View Full Version : Holding for EGCC

Route Papa 45
25th Oct 2006, 15:13
Hi wanted to get a pilot perspective on arrivals to Dayne.

Shuttle pilot informed ATC that He could only hold twice around before having to Div and this was whilst EGGP was still closed Yesterday (24th). Was unwilling to declare an emergency but if approach hadn't tweaked their arrival order then it could have been interesting.

Is the fuelling decision always that of the pilot or is he/she merely observing company OP's? This scenario seemed like poor form and would have greatly increased ATC workload had the A/C diverted.

Would appreciate your side of the story though.


Gary Lager
25th Oct 2006, 15:34
SHT may have been unwilling to declare an emergency because there was unlikely to be one.

EGGP may have been closed, but if that was known to the SHT crew prior to departure then they would defintely had fuel for another alternate. If it was an unforeseen closure then if ATC delays were expected to mean that SHT landed with less than final reserve fuel, an emergency call is necessary before ATC can take any 'expediting' action. It certainly doesn't mean that aircraft are running on fumes or likely to fall out of the sky.

Whilst there is no such thing as a 'fuel priority' call in UK airspace, the SHT crew were showing good airmanship by being open with ATC about their situation, allowing ATC to offer some flexibility if available, or if not, to advise the crew ahead of the game.

Fuel loading is always at the ultimate discretion of the PIC, but pilots do make such decisions with reference to commercial considerations as well as purely operational ones.

Excessive fuel carried not only wastes fuel by unnecssarily increasing aircraft weight, but causes extra wear on brakes, flaps, structural components etc.

Were you listening to this on an airband radio, by any chance? What would you have done differently?

The scenario certainly doesn't seem like poor form to me, and ATC workload in the event of a diversion ought to have in fact been much less in this case, had it proved necessary, since the crew had the airmanship to give them advance warning of the situation.

What is your experience of ATC workload levels in various scenarios from inside an ATC Centre? What makes you think that a div would have degraded safetyin this instance? How are you qualified to cast aspersions on the 'form' of the crew? Not necessarily sarcasm, just that more info on the context of your concern would be useful in answering your questions more fully.

CarltonBrowne the FO
25th Oct 2006, 15:38
Please note: my post is entirely speculative. I make no claim to knowledge of the actual scenario, but attempt only to produce a personal hypothesis.
OK here goes. Captain Speaking is flying from LHR-MAN. Sensibly, he carries enough fuel to hold for some time before having to commit either to landing at MAN, or diverting to LPL. However, during his flight, LPL closes. On reaching DAYNE, Speaking has to recalculate. He has a secondary alternate, XXX, but XXX is further away than LPL- possibly much further away.
While he had plenty of fuel to hold if LPL was the diversion, his minimum divert figure to XXX is much higher. It is quite likely that he will have to divert within minutes if he is to reach XXX above minimum fuel. In these circumstances it is sensible to find out ASAP if a DIV will be necessary- it does NOT mean an emergency, as it is perfectly acceptable to use diversion fuel to hold if an expected approach time has been given.

25th Oct 2006, 16:13
as it is perfectly acceptable to use diversion fuel to hold if an expected approach time has been given. - it ain't QUITE that simple, is it?:ugh:

(JAR-OPS 1.375(b), App 1 to 1.375(a)(ii)&(iii), App 1 to 1.045A O 8.3.7).
An aircraft at a holding beacon must divert when the fuel reaches Reserve plus Diversion fuel. However it can continue to hold without an alternate being available so long as an EAT or maximum delay is known, a minimum of Reserve fuel will be on board on landing, and the landing could be completed in the event of any forecast deterioration in the weather and plausible single failures of ground and airborne facilities. Although these are the legal requirements, the crew would also take into accont the number of runways available at the destination and alternate. If at any stage a situation developed where the aircraft was going to land with less than Reserve fuel, then a Mayday would be declared.

25th Oct 2006, 16:27
Perfectly acceptable situation to be in and sounds to me that the crew were well on top of the situation and doing all the right things given the situation. Therefore no news story!

However had the crew sat in the hold without advicing ATC of there fuel status and then suddenly declaring a Mayday that would have been bad airmanship. Never let the aircraft get ahead of you!!

