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Alternates for Reykjavik?

Old 31st Aug 2019, 16:28
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Alternates for Reykjavik?

Just flown to Iceland for a holiday and got to thinking about alternate airports if KEF became unuseable for whatever reason as an aircraft was near to TOD.

What alternate would be considered, especially if flying from northern UK, and how much more fuel would be taken over a flight of similar length but to an airport with many alternates within 200 miles?
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Old 31st Aug 2019, 16:43
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My company uses Egilsstaoir (BIEG) if the weather is suitable. Otherwise we load fuel for Scotland, usually ABZ, GLA or INV. Depending on the variant of Airbus we take (from London) this can mean limiting the payload to take extra fuel.

Flying from Northern England I donít imagine there would be any payload problems.....

DH
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Old 31st Aug 2019, 19:22
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Is BIRK/REK out as an option (for an A320 type I mean)? I know that the weather at KEF and REK can be very different at times.
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Old 31st Aug 2019, 20:14
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We used Belfast or Glasgow for planning purposes. But I think Akureyri might also be a closer option.
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Old 31st Aug 2019, 22:21
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Thank you. I spent time in Akureyri and didn't realise it could take a twin jet. It's a five hour drive to Reykjavik but at least you're on the island and not back almost where you started from...
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Old 1st Sep 2019, 00:21
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Stornoway has been used as a diversion airfield before, but I'm guessing that except in emergencies they'd rather head back to Glasgow or Edinburgh (I'm guessing that's where you departed from) if only because there are more hotels and engineers there. Cruise time for Glasgow not being a kick in the pants more than that for Stornoway.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 17:04
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Going somewhat OT.
A few years ago I went to Easter Island - 767 both ways and had a similar question. I was able to talk to one of the flight crew and although his English wasn't good (and my Spanish is non-existent) I understood that, for a start the flight time can vary from 4 to 5.5 hours. With no alternate the way it works is that they have a point beyond which they cannot go unless (1) the weather is confirmed as "OK" and (2) the departing aircraft has left. The 2nd one intrigued me but when we arrived I began to understand. The runway is both wide and long. I gather the US paid to extend it as an emergency point for the Space Shuttle. However, the stand space is miniscule. Basically 2 stands plus a stand where they can store one more aircraft which had a TUI 757 in it on some kind of RTW air cruise although looking at Google maps it seems to be just 2 stands https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/...4d-109.3496865
My point is that an alternate isn't always in the immediate vicinity of your destination and can be behind you.
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Old 28th Sep 2019, 19:32
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Originally Posted by BRUpax View Post
Is BIRK/REK out as an option (for an A320 type I mean)? I know that the weather at KEF and REK can be very different at times.
The longest runway @ RKV is 1567m only ...
So, not suitable as alternate.
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 09:59
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For the Wow operation we used BIEG BIAR for all narrow body types and for the A320 BIRK subject to a clean runway. Due to the large distances involved in diverting to the first two airfields it was worth sitting in the overhead at KEF waiting for the snow shower to pass and then have the runway swept. The airport at KEF were very efficient in snow cleaning
The diversions also have a number of issues including challenging approaches and small aprons.When the Iceland alternates were looking poor we would look at Scotland but this could mean a tech stop in Canada or the USA to load the required fuel.
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Old 29th Sep 2019, 11:10
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i lived in Bermuda and flew London to Bermuda many may times. There is only one airport , gone by various names over the years but its still the same and it only has one runway . often wondered where the alternate was and over time talking with BA and other crews it seems that for the US airlines it was head back to where you started, for BA it was JFK and for everyone if it was a dire emergency Norfolk Virginia USN base but nearest if not by that much. all about 1 hr 50 away and usually a very strong headwind. Airport could be closed by hurricanes-predictable or very severe crosswinds-less predictable. Couple of times airport was closed due to transiting military aircraft blowing multiple tyres on landing.

Never any dramas during the time I spent on the island, and occasionally it was the alternate when snow hit the US north east and flights from South America and Africa decided not to risk going further. I suppose that a lot of islands have the single runway problem but Bermuda is a long way from the next useful one by any measure. An interesting place for an 'aviation enthusiast ' and I believe for flight crews too as lots of opportunities for nice visual approaches coupled with some really challenging cross winds in the winter months when the gales come from the SW but the runway -which could only be built facing one way runs NW-SE

Apologies for thread drift
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Old 4th Oct 2019, 13:01
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During the time of the volcanic ash some years ago, Icelandair practically set up operations from Glasgow.
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Old 5th Oct 2019, 14:11
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There is the concept of "Island Reserves", which is basically having additional fuel so if things suddenly go wrong at your destination you can divert somewhere else. It's one thing to have sufficient for the nearest alternate, and a lesser for where is operationally convenient, ie return to start point. Care is also taken that met and forecasts are adequate. Keflavik has multiple runways so if one is blocked in front of you, there's another.

