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ATC Slot Nazis at PMI

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ATC Slot Nazis at PMI

Old 9th May 2001, 03:02
  #41 (permalink)  
M.Mouse
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Operated out of that airport we all know and love, CDG, a few days ago.

Slot of 20 past the hour (I forget the hour). Ready at 5 past the hour. Called for start abruptly told to standby. Making an allowance for language difference I politely enquired reason and was told that too many aeroplanes were leaving at once.

At 15 minutes past the hour an American aircraft (also waiting) called to remind the ATCO that his slot was getting tight and was given clearance to start. I called pointing out that our slot was also getting tight and the reply was ' you have no slot, nice try' !!!!!!

Eventually given start at about 25 past the hour to be told to stand by for push by the ground controller. She was busy but had an excellent method for reducig the pressure - she ignored the aircraft she couldn't cope with. Another 10 minutes elapsed until she cleared another aircraft to park on our stand. I pointed out that only one aircraft would fit on our stand and at last was given push clearance.

Eventually taxied out and waited forever to get airborne due only using 09R. Anybody any idea why they built 09L because they don't seem to use it?

Sorry but I think CDG ATC is a disgrace.

Apologies for thread creep.
 
Old 9th May 2001, 03:23
  #42 (permalink)  
Airking
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What about this Story:
Flight DUB-STR, no slot, cleared to start, started engines, asked for taxy, THEN :
"SORRY SIR, WE JUST RECEIVED A SLOT FOR YOUR; PLAN TO DEPART IN 43 MINUTES".
Turned around, told the boss whats on, stopped engines.
Since no APU on my KingAir Radio and Batt off. After about 10 Minutes back on frequency, told by ATC that they managed to get a better slot for me, but werent able to contact me. Therefore better slot lost, but the 43 minutes turned out to be some 58 minutes then.
Boss was fuming. Me too.
 
Old 9th May 2001, 04:04
  #43 (permalink)  
Data Dad
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Whats really beginning to get my goat is the increasing tendency for CFMU to issue a CTOT or revision AFTER an aircraft has started/taxied or is even airborne.

We had a case recently when an aircraft had departed and was 30 miles away from the airport when a CTOT was issued for it! Have also seen 6 different CTOT's issued for one flight in 10 mins..

Have filed a 1261 on this but dont expect it will achieve much.

:mad;
 
Old 9th May 2001, 04:04
  #44 (permalink)  
160to4DME
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<< she ignored the aircraft she couldn't cope with. >>

If it's busy on ground, I find the old "sqwawk ident" instruction works great for buying you a few seconds thinking space
 
Old 9th May 2001, 04:39
  #45 (permalink)  
Spoonbill
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fish

If our American cousins, (who according to some have the perfect system where slots dont exist), what system would work in Europe that would ensure all the aircraft arrive separated, on time and with no delay?
Answers on a postcard to arrive no later than - 5 and + 10 minutes.
 
Old 9th May 2001, 05:48
  #46 (permalink)  
Wheelybin
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Agree with all my colleagues here. The -5/+10 was always supposed to be for the ground movement controller/tower controller.
Whoevever it was,who was the first controller to tell crews that they had this tolerance should be hung from the approach lighting system.
As a ground controller the vast majority of your day is spent thinking about slots, when to push,when to taxi ,how to fit it into a gap in the inbounds,who gets priority someone on a slot or someone not on a slot?
The aircraft who calls early and asks us to put a ready message in ( not our job, your companies), the aircraft that calls late and asks us to put a delay message in ( not our job, your companies),The aircraft that has a baggage problem ,the aircraft thats lost a passenger,The aircraft that needs an extra couple of minutes. etc etc.
ATC used to help out with all of this but the airlines decided that they wanted a cheaper service and so they told us that they would employ companies of young people to run this service. These "Handling Agents" would sort out all problems at a fraction of the cost.
Yet it seems they are frequentley unavailable or incapable and because your last point of reference is to ATC its our fault!
Next time you ask for a ready message just remember its not our job, we are not being payed to do it(Pre -Privitisation)we have been asked by your companies NOT to do it,Somebody in your company is being payed to do it.
However the professionalism of the ATCOs and in particular the Assitants (whose jobs are most at threat post PPP), means that we cannot abide to see an aircraft on the ground when it could possibly be in the air and so we almost always comply with the request,thereby causing us more work and more grief.
One aside here, It is always easier to get a domestic flight airborne than an international flight as you only have to deal with one flow controller..hence a "national" flight may appear to be getting priority.
 
