May 1, 2014
Operators throughout Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation must heed a recent special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) issued by the FAA prohibiting most civil flight operations by United States pilots, and most N-numbered aircraft, in a section of the Simferopol flight information region (FIR) due to the ongoing situation in Crimea.
The prohibited area, established following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, encompasses Ukrainian airspace over the Crimea and the surrounding area. It also includes international airspace over the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea managed by Ukraine under a regional agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The SFAR comes in response to a NOTAM issued by Russia on March 28 “purporting to establish unilaterally a new FIR, effective April 3, 2014, in a significant portion of the Simferopol (UKFV) FIR,” according to the SFAR.
“In the FAA’s view, the potential for civil aircraft to receive confusing and conflicting air traffic control instructions from both Ukrainian and Russian ATS providers while operating in the portion of the Simferopol (UKFV) FIR covered by this SFAR is unsafe and presents a potential hazard to civil flight operations in the disputed airspace,” the agency continued.
Exceptions to the SFAR include flights of U.S.-registered aircraft by foreign operators, and/or aircraft operated by foreign entities but flown by U.S. pilots.