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Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:00 am

I was going past LHR the other day and saw a big line of aircraft taxing and queuing up to take off but I was noticing the BA were having priority for clearance and taking off.. Is this the norm?

Does the national airline have priority?
Or is it who gets there first?
Or is it the timing of departures?

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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:04 am

Well I dont know too much about LHR being a slot controlled airport (right?), but usually Its whoever gets there first.

Sometimes intersection departures are a nice way to cut the line if you can do them without interrupting the flow of traffic in one way or another  Smile
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:06 am

No airline has priority take off at LHR, even Concorde had to queue up, it is probably to do with departure times, some flights are running late so they get bumped up the queue over a flight that is well on time.
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 12:14 am

Also can depend on the direction of flight. Quite often on the east coast, one particular route may have weather or excessive volume over it. In this case you start to get "miles in trail". You could have four aircraft in line to take off that are routed over that particular airway or fix. What ATC will do in that case is to put aircraft routed over different fixes in between the aircraft over the affected fix. So sometimes it will appear that an aircraft is cutting in line. At La Guardia I've been sitting at the hold short line #1 and watched 9 other aircraft go around me to take the runway because my departure fix was stopped.
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:47 am

I've had this happen to me before on a US flight in PHL. We were running nearly 2 hours late. Instead of getting into the long t/o line, we went all the way to the front and took off before everyone else. I just figured it had to do with the delay....
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:04 am

In general aviation, I've experienced ground waits of up to 30 minutes while the heavy iron was allowed to go ahead of me (granted, I was IFR, and they didn't want the little puddle jumper slowing things down!). ATC's favorite trick for doing this to us GA types is to do the following: 1) have 1 taxiway intersection (near the end of the runway) that is "preferred" for piston aircraft, and a second taxiway intersection (at the very end of the runway) that is "preferred" for turbine aircraft.

Ground control will clear you to the piston intersection, and when you switch to the tower frequency and check in, you hear the magic words: "Cessna XXX, hold for IFR release..."

BTW, the airport that this has happened to me at is HIO, and the traffic they are holding you for is mostly Intel Corp's Beech 1900D's and Embraer 135's (shuttles to other Intel campuses), with a few other bizjets like Nike's Gulfstreams thrown in for good measure!
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:05 am

Flynboy747: I doubt it had to due w/ you being 2 hrs. late. ATC could care less.

Bigpappa: I'm not to sure about LHR, but at US airports it may depend on the downline airport. Example, very frequently at SFO planes with wheels-up times for arrival times at LAX,SEA etc. would jump right in front of everyone. Though I don't know how common this it from LHR. But I'd guess if say CDG weather is down and a plane has a wheels-up time, then they'd get some priority.

Also, as VEEREF said you may have a certain departure routing being used more then others. If 4 out of 5 planes are routed over a VOR to the south, they may let that 1 out of 5 slide in and depart so as to get the planes rolling faster. If you send all the planes in one direction you will have to keep the min. seperation.

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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 5:40 am

Lifeguard aircrafts get priority, such as the ones transporting organs for transplant.

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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:05 pm

that's right...when i was in UAL A319 in ORD tarmac, i thought my plane was ready to take off cos we were 2 hours delay. But our plane moved to another side of the runway and made U-turn back to the runway. I saw AA 777 had priority to take off. That;s not fair and we were still another 30 mins delay. Phew that's long time in the ORD airport.
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 4:12 pm

Quoting Bigpappa (Thread starter):
Does the national airline have priority?

I thought VS was the self proclaimed 'Britain's flag carrier'.  biggrin 
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 6:54 pm

In the US, air traffic priority is;
1. Any aircraft with an emergency, including comm out.
2. Lifeguard call signs.
3. Hot air balloons
4. Air Force 1.
5. US Government/Military aircraft on missions of national importance.
6. IFR aircraft.
7. VFR aircraft with flight following.
8. VFR aircraft without flight following, but with a transponder.
9. VFR without a transponder.
10. Ultralights.

This can change depending on departure, enroute, or arrival weather.
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RE: Priority For Taking Off!

Thu Nov 24, 2005 7:03 pm

Maybe due to the size of the aircraft...

i.e. if all the BA aircraft were A32x's, and they were competing with widebody 744/777/340's etc... maybe due to wake vortices?
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