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Updated: Aviation Intel Brief for Israel and Lebanon


 
 

Date: 18/10/2023

Where:

  • Israel, Gaza

  • Lebanon, Beirut


Who’s involved:

  • Israeli government, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian government


Lebanon

Tens of thousands of protestors swarmed the U.S. Embassy overnight, scaling the walls and setting fires on the U.S Embassy grounds and raising the Palestinian Flag on the embassy’s fence, no injuries have been reported.


The US has issued an immediate ‘DO NOT TRAVEL’ advisory for Lebanon to its citizens, and advises all US citizens in Lebanon to leave as soon as possible.


Hezbollah has announced a ‘Day of Rage’ for October 18th. Protests have broken out at other US, French and U.K. Embassies across the Middle East.


The Black Flag has been raised in Iran. Traditionally this is a symbol of mourning in Shia Islam and it is raised to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. However, from past events, it has also been seen as a signal to call for a ‘Day of Rage’ and a precursor for attacks, as was the case in the 2012 Benghazi Attacks in Libya.


For all western corporations travel providers in the region, seriously consider evacuating your staff and their families and advise all travel parties and provide them options for curtailing their holiday trip.


IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halev warned Hezbollah on Oct 17, that it will annihilate Hezbollah if the attacks continue. The IDF stated earlier this week it is ready to fight on two fronts. Increasing the tensions on the southern border with Lebanon.


Airlines are starting to cancel flights to Beirut International airport (OLBA), Middle East Airlines (MEA) moved 5 aircraft based at OLBA to Istanbul Airport (LTFM), private jet operation has almost stopped at OLBA. A couple of airlines canceled their flight operations at OLBA including Sundair, SAS, Lufthansa, Eurowings, Swiss, Condor, the following have reduced flights Air Arabia, Saudia, other operators like Aegean, Egypt Air, Emirates, Iraqi Airways, Turkish Airlines, Transavia, Qatar, Pegasus, Royal Jordanian, SunExpress continue to operate as scheduled.


NEO (Noncombatant Evacuation Operations) out of Lebanon are being prepared by various countries and have set up bases on Cyprus to support possible evacuations. The United States and United Kingdom are also preparing for possible evacuation by Sea like in 2006. The U.K. package includes two Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, along with Royal Air Force surveillance aircraft and a company of Royal Marines. The United States Navy has a Carrier Strike group present in the Mediterranean (Southwest of Cyprus) with a second Carrier Strike Group underway as backup. A U.S. Marine Expeditionary force has arrived in the Mediterranean, and is conducting preparations for possible evacuation operations out of Israel and Lebanon when required.


IDF has increased the GPS jamming in Northern Israel extending into Southern Lebanon.


What has happened in Israel in the past 48 hours.

  • President Joe Biden has arrived at Ben Gurion International airport.

  • By now almost all airlines have postponed their flight operations into Ben Gurion airport.

  • Only carriers still flying at Ben Gurion International airport besides the current ongoing NEO missions are El Al, and Israeli Airlines (Isair), Fly Dubai, Emirates, Sun Express, Turkish Airlines, Air Serbia, Tus Air, Spice Jet, Blue Bird, Ethiopian Airlines, Georgian Airways.

  • Countries currently undertaking or completed NEO (Noncombatant Evacuation Operations) out of Israel:

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Czechia, Germany, Hungaria, Italy, Mexico, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.

  • We haven’t received any laser attack reports since October 11th around Ben Gurion International airport, most were reported earlier during the approach phase and a couple during departure.

  • The Red Alert app, warning for missile attacks, cyber attacks seem to have been resolved and working correctly. However, the app has been removed from several app stores. It can be found outside the official stores, but so can spyware versions.

  • On Thursday Oct 12th the Israeli Air Force conducted combat operations in Syria, successfully targeting Aleppo International Airport (ALP) and Damascus International Airport (DAM) destroying the runways at both airports to prevent military supply missions.

  • Like the previous days, multiple rocket attacks were undertaken by Hamas aimed at Tel Aviv and a few at Ben Gurion airport, non penetrated successfully. During one of the attacks Flight Operations was halted but resumed quickly. Since the start of the current conflict no missile was successful at hitting the airport or any of the structures.

  • The Israeli Defense force has taken additional mitigation measures on the ground and in the air to minimize the potential threat of Surface to Air Missiles attacks against Flight Operations at Ben Gurion airport. With the current measures in place around Ben Gurion International Airport and the arrival and departure routes, the potential threat of this being used against the current flight operations at Ben Gurion airport is minimal.

  • As of Sunday Oct 8 th there are no more General Aviation(business) flights possible to and from LLBG Ben Gurion International Airport as per NOTAM is still in effect:

A1089/23 NOTAMR A1059/23

Q) LLLL/QFALT/IV/NBO/A /000/999/3201N03453E005

A) LLBG B) 2310081328 C) 2310191600

E) ARR OF GA ACFT PROHIBITED FM OCT 08 0500UTC (0800LMT).

DEP OF GA ACFT PROHIBITED FM OCT 08 1700UTC (2000LMT).

  • CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) Israel informs that Eilat-Ramon International airport (LLER-ETM) is available, both as a preferable alternate airport and as a possible destination within Israel, outside the present zone of conflict.

  • Israair Airlines is operating flights from Ramon Airport to Ben Gurion Airport and the following destinations: Athens, Vienna, Oslo, Paris and London.

  • EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) brought out a CZIB (Conflict Zone Information Bulletin) for the Tel Aviv FIR (Flight Information Region) FIR Tel Aviv (LLLL) Oct 8th, 2023 remains unchanged.



Analysis:

  • Status Quo, For the current situation we don’t expect the Israeli Air Force to conduct a similar operation against Beirut International Airport (BEY) as conducted in Syria due to the high number of International flights. Beirut International airport conducts around 500 flights per week.

  • Escalation; In the event of Hezbollah openly entering the war when Israel starts the ground war, military action from the Israeli Air Force aimed at destroying the runway of Beirut International airport and other airports in Lebanon is highly likely.

  • If flying to Ben Gurion international airport (LLBG) and Beirut International Airport (OLBA) , contingency fuel is needed in case of (temporary) airport closure.

  • The ground war has been postponed, Hamas continues to target Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion airport with daily rocket attacks. On occasion flight operations were temporarily postponed. a day-to-day assessment should be made on the security of the airspace and the country.

  • Air operators should closely monitor airspace developments in the region and follow all available aeronautical publications issued by Israeli State authorities, alongside available guidance or direction from their national authorities, including information shared through the European Information Sharing and Cooperation Platform on Conflict Zones.

  • Air Operations who will have crew staying overnight provide their crew with proper security training and information for the ground situation, like location to the nearest bomb shelter, etc this information is being provided by the Israel authorities.

It should be ensured that a robust risk assessment is in place together with a high level of contingency planning for operations and be ready for short notice instructions from the Israeli authorities.


 
Dyami Updated Aviation Intel Brief for Israel 20231010
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