Prohibited airspace

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Prohibited airspace refers to an area (volume) of airspace within which flight of aircraft is not allowed, usually due to security concerns. It is one of many types of special use airspace designations and is depicted on aeronautical charts with the letter "P" followed by a serial number. It differs from restricted airspace in that entry is typically forbidden at all times from all aircraft and is not subject to clearance from ATC or the airspace's controlling body.

According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): "Prohibited areas contain airspace of defined dimensions identified by an area on the surface of the earth within which the flight of aircraft is prohibited. Such areas are established for security or other reasons associated with the national welfare. These areas are published in the Federal Register and are depicted on aeronautical charts."

Part of a Terminal Area Chart, showing the prohibited/restricted airspace surrounding Camp David

Some prohibited airspace may be supplemented via NOTAMs. For example, Prohibited Area 40 (P-40) and Restricted Area 4009 (R4009) often have additional restricted airspace added via a NOTAM when the President of the United States visits Camp David in Maryland, while normally the airspace outside of P-40 and R4009 is not prohibited/restricted.

Violating prohibited airspace established for national security purposes may result in military interception and/or the possibility of an attack upon the violating aircraft. Aircraft violating or about to violate prohibited airspace are often warned beforehand on 121.5 MHz, the emergency frequency for aircraft.

List of prohibited airspaces[edit]

As of March 2015:




  • 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 unauthorised aircraft without warning including a 1996 incident in which two U.S.-registered aircraft were shot down and destroyed by Cuban Air Force MiGs.[2]



  • All traffic is prohibited above Paris. Exceptions include military aircraft and civil aeroplanes flying no lower than 6,500 feet (2,000 m).[4] Authorisations are either given by the Ministry of Defence, for military aircraft, or by the Paris Police Prefecture and the Directorate General for Civil Aviation for civil ones. Moreover, the flying of helicopters within the limits of Paris (designated the Boulevard Périphérique) is also forbidden. Special authorisation can be granted by the Prefecture of Police for helicopters undertaking precise missions such as police air-surveillance, air ambulances but also transport of high-profile personalities.
  • Although not within Paris boundaries, the business district of La Défense has been placed under prohibited airspace in response to 9/11.[5]










  • City of Moscow.[11] Many flights are being regularly routed through the outer regions of this airspace.

Since October 25, 2015, Ukrainian aircraft have been prohibited from entering Russian airspace.

Sri Lanka[edit]

According to Air Navigation (Air Defence) Regulation 1 (2007), airspace over the territory and territorial waters of Sri Lanka (except Ruhuna Open Skies Area) are declared an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) with prohibited areas and restricted areas within it. No aircraft may operate in prohibited or restricted areas without valid air defence clearance (ADC) from the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF).

Prohibited areas[edit]

  • Colombo City 1 nautical mile (1.9 km) centering the Parliament-Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte

Restricted areas[edit]

Republic of China (Taiwan)[edit]



Since October 25, 2015, all traffic is prohibited for Russian aircraft.

United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

The FAA issues Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) in the form of a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which are effective for the duration of an event, typically a few days or weeks. TFRs are issued for VIP movement such as the president's travels outside Washington, D.C., surface-based hazards to flight such as toxic gas spills or volcanic eruptions, air-shows, military security, and special events including political ones like national party conventions.[13] TFRs have also been 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.

Permanent Prohibited Areas[edit]

Temporary restrictions over Disney theme parks were made permanent with language added to a 2003 federal spending bill.[14] Additionally, an indirect TFR prohibits flight below 3,000 feet (910 m) above ground level and within a 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) radius of stadiums with seating capacity of 30,000 or more, in which an MLB, NFL, NCAA Division I football, a major motor speedway event, or a WrestleMania is taking place, from one hour before to one hour after the event.

TFAs over public and corporate venues have been controversial. Groups have questioned whether these last TFRs served a public need, or the needs of politically connected venue operators.[15][16]

Other restrictions[edit]

In addition to areas off limits to civil aviation, a variety of other airspace restrictions exists in the United States. 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 "Special Flight Rules 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[edit]


  1. ^ [Designated Airspace Handbook]. Air Services Australia. Retrieved April 29, 2019
  2. ^ Staff writer (February 24, 1996). "Civilian U.S. Planes Shot Down Near Cuba". CNN. Retrieved March 5, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Valtioneuvoston asetus ilmailulta rajoitetuista alueista". Finlex. December 4, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-05-25. Retrieved 2019-05-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Espace aérien". Mairie de Paris (in French). Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "Hungary all zones below 9500ft / 2900m including green zones - Airspace route planner".
  7. ^ "Airspace of the Budapest metropolitan area (detailed map)" (PDF).
  8. ^ Official order by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (India) dated 16 December 2008 ( Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  9. ^ Kumar, Vinay (17 December 2008). "No-fly zone over Kalpakkam plant". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Direction" (PDF). 2004. Retrieved 2020-01-11.
  11. ^ May9thParade[permanent dead link]. Moscow Blog.
  12. ^ "İmralı'nın üzerindeki uçuş yasağının sınırlarını daraltıldı". Habertürk (in Turkish). 11 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  13. ^ "FLIGHT ADVISORY National Special Security Event Republican National Convention Tampa, Florida August 26-30, 2012" (PDF). FAA.
  14. ^ "No-fly zones over Disney parks face new scrutiny" (Los Angeles Times).
  15. ^ [1] [2] Archived 2012-02-07 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Aircraft Building | EAA".

External links[edit]