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Aircraft spacing amid fighting between Armenia/Azerbaijan

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Aircraft spacing amid fighting between Armenia/Azerbaijan

Old 19th Sep 2023, 22:23
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Aircraft spacing amid fighting between Armenia/Azerbaijan

Earlier today, hostilities resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The ceasefire since 2020 was widely predicted to be in trouble recently.

For European airlines flying to east Asia, overflying Russia is forbidden, and Syria and Afghanistan both seem on the "best avoided" list. To avoid a refuel stop, that means flying via the far north of Azerbaijan or over Iran. As Iran seems on the "prefer not to overfly" list for some European airlines, the narrow strip of Azerbaijan just south of the (rather wiggly) Russian border is looking, at peak times, unusually busy. It's a mountainous area with peaks up to 15,000 feet and low population. Azerbaijan (and probably also Armenia) has some highly capable surface-to-air missiles, hence civilian aircraft keeping as far as possible from the fighting.

Flying through this narrow strip looks challenging, but not impossible, to my naive eyes. How much capacity is there within the ATC system, both computer and also human factor, in north Azerbaijan ? Are airlines pushing it, or is what appears on FR24 well within reasonable tolerances ? My uninformed brain thinks the margin for error seems small, with minimal space to divert if things go wrong - but I could well be wrong on this. Is demand for air passage through the narrow strip sustainable for more than a few days ?

Last edited by davidjohnson6; 20th Sep 2023 at 01:00.
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Old 20th Sep 2023, 10:07
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Good question. I remember us making a looong diversion in the Firsy Gulf War on a HKG-LGW.
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