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August 1st, 2006
Flying Down to Kabul
Map: Airspace Politics: Czech Republic

Source: CIA World Factbook 2006

Airspace: 30,270 square miles

Recent Airspace Conflicts

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held a summit in Prague, Czech Republic in 2002. The main topic of discussion was the expansion of NATO and the role of this organization in the post-Cold War era. Heads of state from 19 member countries participated in this first meeting since the September 11th attacks on the United States. There was speculation leading up to the meeting, however, that the U.S. planned to dominate discussions with the impending invasion of Iraq. Protesters took to the streets and there was anxiety that terrorists might use this gathering as an opportunity to strike against the Western powers of NATO.

Czech President Vaclav Havel effectively handed over responsibility for his country’s security to the Pentagon for the duration of the summit. U.S. F-16 fighter planes joined Czech pilots in patrolling Prague’s airspace.

Airspace Regulatory Body

Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic: Established by Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic.

Membership in International Aviation Organizations

EUROCONTROL: An international governmental organization with 31 member states. Among its many services, this organization seeks to fulfill the needs of civil and military aircraft through the Flexible Use of Airspace mandate. This approach attempts to avoid airspace restrictions due to military operations by limiting the duration of restrictions to coincide with the duration of military operations, thus not blocking large areas of airspace for lengthy periods of time. Furthermore, it aims to break down national airspace barriers and develop a single upper airspace for use by partner countries through the Single European Sky mandate.

Central European Air Traffic Services project (CEATS): The objective of this project is to set up a control center to provide services in the upper airspace of its member states — Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Italy. The project has been in effect since 1997, but is currently in danger of being dissolved due to concerns regarding misuse of funding.

Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO): Based in Amsterdam since 1998, CANSO aims to create a worldwide platform for mutual exchange of information and the support of user education in providing air navigation services.

Uniform Air Traffic Monitoring (ATM) system: Along with partner countries Austria and Slovenia, the Czech Republic takes part in a technical and commercial initiative to create a unified air traffic management (ATM) system, for implementation by 2012.

Sources: THE GUARDIAN UNLIMITED, ASSOCIATED PRESS, Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic, Federal Aviation Administration, International Civil Aviation Organization

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