ATC airport freeze

Recently Ive noticed this occurring more and more. An ATC controller will hop on Ground and Tower and get requests to push back and taxi and will hold everyone for at least 15-20 mins. Most people (like me) comply with the freeze, others leave out of frustration. The worst thing is that after all that waiting the ATC will say that they are changing controllers and they leave. This begins the frenzy as all pilots that were waiting, scramble to get moving before another controller hops on in fear that they will have to wait even longer.

A few days ago, Monday or Tuesday I believe…was the most recent time this happened while I was on. I understand the airport may be busy but I made sure to check that it wasnt. 3 inbound aircrafts, 5 grounded but by the time the controller left, we had 14 grounded, 7 inbound.

My reason for posting this is to find out why this happens and if it is something that is supposed to happen.


What server was this on?

Also the region and airport?

I experienced the same issue in Hawai’i region earlier this week. I’m blaming everything on Global nowadays lol

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The expert server controllers will do this if we have an abundance of traffic departing a multi runway airport like PHNL and traveling to a single runway airport like PHOG. Reasons being as I’m sure you have seen the lines into the single runway can become extremely long. We did this last week in London as everyone was departing EGLL for EGBB.

You will most likely see this more and more as we approach Global with the increase in traffic we are seeing. They do this in RL as well just in a diffrent way. Controllers should be creating a NOTAM here when they go into effect though.


As unfortunate as ground stops are, they really release a lot of pressure on us controllers. The goal is to not put the airport into a ground stop, because it’s a nightmare for us controllers to get everyone out of the ground stop. But they help a lot, especially with the size of the regions we have currently. It’s very difficult to vector everyone into a straight line for the runway, and get departures out… think of a ground stop like the on ramps to the highway in LA, steady flow, they release cars to the highway when it’s able to handle the cars!


Expert Amsterdam region

SO depending where you are flying determines if you are able to depart?

Yes so when these go into effect you wil be required to file a flight plan prior to pushback. Another reason these could be used is if you have a large line in the takeoff que. there’s no reason to have you push and taxi to the runway just to wait there if it’s going to block exit routes for the runway.

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Yes, and that’s true to life. Real-world departure times are determined by what your arrival time will be. They adjust so that a huge mass of planes don’t arrive at a hub at the same time.

But, for example, in IF, if everyone is leaving EGLL and flying directly to EGBB, it’s unreasonable to have a pack of 40 planes arriving at EGBB at the same time with its single runway. (Where, of course, the complaint will be that all 40 weren’t able to land at the same time and some had to divert from their one-waypoint flight plan.)

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I noticed this freeze but if you checked the recent forum post a NOTAM was put out warning people in the Amsterdam region of delays climbing to 10 minutes hold.
Arrivals were put in holds, departures were stalled. It was a mess but the IFATC did amazing keeping stress levels down and informing us. Just keep an eye on the forums in case they have an additional NOTAM for any future use.

I didnt mind the hold…like I said I waited. I just remember I was watching the movie Logan and thinking, “Man…my passengers are gonna be maaaaaaaadddddddd”

Lol if this was real our passengers would try suing us for somehow on purpose making them late.

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