Airport too busy? What to do

So as some of you may have seen earlier today, Santiago on the expert server was buzzing with arrivals, so much so that all entry was denied for a bit. I got the “airport too busy, not accepting incoming traffic” message during my approach, and I have to admit I was rather frustrated, as other planes seemed to be getting into the approach pattern. I ended up diverting, but I noticed that some flights just hung around until the traffic cleared up, and then trying the approach.

I’m not complaining or anything, as ATC almighty… but I’m not quite sure what’s the best move after receiving such message?

Some insight would be much appreciated!



You hold or divert, diverting is the best option and in this situation you made the right call.


If traffic is busy divert or if you have the time hold

as @Chief305 said Hold or divert. it also depends on many other things like whats the nearest Airport i can land how many fuel do i have left and than you make an decision.

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I would suggest diverting. Unless you really need to make it to your requested airport, diverting isn’t going to make much of a difference, and it also reduces your chances of getting ghosted for spamming the frequency.


Pm the controller involved to figure out exactly why (inboxes are ALWAYS open), but the “airport busy” is from the Deny Entry menu. If they send you it they want you to go somewhere else, if they wanted you to hold for traffic (talking about approach here, not tower) they would have put you in a hold.

Based on your screenshot, if you were intending to land at the airport pictured, if that wasn’t after you started climbing to divert, you were WAY too high, you don’t want to be talking to approach at FL300, you should be down around FL180 when about 50 nm away from the airport (this is the limit of approach’s airspace, FL180, 50 nm radius)


Well in your case you had 11% of fuel left so your best option wouldve been to divert to the nearest practical airport that would be able to handle the aircraft

It really depends. If you feel comfortable with your fuel left, depart the approach airspace (come above FL180) and circle/make maneuvers outside of the airspace. In this scenario, I would have weighed my options with fuel and gone from there.

If I have enough fuel, I would climb and head out over the coast, and circled until the traffic goes down.

If I don’t, I’d head towards the nearest airport that accepts A320’s, and land there!

Hi @Haifan_Day, I was the controller.

Because of elevation and the number of inbound calling in at the same time I started to deny entry to SCEL. Your screenshot doesn’t show all of the traffic. When that happens you have one of two options:

a) Divert to a near airfield (preferred)

b) Stay out of the way and circle around and wait. You may re-request approach once you see traffic is clearing, but be careful not to spawn the frequency, especially if the controller asks you to “avoid sending duplicate messages”. If traffic clears and I see aircraft circling around I typically pro-actively start accepting the traffic. But this may vary from controller to controller.

As far as you seeing other aircraft being accepted and you being denied… it was because some aircraft where calling in for service in a very good position. They were already at a decent altitude and pointing towards the approach line, so I could easily accept them w/o impact to quality of service.

Because you were at FL270, you were denied entry. Even on an empty airspace you should not be that high that close. Aim to be at no more than FL180 60 miles from the airfield.

I hope that answers your questions. Let me know if you have any others.


Thank you Manny, I know approach is all one big puzzle. Thank you for keeping things under control. I ended up climbing again (hence the altitude), and diverting an hour south. No big deal.


I think you have the right attitude. Unfortunately it can be very busy and people just need to be patient. As said the worst thing people do is they start spamming the frequency or think they are being ignored. The other reason why people are denied entry is when they take off from a few miles away and expect to get right into the pattern… Clearly that was not what you did. It won’t work in an airspace like this!

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Ah…gotcha. Thank you for the kind comments. The terrain around that airfield is no joke.

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