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Swed3120
Topic Author
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2022 10:02 am

Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:55 am

Hi all,
On recent trip to Japan (finally able to again) I noticed that certain carrier fly far further north than others on very similar routings, after a little look on a flightracking app, it seems only KLM, Finnair, JAL and possibly ANA have the ability to operate north of Canada and Alaska‘s coastlines. The likes of BA, AF and LH seem to stick to far more southerly routes. The only thought that comes to mind for reasoning would be some sort of aircraft or Airlines limitation, but apart from LHs 748, all routes are operated by 787/777/350, all at more than one carrier. Theoretically their shouldn’t be a reason to take the more southerly route, since even the North Pole is within etops300 and one could both save fuel with a shorter route and avoid Canadian overflight fees which are notoriously expensive.

Any thoughts or knowledge on this topic would be greatly appreciated
 
Noshow
Posts: 3802
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:20 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 10:55 am

Could it be possible that polar survival equipment and special crew qualification are required for extremely northerly routes?
 
EBiafore99
Posts: 192
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:03 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 12:51 pm

Could the Russian airspace restriction be the issue?
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10329
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 1:13 pm

Russian overflight is pretty part of polar routes to Asia westbound.
 
Swed3120
Topic Author
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2022 10:02 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 1:40 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Russian overflight is pretty part of polar routes to Asia westbound.


While true, the entire reason these routes exist is the closure of Russian airspace. Normall routings for all carriers on Japan-Europe is entirely over mainland Russia until reaching Finnland or the baltics.
Current routings fly up the Aleutian island chain, over mainland Alaska and then split between airlines that fly west over Canada and those the fly north over the non Russian arctic airspace
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10329
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 1:56 pm

That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.
 
stewartg
Posts: 115
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 5:40 pm

High reindeer traffic during this time of year with no transponders due to the chip shortage....
 
ReverseFlow
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Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 6:55 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.
I don't quite get your saying that polar routes go via Russian airspace.

Finnair says differently.

https://www.finnair.com/en/bluewings/wo ... e--2557594
 
RetiredWeasel
Posts: 908
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:37 pm

ReverseFlow wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.
I don't quite get your saying that polar routes go via Russian airspace.

Finnair says differently.

https://www.finnair.com/en/bluewings/wo ... e--2557594



IMHO the proper terminology for routes that take you over or close to the North Pole probably should be termed the 'shortest' routes. These routes have severely been interrupted by the Russian airspace closure. Now airlines have to figure an alternate route which may or may not take them closer to the North Pole. The term polar routes, which used to mean shorter, is kinda losing its meaning.
 
Swed3120
Topic Author
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2022 10:02 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 8:57 pm

RetiredWeasel wrote:
ReverseFlow wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.
I don't quite get your saying that polar routes go via Russian airspace.

Finnair says differently.

https://www.finnair.com/en/bluewings/wo ... e--2557594



IMHO the proper terminology for routes that take you over or close to the North Pole probably should be termed the 'shortest' routes. These routes have severely been interrupted by the Russian airspace closure. Now airlines have to figure an alternate route which may or may not take them closer to the North Pole. The term polar routes, which used to mean shorter, is kinda losing its meaning.


For some Carriers yes, like UA on its India routes. However what’s being discussed here are routes to and from Japan to Europe. On the leg to Japan, most flights take the southerly routing around Russia over turkey and the Stan’s.
However in return most aircraft fly up and over Alaska and the Arctic Ocean. Neither of these are the usual routes. The normal routes for these routes only fly over mainland Russia and never come anywhere close to the North Pole or even the Arctic Ocean.

Therefore these new routes are termed polar routes as they fly much closer to the poles than the previous routings ever did.

These routes aren’t even anything new, quite a few carriers operated polar services during the Soviet era, in particular Finnair which operated a DC-10 over the poles to get to Tokyo, a lot of other carriers flew the same with a stop in anchorage
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:07 pm

Will the term “high latitude flights” work for pendants?
 
Kilopond
Posts: 654
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Re: Polar Route Limitations

Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:48 pm

As far as trans-polar traffic between Europe and the Far East is concerned, one should distinguish between the northeast passage (via Russia) and the northwest passage (via Canada-Alaska). It doesn`t hurt that these terms originate from maritime navigation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_Passage
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage
 
LH707330
Posts: 2649
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:27 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Fri Dec 09, 2022 12:04 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Will the term “high latitude flights” work for pendants?

*pedants... Sorry, I had to :D

stewartg wrote:
High reindeer traffic during this time of year with no transponders due to the chip shortage....