25th Oct 2006, 18:37
I would imagine that the crew would have committed to EGCC if possible. Therefore using the div fuel+contingency to hold. From the situation you describe I would imagine the cew had decided not to commit because a landing was not assured at EGCC (for whatever reason). The crew would then have had enough fuel to divert elsewhere (not EGGP). Thus leaving only the contingency fuel+any extra, for holding at Dayne.

Assuming no extra fuel is loaded then that just leaves contingency for holding at Dayne. BA have a statistical policy on contingency fuel. In SH BA uses 99%. In other words, 99% of the arrivals from Dayne on that service from the last 3 months hold for less than 10mins. So 3 times a year that service will hold for longer than the 2 holds/10mins you've quoted RP45.

If the crew were unwilling to commit to a landing at EGCC, contingency fuel may be all they would have for holding at EGCC, assuming no fuel was gained en-route (poor routing etc..). Just because EGPP was shut doesn't justify carrying more fuel to EGCC other than for reasons of diverting to a more distant airfield. So the div fuel would be increased on the flight plan and contingency would remain the same.

Trip+Statistical contingency+div+res+taxi+(extras)= Total fuel.

In other words it sounds like the crew were following sops correctly and doing a good job of keeping atc informed. This does NOT sound like poor form at all!

25th Oct 2006, 22:34
He has a secondary alternate, XXX, but XXX is further away than LPL- possibly much further away.
While he had plenty of fuel to hold if LPL was the diversion, his minimum divert figure to XXX is much higher

How much further away? We are talking about the UK here not Africa? :confused:

I can think of multiple suitable alternates around MAN not including LPL. You have LBA, EMA, BHX and BLK just to name a few. That is not counting Doncastor,Teeside or Coventry on top of that.

If he had "plenty" of fuel as you put it to hold he most probably would have had enough to divert to most alternates.

It sounds like the crew just let ATC know there intentions if the hold went on a little bit longer. Good practice and airmanship.

This would have alleviated work load to ATC in fact as they would have had an idea of the shuttles intentions if the situation would have continued. ATC would have been prepared and expecting the diversion and everything would have been set up for this possibly by the ATC assistants(if there is any working at the time). Just dumping it onto ATC's plate if they needed to divert and start heading towards the alternate would have been much more stupid. :ok:

Good forward planning. I think it was very good form to let ATC know in fact. Not trying to increase workload but you only have so much fuel and if you have to divert then you have to do it that is it.

CarltonBrowne the FO
25th Oct 2006, 23:16
BOAC yes, exactly right, I simplified it, for which I make no apology.
alibaba, if you check the actual distances involved, most of the alternates you mention are significantly further away than LPL when you factor in the actual tracks you will have to fly to get there. Add the fact that, unless you declare an emergency, diverting aircraft do not get priority at the alternate over that alternate airfield's own inbound traffic.
Then there is the commercial factor. Operators often have lists of preferred alternates, where ground handling, engineering, etc are available more easily. Of the list you mention, BLK would be a last resort (1869m, sure it's doable but why go looking for trouble?), and AFAIK BA only have a presence at LBA and BHX. Again, LBA has its own issues, so I suspect BHX would be the next option- far enough away that the decision to divert would have to be taken a lot earlier than when diverting to LPL.
All of which is a very long way of saying, I agree with you, good airmanship to prevent unpleasant surprises later.

Route Papa 45
25th Oct 2006, 23:48
Thanks for the thoughts on this and maybe i can clear up some Q's by adding a little more detail.

Without completely giving up my anonymity, i was working in the room at the time the events occured and for the record i think it was poor airmanship at the time as i regularly speak to A/C in the Manchester vicinity. There appears to be a trend developing with BA flights where they seem to be expecting little or no holding.

The inbound shuttle was made aware of the holding status pretty much on first call which was plenty south of EGNX. It was advised that slowing down would help the situation as there were already 6/7 A/C in the Dayne hold. The Radar return showed that the pilot was reducing their cruise speed and although the en-route section of Manchester can't provide EAT's, the A/C was given all the information they could reasonably expect.

The A/C entered the hold at FL130 and only when they got half around their first hold did they inform anyone that they cold only go round one more time.

At this time they were the #3 A/C from Dayne with at last 2 more A/C holding in both the EGCC northerly holds. On transferal to approach control the pilot was offered to call an emergency which was declined leaving a couple of options to ATC. effectively these were to give the A/c some low form of priority (queue jumping) or continue with the normal sequencing thus forcing the shuttle pilot to div to an alternate.

