Flight route

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The term flight route is a slang term for flight procedures within the meaning of Section 27a of the Aviation Ordinance ( LuftVO ).


Flight procedures are standardized instructions for the operation of aircraft during flights according to instrument flight rules (IFR). The Aviation Act ( LuftVG ) describes them as a procedure "for flights within control zones, for arrivals and departures to and from airports with an air traffic control point and for flights under instrument flight rules, including flight paths, altitudes and reporting points" (Section 32 (4) No. 8 LuftVG). Such flight procedures keep aircraft in limited areas of the airspace (corridors or flight waiting areas) and are therefore equated with geographical routes , as they fix roads and railways on the ground. Because of the different media, the comparison is only of limited use; in the air, a flight path can only be roughly maintained. Flight procedures according to instrument flight rules are stipulated by legal ordinances of the Federal Supervisory Office for Air Traffic Control (BAF), alternatively temporarily limited by general orders (Section 35 (2 ) VwVfG ) of the Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS) for each individual airfield at which instrument flight operations are permitted (Section 27a, Para. 2 LuftVO).

Flight procedures for departures begin after the aircraft has lifted off the runway and end at the entry point of the superordinate "airway". There, the aircraft is out-route by instructions of the competent for the respective airspace air traffic control center at predefined links (ATS routes), formerly along beacons on the ground today, partly by GPS - Waypoints are fixed and to the approach point of the approach procedure rich. This is where the approach and approach procedures begin, which end with touchdown on the runway of the destination airfield. If landing is delayed, waiting procedures will be provided; Missed approach procedures are defined for the failure of the final approach (due to unforeseen obstacles or insufficient visibility, which must also be provided during instrument flight before touchdown).

There are flight procedures in the true sense of the word because the aircraft in instrument flight must be monitored and, if necessary, guided by controllers, only in controlled airspace . In fact, they essentially concern professional aviation, which is carried out with aircraft suitable for instrument flight. Visual flight rules (VFR) and the principle of “see and be seen” are used in uncontrolled airspace ; However, this is also possible in controlled airspaces according to the decision of the pilot. The pilot in charge or the airline's office responsible for creating the flight plan ("pilot") selects one of the departure and arrival procedures specified for the departure and destination airports in the flight plan to be submitted (Section 25 LuftVO). The flight procedure becomes binding with the clearance decision of the air traffic control center (§ 26 LuftVO) and must then be carried out in accordance with the instructions specified in the respective implementation ordinance. However, it can also be changed or abbreviated by the air traffic controller, for example due to the specific traffic situation, through individual instructions (so-called “directs”).

Flight procedures also include “flight paths, flight altitudes and reporting points” (Section 27a (2) LuftVO). This does not mean the flight profile, which is based on the flight characteristics of the aircraft. The pilot can then choose quick or steep take-off procedures as well as various landing procedures, for which he sometimes requires approval from the controller.

When taking off , the flight route initially follows the direction of the runway , followed by a departure route . On smaller airfields, these are usually mandatory curves at a certain point. At larger airports there are often many detailed take-off routes in all directions. These departure routes bring the aircraft to the transition point , which forms the entrance to the airway (similar to an entrance to the motorway).

There are also flight routes for the landing approach (English. Arrival route ), which lead to the transition point of the final approach of the corresponding runway. The definition of these approach and departure routes in the Terminal Area (TMA) also takes into account densely built-up areas and, in principle, also aspects of noise protection .

Uncontrolled flight routes are mainly used by general aviation and lower altitudes. For the most part, these flights are based on visual flight rules. VFR pilots can use the flight information services (FIS) or the flight advice service AIS. Such flight routes are sometimes called air routes or ADR (advisory route). Occasionally special “route maps” are produced for this.

The flight routes are often changed during the flight, as the pilot has to react to current weather situations. A clearance from the radar controller is necessary in the controlled airspace. Pilots often also ask for abbreviations in order to catch up on delays or to save fuel.

Flight route from San Francisco to Tokyo on the shortest route along a great circle (red) and the return route using the jet stream (green).

Over oceans with little flown , the choice of the flight route is often free and depends partly on the wind conditions . Using a jet stream of 200 knots or avoiding it in the opposite direction can mean differences in flight duration or fuel consumption of up to 25%. The relevant techniques can be energetically optimized - similar to a sailing regatta - but can also be carried out according to the simplified methods of single heading flight .

An example of a well-known, general flight route is the Kangaroo Route , which denotes flights from Europe to Australasia .

Blocking of airspace

Flight routes over crisis areas are assessed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The ICAO only issues recommendations; the right to block airspace rests with national authorities. After the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight 17 , the question arose of a tightening of the previously applicable practice, for example to refrain from pure height restrictions in war zones.

The flight routes with the most passengers

rank City 1 City 2 Passengers (2018)
(in millions)
1 Korea SouthSouth Korea Seoul Korea SouthSouth Korea Jeju 14.107 450 km
2 JapanJapan Tokyo JapanJapan Sapporo 9,699 819 km
3 AustraliaAustralia Sydney AustraliaAustralia Melbourne 9.245 706 km
4th JapanJapan Tokyo JapanJapan Fukuoka 8,762 883 km
5 IndiaIndia Mumbai IndiaIndia Delhi 7.392 1183 km
6th VietnamVietnam Ho Chi Minh City VietnamVietnam Hanoi 6.867 1160 km
7th China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Beijing China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China Shanghai 6.519 1075 km
8th Hong KongHong Kong Hong Kong TaiwanRepublic of China (Taiwan) Taipei 6.476 780 km
9 JapanJapan Tokyo JapanJapan Okinawa 5.829 1554 km
10 IndonesiaIndonesia Jakarta IndonesiaIndonesia Surabaya 5,649 690 km


  • Steffen Schleiden: Basic legal issues in determining flight routes . Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8300-4039-2 .
  • Holger Wöckel: Determination of flight procedures. Legal basis and legality requirements . Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-428-14113-5 .
  • Nils Kaienburg, Thomas Uhl: The planning of flight procedures - (A) look into practice . In: Journal of Air and Space Law . tape 61 , no. 4 , 2012, p. 505-571 .
  • Edwin Grabherr, Olaf Reidt, Peter Wysk: Aviation Law. Loose-leaf comment . 17th edition. CH Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-32912-8 .
  • Peter Wysk: Legal protection when determining flight routes . In: Current Legal Practice . No. 270 , 2003.

Individual evidence

  1. Missing coordination for flights over war zones. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung. July 23, 2014, accessed July 24, 2014 .
  2. 300 world 'super routes' attract 20% of all air travel, Amadeus reveals in new analysis of global trends. In: amadeus.com. April 16, 2013, accessed March 19, 2014 .
  3. Busiest routes in the world - the top 100.Retrieved September 30, 2019 (British English).
  4. Airport Distance Calculator. Retrieved March 23, 2014 .

Web links

Wiktionary: flight route  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations