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All About No Fly Zones

Airport at sunset

What are no-fly zones?

No-fly zones, also called no-flight zones (NFZs) or air exclusion zones, are territories or areas of the world in which airplanes are not allowed to pass over. For different reasons, not everywhere is it safe to operate civilian aircraft.

No-fly zones are relatively modern concepts. Various actions can be taken against planes that violate the no-fly zones; in extreme circumstances, a plane might be shot down.

Airport runway

What is a Prohibited Area?

A prohibited area is a type of special use airspace designation and is an aviation term to describe no-fly zones. Prohibited areas are published in the Federal Register by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and depicted on aeronautical charts.

A prohibited area refers to an airspace above the land area or territorial waters of a state, within which aircraft are prohibited from flying. Prohibited areas are designated for security or other reasons associated with national welfare. Violating prohibited airspace established for national security purposes is likely to result in military interception.

Why have no-fly zones?

No-fly zones were established to ensure the safety of high ranking officials and civilians in combat zones. NFZs are often set up in a military context to prevent military aircraft from being used against civilian populations. The zones may be patrolled by fighter jets or other military aircrafts or defence mechanisms. Notable examples include two NFZs that were set up over Iraq from 1991-2003.

NFZs might also be established by developed nations for national security, to safeguard important areas in a country - Buckingham Palace, in the United Kingdom, for example, or the Amerian White House.

No-fly zones may also be established on a short-term basis and for specified periods to protect events going on in those areas. Some regions also have no-fly zones because the natural topography of the land is prohibitive to flying. No-fly zones can also be established to help protect some areas from pollution.

Current no-fly zone areas

Permanent Prohibited Areas

Please note, this list doesn't include restricted areas and other types of airspace designation. This list is also subject to change at any time.


Unscheduled foreign aircraft are prohibited from entering Cuban airspace except when permission has been explicitly given by the Cuban Government.


All traffic is prohibited above Finland's two nuclear power plant sites in Loviisa and Olkiluoto and the oil refinery site in Kilpilahti


All traffic is prohibited above the City of Paris, including helicopters. Special authorisation can be granted by the Préfecture de Police for helicopters (air ambulance, for example). Exceptions can be made for civil aeroplanes flying no lower than 6,500 ft.


All traffic is prohibited above the Parthenon below 5000 ft.


Budapest (Inner city and Buda Hills), and the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle and Sándor Palace, the Hungarian National Bank HQ, the Hungarian National Museum, Saint Stephen's Basilica, Atomic bunker F4, the Research reactor of the MTA Central Physical Research Institute in Buda Hills, Paks (area around Paks Nuclear Power Plant), the bases of the Hungarian Homeland Defence Forces, and popular National parks and holiday resorts (including Lake Balaton and Hortobágy National Park).


The Taj Mahal, Agra, State of Uttar Pradesh, India, Parliament Building and the Prime Minister's residence, and other important centers in New Delhi, the airspace around many Defence and Indian Air Force bases, the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Deli, The Tower of Silence, Mumbai, the Mathura Refinery, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the Tirumala Venkateswara temple, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the Sriharikota Space Station, the Kalpakkam nuclear installation. All flying activity up to a height of 10,000 feet over the Kalpakkam area is also prohibited.


DPR/MPR Building in Jakarta and Monumen Nasional


Portlaoise Prison, Limerick Prison, Curragh Camp, Phoenix Park, Mountjoy Prison


Negev Nuclear Research Center, Sdot Micha Airbase, Temple Mount


Islamabad; the no-fly zone is specifically along Constitution Avenue in North-east Islamabad, where many important government buildings are located.


Machu Picchu

Russian Federation:

City of Moscow. Also, since October 2015, Ukrainian aircraft have been prohibited from entering Russian airspace.

Sri Lanka:

Colombo City. Airspace over the territory and territorial waters of Sri Lanka are declared an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) with prohibited areas and restricted areas within it.

Republic of China:

The area around the Presidential Hall and Taipei 101, parts of the Taiwan Strait, and the area around the nuclear power plants in Taiwan.


Imralı Island


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

United Kingdom:

The Sellafield Nuclear Site in Cumbria, Winfrith nuclear research site, BAE Systems, RNAD Coulport / HMNB Clyde Faslane, Dounreay Nuclear Power Development Establishment, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Houses of Parliament and Downing Street

United States:

Disney World, Thurmont, Maryland, Amarillo, Texas, Pantex nuclear assembly plant, Bush Ranch, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Naval Base Kitsap in Washington, Washington, D.C., U.S. Capitol, White House, and Naval Observatory, Bush compound near Kennebunkport, Maine, Mount Vernon, Virginia, home of George Washington, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.

There are also prohibitions on flights below 3000' above ground level and within a 3 nautical mile (5.5 km) radius of stadiums with seating capacity of 30,000 or more, in which an MLB, NFL, NCAA Division I football is taking place, from one hour before to one hour after the event.

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