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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:36 pm

Airports Response To Delayed/Cancelled Flights

Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:29 am

Hello All,

First off, I've been a long time reader and avid supporter of A.Net. I have learned many things over the years reading everything that all you insightful members know. Thank you for the dedication, support and knowledge of the aviation world.

Now on to my question at hand. I tried searching for this but I could not find anything and if this is not the right place for this particular question, please inform me of where it should be and move accordingly. Also point me to a topic that may have already been discussed that answers this question if its out there.

When flights are delayed/cancelled due to the any number of reasons, what does the departing airport as well as the arrival airport do in response to that situation? I'm assuming a small regional airport would react differently compared to JFK or LHR. If the airport is highly slot restricted like LHR, do they try and squeeze in the delayed flight whenever it arrives or does LHR tell "x airline" that they should delay 2 hours because their arrival would then fall at a time when a gate could be open. If it is a small airport and they close at a certain time, would the airline just cancel the flight and rebook passengers or would they request the airport stay open so there is not backlog of passengers?

If someone has some insight as to what the procedure is like at their home airport/airline, I would love to know the exact process. This has always been a question in my mind.

MSP is my matter where I fly!
Posts: 9605
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: Airports Response To Delayed/Cancelled Flights

Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:51 am

It depends on the airport and country. Usually what happens is an airplane calls when it is ready fir departure to ramp control to get clearance to push back. Depending on airport sometimes the taxiway is managed by the tower and sometimes by the airline. After push the airplane taxied to a hold point where they get transferred and get taxi instructions for the runway that has been assigned by the flight plan. Then they taxi and it is usually first come first serve unless an airplane has a special designation such as medical or it has an assigned wheels up time because of ATC delays at the arrival airport.

Some airports assign wheels up time based on when te flight is scheduled to depart and when it is ready. If the plane misses the wheels up time, everyone else moves up and the delayed flight has to wait to get another time. Even with slot controls there is slack although when separation requirements go up the slack disappears.

For arrivals sometimes there is ATC delays if the airport cannot handle the number of flights scheduled to arrive. Airplanes will be held on the ground until assigned wheels up time. This is coordinated by ATC. Wheels up times can change based on acceptance rate and if other flights are missing their wheels up time. Usually flow control only affects airports within a couple hours distance since things are variable and rarely back up for hours but sometimes SFO ORD PHL EWR and JFK cam have flow control extending for 5-6 hours.

In general if a plane misses it's wheels ip tome it goes to the back of the figurative line to get one reassigned. They change frequently.
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