Departing on one runway? Arriving on the other?

Hi. I was in the expert server in Tokyo Narita and ATC were using rwy 16R for both arriving and departing traffic. Shouldn’t ATC in expert sever know to use both to reduce waiting times? Thanks


It depends on how busy it is, I’m sure the controllers had a reason for their strategy there.

The best strategy is to just use all the runways for deps and landing when it’s busy. If it’s not busy then using one for landing and one for deps may make sense.


I have just now tuned to ATIS frequency and they are using both 16s for landings and departures.

The main reason that you see the majority of the aircrafts that are waiting on 16R is that 16L is far away. Thats why also you see only a few taxiing to 16L. I dont think there is a reason not to use both runways and as I can see in your picture there are 2 aircrafts taxing to 16L. That means that 16L is also active. However, if at the time you were there, they did use only one runway(something that I think its incorrect), they must have a strategy, as @Chatta290 mentioned above.


Another factor to consider is that when only one rubway is used for departures and one for landing, it’s much easier to control the frequency. Planes take off and land much quicker, it also allows the approach controller to have a much easier time.

As mentioned, the controller could have used both runways for takeoff and landing. And ATIS confirms this. The reason perhaps traffic is piled up for runway 16R is that pilots, for reasons unknown to me, like to spawn where it’s busy. So in this case I see many pilots spawning on the same side, and I suggest in this case the ATC wants to keep their taxi times short and they all end up waiting for the same runway.

So I suggest this lineup is a pilot thing, rather than the ATCs strategy.


Mix of controller discretion and pilots usually spawning whereever is closest to a runway, as described above.

I’ll make people taxi to a further runway if it makes sense from an operations standpoint if a departure queue starts forming on a runway. I’ve seen plenty of people respawn closer to the runway I told them to taxi to.


There’s planes in your picture taxiing to 16L, so they’re using both, but let me let you in on a little secret.

Pilots don’t like to be told to taxi to the runway that’s farther away.

I was at WSSS, and everyone seemed to be spawning on one side of the field. I had a massive buildup at 20C. Trying to alleviate that, I sent some that were relatively close to 20C over to 20R. All but one pilot fought me on it. They either demanded 20C, even though they’d have to wait in a massive line, or they agreed to taxi to 20R…but then taxied to 20C anyway.

So, yeah, we know to use both. But when most people spawn close to one, which is very clearly the case at RJAA, telling them they’ll have to wait a lot less if only they would taxi a few seconds longer doesn’t work. There’s a reason pilots in IF spawn at the GA tie-down close to the runway in 388s.

Horse…water…drinking education…etc…


I controlled RJAA ground a few minutes after this topic was created and can certainly confirm that. Due to airport layout most aircraft would spawn closer to R thus naturally creating a bigger queue on R - despite my efforts to send more and more aircraft to L, several pilots would simply ask to go to R. I won’t say “no”… have at it. Good luck staying on a queue with 12 aircraft when you could just easily taxi for an extra 2 minutes and get to a runway with 2 aircraft ahead. But… ¯_(ツ)_/¯

The airport is designed like that for a reason. Ideally arrivals land at 16L as by the time they exit they are already in the terminal area, then departures should depart from 16 R as it is closer. :)

I was one of the many pilot who spawned in on the right side but one of the few instructed to 16L earlier. I didn’t have a problem maneuvering through a massive, complicated taxiway system as it was obvious the volume was high. I did notice however the vigilant controller watching the entire 5-10 min of my taxi to 16L, and as result of this high volume they had to halt me or oncoming traffic several times in order for me to access the final taxiway towards takeoff. I didn’t know this was a thing these days but I’ll definitely keep it mind when spawning.

1 Like

No no no. Large airports do this a lot.

Thanks for the reply’s! I presume there’s a lot of casual gamers who somehow found themselves onto the expert server who aren’t too familiar with real world airport operations. Oh well.

Controllers will try to do real world scenarios if possible. But the goal is to provide the best service to the pilots. If that means to go against real world procedures to utilize a runway to expedite departures then so be it. You don’t get XP for sitting on the ground…


This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.