Did Moscow protests affect Geneva-Moscow flights?

Yesterday, 12 June, two evening flights from Moscow to Geneva were late: their return to Moscow even later (over the heads of sleeping people in Satigny and St Genis). Why?

The only apparent reason why the Swiss flight LX1337 from Moscow Domodedovo airport and the Aeroflot flight SU2382 from Moscow Sheremetyevo airport both arrived in Geneva in the evening over 90 minutes late seems to be the protests which took place there in the afternoon. Both aircraft had arrived in Moscow pretty well on time, but as from mid-afternoon there were serious delays for very many aircraft leaving Moscow.

The unfortunate consequence for people living around Geneva was that both aircraft were due to fly back to Moscow the same evening. As a result, AFL2383 to Moscow Sheremetyevo only took off at 11h36 pm, and SWR1338 to Moscow Domodedovo airport at 11h45 pm. With the current westerly winds, both aircraft took off over Vernier.

20120612_KONIL_23h-00h.jpgA further unfortunate (unacceptable for some) consequence was that the Air Traffic Controller of Skyguide allowed both aircraft to make a 180° turn to the right when they arrived over Vernier. This manoeuvre surely increased the noise of the aircraft (one turning must surely make more noise than one climbing gently in a straight line), and also ensured that the towns of Satigny (in Switzerland) and St Genis (in neighbouring France) both shared in this increased noise.

This route, for aircraft wanting to head eastwards after a takeoff over Vernier, is called KONIL. It has long been opposed by the French authorities of the area around Ferney Voltaire, who argue that the aircraft should climb in a straight line with a minimum of noise, until turning in a longer arc at a higher altitude. The committee of the association of French and Swiss regions close to the airport (ATCR-AIG) has long been demanding that this KONIL route be forbidden after 10 pm, and even may have believed that they had an agreement in principle. However, this is clearly not the case.

The position of the airport, as reported in the minutes of a meeting with the ATCR-AIG, appears to be that this demand for suppression of the route after 10 pm is part of a wider procedure which follows a ruling of the Swiss Federal Tribunal several years ago and which is generally referred to as CRINEN. Despite the final documents sent to the Swiss Civil Aviation Office OFAC over two years ago, we are still waiting for their ruling! To me, this is a triumph of procrastination on the part of Geneva airport and OFAC.

This procrastination is in stark contrast to the way in which OFAC responded remarkably promptly when the Airport Management requested that for reasons of safety all aircraft operating in Visual control mode (VFR), including helicopters. must fly in the immediate vicinity of the airport without activating the aircraft's transponder. The end result of this change to the Swiss rules for Geneva is that it will no longer be possible to check any flight path after the event.

It actually seems as if many pilots disagree with this new rule, and continue to fly with an active transponder: light aircraft pilots at the recent open day for light aviation claimed that they want to do this for reasons of safety (it broadcasts their presence to other aircraft and can signal any possible collision course)!

Who are likely to be more correct in matters of safety: people sitting in offices or people flying an aircraft?

13:04 Posted in Special days and notable incidents | Permalink | Comments (2) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook


Good Evening,
"Who are likely to be more correct in matters of safety: people sitting in offices or people flying an aircraft?"

PILOTS, of course!

Posted by: denise | 06/13/2012

I imagine that most people would agree with you: I certainly do!

Posted by: Mike Gerard | 06/13/2012

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