I'd always understood that the standard first alternate for Keflavik is Akureyri (I once looked down on it from an LHR-YVR flight; town was nothing of consequence but there was the airport, lit up at night). Adequate runway, opposite side of island so different met, etc. As ever, both airports have to be looking good and not anticipating unacceptable weather before you depart. Airline ops departments have been doing all this for a long time.

Bermuda flights have sufficient fuel to make it to the US mainland. Easter Island is a challenge, but the procedures are described above. St Helena has recently joined the club, the diversion is Ascension Island, which is nearer than going back to the African mainland, although the latter is operationally preferred.

ETOPS is a variant on these procedures, and any (rare) closure of Keflavik could have an impact on Transatlantic flights that normally go nowhere near it.
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Old 5th Oct 2019, 19:50
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Two Wizzair a321's diverted to Bieg (Egilsstadir last night.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 05:35
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Island reserve has been mentioned.

The VC10 was, often, unable to divert from Bermuda to a mainland US airport, on a flight from the UK, so we took island reserve.

If I remember correctly, this allowed for 21/2 hours holding overhead Bermuda at 10000? feet (20 tonnes?).

It was for the blocked runway situation, although, I seem to recall, there was a "cross" runway in those days which was usable with sufficient wind.

The aircraft set off, a "last point to turn" was calculated, at which a decision was made to continue if a landing was assured or to divert to the US mainland.

This could be before top of descent.

Others may be along to correct my memory.

Another option was a tech. stop in Shannon, or the Azores, although I never did that.


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Old 7th Oct 2019, 04:19
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Originally Posted by finncapt View Post
Island reserve has been mentioned.

The VC10 was, often, unable to divert from Bermuda to a mainland US airport, on a flight from the UK, so we took island reserve.

If I remember correctly, this allowed for 21/2 hours holding overhead Bermuda at 10000? feet (20 tonnes?).

It was for the blocked runway situation, although, I seem to recall, there was a "cross" runway in those days which was usable with sufficient wind.

The aircraft set off, a "last point to turn" was calculated, at which a decision was made to continue if a landing was assured or to divert to the US mainland.

This could be before top of descent.

Others may be along to correct my memory.

Another option was a tech. stop in Shannon, or the Azores, although I never did that.


Once I was tasked with planning DC8F operations thru Isla de Pascua (Easter Island), flying fish to Japan, 'Island Reserve' was the only option but no chance of making it to Chile before the tanks would run dry
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 10:08
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Finncapt
Very interesting I remember Island reserve now you mention it, an old school friend of mine was FO on BA/BOAC 707s telling me about it . One of the problems limited range jets like the VC10 and early 707s had with Bermuda was that in the winter months there would often be extremely strong jetstreams coming from the South west and battling 150 knot headwind wouldnt work but then diverting to more northerly Atlantic tracks took a lot longer in time and you still had to face the issue of what do I do if I get there and its out of limits so it was bit of a catch 22 for BA untl longer legged planes came along . That said it is probably one of the oldest island destinations BA fly too going right back to flying boat days before the airport was built in WW2.

And you are correct there were originally three runways at Kindley Field as it was then and a VC10 would have been able to use the second longest (A DC 10 tried to do it some years ago but realised in time they had misjudged a visual approach (extremely easy to do approaching Bermuda from the east into a setting sun).

The US carriers used to get complaints about high prices on flights to Bermuda and they always claimed it was expensive to operate too as they ahd to carry fule to fly back to the US as their is no alternative.

Seychelles comes to mind as another place a long where from anywhere and indeed as a result I got stranded/delayed there for 4 days days once but thats not something to complain about.
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Old 9th Oct 2019, 12:22
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Surprised ASI (Ascension) hasn't been mentioned on this thread yet. Max fuel and "island holding" was I think the order of the day once you'd passed the equator southbound? (I'm talking RAF Ops through ASI to the Falklands, although the AirTanker flights are using Sal Island at the moment)
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