View Full Version : Sudan airspace closed

11th Apr 2019, 15:42
With the military coup and the announced 24h airspace closure about 3 hours ago, it is interesting to watch how different airlines are handling the issue. The airspace closure seems to have affected five flights already in the air at the time:

SN465 (KGL) and LH590 (NBO) both turned back over the Red Sea abeam of JED after first appearing to circumvent Sudan airspace, while BA65, KQ113 (both NBO) and KL539 (KGL) pressed on, and are now in Ethiopian airspace towards their destnation.

Anyone with insight why SN/LH turned back ? Diverting around Sudan would only add an hour or so, and there would have been the option to refuel at ADD or NBO, both online stations...

Edit: LH diverted to CAI, SN diverting to VIE

12th Apr 2019, 00:25
“There was no choice but to go back to Brussels,” Brussels Airline spokesperson Kim Daenen said. “There is no other authorised flight route to Rwanda than through Sudanese air space,” she added.
The Brussels Times - Brussels Airlines Kigali-bound flight turns back after closure of Sudan?s airspace (http://brusselstimes.com/brussels/14938/brussels-airline-kigali-bound-flight-turns-back-after-closure-of-sudan%E2%80%99s-airspace)

12th Apr 2019, 06:13
Yes, read that, but that is pure B/S. KL & BA ahead of them continued around Sudanese airspace and reached their respective destinations with less than an hour's delay. It seems that SN/LH ops control were not up to speed when the materal hit the fan, while those at AMS/LHR figured things out quicker.

12th Apr 2019, 09:11
Have you considered that they may not have had a valid overflight permit for the adjoining FIRs? Lead time for the permit can easily run to 72 hours, so not that easy to arrange with an airliner in the air.

12th Apr 2019, 09:24
The whole point is that there were five flights in a cluster going along the same route, when the airspace was closed all proceeded to circumvent Sudan, but abeam of Jeddah two (SN/LH) turned back while three (BA/KL/KQ) continued. All were originally planned to go down Sudan, so none of them had the required permits to overly Eritrea (it is possible to go down the middle of the Red Sea in international airspace, El Al does that multiple times every day). Ethiopan overflight permits would have been required as South Sudan airspace was to be avoided in any case.

12th Apr 2019, 12:53
KL & BA ahead of them continued around Sudanese airspace and reached their respective destinations with less than an hour's delay.

Correct, but that delay then brings up, in the best Pprune armchair quarterback mode, a thought that fuel might be worth chucking into the debate along with airspace permissions as a factor that might have led to the different courses of action.

I'd suggest one possibility worth considering (if you really must) is that the three that "got through" might have been able to accept a re-route because there were perhaps better blessed with fuel than those that did not.

Ultimately whatever the reasons for the differences in actions nobody (on the aircraft) got hurt, no metal got bent, so I'd be reluctant to criticise anyone in the aircraft or in any companies Ops,...