Dozens of T-routes providing direct travel coming online
Routes part of larger safety initiative in state where more than 80 percent of communities are only accessible by air
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is publishing 54 GPS-guided routes in Alaska, allowing pilots to navigate direct flight paths at lower altitudes to avoid icing conditions. The 30 new and 24 amended Terminal Transition Routes, known as T-routes, are part of the FAA’s Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative.
“Flying in Alaska is unlike any other place in the United States,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen. “T-routes will provide pilots additional options for completing their missions safely in this uniquely challenging environment.”
Pilots use T-routes to navigate along specific points while flying under instrument flight rules (IFR) using approved Global Positioning System (GPS)/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) equipment. To date, 13 have been activated; another 20 are expected to go live in November and December, and the remainder in 2023.
“With T-Routes, we can now zigzag around the peaks in Alaska, staying lower and out of icing,” said Adam White, an Alaska pilot and head of government affairs for the Alaska Airmen’s Association. “With the old routes we had to fly directly over the highest terrain where the risk of hazardous weather is greater.”
The FAA launched the Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative in October 2020. The agency issued 11 recommendations last October on how to increase aviation safety in Alaska after a comprehensive yearlong examination of safety issues specific to Alaska, where more than 80 percent of communities are accessible only by air. The development of T-Routes was included in those recommendations.
The FAA is developing additional T-routes to replace Low Frequency/Medium Frequency (LF/MF) airways between now and 2025.