As i previously stated, the late call from the pilot as well as the lack of contingency fuel and the potential increase in workload of a late divert in what was an already very busy pieace of airspace (those of you that use the SE EGCC sector will no doubt know) was IMO poor form.

Please keep the constucive stuff coming as it is always useful to talk to the guys you work with outside of work!

And no I'm not listening on an airband receiver Gary Lager as i barely get paid enough already and can't imagine 'playing' planes for fun.:hmm:

25th Oct 2006, 23:59
Liverpool has been Notamed closed 6 nights a week for runway repairs, hardly unexpected as they came out weeks ago.

26th Oct 2006, 00:22
jayteeto: Liverpool has been Notamed closed 6 nights a week for runway repairs, hardly unexpected as they came out weeks ago.

The closure was additional to the notam'd times due to a light aircraft crash at Liverpool.

26th Oct 2006, 00:37
Try defining "significantly further" and "plenty of fuel". Are you talking 15 min holding here? Longer or shorter? 80 nm or more?

Not sure if you have been out in Canada or you have any ETOPs experience etc but you are not really limited on alternates in the UK compared to those types of operations in those places. I wouldn't say you are limited on most of main land Europe either! That is an opinion though. Contingency fuel is defined in JAR Ops for 3% and 5% along with reserve and final reserve etc. Extra fuel on top of that would be carried if needed due to the wx and other factors. It doesn't make sense to be carrying huge amounts of fuel if not needed though.

I think we essentially agree that you want to find out as soon as possible if a diversion might be necessary and that is all the crew where presumably doing. Reserve fuel for most alternates around LPL and MAN does not change by more that 10% generally at the most extreme for my current aircraft and airline and that includes track distances on arrivals etc. This would only be of a few percent for total fuel required. Only a few minutes flying time difference essentially. Not forgetting you can always contact the ATC for the alternate to check if the is any expected delays for that airport.

Mountain out of a mole hill really. :cool:

If the crew made a late call to MAN about the fuel state then I couldn't agree more Route Papa. It would have been Extra fuel if holding was expected though not Contingency and if no holding was expected you can't expect them to be carrying large amounts of Extra fuel. I seem to remember a UK AIC about London TMA and that for fuel planning purposes you should plan to have at least 15 min holding fuel Extra or built in to fuel required can't remember the AIC number or date though. I don't know if it is still current and whether it includes MAN TMA? Maybe with the current traffic growth into MAN, LPL and EMA that a similar AIC could be issued for MAN TMA?

Route Papa 45
26th Oct 2006, 01:00
Sorry for the finger trouble, ment to say thanks for the constructive stuff!!!

Giles Wembley-Hogg
26th Oct 2006, 10:23

At the risk of causing thread creep (a terrible habit of mine), what do you mean by "the en-route section of Manchester can't provide EAT's"?

I refer you to MATS pt 1 sect 3, ch 1, page6, para 9.2.2

"Area control shall clear arriving aircraft to the holding facility if the flight is remaining within class A to F airspace, give instructions to hold if necessary and include an expected approach time in the clearance"


(Not having a dig, just seeking clarification)

Route Papa 45
26th Oct 2006, 12:52
G W-H, you are of course correct and to clarify, the only means of providing an accurate EAT is for the en route controller to retrieve the info from aproach control (located in the same room) who have the Exact EAT information in front of their worksation. This would require a greatly increased workload for both parties and as the en route worksations do not have EAT information available (the ones at Swanwick do however) it is usually left to a 'best guess' scenario.

I am recalling the MATS reference that you make but do not have it in front of me so i cannot guarantee this is correct but i think that we may provide the pilot with a "delay not determined" should the holding be weather generated or "delay less than 20 minutes" if we genuinely believe that there is likely to be less than 5 times around the hold. This was the case for the shuttle scenario and in practice the controller will do their best to provide some pertinent info along the lines of "expect once or twice around" or "3 A/C ahead of you, suggest you reduce now to MCS".

Even hazier in my memory is the requirements of a pilot for fuelling, is it not along the lines of enough for 30 minutes holding plus divert fuel, plus another 30 mins hold at alternate? I might be out on that but like the MATS 1, there are many rules imposed on ATC as well as the pilot, some are adhered to stringently and some don't often get used on a day-to-day basis (did you know that we are supposed to provide a time check to A/C outside of controlled airspace when telling them to reamin clear, no one has ever done that in front of me?!!!).