Old 9th May 2001, 16:06
  #47 (permalink)  
Greek God
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PMI on gate at NE corner of terminal: slot of 0952. Called for start at 0945 pleaded for 2 minutes to no avail & new slot of 1211 issued which improved to 1157. Between 0945 and 1000 a total of 4 a/c got airborne and 1 Binter ATR landed. Go figure!
Does this mean that each company must now renegotiate increased T/R times to satisfy the 15 min call? Surely an extra 15 mins/flight x no of flights will reduce the gate availability and subsequent handling capability. I generally agree with most of the previous posts but flexibility is the key to smooth operations
 
Old 9th May 2001, 16:11
  #48 (permalink)  
Hew Jampton
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Another slot busting trick I heard applied at LGW many moons ago in the days of horrendous delays was when a crew inbound to LGW and aware of delays for their next departure, called for start on Box 2 while inbound on the ILS, to get a place in the queue. It backfired when ATC said they were in luck, somebody else had missed their slot and they could start immediately! Much embarrassed muttering into microphones.
 
Old 9th May 2001, 18:39
  #49 (permalink)  
Bono Vox
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Hew- Nice............

 
Old 9th May 2001, 19:38
  #50 (permalink)  
fireflybob
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This is another case of bureaucratic nonsense which does little to promote a "safe and expeditious" flow of air traffic.

You actually have to go to PMI and witness the way they administer the "system". I don't think anyone has any complaints about the way UK ATC work the system and most, if not all, pilots understand that the discretionary times are for ATC use, etc.

However I feel that until we have a slot related accident (somebody busing a gut to make it or "fatigue") then I am afraid that "slotmania" will remain with us forever. Yes, I am sure there is a need for some sort of flow control but I suspect that in certain cases empires have been built around the system

------------------
 
Old 9th May 2001, 21:32
  #51 (permalink)  
TE RANGI
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I have to admit that the level of professionalism of ATC controllers in the UK is outstanding. However this is seldom the case in Spain. Spanish ATC standards are usually appalling, including the way they handle slots.

I find the question of whose those +10 min buffer is, quite unimportant. Getting the traffic flowing is the bottom line and while most controllers in Europe -not in PMI and some other airports- have been helpful whenever I had a tight CTOT, I don't think this should come as a surprise. After all assisting flights in their needs is what the ATC job is all about, isn't?

While I agree that some form of flow control must be unavoidable I harbour serious doubts about our current system. Many a time I've been delayed by a slot and then in flight -at our FL of choice- incresed MN, got a few shortcuts and made it to our (flow restricted) destination on time, i.e. as there hadn't been a slot. Should we credit this on efficient, expeditious handling by ATC throughout or is the system basicly flawed?

Unless there's a real oversight of the restrictions imposed by the different ATC units it's all too easy to twist the system to gain political leverage or corporate muscle by whoever has the power to impose those restrictions -Bordeaux and Marseille just come to mind.

And let's not forget that the undue level of stress placed on flight crews that have to coreograph the whole event to get going and arrive before exceeding their duty limits, night curfews, missing connections etc is IMHO becoming an important safety threat. Isn't it about time our safety depts addressed this issue?
 
Old 9th May 2001, 22:20
  #52 (permalink)  
You splitter
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If you recieve a slot then your flight will be issued with a CTOT (Calculated Take Off Time). Every airfield has a published taxi time. In PMI I believe it to be 15 minutes. Therefore if your CTOT is 17:00 you will be expected to be off blox at 16:45. Ramp agents really should not tell you your slot is from 16:55 - 17:10 . That is not your window for getting off stand. It is the Controllers window to allow for unforseen problems.

As long as you call prior to 16:45, I believe I am correct in saying, that ATC are obliged to honour your slot from Brussels. They can still aplly a 'local restriction' but you do not have to request a new CTOT from the CFMU.

If you call after 16:45, be prepared to explain to the passengers why they will not be leaving for a while yet.

I agree with those of you who say handling takes so long and we got in late so we were rushing. However your company should have a minimum turnround policy and slot policy that allows sufficient time to do this. I feel one of the problems is most slot controllers in a company figure that if you are inbound at 1625 and have a CTOT of 17:00 then you have 35 minutes to turn the a/c round. INCORRECT. You are supposed to be off stand by 16:45, so in reality you only have a 20 minute turnround. If this was looked at in advance then the slot could be adjusted and in the system long before you even arrive.
 
Old 9th May 2001, 23:24
  #53 (permalink)  
Electric Sky
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Wheelybin

I agree with all your comments ... except one. Until recently, the airline operations had the power to file a RDY (Ready) message. Before long Eurocontrol became aware that this system was being abused as airlines were filing RDY messages a long time before the flight was ready, in order to try and get an improvement as any new slot could not be earlier than the filed off blocks time. They then changed the system and introduced the RFI (Ready For Improvement) which has a similar function as the old RDY. However, the RDY message still exists and can ONLY be filed by ATC. This message carries a lot more power than the RFI as Eurocontrol take it from the tower that the flight in question IS definately ready. Once a RDY is filed by the tower a new CTOT can be issued which may even be before the filed off blocks time as the Brussels computer looks for any available slot after the submission of the RDY.

