5 Places Were Passengers Air Planes Normally Can’t Fly
Thanks to international air travel, there are very few places in our world that we can’t access with the right paperwork. However, certain areas of the planet have restrictions set up which prohibit the entry of aircraft. That means that no commercial plane can fly over these areas for a range of political, religious, historical and environmental reasons. Here are five of the places where passenger planes normally can’t fly.
There are some areas in the world where passenger aircraft are not allowed to fly. Photo: Getty Images
An area of religious significance
The Holy Kaaba is a sacred place that is protected with prohibited airspace
There are a few reasons why passenger planes can’t fly over Mecca. The holy place of Mecca could be useful airspace for aircraft to travel through if, for example, they were en route to Jeddah from the East or the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Whether or not they wanted to, airlines are prohibited from entering Mecca and, particularly, flying over the Holy Kaaba. It all has to do with religious custom. Non-muslims are not permitted to travel to Mecca since it is a sacred place for the Islamic faith and centre of the Hajj pilgrimage. This rule of keeping Mecca for the Muslim population is so strictly upheld that non-muslims in Mecca can face a fine and deportation. That includes any non-muslims who fly over Mecca!
Passenger planes are also not allowed to travel over Mecca as a mark of respect to this holy place.
An area of historical significance
Machu Picchu is a protected historical and environmental wonder.
It wasn’t all that long ago that aviation caused a stir in Peru. The building of Chinchero Airport, which is still undergoing construction, is highly opposed by activists and historians. The reason? Due to the fragile ecology and the significance of the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, an airport is the last thing that this region needs.
As it is, aircraft are not allowed to fly over Machu Picchu. Not only is it a site of cultural significance but it also has a delicate balance of nature which is best left untouched. The danger with flying commercial aircraft over the region is that should any aircraft crash or have an emergency landing in the region it would undoubtedly damage the precious ecosystem.
Furthermore, the side-effects of a higher level of pollution in this zone could prove destructive for natural habitats.
An area of political significance
Downing Street’s gated entrance also has airspace restrictions.
The UK’s Downing Street is perhaps one of the most significant streets in the entire country. It’s home to the serving Prime Minister and access to this gated location requires special permissions.
As a measure of protecting such potent political figures, aircraft are not allowed to fly directly over this street. This no-fly zone also applies to the Houses of Parliament and the Queen’s residences at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
An area of historical significance
Aircraft are not allowed to fly within 5,000 feet of the Parthenon in Athens.
Much like flying over Machu Picchu, the reason that passenger aircraft steer clear of the Parthenon in Athens is to protect this historical wonder. Whilst aircraft are permitted to fly over this monument, they must give it a wide berth.
No aircraft are allowed to fly below 5,000 feet when above the Parthenon.
Protecting customer safety
Post-9/11 regulations now protect the Magic Kingdom.
There are also numerous places around the world where restrictions have been issued in order to respect the safety of visitors. Post-9/11, some tourist hotspots decided to scale up their security which is why these days you are not allowed to fly over them.
In 2003, a temporary ban on flying over the Disney Parks was made permanent. It means that no aircraft can fly over Walt Disney World in Florida or Disneyland in California within 3,000 feet. This ban, however, is not necessarily a concern for commercial planes since there would very little reason to be flying so low.
Similar bans to protect people from future aircraft-based terrorist attacks have also been placed in the airspace above stadiums in the US which seat more than 30,000 visitors. That would include many sports venues around the country.
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