View Full Version : Which alternate airport to use for international flight to SYD?

28th Mar 2008, 10:19
My airline is thinking of planning without alternate when operate to Sydney because MEL and BNE are considered too far to carry alternate fuel.Please give me some ideas.

28th Mar 2008, 10:56
How about Canberra?

28th Mar 2008, 11:02
What aircraft? B744 not so good into Canberra and I believe there are some considerable restrictions due noise, or has that all gone away now?

BNE and/or MEL are the usual alternates for SYD.

28th Mar 2008, 13:55
Usually you can indeed operate into SYD under Aussie rules without an alternate. But sometimes Aussie ATC comes up, during a longhaul flight, with a statement that "SYD now requires an alternate". This is usually because of weather at SYD but can also be for other reasons. What will your airline propose to do then?

28th Mar 2008, 14:01
You can use Canberra as a technical alternate, but in a large airliner if you had to make an real diversion the only practical alternates are Brisbane or Melbourne.

28th Mar 2008, 18:35
Can you give us more detail on why Canberra should not be used?

28th Mar 2008, 23:56
It's not big enough to take any useful loads out of, there's no stairs or servicing equipment for the 747 (not sure about tow-bars), and no dedicated parking area so you'd most likely have to park in the military area.

So as I say, it's really only a tech alternate. If you require a real alternate, BNE or MEL are the only ones.

29th Mar 2008, 00:43
Airforce 1 has landed in Canberra a number of times and I seem to remember them using stairs when stepping off the plane.

Qantas uses Canberra as an "Emergency" alternate airport for their B747's but it is a main destination for their B737's (and B767's in the recent past).

They also use Williamtown Airbase (a joint Civil/Military airport) which serves the city of Newcastle, about 75 nm north of Sydney. It's a B747 "Emergency" alternate as well but regularly takes B717's (and FA-18's).

29th Mar 2008, 04:08

That makes sense. Thanks Mate.

29th Mar 2008, 04:22
Of course, Air Force One is basically an oversized bizjet, with seating capacity for about 50, and built-in airstairs in what would be the cargo deck:


with only 50 pax 'sted 450, saves about 68,000 lbs TOW over a commercial version

with airborne refueling capability, it can also likely get in/out of a smaller airport with relatively low fuel load, and then tank up after takeoff.

but I imagine YSCB's 10,700 feet is still a challenge.

Then again, original poster said NOTHING about 747s, so not sure how that entered the equation, anyway.

29th Mar 2008, 05:27
In the distant past, I operated long range to SYD, and I always uplifted alternate fuel for MEL.
If MEL was not available due to weather, then BNE.

Type aircraft, B707 and L1011.

Never had to divert, either.

OTOH, also operated long range to PER, with Learmouth as the alternate.
Due to fog at PER, had to divert twice....while enroute.

29th Mar 2008, 07:27
Another constraint at CBR are taxiway restrictions for the B74, which is to say that they cannot be used. We had to backtrack after landing and again into position for takeoff during a flight diversion due to fog at AVV and MEL and due extensive traffic hold at SYD since everyone was diverting to SYD.

30th Mar 2008, 11:50
Blip, please correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think Newcastle/Williamtown is allowed to be nominated as an alternate anymore. I saw it in a notam awhile ago, but can't reference it anymore as I'm overseas.


30th Mar 2008, 12:23
Quit right L.D you cannot nominate YWLM.
Check Jepps "Entry Requirements", AU-20 7.1 onwards, this lays out in a very straightforward manner where you should plan as an alternate.

30th Mar 2008, 12:34
I'm not going to claim to know all the ins and outs of planning for diversions, but I know for a fact that CBR is used quite often during the winter for diversions from SYD due fog. CBR's now a primary diversion port for Korean, and it saw 747's, A340's and a 777 on the same day last winter.

There are facilities available for the 777 and 747 such as stairs, pushback tugs, etc. but I'm pretty certain they're managed by either Qantas or another contractor and would probably have to be charged to the airline.

Maybe give the port authority a call? I'm sure they'd be able to steer you in the right direction.

31st Mar 2008, 00:51
Good to hear that the situation has improved, QF5, thanks.

31st Mar 2008, 12:22
linedriva you could very well be correct.

I suppose for international operations, it's not only the physical characteristics and airline operational facilities that need to be considered, but also Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine facilities as well. Perhaps these are not found at Williamtown.

I will have to check the books next time I fly.

31st Mar 2008, 15:19
BLIP: I'm not certain about airline operations, but I coordinated a charter for the Netherlands airforce recently and CBR was able to process customs and immigration staff for the crew involved. For the most part when diverting due weather, all PAX stay onboard so immigrations/security are a very minimal concern.

18 Wheeler; thank you - you contribute soo much to the forums that we should all be thankful