21 July-2014: The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine on Thursday left many travelers wondering about other unsafe conflict zones. U.S. carriers last week said they would no longer fly over eastern Ukraine after Flight 17 was shot down reportedly by pro-Russian separatists.
6 countries where U.S. commercial flights are prohibited from flying over
The FAA has since widened its guidance on where U.S. commercial aircraft may fly and has outlined other potentially dangerous regions. U.S. flight operations are currently prohibited over the following countries:
Ethiopia: U.S. commercial flights aren’t allowed to fly north of 12 degrees latitude in Ethiopia’s airspace. The U.S. also warns against using the Mandera Airstrip in Kenya, which is adjacent to Ethiopia and Somalia and may be fired upon by Ethiopian forces.
Iraq: All U.S. air carriers and commercial aircraft flying at or below 20,000 feet over Iraq are prohibited. On the ground, insurgent groups, such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, remain active, as violence and instability reach levels not seen since 2007, according to the State Department.
Libya: U.S. flights are prohibited from entering Libyan airspace. The State Department warns security in Libya is unpredictable with many military weapons, including antiaircraft, in the hands of everyday people. There are limited services available for U.S. citizens in the country.
North Korea: FAA prohibits U.S. flights from entering airspace over Pyongyang west of 132 degrees east longitude. An advisory warns that North Korea is known for testing ballistic missiles without any warning. As recently as March, North Korea test-fired two missiles into the Sea of Japan. The country has launched a total of 90 rockets or missiles so far this year, according to the New York Times.
Somalia: All U.S. commercial aircraft flying at or below 20,000 feet over Somalia is prohibited. The State Department says war-torn Somalia remains unstable and dangerous. It also warns against sailing too close to the country with pirate attacks reported as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast. There is no U.S. Embassy in Somalia.
Ukraine: Airlines haven’t been allowed to fly over Crimea since April. After the crash of Flight 17, the FAA expanded the advisory, prohibiting any flight operations over eastern Ukraine where a separatist group is believed to have shot down the plane.
FAA has advisories out on other hostile regions’ airspace including Afghanistan, vulnerable to small-arms fire and rocket fire, and Congo, which in 1998 saw rebels shoot down a Boeing airliner carrying 40 people.
Other regions the FAA warns U.S. airlines on include Egypt and Sinai Peninsula, Iran, Kenya, Mali, Syria and Yemen.
See a list of travel warnings from the State Department.
(Input source: Marketwatch)