Afghanistan Air Ops - Latest update
Kabul Hamed Karzai International (OAKB):
The airport is operating, PPR only, with limitations. VFR only, limited ATC service provided by US Military, with KC135 as top cover (Kingpin). Key points:
• Airport is VFR by day only – runway lights mostly inop.
• Fuel limited and supply likely to be exhausted soon – tanker in
• USAF providing ATC
• Prior Permission (PPR) process described in NOTAM OAKB A0006/21
• Civil side of airport is closed, only military side operating,
• Civil side fuel suppliers are not operational
• Expect no handling service (airstairs etc.)
Kabul FIR OAKX :
There is no civilian ATC operating in the OAKX FIR. Service had been provided for the last few years by civilian contractors (IAP), with controllers based in a compound at Kabul Airport. That facility has been evacuated and in part destroyed/looted during fighting. All enroute controllers including Afghan, were evacuated to Qatar on Aug 17. It appears unlikely that there will be any possibility of enroute ATC for the Kabul FIR for the foreseeable future.
OAKX Notam A0635/21 was issued Aug 18, advising that Kabul ACC is ‘released to military’, no ATS available, and aircraft transiting Kabul FIR will be flying in uncontrolled airspace at their own risk.
For military/defense related flights: Approval for OAKB ops comes from SHAPE/NATO in Belgium, through RSFCC. RSFCC can only process MRFs/PPRs from Nato Nations or Nato registered contractors. Further information for obtaining PPR can be obtained from Sonic Jet Ops : firstname.lastname@example.org .
Overflights – Kabul FIR (OAKX)
With FAA Notam KICZ 24/2021 (re-issued Friday, Aug 20) US operators are prohibited from entering the OAKX FIR, with the exception of one route: G/P500 – which transits Afghanistan at its narrowest part in the east of the country. France and Italy have also prohibited their operators from entering.
The FAA cites three specific risk factors: extremist/militant activity, limited risk mitigation capabilities, and disruptions to Air Traffic Services.
There are several exceptions stated in the order:
1. You can operate into Kabul International (Hamid Karzai) (OAKB) if you follow the PPR (Prior Permission) process, and are aware of the service limitations at the airport including lack of fuel and no possibility of overnighting.
2. You can operate in the Kabul FIR (OAKX) if another US government agency authorizes it together with the FAA, or by way of “deviation, exemption, or other authorization” issued by the FAA Administrator. If you do plan to fly, you must call the FAA Operations Center in Washington.
3. You can overfly on one airway: Use of airway P500/G500 is authorized for transiting overflights. (That airway cross the sliver of Afghan airspace in the east of Afghanistan between Pakistan and Tajikistan)
Specific guidance to operators planning to fly to Afghanistan is also detailed in the NOTAM: 1. Operations into Kabul airport (OAKB) must comply with the PPR issued by the OAKB Airport Manager (call +97444589561)
2. Minimize time spent in the OAKX FIR below FL260, and maintain 5000 feet AGL to the maximum extent possible when not in contact with ATC or Kingpin (US Military).
The greater majority of traffic is avoiding the Kabul FIR [source: ICAO] ICAO advise likelihood of non-normal traffic situations in the following FIRs: Bahrain, India, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and UAE. This NOTAM was published by Pakistan on behalf of Afghanistan – with frequencies in use. A0635/21 NOTAMR A0630/21 Q) OAKX/QAFAM/IV/NBO/E/000/999/ A) OAKX B) 2108180445 C) 2108201300 EST E) FOLLOWING NOTAM IS ISSUED ON REQUEST OF KABUL ACC. DUE SECURITY REASON KABUL ACC IS RELEASED TO MILITARY. NO ATS WILL BE AVBL. ACFT TANSITING THROUGHY KABUL FIR WILL BE FLYING IN UN-CONTROLLED AIRSPACE AT THEIR OWN RISK. 1. TRAFFIC ON ATS ROUTE L750 TO CONTACT ON FREQ 134.5 MHZ AT POINT RANAH. 2. TRAFFIC ON ATS ROUTE N644 TO CONTACT ON FREQ 134.5 MHZ AT POINT LEMOD. 3. TRAFFIC ON ATS ROUTE A466 TO CONTACT ON FREQ 134.3 MHZ AT POINT AMDAR. 4. TRAFFIC ON ATS ROUTE P500 TO CONTACT ON FREQ 133.1 MHZ AT POINT MOTMO. CREATED: 18 Aug 2021 05:40:00 SOURCE: OPKCYNYX
SafeAirspace.net has elevated Afghanistan to Risk Level 1 – Do Not Fly. The primary risks are direct and indirect fire targeting airports and from surface-to-air fire targeting aircraft operating at low altitudes. Additionally, the current conflict has led to zero normal ATC control across the entire airspace and an extreme threat to aircraft and crew safety and security if emergency landings are made.
See https://safeairspace.net/afghanistan/ for full info.