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ATC Slot Nazis at PMI

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ATC Slot Nazis at PMI

Old 6th May 2001, 15:04
  #1 (permalink)  
Lazlo
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Angry ATC Slot Nazis at PMI

Let me set the scene:

You are parked on stand at PMI. You have just finished a successful and timely turnaround - quite a feat in itself - and you are ready to head home. You call clearance delivery and request clearance for start. No problem, you think. My slot is at 1730 and the time is now 1723. We could make the runway by the slot time and most certainly could make it in the discretionary period of 10 minutes late on slot. ATC have different ideas. Their response "Aircraft XXX Time 1723 Slot 1730 YOU NO GO, Call your company for new slot". Surprised, you respond that you can make the runway in 7 minutes but they're not having any of it and force you to remain where you are. You call the company. A few minutes later the company rings you back. New slot: 1930. No thanks to the Nazi Hitler youth that run ATC in PMI.

This has happened to me a few times lately, and judging from the conversations with Clearance Delivery I have heard from other airlines (some very heated indeed) this seems to be becoming more and more commonplace. What is the deal with ATC at PMI and why do the steadfastly refuse to use the discretionary 10 minute period which is available to us everywhere else in Europe? It would seem to me that it is better to allow aircraft to go a bit late (but within the 10 minute period) than to have them sitting around on the ground for hours taking up valuable parking space.

I was just wondering if this has happened to anyone else here and how to they feel about it?

Lazlo
 
Old 6th May 2001, 15:35
  #2 (permalink)  
fmgs
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Wink

Suggestion:

Read your NOTAMS!!!

Then you'll know how to play the "PMI Game"!!!



 
Old 6th May 2001, 15:59
  #3 (permalink)  
lineup
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Angry

I can't see any connection to "Nazi Hitler"
Explenation please?
 
Old 6th May 2001, 16:41
  #4 (permalink)  
Lazlo
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Sorry, but your NOTAMs must be different than mine. I receive two sets of NOTAMS for every flight and there is not a single mention of slot rules. Just some stuff about RNAV STARS and a couple of SIDs that never apply to me.

Maybe you could post this information that you seem to have but my airline does not? After all, that is the whole reason for this thread.
 
Old 6th May 2001, 17:15
  #5 (permalink)  
160to4DME
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Obviously, I wasn't there, and we don't know the full facts, BUT, if ATC are of the opinion that they would not be able to get you away before slot expiry, then they are obliged to refuse you permission to start.

There's a wonderful (NOT) piece of Big Brother equipment in the flow centre which monitors slot adherance, and an ATCO will soon hear from them if they regularly exceed slot tolerances. Sadly, we are deprived nowadays of the ability to use discretion to let you thru the net if it's looking a little tight.

Therefore, as a possible defence to the hard working Nazi Ground COntroller at PMI, I can only suggest there were numerous aircraft already started, possibly a queue at the hold (could you see the hold from your stand, or were you in one of the cul-de-sacs), or there might have been an additional flow rate imposed on the sectors.

If any of these were a factor in his/her decision, is it not cheaper and far less embarrasing to be held on stand than get to the hold only to be told your slot has expired and must return to the ramp ??

Whatever the reason, believe me, there is not a single sane ATCO in the world who will deliberately take any action which will keep an aircraft on their frequency longer than is absolutely necessary.

[This message has been edited by 160to4DME (edited 06 May 2001).]

[This message has been edited by 160to4DME (edited 06 May 2001).]
 
Old 6th May 2001, 17:21
  #6 (permalink)  
Big Red ' L '
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Question

Just curious as to whether there is any financial gain for someone(!) to hold you there for 2 hours. If so, theres why it happened. There must be someone somewhere gaining from this kind of situation. Also, are there any kind of complaints procedures you can use when this happens as it seems very unreasonable to me to do this as often as you say. There must be something you can do about it..?
 
Old 6th May 2001, 17:41
  #7 (permalink)  
Wino
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Having flown in and our of PMI for 3 years, I have always been astounded by that airport. Furthermore, it is diametrically opposed to everything that airbus claims when it wants to build its super jumbo.

The company that I was working for was sending 3 or 4 or more 320s a day between Man and PMI at some points. They wanted to go even higher but couldn't because of slot restrictions or so said the chief at the time.

If for marketing reasons they couldn't guage that up to a larger aircraft, why would any airline do it? Seams to me that they could have sent 2 330s instead of 4 320s.

Also seams to prove the case against the 380. People want to go NOW. Not when the larger airplane gets full. And these are just the budget holiday people, not the business men where time is money who really pay for the major airlines.

