View Full Version : Priority within company by ATC

8th Dec 2002, 02:51
On occasion I've given the choice in a sequence to the crews of "dead-heaters" (ie. same time at the sequence reference point so flip a coin to pick a winner). If I ask, and one is running late and the other running early the company gets what they would probably want. On other days the guy running early might get max & track shortening and the guy running late gets to fly in circles, not terribly efficient. In TAAARTS we have no indication if a flight is running early or late, and can't even easily see what the original ETD was after departure.

My suggestion is that a crew that is running late pipes up to ATC well before descent with something like "Request company priority." ATC record this in some way that gives this aircraft priority over other traffic from the same company. It would have no effect if the aircraft prior in the sequence belongs to somebody else, and have no effect if the aircraft prior has also requested priority. Parameters for requesting such priority, eligibility and justification of individual requests would entirely be a matter for the company involved.

:) Would this be useful?

;) Would this be abused to get the last bus to the carpark?

:mad: Would everybody flying in circles at TAREL request it?

:confused: Any suggestions on how to phrase it?

8th Dec 2002, 05:22
Fabulous idea. Definately useful I would think. If it was used to catch the last bus to the carpark, proper decorum in the company should take care of that however even if it was ATC shouldn't really care about that.

8th Dec 2002, 06:26
Excellent idea.
I have often though along similar lines when running late or early knowing that if I am holding up a connecting flight, even though I have arrived early I will possibly depart late due to the above.

Along similar lines could we offer our preferred eta and you sequence us based on that. e.g. I am running early, my schedule eta was say 1510 (touchdown time) and my planned eta is 1505. you sequence us as required optimise company schedules.

Disco Stu
8th Dec 2002, 11:18
The decision as to which company aircraft (flight) is preferred on the the ground first or in any particular order is more appropriately made by the only area that has the overall picture (view) of the airlines operating environment. The Operations Control Centre staff are the only ones in a position to make such a decision. If there is a need to establish a preferred landing sequence then that is communicated to the relevant ATS Centre/TWR as a request and only if it 'fits' the ATS plot.

Operating crews are not in full knowledge of the alternatives available to the Operations Control staff on a network wide basis. Just because a flight is running late may have no impact at all, more likely any impact has been addressed, mitigated or completely overcome by diligent Operations Control staff without crews or more importantly the customers ever being aware of any 'problem'.

This may seem a bit contentious, however, if operating crews concentrated on simply conducting their defined roles (in the cockpit) and desisted from telling everybody else how to do their jobs or run the airline, flight crew blood pressure would return to normal levels and everbody else would be allot happier.:D

Disco Stu (retired)

8th Dec 2002, 13:35
Sounds like a good idea if not abused but I have seen many a time that ummm 'selective reports' from certain carriers when asked for estimates from like types to have the second aircraft asked give a 1 minute earlier time when maybe they really are number 2 (I myself ask in the reverse order that I think they will arirve to give number 1 the last chance to tell me he is the winner). This has nothibng to do with schedules but at least gives some control to the aircraft to drive their own destiny.

Oh and to the Qantas 717 (QF1647 or something) out of Willy last week that was given a time to depart to make good a time at Boree and then was given an additional 6 minutes delay airborne I appologise. The ehem Sydney ahem Flow was unfortunately trying to show me who was boss and whose sequence it was and how you were late by 6 minutes on the CTMS time (the exact amount of time you absorbed on the ground after instruction). Unfortunately these types still do exist in ATC and I once again appologise.

Dan Kelly
8th Dec 2002, 21:34
I'd think there's a possibility that ATC/ATS might ask of pilots that they're in direct contact with, "who's first".

But I can't imagine they'd call an Ops centre for the info, as it'd be too hard to get through for one thing! ;)

more likely any impact has been addressed, mitigated or completely overcome by diligent Operations Control staff without crews or more importantly the customers ever being aware of any 'problem'.

I wish you worked with my mob! :D

9th Dec 2002, 09:06
A process of this type - of sorts - is already in place.