This information came from a recent visit to Eurocontrol. We are aware that ATC are often overworked but filing a RDY message can be of significant help if the flights is closed up.
 
Old 10th May 2001, 07:45
  #54 (permalink)  
Wheelybin
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Wow! This must be a new one for me!
I agree with all of the the last few posts....Dont get me wrong in my initial posting...The job of an air traffic controller is to be flexible in difficult circumstances but part of that flexibility must be when they must know when to say ...NO
Sometimes that comes as a shock to a crew because they are used to ATC trying their best...This is not a line...when we say we are trying ,it means we are making numerous phone calls (or,more likely, our assistants are).Occassionaly these phone calls do not bear fruition. (and so when we say NO we mean we have exhausted all oppurtunities)
However what flight crews MUST realise is that your companies have opted for a cheaper service that gives US less leeway in the system.(your handling agent is now your dispatcher).
Of course i will get you airborne in your slot if I can do it, (and my license is on the line for doing so)but I am not helped by certain people who tell an aircraft it has no delay when what they mean is it has a no delay SLOT (pushback time + taxying time).
I am not helped by aircraft on a 6 mile final that has an outbound slot in 15 minutes time. Then they do not send delay messages...just remember when you are waiting for a RDY or RFI (or whatever its called this month),you are relying on other companies to be honest about when their flight will ACTUALLY depart.
Ive been in the job 10 years I have seen the change to reliance on slots. Much as we would like to help as individuals our hands are tied.
With regard to the PMI slot that this discussion started about,I think you will find that the PMI controller was jusst as stressed as we are now.
Believe me we give you are best......bbbbback to 250 knts for a reasoon..try and help us tell us a speed?

 
Old 10th May 2001, 08:58
  #55 (permalink)  
Mr Green
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Simple truth is if everyone try’s to beat the system or calls for start just in the nick of time to catch the slot you will only put a spanner in the works busy holiday Airports…….

Answer is only use competent handling agents who have qualified staff and are trained to deal with slots. In the US all dispatchers are FAA trained. Not the case in most European companies you can walk in of the street and do it..

If you have a good Ops department and you all communicate with each other they should be able to professionally flight watch you and get you underway with out beating the system and avoid delaying others in the process.

Mr G
 
Old 10th May 2001, 12:52
  #56 (permalink)  
Lazlo
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Wheelybin,

With regard to your comment that companies have opted for a "cheaper" service from ATC. What happens now that some of our companies own yours (ie the part-privatisation of NATS)?

You Splitter,

You mention having to explain to the passengers why we are delayed (ie because we called "too late" for taxi). If we are denied push & start by ATC the message we give to the passengers is that we are being delayed by ATC! Sorry, but it's true - that's what we say.

Lazlo

 
Old 10th May 2001, 13:54
  #57 (permalink)  
You splitter
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Lazlo,

Sorry old boy! Did not mean my comment about informing pax of delay, to in any way lay blame onto you guys up front. Of course it goes down as an Air traffic delay. I agree with the idea that if you are proactively flight watched, everyone communicates well and sufficient time is allowed for handling, then the whole system would probably work better. Where I work we are small enough to know our routes and destinations well. For example we know in CPH we can get a good quick turnround and the dispatcher will be waiting on stand when the a/c arrives. We can hold a slot that is in tirty five minutes after we land. No such chance at ZRH!!

I also agree that abusing the system actually causes more problems for everyone. If you aren't going to make a slot don't hold onto it obstinately in some vague hope. Let someone else have it. Send a SMM or SRR. If everyone does it then you will get better slots as well!

Cheers
 
Old 10th May 2001, 15:00
  #58 (permalink)  
TE RANGI
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It's quite symptomatic that those who sympathize with the controllers at PMI are the ones who don't go there.

We regulars have quite a different opinion of their performance.
 
Old 10th May 2001, 16:21
  #59 (permalink)  
vipero
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"You splitter" got the problem:
when ATC locally is not able to comply with a slot, is their duty to arrange a new one and not the company.
Unfortunately this happen several time here in MXP, where just to avoid to be in the black book, as soon as a congestion arise nobody issue a restriction (e.g. taxi time extention from 20min to 40min)...When pilots call for push and start, they just say "there are a number of flights ahead your, your slot cannot be respected. Ask yr company to arrange a new one". Of course is the ops office of the company that is aware of the congestion, expecially if they are miles away...
Another problem is that Eurocontrol and national ATC seem no to talk each other: what we file, CFMU ack and ATC clear are totally apart...
Ciao
Paolo

"Flight Dispatchers tell Pilots where to go"
 
Old 13th May 2001, 21:38
  #60 (permalink)  
chiglet
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(Possibly) True Story.
Dan Air, in the days of Horrendous Spanish slots, filed EVERY flight +2 hours. Their average delay that day was 20mins. They were then castigated for "slot busting"
 

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