The West

No-flight warnings for war zones

The US aviation authority has widened its fly-zone warnings to eastern Ukraine, Kenya and Ethiopia as countries around the world reassess flight operations over war zones after the MH17 tragedy.

The Federal Aviation Authority now lists more than a dozen nations with bans or partial warnings for commercial aircraft.

The most relevant to Australians, apart from Ukraine, are Afghanistan and Iraq, which are in the path of many flights to Europe.

According to the FAA, "due to ongoing military operations and insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, the FAA warns that civil aircraft could be damaged by small-arms fire, rocket fire or attacks using man-portable air defence systems".

But there is no evidence that insurgents have missile systems capable of bringing down a high-flying aircraft at 36,000ft.

Iraq has returned to the hot-spot status and the FAA prohibits flight operations at or below 22,000ft because of the threat of shorter range missiles and small-arms fire.

For Syria, the FAA says that it discourages flight operations over the nation, saying "no part of Syria should be considered immune from violence".

US authorities have also warned about Libya, saying it prohibits flight operations within the Tripoli flight information region that takes in small northern sections of Niger and Chad.

Ethiopia has also made the banned list, with the FAA warning that flight operations are prohibited in northern Ethiopian airspace.

It also cautions that Ethiopian forces may fire on aircraft crossing into Ethiopian airspace from north-east Kenya.

On Kenya, the FAA adds that "recent, credible information indicates a potential near-term terrorist attack against US and Western interests in Kenya", warning against attacks using Man-Portable Air-Defence System (MANPADS).

Though not on the FAA banned list, Nigeria and the Central African Republic, both destinations for Australian fly-in, fly-out workers, are listed as war zones with continuing conflicts.

Other African countries where conflicts rage are South Sudan, Mali and Yemen.

And the deteriorating situation in Egypt has led the FAA to ban flights below 26,200ft over the Egypt Sinai Peninsula.

Airlines are avoiding flying to Kiev. Emirates was the first to cancel flights to the Ukrainian capital. It said "our flights to Kiev are suspended with immediate effect, until further notice".

'No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence.'" *Federal Aviation Authority *

The West Australian

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