I can't remember the proper name, but the facility exists - though not used - for a company to nominate a flight that has priority over other company flights.

This would be nominated by Ops - and in the case of Sydney, nominated through the CTMS software.

As every company would nominate a flight in the peak time it is kinda useless, but the intent is there.

I guess it is just a matter of foguring out how to properly and fairly use it..

9th Dec 2002, 15:22
Thanks for feedback everybody. I'm not sure where I'll go with this but I will take it further.

As I understand it, Disco Stu's (previous) input to CTMS is finished once the aeroplane departs and the flight he would have departed early has the same priority as all the others that get delays in the air anyhow. If a request for "company priority" could only come from these august and highly sensitive individuals (via ACARS to the crew to the controller perhaps) maybe their toes will not feel trampled?

Gee plazbot, same thing happens into AD...

SM4 Pirate
10th Dec 2002, 21:13
On a messy Westerly Day RWY 25 only a few weeks ago; holding NOTAMS were amended to say carry 40 mins instead of normal; B737 from AD didn't get update after push; wasn't a Hazard Alert for that aircraft because it departed after our criteria for that due to delay on the ground at AD after push.

737 said only has 15 minutes holding; we were running 22 at the time. Flow said can't swap due to mix of traffic, lots of internationals in a row etc. I initiated swap with company 767 from ML that was nice enough to swap spots, brought 737 up by 7 pushed 767 back by 7.... Everyone's a winner... expect pax to SY on the 767 and connecting flights... At least the 737 didn't end up in CB or ML though...

Then captain of 737 files incident report about ATC performance... making up 'what was said' over the air to make our performance look ordinary...thanks very much; busting my hiney getting SY to accept it, convincing 767 to accept it etc... Thank goodness my boss had the common sence to listen to the audio tapes before standing me and colleagues down, which isn't always the case... PS tapes cleared all ATCs involvement and identified unfactual information in the incident report submitted by grumpy skipper.

Bottle of Rum

11th Dec 2002, 03:55

Excellent topic and agree to an extent with Disco Stu's comment about those with the big picture needing to make decisions on who has priority.

The former AN Apron Control project was aimed at applying these potential efficiencies, albeit on the ground. Whilst only in its infancy when the airline folded, I'm led to believe it had mixed reviews. The SYD operation had in fact received a real time TAAATS feed from ASA and this could have potentially been a vehicle for the airline to further develop and maintain 'the big picture' (on top of existing systems eg ACARS). MEL was due to follow with similar equipment.

Word around the traps is that QF is possibly examining the potential for this arrangement in its operation. The driver behind the project was also a key player at AN.

12th Dec 2002, 03:43
Rules for successful flow control

1. Donít trust pilots
2. Donít trust sector controllers
3. Donít trust tower controllers
4. Donít trust anyone else
5. Develop a thick skin
6. Never back a Twin Otter to beat anything, even another Twin Otter
7. Never worry about departures, they are the towers problem
8. Pray that the management pilots have good FOs
9. Computer Derived Threshold Times will be accurate only if the captain throws the computer out the storm window as he overflies the threshold in the go-round after being too intimate with the aircraft in front
10. All pilots think that they should be Number 1
11. Cardboard Bandeirantes can be used to hide unexplained gaps in the sequence
12. Unless they build more runways the maximum number of aircraft that can land at an airport in a given time will remain the same, despite the wetdreams of airline schedulers
13. Have faith in your own ability, no-one else does
14. Same money, right or wrong
15. If you believe the tower controller who says that the runway works will be finished prior to the start of the next sequence, you deserve all you get
16. Your are only as good as your last sequence
17. If your last sequence was not good, see above
18. Keep slipping the odd joke to the approach controllers, it keeps their mind off what is coming up
19. One day you will get a trainee who merely triples your workload
20. Never sit in approach and work your own sequence
21. Always keep a false nose or wig in the car, an angry mob waiting outside the carpark is not a pretty sight
22. The flow is never wrong, The flow is merely acting on information that may now be superseded


13th Dec 2002, 10:22
Great post - you sound like you're ready to come back North.