Greece has the right to close its airspace to Libya but what does that really man? Recent reports on chartered civilian aircraft flights transporting war material and / or jihadists from Turkey and in particular from Constantinople to Libya, flying over Greek airspace and within the FIR of Athens, although they cannot be confirmed with absolute certainty, oblige us to provide our readers with some clarification. Which, in our view, is of paramount importance…
Turkey is a member state of Eurocontrol. Which means that Greece does not need to apply for a Landing Permit for every Aegean or Olympic flight, or any other company headed to Turkey.
It also does not need to get an Overflight Permit over Turkey (ie FIR Istanbul, or FIR Ankara), in order to travel to destinations such as Tehran (formerly), Armenia (Yerevan) or Georgia ( Tbilisi). The same applies, of course, to Turkish airlines flying to Greek destinations, or passing through the FIR Athens.
What is the case with Libya now, always about civil aircraft flights
It should be borne in mind that specific directives – warnings issued by both the US FAA and European EASA – apply to Libya.
These actions call / warn the airlines not to use the Libyan airspace and of course not to operate to and from airports in that country as it is in a state of war.
Warnings and other bans…
Greece, like any Eurocontrol member country, reserves the right to ban any flight going through its airspace (FIR: Flight Information Region) to an airport in Libya for national security reasons. It also reserves the right to prohibit overflight even on flights that have other destinations but submit alternative flight plans to Libya.
If, for example, ny airline submits a flight plan from Kiev to Tunisia with an alternative to Tripoli, Libya, or, say, Misrata (MRA based on IATA coding, HLMS with ICAO coding), Greece has the right not to accept it.
Greece may even issue a relevant NOTAM, which will close its air border with Libya. Why it has not already done so and has already expelled the Libyan ambassador to Athens is a question that remains to be answered…
The publications we refer to illustrate the FlightRadar 24 application of the Turkish aircraft route through Greece, Italy and Malta. But again, if Misrata was the final destination, Greece could reject that flight plan.
Of course a relevant government mandate will have to be given for this to happen. The air traffic controllers do not decide for themselves … The relevant NOTAM to be issued (if issued …) will be drafted by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.