Good news for US operators trying to get in and out of the major airports in the Gulf region! On Jan 15, the FAA issued a second clarifying Notam that specifies exactly which airspace is restricted in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, following the total airspace bans imposed on Iraq and Iran on Jan 8.

Now, all airports in Qatar and Bahrain are exempted, as well this list of airports in the UAE: OMAA/Abu Dhabi, OMDB/Dubai Intl, OMDW/Dubai World, OMSJ/Sharjah, and the following secondary less-used airports: OMAM OMAD OMAL OMDL OMFJ OMRK OMBY.

To use this exemption, flights must:

  1. Be on an instrument approach procedure or under the direction of ATC, and
  2. Minimize overwater operations to the maximum extent possible, and
  3. Not enter Iranian airspace (OIIX/Tehran FIR)

There was also some confusion with the previous warning issued by the US FAA about exactly where US operators were prohibited from flying in the Gulf of Oman. This new Notam clears that up. It says that US operators are permitted to fly in the overwater part of the OOMM/Muscat FIR south of airway M628. Use of M628 in overwater areas is not allowed. Flights over the overland part of the OOMM/Muscat FIR are permitted – no restrictions here.

The Notam ends by saying that if you still need to fly somewhere in the Gulf region not covered in these restrictions, you must seek authorisation by calling the FAA Washington Operations Centre at: +1-202-267-3333.

This new Notam represents a loosening of the total airspace ban on the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman initially applied by the FAA shortly after the Iranian missile strike on US military bases in Iraq on Jan 8, which was quickly followed by the shooting down of Ukraine Int Airlines flight 752 in Tehran by the Iranian Armed Forces, having mistaken the aircraft radar return for an inbound missile.

It will provide some welcome relief to US operators trying to operate to the major airports in the region. Previously, all overwater SIDs/STARs at these airports were effectively prohibited, and we had reports of some operators being ‘stuck’ in locations like Doha, Qatar (as this sits in the OBBI/Bahrain FIR and is completely surrounded by water) – if that’s you, you should now be able to depart, as long as you follow the guidance in the new Notam!

Here’s the new Notam in full:

A0010/20 (Issued for KICZ)

SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PROHIBITION AGAINST CERTAIN FLIGHTS IN THE OVERWATER AIRSPACE ABOVE THE PERSIAN GULF AND THE GULF OF OMAN.

THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) ARE PROHIBITED FROM OPERATING IN THE OVERWATER AIRSPACE ABOVE THE PERSIAN GULF AND THE GULF OF OMAN, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH B (PERMITTED OPERATIONS) BELOW, DUE TO HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITIES AND INCREASED POLITICAL TENSIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, WHICH PRESENT AN INADVERTENT RISK TO U.S. CIVIL AVIATION OPERATIONS DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR MISCALCULATION OR MIS-IDENTIFICATION.

A. APPLICABILITY. THIS NOTAM APPLIES TO: ALL U.S. AIR CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS; ALL PERSONS EXERCISING THE PRIVILEGES OF AN AIRMAN CERTIFICATE ISSUED BY THE FAA, EXCEPT SUCH PERSONS OPERATING U.S.-REGISTERED AIRCRAFT FOR A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER; AND ALL OPERATORS OF AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT WHEN THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER.

B. PERMITTED OPERATIONS. THIS NOTAM DOES NOT PROHIBIT PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A (APPLICABILITY) FROM CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS IN THE ABOVE-NAMED AREA AS FOLLOWS:
1. OPERATIONS CONDUCTED INTO AND OUT OF THE COUNTRIES LISTED IN PARAGRAPHS B.2 AND B.3 BELOW, IN THE BAHRAIN (OBBB), EMIRATES (OMAE), AND MUSCAT (OOMM) FLIGHT INFORMATION REGIONS (FIRS), ARE PERMITTED, SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPHS B.2, B.3, AND B.4 BELOW.
2. OPERATIONS MAY BE CONDUCTED INTO AND OUT OF AIRPORTS IN THE COUNTRIES OF QATAR AND BAHRAIN, PROVIDED OPERATORS ARE ON A PUBLISHED INSTRUMENT PROCEDURE OR UNDER THE DIRECTION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, MINIMIZE OVERWATER OPERATIONS TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE, AND ARE PROHIBITED FROM ENTERING THE TEHRAN FIR (OIIX) (SEE NOTAM KICZ A0002/20).
3. OPERATIONS MAY BE CONDUCTED INTO AND OUT OF THE FOLLOWING AIRPORTS IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: ABU DHABI (OMAA/OMAM), AL BATEEN (OMAD) , AL AIN (OMAL), DALMA ISLAND (OMDL), DUBAI (OMDB), DUBAI AL MAKTOUM (OMDW), FUJAIRAH (OMFJ), RAS AL-KHAIMAH (OMRK), SHARJAH (OMSJ), AND SIR BANI YAS (OMBY), PROVIDED OPERATORS ARE ON A PUBLISHED INSTRUMENT PROCEDURE OR UNDER THE DIRECTION OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, MINIMIZE OVERWATER OPERATIONS TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE, AND ARE PROHIBITED FROM ENTERING THE TEHRAN FIR (OIIX) (SEE NOTAM KICZ A0002/20).
4. FOR OPERATIONS IN THE MUSCAT FIR (OOMM), FLIGHT OPERATIONS MAY BE CONDUCTED OVERWATER SOUTH OF M628. USE OF M628 IN OVERWATER AREAS IN THE MUSCAT FIR (OOMM) IS NOT AUTHORIZED.
5. OPERATIONS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER PARAGRAPHS B.1-B.4 MAY BE CONDUCTED IF SUCH OPERATIONS ARE AUTHORIZED EITHER BY ANOTHER AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE FAA, OR BY A DEVIATION, EXEMPTION, OR OTHER AUTHORIZATION ISSUED BY THE FAA ADMINISTRATOR. OPERATORS MUST CALL THE FAA WASHINGTON OPERATIONS CENTER AT 202-267-3333 TO INITIATE COORDINATION FOR FAA AUTHORIZATION TO CONDUCT OPERATIONS.

C. EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. IN AN EMERGENCY THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE DECISION AND ACTION FOR THE SAFETY OF THE FLIGHT, THE PILOT IN COMMAND OF AN AIRCRAFT MAY DEVIATE FROM THIS NOTAM TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY THAT EMERGENCY.

THIS NOTAM IS AN EMERGENCY ORDER ISSUED UNDER 49 USC 40113(A),44701(A)(5), AND 46105(C). ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AT: HTTPS://WWW.FAA.GOV/AIR_TRAFFIC/PUBLICATIONS/US_RESTRICTIONS/.

SFC – UNL, 15 JAN 20:28 2020 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 15 JAN 20:36 2020


The FAA’s ban on US operators in the airspace of Iran and Iraq remains in place. For more on that, check our dedicated Iraq/Iran and Middle East Airspace Information Page.

See SafeAirspace.net for the full list of current warnings about Iran and Iraq from other states.

David Mumford

David Mumford

Opsgroup team member. International flight ops news hound.

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