I digress. We will always try and provide as accurate a picture to I/B A/C as is possible but when we don't have the exact info at our fingertips it is often difficult to get it right for every pilot that requests.

Hope that helps


26th Oct 2006, 13:09
GWH - if the delay is less than 20 mins you do not get an EAT.

At TC, Heathrow and Gatwick traffic managers will often put up individual delay times if it is getting near to 20 mins (i.e. 14, 15 minutes) and I for one always tell A/C "your delay is ... mins"

HOWEVER - it is not a requirement on the traffic managers behalf.... it is more to give me, the Area controller an idea of delays and it usually means that they are on the increase i.e. it's a warning to me that EATS may well soon come in force for the next lot of arrivals.

My only obligation to the A/C would be to say "delay is less than 20 mins" if I really felt pedantic.

Alibaba - being told that an A/C can only hold 1 and a half more times is what I would consider a late call.

A/C surely know that they are destined to a busy airfield. 20 minutes holding should be expected, anything less is a bonus. It sounds like this particular A/C did not have the fuel to do that. That in my book amounts to bad airmanship!!

Giles Wembley-Hogg
26th Oct 2006, 14:29

Thanks for the clarification. I was just trying to make sure that there wasn't a local oddity at Manch that meant that the TMA bods couldn't give EATS.

We too have strange rules in our books. I am supposed to inform the tower on start if I intend to make a CAT3 aprroach at my destination... even if it is 8 hours and another continent away!!!


I was just clarifying the fact that Manch Control can provide EATs, as at first look it seemed as if they may not be able to.

I don't really think that all aircraft should be expecting to hold for 20mins inbound to EGCC either. The situation is not the same as the LTMA and I cannot remember the last time I held on the way to Manchester. Indeed, the statistics gathered for statistical contingency fuel that JackOffAllTrades alluded to earlier seem to indicate that less than 10mins holding/vectoring/other untoward events occur on 99% of Manchester flights.


26th Oct 2006, 17:54

valid point about the holding for Manch.... as a controller, i would still like as much warning as possible about low fuel states. I have had many an A/C tell me that they can only hold for 15 or 20 mins then will have to divert. This sort of info is ideal.

That gives me and the guys behind me plenty of time to warn people, think of alternate plans and start formulating a flight plan change in the system (although flying to an alternate as per original flight plan, it still involves our assistants implement what is effectively a change).

The more notice the better... but it is a 2 way thing... if we (ATC) can give A/C a realistic figure early, they (aircrew) might come back with a statement regarding fuel state early.

Unfortunately for the TMA, the en route guys do not get as much info as the terminal area guys... i.e. they do not get told individual delays, only when we go into EATs. By the time you are transferred to us at West Drayton (and consequently told the proper figures about the impending delay), it can be quite a short run in to the hold (we often get A/C inbound to WILLO at GWC!).

when it starts to get like that, often the most we can do at TC is warn our fellow controllers and ask them to slow you down... that usually starts to make people think about the possibility of holding as well.

It might change for the better when we go down to Swanwick - all the area guys need is a feed from the remote camera that points down on a piece of paper in our OPs room stating delays... it's that antiquated but it works because it is simple!

26th Oct 2006, 18:54
Bad airmanship would be sitting in a hold and burning off all your fuel without a plan and knowing when to divert. Running out of fuel would be a rather more stupid thing to do don't ye think.

Depends when the call was made to ATC about the necessity to divert does it not? I think if you read my previous post anotherthing, it is what I said.

If the crew made a late call to MAN about the fuel state then I couldn't agree more Route Papa

Two times around the hold is what Route Papa 45 said. In a hold that is 8 minutes flight time generally. The crew are only doing the sensible thing and letting ATC know that they will probably have to divert in 8 minutes. How much time do you need to let ATC know? :confused:

The crew probably would have about 1 hr to 1 hr 20 min of fuel and 8 min would make about 10% of total fuel so the crew did have a bit to spare.

20 min of spare fuel on a 737 or A320, which I am assuming was the BA aircraft in question. Would be equivalent to about 1/2 a tonne or just over of extra fuel. It could be as much as 800kg. That is a fairly sizeable amount of fuel to be carrying around if the crew didn't expect delays and without any requirement to carry that amount. Carrying fuel for no purpose costs money pure and simple. Some companies make pilots answer for this, some don’t. That could possibly be for another thread about culture for safety and fuel decisions.