Cheers
Wino
 
Old 6th May 2001, 18:15
  #8 (permalink)  
Thrust-Bump
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Wink

Put your towels down when you get there. That will secure the outbound slot.......
 
Old 6th May 2001, 18:39
  #9 (permalink)  
Zeitgebers
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It's all a game - don't give yourself a coronary. Just make sure you call ready 20 mins before the slot.
 
Old 6th May 2001, 18:42
  #10 (permalink)  
Lazlo
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Arrow

160to4DME,

You are correct in what you say regarding traffic congestion etc. I am sure that a lot of the time, the reason for the slot cancellation is legitimate but not all of the time. If you ever query them as to why you are being denied a start clearance, traffic congestion is invariably the reason given. And this would be acceptable, I guess, if the "rules" were applied fairly and evenly, but they are not. If I were an Iberia, Spanair or a BInter in a similar situation, you can rest assured that I would not be held up. In fact, there would be others who would be held up to make way for the Spanish registered aircraft. As someone who flies into Spain regularly, I can tell you that this has not gone unnoticed but there isn't much we can do unfortunately. It is pretty annoying when on the approach into a Spanish airfield you are told to reduce to minimum clean more than forty or fifty miles back and as you do so, you spot the little BInter ATR72 scooting in underneath you, overtaking from behind, to get in ahead of you. Not exactly good fuel economy when you are in a fully loaded 767 and in this age of high fuel prices it costs companies dearly for this blatant favouritism.

Big Red "L",

The two hour delay I cited earlier is an isolated example, usually delays are not quite as bad as that and it is usually the case that a bad slot is replaced by a better one after some clever flight planning by the company. I do not think anyone is deliberately "profiting" by this sort of delay since the slots are handed out by Eurocontrol in Brussels and have nothing to do with the airfield in question. However, it is interesting to listen to clearance delivery at PMI during the turnaround - just a couple of days ago there were no less than four aircraft all had their slots cancelled and the amount of jockeying around to get new ones was comical. It would have been funny had I not been one of them!


Zeitgebers,

Calling ready 20 minutes before the slot would be a good idea if we ever were ready by that time but it is usually not the case because unfortunately PMI is blessed with some of the worst handling agents around as well (well at least the ones my airline uses unfortunately).

Lazlo



[This message has been edited by Lazlo (edited 06 May 2001).]
 
Old 6th May 2001, 20:55
  #11 (permalink)  
sky9
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I couldn't agree more with this thread, PMI works to its own rules. The sooner Brussels gets tough with them the better. I have been denied startup when we clearly would have made the slot, got a new one and then was delayed startup by ATC until we had less time to the slot than the previous denied startup clearance.

Try this one when you think that they are giving priority to Spanish operators

Hablo solamente me poko espaniol, numbero 2 para me por favor.(Please excuse the spelling!!) If they reply in spanish you have a problem!!
 
Old 7th May 2001, 00:59
  #12 (permalink)  
Spoonbill
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Lazlo, firstly I find your use of the expression NAZI offensive in the extreme, if you cannot find a better way of expressing yourself, perhaps you would be better off keeping your opinions to the combat 17 and BNF websites.
Secondly, your ignorance of slot time tolerances is astonishing, a slot of 1720 means you can depart between 1715 an 1730, there is no " 10 minute tolerance" which ATC have a magic wand to wave with, and this a request which we have to tolerate from aircrew at leats twice a day, every day.
Perhaps you have a genuine axe to grind with the Spanish, but if you have,at least have the common sense and courage to so it in a constructive and tolerant manner, and preferably with them first.
 
Old 7th May 2001, 02:18
  #13 (permalink)  
Oldie Volvo
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Cool

You simply have to assume that you need to
push at least twenty minutes before your airborne slot time and lets face it, on a
busy saturday afternoon you may well finish
up in a long queue at the holding point
but at least you are in the queue. Of course
when the flow of departing aircraft are held
up because a local wants to land on 24R to
cut down his taxy time onto stand it does all
become a little depressing.

About a month ago I was down at PMI at about
two in the morning. You know the scenario,
start of the season - empty ferry home, tank-
ing sector so just a quick off-load and we
are ready to go. Not another aircraft has
been seen or heard but when we advise ATC
we are fully ready - surprise, surprise, he
won't talk to you until within thirty minutes
of your theoretical departure time. Now, this
may be practical when its busy but on this
occasion I think it was a 'jobsworth' on duty. We got round it by a little polite
persuasion. At the end of the day I think that all we can do is try and encourage
everyone involved make the quickest possible
safe turnround in order to be ready for push
well ahead of normal timings. The other option of course would be for the planners
to assume all PMI turnrounds to be ninety
minutes regardless of aircraft size. We
could then turn-round the aircraft in an hour
and still have a bit of flex to join the
queue to leave.

