Following the loss of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 shortly after it took off from Tehran on Wednesday morning, the UK’s Department for Transport has issued two NOTAMS advising UK airlines to avoid entering Iraqi and Iranian airspace.
Issued in the early hours of Friday January 10, 2020, they read as follows:
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT IN RESPONSE TO THE HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN IRAQ. POTENTIAL RISK FROM HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITY AND DEDICATED ANTI-AVIATION WEAPONRY IN IRAQ. OPERATORS ARE ADVISED NOT TO ENTER THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF IRAQ (INCLUDING THE BAGHDAD FIR).
AIRSPACE SECURITY WARNING ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT IN RESPONSE TO THE HAZARDOUS SITUATION IN IRAN. POTENTIAL RISK FROM HEIGHTENED MILITARY ACTIVITY AND DEDICATED ANTI-AVIATION WEAPONRY IN IRAN. OPERATORS ARE ADVISED NOT TO ENTER THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF IRAN (INCLUDING THE TEHRAN FIR).
The British Airline Pilots’ Association union (BALPA), welcomed the move and said it expected all UK airlines to follow the advice. Its general secretary, Brian Strutton, commented: “We strongly support the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) issued from the UK Department for Transport earlier today that operators should avoid Iraqi and Iranian territory and airspace. We urge the Government and airlines to maintain this position until and unless there is a significant improvement in the security situation in the Middle East. The precautionary principal should be used in all decision-making in aviation, and that certainly applies here.
“The increasing evidence that the 737 Ukrainian passenger flight PS752 may have been shot down is extremely concerning. Peaceful civil aviation should never find itself involved in armed conflict. Our thoughts are with the families of the passengers and crew who fell victim to this tragedy.”