In Short: Avoid Yemen & Southern Saudi airspace, and monitor risk for OERK/Riyadh. The armed conflict continues with regular ballistic missile launches from Yemen.
Once again there is increased missile activity in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, with a reported 35 missiles launched from rebels in Yemen this year. 14 of these were in April – about the same amount as August 2016 and December 2015, but most are now being shot down by Saudi Patriot missiles; only 3 have struck Saudi soil this year.
OERK/Riyadh continues to be on the radar for the Houthi’s. Of most concern, an F-15 was hit by a SAM over Yemen on 21 March, fired from OYSH. There is definitely a risk to operations in Saudi airspace, even outside the Scatana area.
So far the only missile attack known to have resulted in any casualties was on Mar 25, when seven ballistic missiles were fired toward Saudi Arabia from within Yemen. Yemeni forces said they were targeting OERK/Riyadh Airport and other sites in the capital. The Saudi government said that all seven missiles were intercepted and destroyed, although one person died and two more were injured by falling fragments of one missile over a residential neighbourhood in Riyadh.
Much of the information comes from state media and cannot always be independently verified. As the propaganda campaign continues, a New York Times investigation suggested that at least one of the most high-profile attacks from 2017 may not have been “shot-down” or intercepted by Saudi defense systems at all.
The conflict and insurgency on the ground remains complex and volatile. Safeairspace continues to provide up-to-date information for both Saudi and Yemen airspace.
Yemen is still at FSB Risk Level: One – DO NOT FLY – We strongly recommend avoiding this airspace entirely. The FAA and several other agencies have amended their advice and the current airspace advice map looks like this at present:
SCATANA rules are active in the southern part of Saudi Arabia, due to the current Saudi-led Intervention in Yemen.
This NOTAM, published by authorities in Yemen for the OYSC/Sanaa FIR, can definitely be taken with a grain of salt:
A0026/17 – ALL YEMEN AIRPORTS EXCEPTS TAIZ HODEIDAH AND MUKALLA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS ARE AVAILABLE AND READY TO HANDLE ALL FLIGHTS INTENDING TO FLY TO OR FROM YEMENI AIRPORTS ALSO SANAA ACC IS COMPLETELY READY TO PROVIDE ATC SERVICES TO ALL FLIGHTS OVER FLY SANAA FIR AND BASED ON THE DECLARATION OF DECISIVE STORM TERMINATION WE CONFIRM THAT SANAA FIR AND YEMENI AIRPORTS ARE SAFE EXCEPT THOSE MENTIONED ABOVE. 03 APR 18:00 2017 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 01 JUL 15:24 2017