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U.S. airlines face risk of extremist activity in Pakistan airspace: FAA

Photo for representational purposes only.

Photo for representational purposes only.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash. K

Exercise caution during flight operations, the regulator warns

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Thursday warned American airlines and their pilots that there is risk involved in operating flights in Pakistan airspace due to “extremist or militant activity”, according to an official document.

“Exercise caution during flight operations. There is a risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in the territory and airspace of Pakistan due to extremist/militant activity,” said the FAA, in a notice to airmen (NOTAM) dated December 30, 2019.

The NOTAM is applicable to all U.S.-based airlines and U.S.-based pilots.

The U.S. regulator said in its NOTAM that there continues to be a risk to U.S. civil aviation sector from attacks against airports and aircraft in Pakistan, particularly for aircraft on the ground and aircraft operating at low altitudes, including during the arrival and departure phases of flights.

“The ongoing presence of extremist/militant elements operating in Pakistan poses a continued risk to U.S. civil aviation from small-arms fire, complex attacks against airports, indirect weapons fire, and anti-aircraft fire, any of which could occur with little or no warning,” it said.

The FAA said that while, to date, there have been no reports of man-portable air defense systems or Manpads being used against the civil aviation sector in Pakistan, some extremist or militant groups operating there are suspected of having access to these Manpads.

“As a result, there is potential risk for extremists/militants to target civil aviation in Pakistan with Manpads,” it said.

The regulator added that pilots or airlines must report safety or security incidents - which may happen in Pakistan - to the FAA.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:01:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-airlines-face-risk-of-extremist-activity-in-pakistan-airspace-faa/article30467454.ece

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