When flying from central Europe to Greece or Egypt, I've noticed the plane often follows down the eastern coastline of the Adriatic Sea, instead of flying in the middle on a path I imagine would put less noise on the ground. Why is this the case? Closeness of emergency landing airports?

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    $\begingroup$ As far as I can tell, no airline currently flies from Innsbruck to Heraklion. Can you provide an example of an actual scheduled flight that takes the sort of route you're describing? $\endgroup$ Mar 1, 2018 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelSeifert it's much easier to look at Athens. Even the same flight numbers aren't consistent with this though. $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Mar 1, 2018 at 23:39
  • $\begingroup$ the picture was just for illustration, but e.g. WK 131 $\endgroup$
    – mb21
    Mar 1, 2018 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ Noise is'nt really an issue when cursing $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Mar 2, 2018 at 0:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Antzi it depends how loudly you swear $\endgroup$
    – IanF1
    Mar 2, 2018 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


Most air routes in Europe are unchanged since the days before GPS, when they were defined by radials from VOR and NDB radio beacons. As these have a limited range, they could easily be used to define routes across the Adriatic, but less so down its several-hundred-mile length. Routes would therefore normally be defined over land where the plane can route from beacon to beacon, rather than over the sea where (unless you are flying towards or away from a coastline) you cannot fly with as much navigational precision as when following a radial to/from a beacon.


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