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Flarepath May 2017 By: Tom Chalmers

IATA Safety Warning

Operations in Somali Airspace: Increasing risk of mid-air collisions

IN A recent safety brief to pilots, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it was aware of various high risk events related to operations within the Mogadishu (Somalia) FIR (HCSM) and therefore the purpose of the brief was to raise airspace users’ awareness of concerns regarding the situation.

Specifically, various event report trends indicate that flight crews and service providers may not be sufficiently familiar with the special considerations applicable to operations in uncontrolled airspace, such as Somalia’s Class G Airspace. The resulting confusion, coupled with other challenges, such as communication system failures, is increasing the risk of a mid-air collision occurring in that area.


“It is critical that operators operating within or through Somalia review and reassess the hazards and risks of those operations through established Safety Management Systems and their associated Risk Management processes. Furthermore, operators should consider the recommendations below and may elect, at their discretion, to adopt those practices required to ensure that operational risk is as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP),” the brief said.

To address current safety concerns, an ICAO meeting of key stakeholders, held in Mumbai, India, in January 2017, endorsed a proposal for the use of certain existing routes and flight level allocations.

However, implementation is pending approval and promulgation by the Somali DGCA. Any changes will be promulgated via the appropriate methods.


Operators are reminded that: Somalia’s airspace, designated as the Mogadishu FIR, is classified as Class G Airspace. Class G is also commonly known as “uncontrolled airspace”. ICAO defines Class G airspace as “Class G. IFR and VFR flights are permitted and receive flight information service if requested. 1 ICAO Annex 11 paragraph 2.6.1 should be used for information only and is based on data available at the time of issuance. Airspace users remain responsible for their operations and any decisions related to this notice.

Furthermore, the issuers expressly disclaim all and any liability to the airspace users in respect of anything done or omitted, and the consequences of anything done or omitted, in reliance on the contents of this Safety Brief.

Aircraft operating within Class G airspace do not receive Air Traffic Control Service. Effectively, ATC clearances do not apply within Class G airspace. Aircraft are not separated from each other and the Pilots in Command (PICs) are solely responsible for conflict detection and collision prevention.

In addition, PICs should be aware that some aircraft in their vicinity may not be in communication with Mogadishu Radio and that aircraft may deviate from routes and altitudes at their discretion.


IATA recommends that airlines operating within the Mogadishu FIR airspace, at a minimum should perform a robust risk assessment of operations in or through Somali airspace to ensure an acceptable level of risk, including a contingency in the event of TCAS failure enroute.

In particular, crews should understand that other aircraft may be operating at any altitude, on or off airways, in their vicinity.

These aircraft may or may not have operating transponders and TCAS. Pilots should understand that only a Flight Information Service will be provided within the HCSM FIR and clearances should not be requested.................................... To read the full article please subscribe to our E Magazine Here.


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