Lieutenant General Fernando de la Cruz, Commander of Combined Air Operations at Air Force Base Torrejón in Spain, represented NATO during a media event on 9 December in Skopje. As the Commander of Combined Air Operations, General de la Cruz is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, monitoring, analyzing and reporting on the operations of Air Policing in European NATO airspace south of the Alps.
Before the event, a NATO E-3A AWACS conducted a flyby over the city of Skopje to show the Alliance's cohesion and commitment to collective security of its members. During the event, two Hellenic Air Force F-16 fighter jets were tasked to demonstrate the interception of an airliner.
The NATO Allied Air Command Air Policing mission in North Macedonia marks a significant milestone in the collective defense of NATO airspace and its members.