This answer is a winner. Maybe they didn't have the latest ADS-B update, so we can't see Santa on the fishfinder...

Swed3120 wrote:
On recent trip to Japan (finally able to again) I noticed that certain carrier fly far further north than others on very similar routings, after a little look on a flightracking app, it seems only KLM, Finnair, JAL and possibly ANA have the ability to operate north of Canada and Alaska‘s coastlines. The likes of BA, AF and LH seem to stick to far more southerly routes. The only thought that comes to mind for reasoning would be some sort of aircraft or Airlines limitation, but apart from LHs 748, all routes are operated by 787/777/350, all at more than one carrier. Theoretically their shouldn’t be a reason to take the more southerly route, since even the North Pole is within etops300 and one could both save fuel with a shorter route and avoid Canadian overflight fees which are notoriously expensive.


Could you post a few examples? There are likely several factors that go into the game plan, including winds aloft, overflight, etc. Sometimes small weightings on those can have large impacts in terms of ground track if the solutions are generally similar but factors are weighted differently between planning departments.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10329
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Fri Dec 09, 2022 12:26 am

Auto correct and I grabbed it. Thanks, it does look silly.
 
Max Q
Posts: 9442
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Fri Dec 09, 2022 2:23 am

Our 757/67 aircraft were not certified to operate north of 78 degrees latitude


However I believe they could be if they purchased that option from Boeing
 
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CarlosSi
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:29 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Sun Dec 11, 2022 9:25 pm

stewartg wrote:
High reindeer traffic during this time of year with no transponders due to the chip shortage....


Where’s the NOTAM for that :) ?
 
beachroad
Posts: 162
Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2020 10:26 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Mon Dec 26, 2022 8:24 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.


Erm, no, no you don't.

Back to the topic. My guess is staff radiation exposure (no really). Natural radiation at the poles is 4x times greater than the equator, and radiation increases dramatically with height. The amount of radiation exposure a polar flight gives you is 0.1mSv (over the 14 hours). To put that in perspective, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommends 1mSV per year as safe for the general population. Each polar flight gives those aboard 10% of their annual does of radiation, so 20% per return trip. One of the limiting factors for crew hours is radiation exposure, because on any flight you're getting much more radiation than at ground level. Therefore, crew get exposed to high rates of radiation, which limit their hours. Against that backdrop, I can't imagine BA/AF/LH wanting staff tied up unable to work because they've been exposed to too much radiation. The Asian airlines have, in my experience. a different social outlook on these things.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10329
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Mon Dec 26, 2022 8:50 pm

beachroad wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.


Erm, no, no you don't.

Back to the topic. My guess is staff radiation exposure (no really). Natural radiation at the poles is 4x times greater than the equator, and radiation increases dramatically with height. The amount of radiation exposure a polar flight gives you is 0.1mSv (over the 14 hours). To put that in perspective, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommends 1mSV per year as safe for the general population. Each polar flight gives those aboard 10% of their annual does of radiation, so 20% per return trip. One of the limiting factors for crew hours is radiation exposure, because on any flight you're getting much more radiation than at ground level. Therefore, crew get exposed to high rates of radiation, which limit their hours. Against that backdrop, I can't imagine BA/AF/LH wanting staff tied up unable to work because they've been exposed to too much radiation. The Asian airlines have, in my experience. a different social outlook on these things.


You’ll have to have to show examples of polar routes north of Alaska that go to Japan, as the original poster suggested that do NOT transit Siberia, please.

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=FCO-TYO%2C ... =wls&DU=nm
 
BowlingShoeDC9
Posts: 208
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:18 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Mon Dec 26, 2022 9:18 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
beachroad wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.


Erm, no, no you don't.

Back to the topic. My guess is staff radiation exposure (no really). Natural radiation at the poles is 4x times greater than the equator, and radiation increases dramatically with height. The amount of radiation exposure a polar flight gives you is 0.1mSv (over the 14 hours). To put that in perspective, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommends 1mSV per year as safe for the general population. Each polar flight gives those aboard 10% of their annual does of radiation, so 20% per return trip. One of the limiting factors for crew hours is radiation exposure, because on any flight you're getting much more radiation than at ground level. Therefore, crew get exposed to high rates of radiation, which limit their hours. Against that backdrop, I can't imagine BA/AF/LH wanting staff tied up unable to work because they've been exposed to too much radiation. The Asian airlines have, in my experience. a different social outlook on these things.


You’ll have to have to show examples of polar routes north of Alaska that go to Japan, as the original poster suggested that do NOT transit Siberia, please.

