• Roger M

Ten things you need to look at when planning a route

Planning a route involves a wide variety of elements to consider. Either you are a Dispatcher planning a flight or you are studying the feasibility of a route in the back office, these are ten things, you at least need to check:

Aircraft range

If your aircraft doesn't make it from departure to destination, there is no need to go further down the list.


Depending the areas you overfly, there may be some mountains below. Remember that not all mountains have a cool airport, like Lukla or Courchevel.


Your aircraft may reach the dark side of the moon, but if it's not able to take off and land with the required weights on a hot sunny day, you are done.

Payload limitation

This may be the result of performance or range. Make sure you leave some room for possible contingencies. In the end, that is what makes a route profitable.

Airport suitability

You want to make sure you have all you need at all airports. Refer to the previous post :)

Adequate airports coverage

It's clear which is the shortest distance to destination, but having close airports along the route to divert, it's always an asset.

ETOPS requirements

Things start to get funny. You haven't found enough adequate airports and an ETOPS flight is required. Pray that you hold the approval. Bring the map, the ruler and the compass.

CNS/ATM capabilities and approvals

Airspaces seem so big but, everyone wants to fly through the same place at the same time. Each airspace has its own requirements, and most of the times, the most optimum is the most demanding.

Overflown airspaces

Sometimes, not all places are safe enough to overfly. Also, depending where are you coming from, you may find additional restrictions. Check the current situation and assess conflicts.


You've gone through a lot of stuff! If you still think the route is feasible, it's time to request permits. There are several of them, which will depend on the type of fight. Overflight, landing, airport slots or even agreement between countries.

For sure, these are not the only elements you will look at, but it's a good start.

Good luck!


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