Final thought - why do Air Berlin never see
to have slot problems ?
 
Old 7th May 2001, 02:22
  #14 (permalink)  
vipero
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Thumbs up


taxi time at LEPA/PMI is 15min, after a "perfect" transit you should call ATC 15min before yr slot...if you call 7min before ATC is entitled to refuse you...maybe you say "we are able in 7 min to take-off"...but are you sure about how many other aa/cc were taxing at the same time??
I'm a flight dispatcher/ops controller, still trying to make pilots aware that slot means take-off time and not off-block time...
Ciao
Paolo
 
Old 7th May 2001, 13:37
  #15 (permalink)  
Lazlo
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Spoonbill,

The "nazi" comment was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. If you haven't seen the Seinfeld episode "Soup Nazi" then you will not get the joke but I will apologise for nothing. If you are offended by it then I can only assume you are a Spanish ATCO in which case I am glad you are offended. If you cannot handle it then you shouldn't bother with this website. The 10 minute tolerance I am talking about is the time 1720-1730 you mention, nothing more - you know the "departure window" of -5 minutes to +10 minutes on slot. I am not talking about trying to go at 1731 or later, and I am most definitely not ignorant of the slot rules as you suggest as I have to deal with them every day. PMI is the only airfield I have encountered that seem to do things very differently than everywhere else in Europe which is why I have started this posting. 160to4DME has answered my question, in a well thought out and reasoned post, (unlike yours) and I thank him for that. PMI do not allow pilots to leave stand if they think that they will be a minute late at the threshold which in my opinion is too stringent and it is making a lot of people late. And when you know that the reason for the cancellation of your slot is so that a Spanish operator can get out ahead of you it doesn't exactly help matters. You obviously have no idea what it is like down there - it isn't the same high standard of ATC as a UK airfield that's for sure.

Lazlo

[This message has been edited by Lazlo (edited 07 May 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Lazlo (edited 07 May 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Lazlo (edited 07 May 2001).]
 
Old 7th May 2001, 14:31
  #16 (permalink)  
gul dukat
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Angry

Hi lazlo ....the response from Vipero hit the nail on the head !!! The -5/+10 is time for ATC !!.If we can let you go a little before or after the ctot that is because of the tolerance built in for holds ,arriving /departing traffic .No ATCO these days is going to bust a slot willingly ! I recall a stern note from NATS threatening all sorts of retribution if we did it here in the UK .I cannot count the number of times guys have said "but we have the extra ten minutes?" when they still have the steps attached ..no tug...catering trucks firmly clamped to the side and they reckon that a path will be cleared to the holding point (ignoring everyone elses CTOT I suppose)and they will be given take off!! Sorry but I think the guy at Palma may have had his fingers burned and he was just sensibly applying the rules as he saw fit .
 
Old 7th May 2001, 14:49
  #17 (permalink)  
Max Angle
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I have operated both scheduled and IT flights to PMI over the years and can't remember having the problems mentioned in this thread. I guess it just depends who is on duty and what the holding point looks like at the time. If you want to see real inflexiblility try Zurich, those guys have it really bad.
 
Old 7th May 2001, 15:51
  #18 (permalink)  
beano
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Lazlo you say it has happened to you a few times lately, then surely the problem lies not with ATC at PMI who I have usualy found quite good, but with your own company for scheduling what must be an unrealistic turnaround time (in view of your handling agent there!!!)
 
Old 7th May 2001, 17:09
  #19 (permalink)  
U R NumberOne
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Whilst I've got every sympathy for the pressures aircrew are under together with unhelpful ATC, the point already made that the -5/+10 is for our use not yours must be reinforced 'cos I don't think all pilots realise that. I've started aircraft up when they've called at slot time +3 and say they can make it to the hold by +10 - fine but I have to find the gap to get them away - or try to re-negotiate the slot - or worst of all tell the aircraft to return to stand when a two minute wait at the hold busts the slot. All the above create pressure and degrade safety - that's not acceptable.

Can't speak for our European counterparts, but we will be as flexible as we can in an effort to provide the very best service to you (honest! ). However in order to do that, we sometimes need a bit of extra consideration from the flightdeck about what you are asking us to do.
 
Old 7th May 2001, 17:45
  #20 (permalink)  
Lazlo
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Beano,

You certainly have a point there - the turnaround time probably should be longer but that isn't my decision unfortunately!

Oh well... It is going to be very interesting down there once the summer season starts full swing in July.
 

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