The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency “Notice To Airmen” (NOTAM) that restricts US flights and pilots, except those working for foreign commercial air cariers, from flying over Venezuela, with the exception of high altitude flights over 26,000 feet above mean sea level.
The notice indicates that the restriction is due to the deteriorating security situation in Venezuela, and what the FAA calls “inadvertent risks.” There is no indication that Venezuelan actors, whether the government or opposition would wish to intentionally attack a passenger aircraft, the NOTAM seeks to add an additional layer of safety. In the past there have been global incidents of passenger flights falling victim to unrelated conflicts, such as Malaysia Flight 17 that was shot down over the Ukraine.
The official text of the NOTAM follows:
KICZ A0001/19 – SECURITY..UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ADVISORY FOR VENEZUELA THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A BELOW SHOULD EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN FLYING INTO, OUT OF, WITHIN OR OVER THE TERRITORY AND AIRSPACE OF VENEZUELA BELOW FL260 DUE TO POTENTIAL HAZARDS TO CIVIL AVIATION ASSOCIATED WITH ONGOING POLITICAL INSTABILITY AND INCREASED TENSIONS IN VENEZUELA.
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 WHERE THE OPERATOR OF SUCH AIRCRAFT IS A FOREIGN AIR CARRIER.
B. PLANNING. THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A PLANNING TO FLY INTO, OUT OF, WITHIN, OR OVER THE ABOVE-NAMED AREA MUST REVIEW CURRENT SECURITY/THREAT INFORMATION AND NOTAMS AND COMPLY WITH ALL APPLICABLE FAA REGULATIONS, OPERATIONS SPECIFICATIONS, MANAGEMENT SPECIFICATIONS, AND LETTERS OF AUTHORIZATION, INCLUDING UPDATING B450.
C. OPERATIONS. EXERCISE CAUTION DURING FLIGHT OPERATIONS DUE TO THE POSSIBILITY OF INADVERTENT RISKS TO CIVIL AVIATION FROM VENEZUELAN MILITARY AND SECURITY ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATED WITH ONGOING POLITICAL INSTABILITY AND INCREASED TENSIONS IN VENEZUELA. THOSE PERSONS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH A MUST REPORT SAFETY AND/OR SECURITY INCIDENTS TO THE FAA AT +1 202-267-3333 OR +1 202-267-3203.
SFC – FL259; 22 FEB 21:07 2019 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 22 FEB 21:14 2019