enter image description here(flightaware.com)

Last week I was browsing Flight Aware when I came across a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul (Turkey) to Amman (Jordan). I noticed that the flight path clearly makes an effort to avoid Israeli airspace. My instinct was that Turkish airlines had some diplomatic issues with Israel and had to avoid their airspace.

Today I came across this post asking what the busiest Turkish Airlines route is, and turns out that the answer is Istanbul to Tel Aviv (Israel). That made me curious about my initial finding. I posted this as a comment on that thread and fellow user @MichaelSeifert pointed out that the return flight, THY813, flies right over Israel.

This leads me to believe that there are some restrictions on flights entering Jordan. Does anyone know anything about this issue or have other similar examples?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Worth checking if they fly around on Sabbath :) $\endgroup$
    – Zeus
    Feb 7, 2018 at 8:42

2 Answers 2


There are no issues overflying Israel to Jordan:

  1. From the Israeli AIP:

Prior permission is not required for commercial scheduled flights by aircraft registered in countries that are parties to the International Air Services Transit Agreement (IASTA) or where the relevant Israeli bilateral Air Services Agreement allows overflying the State of Israel or making stops for non- traffic purposes.

  1. The prohibited airspaces on the shorter route allow flights above 6000 feet (per the AIP).

  2. There are two airways that are used. Each is one-way.

enter image description here(skyvector)

  1. Amman arrival procedures allow flights coming via waypoint SALAM on the Israeli side (the OSAMA arrival). See SALAM and OSAMA above.

enter image description here

  1. The AIP confirms airway P51 (eastbound to Jordan) is used.

enter image description here

  1. There is a whole section titled 'Procedure for IFR flights to and from Amman (Jordan)', nothing stands out, just to have two-way communication established with both ends.

  2. As far back as flightaware allows, it's consistent. So that rules out airspace closure for military exercises, etc., and also similar threads exist on airliners.net as far back as 2012.


What all that hints at, is that the reason is in the fine print of the non-publicly-available air service agreement between the nations and carriers involved.

Note: the site that hosts the eAIP of Jordan is not loading, so I couldn't check the Jordanian side.

Also, it's not a diplomatic thing: Pegasus Airlines 1710 (Turkish) and Royal Wings 6558 (Jordanian) when flying from Turkey to Amman, overfly Israel (shown below).

enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ well it's also the wage for the pilot and cabin crew, and the passengers who would preferred to be there earlier, but maybe you're right, it is a wierd world $\endgroup$
    – Christian
    Jan 28, 2018 at 0:38
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ If the goal is just to waste time, why specifically avoid Israeli airspace? $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Jan 28, 2018 at 9:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @reirab: Jan Hudec's answer suggests that ATC fees / capacity might be involved in specifically avoiding overflying a country, especially if you're already taking a longer route to waste time. $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2018 at 10:22
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Christian: It doesn't only sound weird, it sounds really sad to me. Who cares about global warming or peak oil? Let's optimize costs by needlessly burning fuel! $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2018 at 12:22

I am not sure anybody but Turkish Airline's dispatcher can give the exact reason, but there is a couple of possible reasons that have nothing to do with politics or safety:

  • The combination of prevailing winds and ATC fees make it cheaper to fly around in one direction. Either the fees are higher (it's late night) or the winds make the delay shorter.

  • The airspace might be congested or the ATC capacity reduced for the night so it does not accept the flight plan. Note that due to night curfew at many European airports, many flights leave Europe in the afternoon for a night arrival in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, so it might actually be quite busy at the time (around 11 p.m.).

  • The local airspace design might complicate the routing. Airliners normally need to stick to defined airways and standard arrival routes. If the available arrival route requires overflying to the south anyway, overflying a bit more and avoiding the Israeli ATC fees altogether might again come out cheaper.


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