Emirates and Delta to test new Atlantic route structure

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Emirates and Delta Air Lines are embarking on a trial to provide greater route flexibility in the mid-Atlantic region which will also provide options for avoiding turbulent tropical weather.

The trial centres on easing crossing of the set of transatlantic tracks along the European-South American corridor, by providing more entry and exit points.

Within the Senegalese-controlled Dakar oceanic airspace there is only one track, airway UL435, along which aircraft can cross four main airways - UN741, UN866, UN873 and UN857 - between South America and Europe.

The eight-week trial, scheduled to run until 24 August, will evaluate the impact on operations from introducing three more crossing tracks through the creation of additional waypoints.

This is intended to shorten routes for flights operating through the Dakar flight information region, although the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations adds that there is a potential safety benefit "especially for weather avoidance in an active inter-tropical convergence zone". This zone is characterised by thunderstorm activity.

During the Emirates and Delta trial more entry and exit points will also be available to the Atlantic Ocean Random Routing Area (AORRA), a section of oceanic airspace in which aircraft can engage area navigation procedures to optimise flightpaths.