There could have been a combination of reasons for slightly lower fuel than the usual at arrival into MAN. A long time at the holding point waiting for departure from LHR for example and other things such as an early than expected descent, poor routings and unfavourable winds etc. The crew might have wanted more fuel than needed for the diversion due to extra traffic at alternates due LPL runway closure. CarltonBrowne the FO had rightly mentioned about no priority for diverting traffic which would have been a consideration.

I am not trying to say either party was right or wrong. I am just trying to give another opinion for what might have been going on in this situation. :oh:

26th Oct 2006, 19:39
Sorry to keep on about contingency fuel but, it is possible that a large amount of it could have been burnt prior to arriving at dayne, as Alibaba said. I have in the past (in my SH days) loaded 20 mins worth of taxi fuel at LHR and then spend 35-40 mins taxiing around the airport or holding before departure. The rules are contingency fuel may be used any time after engine start. Also contingency fuel may be reduced to 90% (i.e 30 or so days a year!) before departure. I never feel too comfortable doing it, however it is expected of us, and it's not intrinsically dangerous. Especially flying over europe with all the available airfields when compared with some parts of the world.

So, my point now is that the crew may have arrived at dayne with less than planned fuel anyway. What do you expect them to do? Turn round, go back to LHR, refuel and try again???? :O. No, they did what any crew would have done and continued hoping not to hold at all, or considered all en-route divs (err... ok a tec stop in BHX would be equally embarrassing!:O ).

Seriously, if you frequently have an issue with the shuttles arriving at dayne not having enough holding capability.... Tell BA, not the pilots. BA never listens to us! If the message gets through the flight tech lot will change the stats so we turn up with more gas.

26th Oct 2006, 20:13
Sometimes you cannot put on additional fuel. I flew a 727 from Miami to San Jose, Costa Rica one night and arrived at max landing weight. The airport was below minimums so held for two turns in holding and diverted to Panama City to refuel with dest. plus alt reserves. Guess what? We could only refuel to arrive again at SJO with two turns before we would have to divert again. Dispatch suggested adding fuel and burning it off in holding but what if the weather was ok on arrival and deteriorated waiting for the fuel burn off. We landed without holding so adding fuel would have complicated the flight. I think the crew did the right thing advising of their non critical but obvious fuel situation.


26th Oct 2006, 21:20
A few years ago on a "Fam Flight". [LHR-MAN] we taxied out to be told "Sorry, it's one per 5 mins northbound, you are number3"
Capt replied "OK, can we park in block xx and shut down?"
This was on a 30? min sector....Can't hold on the ground....Can't hold in the air.....can't fly an alterative route...no fuel...BUT 800kgs extra will be uneconomic?:ugh: This happens quite often on the LHR-MAN route...the other one is "If I go around from this approach, I want direct Liverpool" :=
watp, iktch

26th Oct 2006, 22:26
Does MAN not have 2 // runways? If you are restricted on one runway, a/c with burst tyre etc. you can land on the other. Thus you can use airmanship (= common sense) to decide how low you can let your fuel go to complete the mission of delivering your passengers where they want to go. That is what we are paid for. The weather and approach possibilities are part of the decision process. There is no need to panic when you reach reserve fuel. Make a calm decision.

Carnage Matey!
26th Oct 2006, 22:30
Typical trip fuel on an LHR-MAN would be around 1800kgs, so taking an extra 800 kgs (or 44% more) would be uneconomical. Also being number 3 with 5 min delays northbound does not, in my experience, equate to a fifteen minute delay once you factor in all the other departures. Besides, are we not supposed to be reducing emissions in order to stop the greenies whinging?

26th Oct 2006, 22:30
BAConnect (based on big BA policies) require a Pan call if you think you might land with less than final reserve fuel - and a Mayday if you will land with less than final reserve fuel.

We are also encouraged (though fortunately not actively enforced) to fly with minimum air plan fuel - meaning diversion is on the cards every time holding is required. Most skippers round up a bit (and then a bit more) to cater for this - but company policy is not to do this - they remain adamant that the odd diversion is cheaper than carrying fuel above minimum. As a short haul operator in the vagaries of European ATC and weather I struggle to understand that philosophy and tend to ignore it - but that is the company policy (and many abide). Policy believed to emanate from big BA (like most of what we now do in Bacon). :ugh:

26th Oct 2006, 22:41
When did "company policy" carry the can for anything? The one pilot + dog cockpit is not yet with us, thank god. Captains are paid, and expected by the pax, to make common sense airmanship decisions. Company policy is a guide line not a law!

