Plans by Turkey to use Geçitkale airport to deploy armed and unarmed drones, and to upgrade the airport to accommodate Turkish F-16 military jets and training planes, could be the source of increased risk to commercial air traffic in the region, a report by The Associated Press (AP) says.
According to FSF-MED, a non-governmental affiliate to the International Flight Safety Foundation based in Washington, DC, expanding Geçitkale to be used as a Turkish Air Force base could increase the already long-existing flight safety threats in the region.
Currently, Air Traffic Controls in North Cyprus and South Cyprus do not communicate with each other, although they do monitor “chatter” between ATC and pilots.
In 2011, AP discovered evidence of multiple near collision events in and around Cypriot airspace.
FSF-MED said it would urge international and European aviation safety organisations to voice their disquiet about the heightened risks created by the drone base at Geçitkale and to ask them to pressure Turkey to respect international air safety rules.
Source: The Associated Press