Jan. 5, 2015

The FAA recently issued a rule prohibiting certain flight operations in the Damascus, Syria (OSTT) flight information region (FIR) by all U.S. air carriers; U.S. commercial operators; those exercising the privileges of a U.S. airman certificate, except when such persons are operating a U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier and operators of U.S.-registered civil aircraft, except when such operators are foreign air carriers.

The FAA previously prohibited such flight operations in a notice to airmen (NOTAM), which was issued on Aug.18, 2014, which without this rule this rule, would have expired on Dec. 31, 2014. This final rule was effective on Dec. 30, 2014, and remains in effect through Dec. 30, 2016.

“Due to the ongoing armed conflict and volatile security environment in Syria, the FAA has serious concerns regarding potential hazards to U.S. civil flight operations in the OSTT FIR,” the agency said. “A number of armed extremist groups are known to be equipped with a variety of anti-aircraft weapons that have the capability to threaten civil aircraft.

“These groups have successfully shot down Syrian military aircraft and have previously warned civil air carriers against providing service to Syria,” the FAA continued. “Due to the presence of these weapons, threats made by the extremist groups, and ongoing fighting throughout Syria involving various forms of weaponry used by various groups, as well as military fighter aircraft used by the Syrian Air Force, the FAA believes there is a significant threat to U.S. civil aviation operating in the OSTT FIR at any altitude.”

The FAA will continue to “actively evaluate the situation” to determine to what extent U.S. civil operators may be able to safely operate in the area.

View the full FAA rule.