Germany Issues Warning Over Certain Iraqi Routes

Germany’s civil aviation authority has issued a warning regarding certain routes above Iraq. The Luftfahrt-Bundesamt has warned that there is a risk to flights below flight level 260.

Germany, Iraqi Airspace, Warning
German carriers have been warned about operations in Iraqi airspace. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Recently we have seen a rise in global tensions following a US airstrike on the Iranian military commander Qasen Solemani. Now, as a result of “ongoing military operations” the German civil aviation authority, Lufthart-Bundesamt, has issued a warning to German carriers. The warning applies to six routes to the northeast of the nation, in addition to Baghdad Airport. The current warning is valid until the 5th of April, unless extended.

Six routes affected

Yesterday the Lufthart-Bundesamt issued a warning to German carriers that may be flying to and through Iraq. The agency issued its warning via a NOTAM, for those interested the reference is Notam B0007/20. According to safeairspace.net, the NOTAM went into force at 17:08 UTC yesterday / 18:08 German time.

The warning covers six routes within Iraq, in addition to Baghdad Airport. According to the OPS Group, these routes are:

  • Airway UM860 NAMDI – NINVA
  • Airway UM688 RATVO – SOBIL
  • Airway L718 TAGRU – KABAN
  • Airway L417 MUTAG – VUSEB
  • Airway M434 UMESA – BOXIX
  • Airway R652 MUTAG – DAVAS

Baghdad International Airport, with the ICAO code ORBI, is also affected by the warning. This airport was the location of the United States’ strike against Solemani.

The future of aviation
The warning covers six routes and one airport. Photo: Getty Images

What exactly does the NOTAM warn?

According to the NOTAM, German air carriers are warned to take extra care planning routes in the region. It reads:

Due to ongoing military operations. Civil german air operators are advised to take potential risk into account in their risk assessments and routeing decisions.

What about other nations?

The German NOTAM is the first, and only so far, to be issued as a result of the recent ramp up in tensions in the area. However, other nations such as the United States which already prohibits its flights in the country from operating below FL260.

Virgin Atlantic, On Time Performance, British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Aer Lingus
Other nations already publish height restrictions above Iraq. Photo: Getty Images

Additionally, the United Kingdom and France confine aircraft to certain routes. France requires a minimum altitude of flight level 300, while the UK requires slightly less at FL250. Finally, South Africa has no restrictions on routing but requires flights to remain above flight level 300.

SafeAirspace.net has given Iraqi airspace its second-highest warning category known as “Level 2 – Danger exists”. This existed as a “Level 1 – Do Not Fly” warning until October 2017. The publication states “A response by Iran to the US airstrike of Jan 3rd looks unavoidable”, with OPS adding “anything that looks like a US asset or ally could be a target – military or civil.”.

What do you make of the NOTAM? Should operators take note, or should it be business as usual? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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