Date: September 2022
Location: Armenian/Azerbaijani Airspace
Parties involved: Republic of Armenia; Republic of Azerbaijan; Nagorno-Karabakh region (in light-yellow in the image); Russian Federation.
On 12/09/2022 there were renewed border clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia around and beyond the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) region, resulting in the deadliest flare-up of hostilities since peace was signed in 2020. The waypoints along the border between the two countries (VETEN, PEMAN, ELSIV, MATAL) were temporarily closed on 13/09 and reopened the next day after a ceasefire was brokered.
At the time of writing, only Canada issued airspace warning for both Armenia and Azerbaijan (NOTAM CZUL H3173/22 issued on 15/09 valid until 15/12). Canada advised caution due to potential risks from anti-aviation weaponry and military operations.
During the conflict in 2020, a large section of the airspace was closed down among threats of long-range missiles present in the two countries. Germany and France issued airspace warnings of potential risks to aviation from military operations including anti-aviation weaponry. Warnings were withdrawn after the peace deal was signed.
Analysis and implications for aviation:
Tensions between Armenia-Azerbaijan have been ongoing since the late 1980s. Violations of the ceasefire agreement(s) in the Nagorno-Karabakh area are common, but they do not always escalate. However, as the security situation can change very rapidly, continuous monitoring is necessary.
If the violations of the ceasefire are small-scale and remain confined to the NK region, flying to the capitals of Armenia and Azerbaijan is considered safe, avoiding Nagorno-Karabakh. However, one should consider factors such as the type of aircraft, country of registration, and motive of the flight.
Avoid Armenian and Azerbaijani airspace if a full-scale conflict re-ignites.
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