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FAA Prohibits Iraq Overflights By U.S. Operators

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The Federal Aviation Administration today issued a new NOTAM restricting U.S. operators from flying in the airspace above Iraq due to what it described as "the hazardous situation created by the armed conflict." The new NOTAM supersedes a previous one that prohibited U.S. operators from flying below 20,000 feet over Iraq. The NOTAM states that "all flight operations in the Baghdad Flight Information Region (ORBB) by persons described in Paragraph A below are prohibited until further advised." Paragraph A defines the NOTAM's applicability and includes all U.S. air carriers, commercial operators and all persons exercising the privileges of an airman certificate issued by the FAA. It exempts "such persons operating U.S.-registered aircraft for a foreign air carrier."

There are a few additional exemptions—those permitted by another agency of the U.S. government with approval of the FAA and in an emergency. The NOTAM states that the prohibition on operations will be re-evaluated by the end of this year. The NOTAM was issued after two U.S. F/A-18s carried out strikes against ISIS outside of Irbil, and additional strikes, as well as humanitarian food and water drops, are expected.

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