Cross Border Arrival Management (XMAN) Trial
A new operational procedure to cut the amount of time aircraft circle in ‘holding stacks’ at London Heathrow Airport began on 1st April.
Traditionally NATS has only been able to influence an arriving aircraft’s approach to Heathrow once it enters UK airspace – sometimes only 80 miles from the airport. This limits the opportunity to manage the flow of traffic and can result in additional time spent in the holding stacks.
As part of the Cross Border Arrival Management (XMAN) trial, if delays in the Heathrow holding stacks begin to build, air traffic controllers in the Netherlands, France, Scotland and Ireland will be asked to slow down aircraft up to 350 miles away from London to help minimise delays on arrival.
The trial is being led by NATS in close cooperation with DSNA, Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre, the IAA and Prestwick Control Centre, with the aim of cutting average stack holding times by at least a quarter from the current time of just under 8 minutes
The trial, which is a partnership between members of FABEC and the UK/Ireland FAB, will run until the end of 2014.