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Intelligence Brief - Armenia/Azerbaijan Airspace

Map of Nagorno- Karabakh, 2018. By Kentronhayastan (country names added).

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.

The Event:

  • 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 Warnings were withdrawn after the peace deal was signed.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.

20220928 Intel brief - Armenia-Azerbaijan Airspace v1.0 FL470 (1)
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