26th Oct 2006, 22:48
When did "company policy" carry the can for anything?

Quite agree - unfortunately many Captains are so subservient they obey "company policy", even to the extent of some expecting higher positions (eg TRE) as a result (not sure they achieve it though!). The BA way seems to want robotic clones than people who actually make decisions for themselves. Airmanship is dead? :ugh:

26th Oct 2006, 23:12
It's my understanding that Man ATC are not now issuing 'conditional crossing clearances' for 24R when operating departures on 24L. Up until last week it was common to be sitting on the gentle upslope at Golf or Foxtrot to be issued with the clearance " after the landing xxx, cleared cross runway 24R...". This ATC conditional clearance has now been withdrawn and crossing clearance will not be issued until the landing traffic has passed. Anybody who has crossed 24R at Golf or Delta will know that a fair amount of thrust is required to get rolling from stationary and this takes time.
This has subsequently had the knock on effect of increasing the time allocated to allow for crossing traffic and therefore the approach spacing for 24R during busy periods of up to 8 miles.
This is the reason for the increase inbound holding times at Dayne/Mirsi/Rosun and the situation is not likely to improve for the forseeable future. I,for one, will be carrying a little bit more fuel as a result!

27th Oct 2006, 00:40
This was on a 30? min sector....Can't hold on the ground....Can't hold in the air.....can't fly an alterative route...no fuel...BUT 800kgs extra will be uneconomic?

It is uneconomic as it costs fuel to carry extra fuel. Nobody I think would doubt it creates less complication having it onboard the aircraft for a sector as it does give you more time for contingency and thinking. The PIC would make the decision in the end and I hope he/she would make it by experience and common sense as to what time of the day the flight departed and arrived. Including the previous factors discussed earlier on in the thread.

Extra fuel or minimum fuel? It is an emotive and personal issue for most pilots. There is never an out an out definitive answer, no matter who you talk to! Allot of the time it depends how and the extent that you have been bit on the ar*e on both sides of the story that can influence a decision with this subject.

the other one is "If I go around from this approach, I want direct Liverpool

The missed approach is already counted as part of reserve fuel as in alternate fuel required. It also includes a SID from the missed approach to cruise and a STAR and approach and landing at alternate airport.

Route Papa 45
27th Oct 2006, 01:50
Binbombayandback, the instance which i intially raised was not caused by the new enforced abscence of conditional clearance and your view that it will be the cause of future holding at EGCC is rather naive and simplified. Some of your other comments i do agree with however.

My general concern is that there appears to be a mis-conception that A/C do not hold at EGCC. At best this seems to be speculative that the trip will progress like it does the other 9 times out of 10. My experience, and i'm sure those of you that fly the London TMA to EGCC route will agree, is that at certain times of the day you can almost always guarantee to hold at Dayne. By no means are we as constantly busy as KK and LL but with predictable regularity we do have to hold several times per day. This is not rocket science and a quick look at the peak flow levels would probably help in the fueling decision. Is this info available to the pilot along with the usual other salient stuff?


27th Oct 2006, 08:44
From Rat5
Does MAN not have 2 // runways? If you are restricted on one runway, a/c with burst tyre etc. you can land on the other.

Not as simple as that I'm afraid. When both runways are operating ground in their usual mode (TO to 24L and land 06R) there are no problems, however reverse that and there are. Ground movement limitations will severely reduce airport capacity, there is no parallel taxiway for the southerly runway so backtracking is called for following landing 24L and before TO 06L . When single runway is in use it requires a minimum of 10 minutes to reposition firemen to cover the southerly runway.
Time is fuel.

27th Oct 2006, 10:39
I've always understood the UK AIP reckons 20 mins holding fuel must be carried to account for the "No Delay Expected" rule which can mean up to 20 mins delay.


27th Oct 2006, 12:29
I've always understood the UK AIP reckons 20 mins holding fuel must be carried to account for the "No Delay Expected" rule which can mean up to 20 mins delay.


