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Long way round departure

Old 26th Sep 2014, 08:31
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: South Africa
Posts: 10
Long way round departure

Last night I was watching BA054 flying a very odd departure route out of JNB. It took off on 03L and then instead of continuing north towards Europe, it turned back, went around the south of the field. It stayed on an altitude of 9'000ft for all of this time. At this point I thought it was turning back and dumping fuel (because it went south almost 50 miles to the south of the field). Here is the track on Flightaware:


My question is: Why? Surely the most economical thing to do would just to continue north and keep climbing? Or would there have been a pending issue that the crew was making a decision on whether to turn back or not?

I would love if someone can solve this mystery for me!
Captain_Snor is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2014, 09:12
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 37
Posts: 701
It's not that uncommon. At GLA and EDI you often route North to the field and fly a left downwind fro me easterly runways before turning southbound. ALC and AGP involve flying runway heading for some miles, then a DME arc and then flying a radial back toward to field. I've timed 7 minutes of flying time before flying over the airfield to fly north. So that's 7 minutes before you have even got anywhere. Multiply that by the amount of flights operated at an airport and that is a lot of wasted fuel.
fa2fi is offline  
Old 28th Sep 2014, 10:31
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Not where I want to be!
Posts: 116
Could be a number of reasons. I would think main reasons could be:

1. Weather avoidance on departure.

2. Airspace restrictions

3. Traffic separation

It does appear slightly odd. However, I departed JNB last weekend and there were numerous storms in the area. We were deviating around the cells for miles after departure.
Busbar is offline  
Old 28th Sep 2014, 15:45
  #4 (permalink)  
Paxing All Over The World
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hertfordshire, UK.
Age: 65
Posts: 9,560
That is a very unusual departure for JNB to Europe but storms are one possibility. Another is that Airspace of the air force base (near Pretoria) was closed for a certain biz jet belonging to a member of the govt? African leaders tend to want their own air space. Just a thought.
PAXboy is offline  

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