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=FCO-TYO%2C ... =wls&DU=nm



Not op, but don’t they just run through the Bering Straight like this flight does? Isn’t that how they used to do it in the cold war too?

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ANA ... /RJTT/EDDF

Edit: I missed the “to Japan” part.

Edit 2: It does look like the Fin Air flight does go to Japan over the pole and through the Bering Straight though.
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/ANA ... /RJTT/EDDF
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10329
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Mon Dec 26, 2022 10:38 pm

No, with the B747-200, they didn’t have the range. BA at one time had a dozen crews at ANC, staging to/from Asia. FinnAir probably departs far enough north for that to make sense. Look up R220 route which passed closest to the RFE, but clear of Russia. That’s where KE007 was cleared, IIRC.
 
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reidar76
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:16 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Fri Dec 30, 2022 8:27 pm

Interesting to see which routes different airlines choose between EU and Japan.

There are three alternatives to flying over Russia.

1) The North Pole Route: From EU airspace (flying over Norway/LYR) then in a straight line directly over the North Pole and thru the Bering Strait, turning into Japanese airpace. I guess this must be ETOPS 240, with LYR (Norway) on the EU side, and ANC (US) on the opposite side of the North Pole. FinnAir and Japanese airline chooses this route some times.

2) The Western route: From EU airspace (flying over KEF/Iceland and GOH/Greenland-Denmark) into Canadian airspace, then US airspace (Alaska), turning into Japanese airpace. This route stays south of the artic sea. It looks like airlines fly this route only from Japan to EU (probably due to winds).

3) The Southern route: From EU airpace (flying over ATH/Greece) into
Turkish airspace (avoiding Ukraine), into Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (avoiding Afghanistan and Iran) before Mongolian and Chinese airspace, avoiding North Korea into Japan. It looks like airlines fly this route only from EU to Japan (probably due to winds).

For an airline like Finnair, the distances are: (HEL to HND)
4300 nm, flying over Russia
6000 nm, The North Pole route
6500 nm, The Western route
6400 nm, The Southern route

FRA to HND:
5100 nm, flying over Russia
6600 nm, The North Pole route
6800 nm, The Western route
6300 nm, The Southern route
 
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hongkongflyer
Posts: 1000
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:23 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Mon Jan 02, 2023 5:21 am

beachroad wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.


Erm, no, no you don't.

Back to the topic. My guess is staff radiation exposure (no really). Natural radiation at the poles is 4x times greater than the equator, and radiation increases dramatically with height. The amount of radiation exposure a polar flight gives you is 0.1mSv (over the 14 hours). To put that in perspective, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommends 1mSV per year as safe for the general population. Each polar flight gives those aboard 10% of their annual does of radiation, so 20% per return trip. One of the limiting factors for crew hours is radiation exposure, because on any flight you're getting much more radiation than at ground level. Therefore, crew get exposed to high rates of radiation, which limit their hours. Against that backdrop, I can't imagine BA/AF/LH wanting staff tied up unable to work because they've been exposed to too much radiation. The Asian airlines have, in my experience. a different social outlook on these things.


We airlines in Asia basically follow the same rules as airlines in Western countries regarding the crew rest and radiation exposure. please don’t try to make people from the East looks inferior to the West
 
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Starlionblue
Posts: 21337
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Tue Jan 03, 2023 2:16 am

hongkongflyer wrote:
beachroad wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That’s my point—you have to transit Russian airspace on polar routes, so no Russia, no polar flights to Asia. Done them many times, also Siberian flights.


Erm, no, no you don't.

Back to the topic. My guess is staff radiation exposure (no really). Natural radiation at the poles is 4x times greater than the equator, and radiation increases dramatically with height. The amount of radiation exposure a polar flight gives you is 0.1mSv (over the 14 hours). To put that in perspective, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recommends 1mSV per year as safe for the general population. Each polar flight gives those aboard 10% of their annual does of radiation, so 20% per return trip. One of the limiting factors for crew hours is radiation exposure, because on any flight you're getting much more radiation than at ground level. Therefore, crew get exposed to high rates of radiation, which limit their hours. Against that backdrop, I can't imagine BA/AF/LH wanting staff tied up unable to work because they've been exposed to too much radiation. The Asian airlines have, in my experience. a different social outlook on these things.


