A no-fly zone (also known as a no-flight zone) is a modern phenomenon established in the 1990s, in which aircraft are not permitted to fly over territory or an area. Such zones are usually set up in a military context and their main objective is to provide national security to safeguard important areas in a country. Aircraft that violate a no-fly zone could also be shot down by the enforcing state, counting on the terms of the no-fly zone.
What led to the formation of no-fly zones?
There are many reasons which led to the formation of no-fly zones but they are primarily used to repel adversary aircraft attacking people on the ground, chiefly friendly military forces or civilians.
By setting up a no-fly zone, the opponents negate military advantage, often pressurise them to make concessions, relieve people under attack, demoralise an adversary’s air force or be the first step to a coming invasion.
Why do some areas have no-fly zones (NFZs)?
A no-fly zone is considered effective if an opponent with a significant air force is denied their use in a given region. If the other opponents too have a strong air force, then setting up a no-fly zone can be challenging. The balance of power on the ground can be significantly changed by the no-fly zone declaration.
A no-fly zone could be combined with other actions—such as a naval blockade or closing of a border—to stop the flow of goods and people into an area, further weakening an adversary.
No-fly zones may also be established on a short-term basis to protect events going on in those areas. Another reason to set up such zones could be because the natural topography of the land is prohibitive to flying or to help protect some areas from pollution.
Current No-Fly Areas In the world
As per the media reports, following are some of the countries having some areas where these NFZs have been set up presently:
Cuba - Any foreign aircraft which are unscheduled are prohibited from entering Cuban airspace except when permission has been explicitly given by the Cuban Government.
It is believed that Tibet is one of the regions of the world with a natural no-fly zone due to factors such as the high mountains situated within its borders. Although most commercial planes being able to fly at a height above the mountains, to ensure the safety of the passengers, flight paths generally avoid the high mountains in the area.
Finland - Due to safety reasons, all air traffic is prohibited above Finland's two nuclear power plant sites in Loviisa and Olkiluoto and the oil refinery site in Kilpilahti.
France - The capital city of France, Paris has prohibited all air traffic including helicopters. The exception can be when special authorisations are granted by the Préfecture de Police for helicopters (air ambulance, for example).
Hungary- There are several NFZs in Hungary including Budapest and the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle and Sándor Palace, the Hungarian National Bank HQ, the Hungarian National Museum, the bases of the Hungarian Homeland Defence Forces, and popular National parks and holiday resorts (including Lake Balaton and Hortobágy National Park).
Surprisingly India also has quite a large number of no-fly zones in place including the very famous Taj Mahal located in Agra, State of Uttar Pradesh, India. The 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. Many religious places like the Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the Tirumala Venkateswara temple also come under the NFZs.
Another place over which airplanes are not allowed to fly over is Machu Picchu after the Peruvian government instituted the ban in 2006. Machu Picchu is one of the foremost well-known historical sites within the world as historians consider it the estate of Emperor Pachacuti. Machu Picchu is a relic of one of the most powerful empires in the region, the Inca Empire, and has attained some honors such as being selected as a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary.
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
Disney World, Thurmont, Maryland, Amarillo, Texas, Pantex nuclear factory, 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.
How will it end?
The logical ending to a no-fly zone is when things on the bottom change so that it's not necessary. We will probably not be ready to force this alteration, as there's generally not an immediate link between implementing the no-fly zone and achieving lasting political outcomes. We are interested in the no-fly zone option partly because it's limited in scope and risk. If this is true, it’s also likely to be limited in its ability to force change on its own. Therefore, a no-fly zone is best used as a part of a comprehensive political and military strategy.
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