Kind of right I suppose, but not really. :8

Coningency fuel:

The higher of (1) or (2);

1) 5% of planned trip fuel or in the event of in-flight re-planning 5% of trip fuel for remainder of flight

or (provided that an en-route alternate is available)

3% of planned trip fuel or in the event of in-flight re-planning 3% of trip fuel for remainder of flight

or (if the operator has a fuel monitoring policy)

20 minutes flying time, based on the trip fuel fuel planned consumption

or (if the operator has a fuel monitoring and statistical analysis of fuel records)

An amount determined by statistical records

2) 5 minutes at holding speed.

It is the highest between 1 and 2 not the highest of 1.

So most large operators will have statistical analysis of fuel on routes therfore can apply them from part (1). The useual minimum would be either 3% or 5% though.

27th Oct 2006, 23:35
On my last trip we carried 10 mins contingency fuel. Fortunately the tailwinds were a bit stronger than advertised and we arrived with a little more.
Back to BA fuel policy:


Notice that we do not load any holding fuel specifically allocated for holding at our destination (B)! Any extra added at the pilots discretion after this equation must be justified. BA accept the pilots judgement, if he/she notice a deterioation in wx or traffic flow and chooses to load extra fuel. The bottom line is we carry what I have quoted above unless we have a solid justification for loading extra (and too much extra makes your position on the league table look bad!!).
No specific holding fuel apart from the final reserve (i.e. Mayday call level) is carried and this is something that is often missunderstood by onlookers. In other words we do not stick on holding fuel!!
I'll leave you to get yer head round that. :confused:

Capt H Peacock
28th Oct 2006, 09:33
The novel concept of ‘committing’ and the embellished definition of contingency fuel as some kind of extravagance that ‘may be used any time after engine start' are purely internal BA creations. The law of the land differs, (JAR-OPS, UK AIP, ibid) and this might explain why stories of planes approaching the limit of endurance within five minutes of pitching up on the frequency often feature Big Airways’ planes.

I don't think many of us have difficultly in grasping the intent that contingency fuel is not to figure in your planning. It is your last line of defence if you have become a victim of circumstances beyond your control. In the countless times this debate has surfaced in these annals, it seems that BA regard a successful arrival at the planned destination as some kind of statistical likelihood! The sector London-Manchester is virtually ballistic in nature, and so the additional fuel burned is negligible, there being no appreciable cruise phase to incur a penalty. So what's the point in short loading?

You are still required to carry sufficient fuel for the flight though, I held for 12minutes the other day inbound to MAN first thing in the morning in perfectly operable weather. You might put 24L and 24R down as two separate runways, but a request for landing 24L might not be met with the usual affable northern welcome you might expect.

I know cousin Nigel gets very twitched about fuel policy, so whatever. You do what you feel. I rather suspect you’ll still find yourselves the first to start running out of fuel though.:=

28th Oct 2006, 16:31
Ladies / Gentlemen,

This thread, in my opinion, addresses the most serious safety issue currently affecting MAN. I do not proclaim myself an expert in aircraft fuel calculations - far from it - but I know more than a little about Manchester Airport and I invite you all to consider the following.

To those of you based at or regularly operating into LHR, it must be tempting to view MAN as something of a quiet backwater. Please be careful. MAN is currently the 12th busiest airport in Europe and remains in the World top 50 according to ACI statistics. This Summer, MAN routinely handled upto 800 movements on weekdays with slightly fewer at weekends. These flights are not evenly spread throughout the day. There are traffic peaks between 0700-1000; 1600-2000 and often 1330-1500. The 1330-1500 one happens on Summer Saturdays too ... be prepared! Holding is very common at these times. Expect it. As you may be aware, the 1330-1500 build-up is partly due to the single-runway ops which occur daily, so this may be dissipated if MAplc eventually go dual from dawn to dusk.

But bear in mind that other times can be busy too. Ask yourself whether Manchester United have a European home match. Check whether Arsenal or Chelsea are in town (or have your ops be aware of match days). Another A320 from a 'Big Airline' had this same issue when Man Utd played Celtic afew weeks ago (loads of bizjets pitch up from Ireland; Liverpool FC matches in Manchester have the same effect). And football matches are not the only potential pitfall - remember occasions when an emergency is declared and other aircraft are required to hold until it is over.

The key thing to remember at MAN is that YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY PLANE IN THE SKY !!! What if others have run their fuel to a minimum level - especially if they belong to the same company and use the same criteria? If an incident occurs making the landing runway unavailable, are you sure that YOU will be the only one declaring a fuel shortage? What if FOUR other aircraft hear the same message and immediately declare as well? In that case, one of you gets to be number five at MAN or the closest alternate, or you can divert to somewhere more distant. Perhaps this sounds far fetched to you - it wouldn't happen? Well think again! Especially if four of the five are from the same company using the same criteria for their short sector planning.

Manchester is busy. Sometimes unexpected occurences will cause a delay, even on CAVOK days. Lots of other aircraft will be in the system with their own fuel figures to consider. So please allow that little bit extra fuel if in doubt. When the unexpected happens, it's not just one aeroplane which needs to divert in a hurry. Someone has to be last in the queue.

All the best. Keep it safe. Think of your company's reputation if this goes wrong just once.

28th Oct 2006, 18:19
Quite agree - unfortunately many Captains are so subservient they obey "company policy", even to the extent of some expecting higher positions (eg TRE) as a result (not sure they achieve it though!). The BA way seems to want robotic clones than people who actually make decisions for themselves. Airmanship is dead?

wacky: I could not disagree with you more. If anything it is the exact opposite. BA pilots, well big BA pilots, have become so anti company and non PC, that extra fuel is carried without batting an eyelid.

I carry extra fuel at the slightest excuse, and have never, ever had any comeback.

28th Oct 2006, 21:05
A very eloquent post....and it is a "based" airline that has stated "In the event of a g/a, we WILL be going to EGGP".....

29th Oct 2006, 10:42
I may be mis-interpreting alibaba but it seems that 'he' is confusing 'contingency' fuel with holding fuel?

It is the CAA's stated requirement for AOC holders that 'expected holding fuel' be included in TRIP fuel, and will be therefore separate from contingency, and should be shown on the PLOG as TRIP fuel. This applies to BA as much as any other UK operator.

29th Oct 2006, 14:58
Great post Shed. :ok: I can quite agree with everything you said. Just to add that the amount of airspace that MAN controls is quite considerable and also affects flows from en-route to the different TMA's of LBA, LPL, EMA and BLK and a few more other airports which MAN is usually involved with.

BOAC holding fuel should be part of Trip if holding is part of a procedural type procedure and if holding is expected which you are quite right to say as defined under JAR OPS 1.255.

If it is not expected though, it will not be included. The type of ATC delays that you are referring to will be covered therefore, under statistical analysis of fuel useage data and will be included in the Trip fuel.

Contingency is Contingency and is quite different as previously explained based on the criteria as defined under JAR OPS 1.255 and AMC OPS 1.255 and IEM OPS 1.255(c)(3)(i) Which is what I have been trying to refer to in my previous post. I had been only trying to refer to the criteria for defining Contingency fuel and nothing else to do with holding.

Trip should include holding though which you are quite right to say, if it is expected. It is based generally on statistical analysis of flights and if holding is not expected it will not be included.

This is from JAR OPS 1.255

(b) An operator shall ensure that the planning
of flights is [at least based upon (1) and (2) below:]

(1) Procedures [contained in the
Operations Manual] and data [ ] [derived from:

[(i) Data provided by the aeroplane
manufacturer;] or

[(ii)] Current aeroplane specific data
[derived from a fuel consumption
monitoring system.]

(2) The operating conditions under which
the flight is to be conducted including:

(i) Realistic aeroplane fuel
consumption data;

(ii) Anticipated masses;

(iii) Expected meteorological
conditions; and

(iv) Air Traffic Services procedures
and restrictions.

I hope it clears it up to what I had been meaning.

In the end if you want to put Extra fuel on a flight you do it. There should be sensible based reasons to add the fuel or not to take extra fuel. Flying around on every flight on minimum fuel to save the company money is just daft. But then again so is loading an extra tonne or so for the wife and kids on every single flight.

Common sense is the key to all of these types of decision that we make many times a day. Unfortunately it is a dieing art and is not just prevalent to aviation but in all walks of life. :sad:

it is a "based" airline that has stated "In the event of a g/a, we WILL be going to EGGP".....

Quite agree with you chiglet. A bit of a scary statment. Talk about backing yourself into a corner.:\

27th Nov 2006, 13:02

Read AIC Pink 58. This covers it although specifically geared towards a/c inbound to the UK it's quite obvious that the 20 minutes "No Delay" should apply to all a/c inbound to a busy TMA whether it be Manchester or London. The duty ATCO is not going to care whether the inbound he wants to hold is from Islamabad, Paris or Glasgow!