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Old 28th Dec 2012, 08:23   #1 (permalink)
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Australia/UK
Age: 48
Posts: 93
SQ306 routing SIN-LHR Dec 27th 2012

Hi, I arrived in London on flight SQ306 yesterday. I fly quite frequently back and forth to Singapore from London (and onwards), perhaps 5-6 times a year for the last 7/8 years. During yesterdays flight I fell asleep over the Bay of Bengal and woke up expecting to find myself over Afghanistan (for some reason I alway wake up there), but when I looked out of the window I saw to my right water and an unfamiliar island close to a mainland. I switched on the inflight map and (it confirmed) I was actually over the persian gulf, I think the island I had seen was Kish. I looked on flightaware and this confirmed the routing (although it shows the flight path slightly to the north of where I can visually testify that we we actually were at that point..)


I'm a fairly keen follower of the inflight map and in what must have been something like 62 trips on this route, this is the first time the plane had skipped 'the stan's' Pakistan, Afghanistan etc and routed to the south, along the Iranian southern border then up between Iran and Iraq towards northern Europe, if I have interpreted the above link correctly, the route took us almost 1000 statute miles further than the direct route. Any theories as to why?

I have heard that historically this route has - at times - been the norm, but not on any of my flights - until now.

I've also noted in the past, the SIN-LHR flights (following typical routes) do a kind of 'dog-leg' course change over Afghanistan, I've always assumed to miss military controlled airspace, can anyone confirm my thinking on that?

Be interested to hear the views of those familiar with the route...
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 11:02   #2 (permalink)

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Join Date: Feb 1997
Location: Duit On Mon Dei
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I don't usually do that route but 2 reasons spring to mind.
1. Unfavourable jet streams (head winds) along your usual flight path.
2. Closure of airspace/high risk threats.

Personally, I think 1 is more likely.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 12:34   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: london
Age: 45
Posts: 7
it is more banal than that

It was Xmas and since most of the service providers in the critical area come from the US military and Allies go figure what hymn sheets were being sung from.

The poster shows a plausible route when airways are not available at times/dates on the calendar. By plausible I include wind but also the origin, flag, countries overflown. But honestly the list of dates given in the link say it all. It was Xmas.

Now if Iran is not favoured the options reduce somewhat.

SQ306 eh? Where have I heard that before??

Last edited by Dr Syntax; 28th Dec 2012 at 12:36. Reason: spelling and fatigue
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 04:37   #4 (permalink)
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Victoria, Australia.
Posts: 3,782
I can remember two occasions when, having been planned over Afghanistan, I finished up coming via the Gulf; situation one, advised by Pakistan ATC that my current level, FL310, was unavailable and I was to expect FL240 at the IFR boundary with all higher levels blocked, re-planned in the air via Bahrain, maintained FL310 and got climb to FL350 from Bahrain, arrived LHR with a bit more than normal reserves plus LHR 20mins.

Second occasion was routed on a very southerly route over the Bay of Bengal and India, due congestion on the more Northerly routes, also a screaming head wind, heading for Muscat and Iran, advised by Muscat that Iran had closed their airspace, just made it to FL350 over AUH before the re-routed Northerly traffic all came up on the UAE frequency fighting for levels!

Normally the route chosen by Flight Planning will be the one that uses the least fuel, subject to ATC availability, closures etc.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 18:35   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: London
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did you read MOTCA?

But did you read MOTCA carefully beforehand? To be fair it is explicit what levels to file for and to be fair a second time those who comply get what they ask for and those that don't, well, they take second prize. But I do know what its like. And yes, look at the calendar too. When the military/expats are thin on the ground, remember the real reason.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 22:33   #6 (permalink)
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Victoria, Australia.
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Not sure if your post is referring to mine mathy?

Every night there was a large Westbound armada of 'heavies' leaving from Singapore, Kuala Lumper, Bangkok, Taipei and Hong Kong aiming to arrive early into Europe and we all knew what the available levels were, it was a case of separation, our flight planning department would know immediately if any airways had been closed etc. and would plan accordingly.
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 10:38   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2001
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SIN to LHR via overhead Dubai is only about 250nm extra track miles over the Great Circle route. So at certain times of the year, the air nautical miles would be less, based on the winds!
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Old 31st Dec 2012, 23:26   #8 (permalink)
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
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Posts: 3,782
Agreed Capt. Fathom and I preferred the Bahrain/Saudi route too as the radar coverage was so much better than the Northerly route in those days!
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