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In flight alternate airfield change

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In flight alternate airfield change

Old 19th Mar 2019, 07:03
  #1 (permalink)  
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In flight alternate airfield change

Hi everyone,
i have a question regarding the change of alternate in flight,
Here's the scenario: you're performing a flight to your destination airfield which has 2 runways for the sake of example let's say London Heathrow, your planned alternate being Gatwick. On reaching the holding facility at Heathrow , ATC asks you to hold for 10 minutes longer than you have fuel for. At this point is it possible to tell ATC that you would be able to stay as long as we can nominate the other runway at Heathrow as alternate?

I've searched everywhere for an answer to this but cannot find it, although the senior instructors at my airline stand by this concept. ( I kind of feel like this was written somewhere in some old document but has since been removed) Would appreciate any insight, thank you.
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 15:16
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For US operators, the FAA says you have to have an alternate AIRPORT, not just an alternate runway.

If ATC can get you to a different runway on the primary airport, then you won't have to go to the alternate.
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 16:42
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Originally Posted by captainhan View Post
...
Here's the scenario: you're performing a flight to your destination airfield which has 2 runways for the sake of example let's say London Heathrow, your planned alternate being Gatwick. On reaching the holding facility at Heathrow , ATC asks you to hold for 10 minutes longer than you have fuel for. At this point is it possible to tell ATC that you would be able to stay as long as we can nominate the other runway at Heathrow as alternate?..
I'd suspect the answer you need for this is should be in your Ops manual under Fuel Policy or similar..

FWIW using our (EASA) ruleset for a day with no weather complications as long as you can land at the destination (LHR) with >= 30 minutes fuel, having held for the advertised time, then you can dispense with the Alternate (in this case LGW )...and continue holding for LHR..... There's no need to tell ATC of the fact ( TBH I suspect on a routine day if you told LHR director you were nominating the other runway as an alternate you might get a "err Roger" or a .).

I'll emphasise that's the back of envelope answer and doesn't apply in all circumstances.
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 17:02
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You are allowed to scrap your alternate and commit to the destination- The airline may stipulate the criteria in the OMA.

The question should be are you allowed to change alternates inflight?
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Old 19th Mar 2019, 23:40
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Originally Posted by B737900er View Post
The question should be are you allowed to change alternates inflight?
The answer is Yes.

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Old 20th Mar 2019, 14:26
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Hmm ok, I know it's possible to change alternate in flight, and our company manuals do state that the use of alternate fuel is up to the discretion of the PIC (meaning we can hang around holding till we're down to final reserve if we see fit) but I've heard that if you do decide to do something like that hoping to use the other runway as alternate, there are some criteria that have to be satisfied . Such as the runways have to be a certain length, and they cannot be intersecting reae other etc. It's not a company thing, I've heard it's a regulatory thing. 🤔
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 16:53
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Originally Posted by captainhan View Post
Hmm ok, I know it's possible to change alternate in flight, and our company manuals do state that the use of alternate fuel is up to the discretion of the PIC (meaning we can hang around holding till we're down to final reserve if we see fit) but I've heard that if you do decide to do something like that hoping to use the other runway as alternate, there are some criteria that have to be satisfied . Such as the runways have to be a certain length, and they cannot be intersecting reae other etc. It's not a company thing, I've heard it's a regulatory thing. 🤔
I've haven't heard of it being a regulatory thing, both EASA and FAA. To commit to the destination is a tough decision to make because there are different variables to consider. Its good airmanship to always have a plan B and even a plan C.

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Old 18th Apr 2019, 23:04
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I think there is some confusion here.

most companies list a set of weather/ runway requirements if you are going to be in a scenario That doesnít need an alternate at all, but thatís the planning stage.

as alluded to above if you get to airfield xxxx , considering all factors, you can commit to land below diversion fuel, as long as you protect final reserve. Does not matter if xxxxx has one runway, two etc, Or if alternate yyyy has one or two , thatís in your decision process.

you canít nominate another runway on the same airfieldas an alternate, itís an alternate airfield.
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Old 24th Apr 2019, 08:10
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But what you can do, which I think is the regulatory requirement that CaptainHan is referring to, is depart without an alternate in the first place subject to various conditions. One of these (EASA rules) is that the destination has two adequate runways.
CAT.OP.MPA.180 (b) for those who are interested.
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Old 24th Apr 2019, 22:02
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Except that the Subject involves an "In flight" change from the current Alternate, which is Gatwick according to the OP's question. I know of no way (nor practical reason) to change the Alternate to the same airport as the Destination.

Besides, if ATC could get him to the other runway faster, they would probably have offered it...
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 18:46
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Originally Posted by captainhan View Post
.., there are some criteria that have to be satisfied . Such as the runways have to be a certain length, and they cannot be intersecting reae other etc. It's not a company thing, I've heard it's a regulatory thing. 🤔
What you mean here, is your pre-flight minima if you plan a flight without alternate, then your destination needs to meet certain standards ( 2000í ceiling, 5k Vis, independent runways, ground based approach although when you plan on an RNAV, less than 6h block, add fuel...)
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