Difference between airways and waypoints

Hi guys. Please advise, what is the difference between airways and waypoints? Am I right, that there can be several airways with different trajectory between 2 the same waypoints? If no, what is the sense to consider and use the airways, in case there are 2 waypoints always connected directly between each other.

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Basically, think of a highway, you have cities at intermediate points of that highway. The cities here represent the waypoints and the highway is the airway.

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Airways are like the roads of the sky. Airplanes often fly on them as a means to effectively control their movements high in the sky. Airways can include sets of waypoints that pertain to that specific airway. Most airways can intersect at a VOR and from there you can transfer to another airway depending on your route. You can also switch from airway to airway at select waypoints.


@Kiz explained it much simpler than me!

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Take a look at this video.

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Thats more for the atlantic nav tracks then airways

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Waypoints / Vor - Points in the flight your heading to.

Airways - A path you fly on between waypoints unless you have been given a Direct (DCT)

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Thank you all for your replies. Just to fix- the airway is not a direct line between 2 waypoints ( but sometimes may be a direct).

Correct, however most times, airways are direct lines between two VORDMEs.

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Nowadays airways are being replaced in some areas as far as I am aware. Instead a so-called free route airspace is created, where you don’t need to use the predefined airways, but can connect seamlessly between any two waypoints of your choice in the airspace.

Not 100% sure about the details on this though, sorry.

Short answer to your initial question: Airways are predefined routes used in cruise in many airspaces by planes, at least for planning purposes. With directs and more you often end up not necessarily flying in an airways especially during low traffic days like recent ones.

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