We airlines in Asia basically follow the same rules as airlines in Western countries regarding the crew rest and radiation exposure. please don’t try to make people from the East looks inferior to the West


Word. It continually amazes me how many Westerners think those of us who live in Asia (which is a very broad concept but that's another story) are somehow living in inferior conditions. Have you been to Hong Kong, Singapore, KL, Bangkok, Tokyo, or Taipei? ;)
 
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SQ32
Posts: 122
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Re: Polar Route Limitations

Tue Jan 03, 2023 8:05 am

The polar flights are taken regularly by airlines and radiation exposure is just another occupational hazard. The polar route is more predictable both ways as influence of Jet Stream is minimum. The only reason I feel some Airlines are not taking it is because you need to pay Russia a small fee. And whole western world is in lockstep against furthering economics tie with Russia since 2014.
 
CPH-R
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Re: Polar Route Limitations

Tue Jan 03, 2023 4:58 pm

SQ32 wrote:
The polar flights are taken regularly by airlines and radiation exposure is just another occupational hazard. The polar route is more predictable both ways as influence of Jet Stream is minimum. The only reason I feel some Airlines are not taking it is because you need to pay Russia a small fee. And whole western world is in lockstep against furthering economics tie with Russia since 2014.

Why would airlines be paying Russia? The whole point of the polar routes is to avoid Russian airspace and the associated transit fees.
 
RetiredWeasel
Posts: 908
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Tue Jan 03, 2023 8:21 pm

CPH-R wrote:
SQ32 wrote:
The polar flights are taken regularly by airlines and radiation exposure is just another occupational hazard. The polar route is more predictable both ways as influence of Jet Stream is minimum. The only reason I feel some Airlines are not taking it is because you need to pay Russia a small fee. And whole western world is in lockstep against furthering economics tie with Russia since 2014.

Why would airlines be paying Russia? The whole point of the polar routes is to avoid Russian airspace and the associated transit fees.


The shortest nonstop route from anywhere in the Eastern US to anywhere in Asia would take you over Russian airspace. These routes may be referred to as 'polar', but are actually just the shortest (great circle). But now because of the airspace restrictions, the airlines have to shift their routes south, therefore adding more time to the flights.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10329
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Tue Jan 03, 2023 8:56 pm

RetiredWeasel wrote:
CPH-R wrote:
SQ32 wrote:
The polar flights are taken regularly by airlines and radiation exposure is just another occupational hazard. The polar route is more predictable both ways as influence of Jet Stream is minimum. The only reason I feel some Airlines are not taking it is because you need to pay Russia a small fee. And whole western world is in lockstep against furthering economics tie with Russia since 2014.

Why would airlines be paying Russia? The whole point of the polar routes is to avoid Russian airspace and the associated transit fees.


The shortest nonstop route from anywhere in the Eastern US to anywhere in Asia would take you over Russian airspace. These routes may be referred to as 'polar', but are actually just the shortest (great circle). But now because of the airspace restrictions, the airlines have to shift their routes south, therefore adding more time to the flights.


I tried this line of reasoning before and got shot down, but not by MiGs.

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=HEL-SIN%2C ... =wls&DU=nm
 
ArcticFlyer
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:10 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Tue Jan 03, 2023 10:15 pm

CPH-R wrote:
SQ32 wrote:
The polar flights are taken regularly by airlines and radiation exposure is just another occupational hazard. The polar route is more predictable both ways as influence of Jet Stream is minimum. The only reason I feel some Airlines are not taking it is because you need to pay Russia a small fee. And whole western world is in lockstep against furthering economics tie with Russia since 2014.

Why would airlines be paying Russia? The whole point of the polar routes is to avoid Russian airspace and the associated transit fees.

I think we're struggling with a difference in terminology here. According to the FAA there are two sets of "polar" routes: "Cross Polar" routes which connect North America with Asia via Russian airspace, and "Trans Polar" routes which connect Alaska and Europe without entering Russian airspace.

Routes like R220, R580 etc. which connect Alaska to Japanese airspace, while avoiding Russia, are not "polar routes" at all but NOPAC (NOrth PACific) routes. These routes have seen much heavier usage since the events of Feb 2022.
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2581
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Tue Jan 03, 2023 10:43 pm

Noshow wrote:
Could it be possible that polar survival equipment and special crew qualification are required for extremely northerly routes?


Definitely a requirement.
 
User avatar
SQ32
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:18 pm

Re: Polar Route Limitations

Wed Jan 04, 2023 3:50 am

I estimated SQ21 and SQ22 if fly polar route will take around 17.5 hours and not have much variation over the years due to wind speed. But SQ is not taking any polar route these days. SQ21 EWR - SIN now can varies from 17.2 - 18.7 hours (and most of the time 18.3 hours) flying over NYC->UK->IST->SIN depending on jet stream.

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