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choosing an alternate / SOP

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choosing an alternate / SOP

Old 6th Jul 2015, 17:57
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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choosing an alternate / SOP

Cheers everyone,

recently I had some intense debate over economic criteria of choosing alternate airports. I'm not talking about adequate and suitable stuff, weather etc. A blessing or a curse, those issues are regulated ad nauseam both in my airline as well as in RUS federal regulations.
The issue which still stirs controversy is literally how far you can go with choosing an alternate airport.
Say, we have one alternate airport some 250 nm away from a destination airport, and then we have another alternate, which offers better approach minima and pax accomodation possibilites, but which is also more remote one, say 320 nm. The fuel price is higher at the departure airport, so a flight would cost more with the 320 nm alternate arpt.
Some pilots tend to pick more the remote one, arguing they have more fuel in this case, while others are ok with 250 nm and lower flight costs.

Which would be the correct strategy ? Does anybody have it covered in his airline SOPs?

Last edited by Charliedontsurf_83; 6th Jul 2015 at 20:32.
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Old 6th Jul 2015, 18:35
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Join Date: May 2000
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A simple IFR alternate need not be the closest "suitable" airport. A more distant one may be designated for ANY good reason, as long as the fuel is available to get there.

The only time a "closest" airport is mandated is in case of "immediate landing" emergencies such as fires.
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Old 6th Jul 2015, 19:54
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Other things to consider when choosing an alternate:

Ground Handling - If no agreement in place with the alternate then you could wait a very long time for handling. Even if an agreement is in place and it's a busy airport then the handlers may give priority to their based operations due no immediate resource available to handle diversions.

Curfews - Once landed at the alternate night restrictions may prevent your aircraft from departing until the next morning.
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 03:39
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I always consider whether I think I'm actually going to need the alternate or not. Sometimes you are carrying an alternate because it is a legal requirement but all indications are that you can expect to land at the planned destination, other times you foresee a good chance that you will actually be going to the alternate. So in the first case I'd choose the alternate that meets all the legal criteria and is the most economic for the company, in the second case I'd choose the one I'm most comfortable flying to. Sometimes the decision is not mine and the company will provide their preferred alternate out of those available.
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Old 7th Jul 2015, 22:06
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Aerocat, one would hope that the company may offer you their preferred alternate, but the final decision is made/accepted by the PiC...
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Old 8th Jul 2015, 01:27
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Originally Posted by NZScion View Post
Aerocat, one would hope that the company may offer you their preferred alternate, but the final decision is made/accepted by the PiC...
Typically I would decide which alternates I'm happy with and they will give me their preference out of the options I've given them.
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Old 10th Jul 2015, 04:02
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choosing an alternate / SOP

I do as Aerocat does. Our company provides a list of preferred alternates in preferential order, but I decide.
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