Why do aircraft hold at Heathrow Airport?


If you have travelled to Heathrow, then you must have experienced that your aircraft have been held rotating on the bounds of the airport just before been given permission to land. As a matter of fact, from a functional viewpoint is that this process of holding up is not really a sign of inadequacy. Infact the Heathrow airport plans to hold the system in the right way. This may sound foolish, but holding is in fact a very capable way of making sure an airport with controlled runway capacity, just like the Heathrow airport makes most of the use of landing slot those are available with it.The Heathrow airport has four holding points all of which assist the controllers to rightly order the aircraft that is arriving in order to make the perfect use of the accessible slots. This is surely a balancing activity that needs great amount of skill and expertise.

Types of aircraft

It mostly depends on the sort of aircraft those are just waiting for the landing. For instance a very huge aircraft generates some disorder in its wake time, and if the following aircraft is a smaller one then the controller has to give a bigger separation distance between both of the, for the convenience purpose. This will then take more distance and time. On the other hand, the bigger aircraft can easily and safely follow at a safer distance.

Runway capacity

One more benefit of operating hold is that it permits the controller to get them to the land in a sequence that makes use of the available capacity of the runway. Getting the wrong order costs money as well as time .Heathrow has 98% capacity, however a wrong calculation can send waves of delay with the remaining schedule. This is the reason for which the NATS controllers are given the training of the highest standards. A held aircraft burns out more fuel and take out more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but when the infrastructure of the ground has some limits, then it can work as a solution to the airport and ATC. After you get more time and space, the aircraft can be slowed down to lessen the need to hold it. Indeed,currently Heathrow airport has a functional trial underway to check how that can be developed in the near future.

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