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Westbound Trans-atlantic Routing.

Sun Aug 09, 2009 5:57 pm

Hi everyone,

Why is it that some transatlantic flights track so far north when crossing the pond and some are more direct across the ocean. My flight SUF-SNN-YYZ went right up to the south of greenland when for example today's Alitalia's flight FCO-YYZ is straight across.

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RE: Westbound Trans-atlantic Routing.

Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:11 pm

Probably trying to get more favorable winds for the crossing. Also if the east bound tracks are active, it may have been the most favorable route available.
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RE: Westbound Trans-atlantic Routing.

Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:41 pm

If you are flying during normal flow times, namely eastbound in the evening/overnight, and westbound in the late morning/afternoon then the NAT tracks are arranged to best use ambient wind. Then dispatch, when building the flight plan and using the NAT tracks will go for the minimum time track.

However, if you are going "against the traffic" during off times when crossing the Atlantic, then you must either go under the NAT tracks or around them. It is never the optimum routing and the price one pays for flying during off hours.

In your example, either the winds drastically changed over a few day, (possible) or you (or Alitialia) was going against the traffic.

I encounter this during our morning YYZ-LHR flight, and late evening LHR-YYZ flight.
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