No-fly zone

This article is about the prevention of flight in a region of airspace by the application or threat of military power. For information on prevention of flight ordinarily enforced by civil regulation or legal means, see Prohibited airspace.

A no-fly zone (or no-flight zone) is a territory or an area over which aircraft are not permitted to fly. Such zones are usually set up in a military context, somewhat like a demilitarized zone in the sky, and usually prohibit military aircraft of a belligerent nation from operating in the region.


Past no-fly zones

Iraq, 1991–2003

In 1991, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey and other states intervened in Kurdish-Iraqi dispute in northern Iraq by establishing a no-fly zone in which Iraqi aircraft were prevented from flying. The intent of the no-fly zone was to prevent possible bombing and chemical attacks against the Kurdish people by the Iraqi regime. The initial operations were dubbed Operation Provide Comfort and Operation Provide Comfort II and were followed by Operation Northern Watch. While the enforcing powers had cited United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 as authorising the operations, the resolution contains no explicit authorization. The Secretary-General of the UN at the time the resolution was passed, Boutros Boutros-Ghali called the no-fly zones "illegal" in a February 2003 interview with John Pilger.[1][2] In southern Iraq, Operation Southern Watch was established in 1992 to protect Iraq's Shia population. It originally extended to the 32nd parallel[3] but was extended to the 33rd parallel in 1996.[4]

Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1993–1995

In 1992, the United Nations Security Council passed United Nations Security Council Resolution 781, prohibiting unauthorized military flights in Bosnian airspace. This led to Operation Sky Monitor, where NATO monitored violations of the no-fly zone but did not take action against violators of the resolution. In response to 500 documented violations by 1993,[5] including one combat violation,[6] the Security Council passed Resolution 816, which prohibited all unauthorized flights and allowed all UN member states to "take all necessary ensure compliance with [the no-fly zone restrictions]."[7] This led to Operation Deny Flight. NATO later launched air strikes during Operation Deny Flight and during Operation Deliberate Force.

Lessons from Iraq and Bosnia

A 2004 Stanford University paper published in The Journal of Strategic Studies, “Lessons from Iraq and Bosnia on the Theory and Practice of No-fly Zones,” reviewed the effectiveness of the air-based campaigns in achieving military objectives. The paper's findings were: 1) A clear, unified command structure is essential. In Bosnia, during “Operation Deny Flight,” a confusing dual-key coordination structure provided inadequate authority and resulted in air forces not being given authority to assist in key situations; 2) To avoid a “perpetual patrol problem," states must know in advance their policy objectives and the exit strategy for no-fly zones; 3) The effectiveness of no-fly zones is highly dependent on regional support. A lack of support from Turkey for the 1996 Iraq no-fly zone ultimately constrained the coalition’s ability to effectively enforce it.[8]

Libya, 2011

  • In response to violence by the government of Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 Libyan civil war, the United Nations approved a no-fly zone on 17 March 2011. The resolution includes provisions for further actions to prevent attacks on civilian targets.[9][10] The NATO no fly zone was terminated on 27 October after a unanimous vote by the UN.[11]

No-fly zones as of November 2011



  • Unscheduled foreign aircraft are prohibited from entering or encroaching Cuban airspace including disputed international water zones except when permission has been explicitly given by the Cuban Government. The Cuban military has been known to shoot down and destroy unauthorized aircraft without warning including a 1996 incident in which two U.S.-registered aircraft were shot down and destroyed by Cuban Air Force MiGs.[12]





Russian Federation

  • City of Moscow[15] — technically, it is just a "P" (i.e. Prohibited) airspace (according to international classification and aeronavigational maps).[citation needed] Many flights are being regularly routed through the outer regions of this airspace.

Sri Lanka

According to Air Navigation (Air Defence) Regulations (No: 1 of 2007) by which skies over territory and the territorial waters of Sri Lanka (except Ruhuna Open Skies Area) has been declared an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) with Prohibited Areas and Restricted Areas within it. No aircraft may operate in prohibited areas and in restricted areas flight or aircraft will be allowed to operate without valid Air Defence Clearance (ADC) from the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).

Prohibited Areas

1 Nautical mile centering the Parliament-Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte

Restricted Areas


United Kingdom

United States

Prohibited Areas

In the United States, the phrase "no-fly zone" has no legal meaning. What most people would consider a "no-fly zone" is termed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) a "Prohibited Area". Prohibited Areas are permanent until canceled and are published in the Federal Register and at, and are depicted by blue hashed boundaries on aeronautical charts.

Active Prohibited Areas:[clarification needed]

Temporary Flight Restrictions

The FAA may also issue Temporary Flight Restrictions, or TFRs, which are similar to Prohibited Areas but which are typically effective for a few days or weeks, versus the essentially permanent nature of a Prohibited Area. For example, a TFR is typically issued to prohibit flights near the President's destination when he travels outside Washington. TFRs are also issued to ensure a safe environment for firefighting operations in the case of wildfires and for other reasons as necessary. A TFR was quickly issued around the crash site of Cory Lidle's airplane in New York City. Later, a broader TFR was issued to require pilots traveling over the East River to obtain air traffic control clearance.

TFRs are issued by Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), and are available at or by calling a Flight Service Station.

There are active TFRs that have been effective since 2003 over Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and an indirect TFR that prohibits flight below 3000' above ground level, and within a 3 nautical mile (5.5 km) radius of a stadium having a seating capacity of 30,000 or more "in which a major league baseball, national football league, NCAA division one football, major motor speedway event, or a WrestleMania event is occurring" from one hour before to one hour after the event, with exceptions for essentially anyone connected with the event sponsor.

  • Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, California
  • Walt Disney World Resort, in Central Florida (near Orlando). The zone extends to 3,000 feet (910 metres) in a 3-nautical-mile (5.6-kilometre) radius centered from the Main Spire of Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom Theme Park. Though implemented for security according to the FAA, the decision has been controversial.[16] In 2003, a conservative Christian group filed a lawsuit claiming that the ruling infringed on its First Amendment right to fly banners to proselytize to visitors during the unofficial Gay Days at Walt Disney World.[17]

Aviation groups have questioned whether these last TFRs really serve a public need, or the needs of politically connected venue operators. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Other restrictions

In addition to areas completely off limits to civil aviation, a variety of other airspace restrictions exist in the United States. Some notable ones include the Flight Restriction Zone (FRZ) encompassing all airspace up to 18,000 feet (5,500 m) within approximately 15 nautical miles (28 km) of Ronald Reagan National Airport around Washington, D.C. Flights within this airspace, while not entirely prohibited, are highly restricted. All pilots flying within the FRZ are required to undergo a background check and fingerprinting. An additional area encompassing most of the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metropolitan area requires the filing of a flight plan and communication with air traffic control.

See also


  1. ^ Pilger, John (February 23, 2003). "A People Betrayed". ZNet. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  2. ^ Pilger, John (August 7, 2000). "Labour Claims Its Actions Are Lawful While It Bombs Iraq, Strarves Its People and Sells Arms To Corrupt States". Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  3. ^ Staff writer (December 29, 1998). "Containment: The Iraqi No-Fly Zones". BBC News. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  4. ^[dead link] 2nd Cruise Missile Strikes in Iraq
  5. ^ Beale, Michael (1997). Bombs over Bosnia – The Role of Airpower in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Air University Press (Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama). p. 19. OCLC 444093978. 
  6. ^ Lewis, Paul (March 19, 1993). "U.N. Moving To Toughen Yugoslav Flight Ban". The New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ Resolution (March 31, 1993). "Resolution 816 (1993) – Adopted by the Security Council at Its 3191st Meeting, on 31 March 1993". United Nations Security Council (via The UN Refugee Agency). Retrieved March 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ ""Lessons from Iraq and Bosnia on the Theory and Practice of No-fly Zones"". Journalist's 
  9. ^ Bilefsky, Dan; Landler, Mark (March 17, 2011). "U.N. Approves Airstrikes to Halt Attacks by Qaddafi Forces". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^
  12. ^ Staff writer (February 24, 1996). "Civilian U.S. Planes Shot Down Near Cuba". CNN. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  13. ^ Official order by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (India) dated 16 December 2008 ( Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  14. ^ Kumar, Vinay (17 December 2008). "No-fly zone over Kalpakkam plant". The Hindu. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  15. ^[dead link] May9thParade. Moscow Blog.
  16. ^ "9/4985 NOTAM Details". FAA. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  17. ^ (subscription required) Curtis, Henry Pierson (June 5, 2003). "Group Sues To Fly Anti-Gay Banner over Disney Parks – Today a Judge Will Be Asked To Lift the Ban on Such Flyovers, Which Is Meant To Fight Terrorism" (Abstract; full text available for fee). Orlando Sentinel.,+2003&author=Henry+Pierson+Curtis,+Sentinel+Staff+Writer&pub=Orlando+Sentinel&edition=&startpage=B.1&desc=GROUP+SUES+TO+FLY+ANTI-GAY+BANNER+OVER+DISNEY+PARKS+;+TODAY+A+JUDGE+WILL+BE+ASKED+TO+LIFT+THE+BAN+ON+SUCH+FLYOVERS,+WHICH+IS+MEANT+TO+FIGHT+TERRORISM.. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • no-fly zone — /noh fluy / an area over which no military flights are allowed. [1991] * * * no fly zone noun An area in which (esp military) aircraft are not permitted to fly • • • Main Entry: ↑no * * * no fly zone UK US noun [countable] [ …   Useful english dictionary

  • No-Fly Zone —    Following the abortive Kurdish uprising against Saddam Hussein in March 1991 and the horrific Kurdish refugee exodus that ensued, the United States, Great Britain, and France    imposed a no fly zone above the 36th parallel in Iraq to allow… …   Historical Dictionary of the Kurds

  • no-fly zone — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms no fly zone : singular no fly zone plural no fly zones an area that a plane must not fly into because it may be attacked by planes belonging to an enemy …   English dictionary

  • no-fly zone — /noˈflaidzon, ingl. nəuˈflaɪzəun/ [loc. ingl., propr. «zona (zone) con divieto (no) di volo (fly)»] loc. sost. f. inv. zona di non sorvolo …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • no-fly zone — no fly zones N COUNT A no fly zone is an area of sky where military and other aircraft are not allowed to fly, especially because of a war …   English dictionary

  • no-fly zone — no fly ,zone noun count an area that an airplane must not fly into because it may be attacked by airplanes belonging to an enemy …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • no-fly zone — /noʊ ˈflaɪ zoʊn/ (say noh fluy zohn) noun an area over which all or specified aircraft are forbidden to fly: *The no fly zone around the Statue of Liberty was imposed yesterday and bans flights within one nautical mile of the monument until… …   Australian English dictionary

  • no-fly zone — no fly .zone n an area that only particular aircraft are allowed to enter, and in which other aircraft could be attacked …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • no-fly zone — no′ fly′ zone n. mil an area over which no military flights are allowed • Etymology: 1991 …   From formal English to slang

  • no-fly zone — noun an airspace in which aircraft, especially military aircraft, are forbidden to fly …   Wiktionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.