“Air Defender 23”: How does the NATO Manoeuvre impact Mallorca Flights?

Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

“Air Defender 23,” the largest manoeuvre since NATO’s establishment 74 years ago, commenced on Monday, the 12th of June, and is set to conclude on Friday, the 23rd of June. Months of meticulous planning have gone into this operation, involving complex logistics. The responsibility for executing the manoeuvre lies with the Air Force and the US Air Force, while 250 aircraft from 25 countries actively participate.

To facilitate the smooth execution of the manoeuvre, three expansive areas have been exclusively designated for military aircraft during specific time slots throughout the week. The “southern area” spans from Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg to Rhineland-Palatinate and will be closed from 1 pm to 5 pm. In the north, the corridor extends from Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein to the North Sea, with exercises scheduled between 4 pm and 8 pm. The third airspace is located in the eastern part of the country, covering Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the Baltic Sea, and will be closed to commercial aircraft from 10 am to 2 pm.

The impact of this manoeuvre will extend beyond military operations, affecting the regular flight schedules of several airlines. Not only will flights to and from German airports be rerouted, but some Scandinavian, Dutch, Austrian, and Swiss flights will also be affected. As a result, approximately 800 commercial aircraft will have to follow alternative routes each day throughout the manoeuvre.

Ensuring seamless coordination, Eurocontrol, the European organization for the safety of air navigation, will oversee all aspects of the operation. Enaire, Spain’s air navigation company, has expressed confidence that flight cancellations will be unnecessary. However, passengers travelling to and from Mallorca should anticipate potential delays caused by the manoeuvre.


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