airspace.
Eurocontrol has also added that there could be a possibility of a disruption in radio navigation and equipment. The area of danger also included a broader area outside of the airspace controlled by Damascus.
This warning comes as the U.S. and other allies across the West are considering possible military action against Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad in response to the chemical attack that happened on April 7.
Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines are rerouting some flights that fly directly over the conflict zone as well as easyJet announcing that they are to re-route flights from Tel Aviv.
These warnings come following the many reforms made by aviation regulators, especially during the disappearance of MH17 back in 2014 which got shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine, which killed 298 people on board. However, the carriers that operate over the Syrian area will only be operating between 1-3am as no aircraft really use the airspace in the later periods of the day.
EASA made a similar warning back in 2015 when they warned of danger for aircraft flying over Iran, Iraq and the Caspian Sea following Russian-fired cruise missiles hitting Syrian targets. Some carriers such as EgyptAir are not planning route changes, but predominantly all of the other carriers such as Ryanair, British Airways, Etihad, Emirates, Lufthansa and Royal Jordanian will be making the “adjustments as needed”.
Carriers aren’t noticing any major changes as regulators in countries such as the US, Britain, France, and Germany have always told carriers to avoid operating through Syrian airspace, which they have complied to in the past. Overall, there shouldn’t be any major disruption but for those that wish to fly through the affected airspace, is at their own discretion.