EDDB dilemma, what to do when denied entry

Today I controlled EDDB, we are having a day long IFATC event with specific arrival procedures. To lighten the workload of EDDT I, EDDB approach, told the two EDDT approach controllers to hand off a large portion of the aircraft on their frequency to me, to divert them to another airport like EDDB or EDDI. Which airport they diverted to was up to the pilot.

When I opened before they started handing off

To execute this I sent a “deny entry” command upon contact with them after the handoff. Deny entry states that “the destination airport is not accepting incoming traffic at this time”, which means for those that had a flight plan to EDDT, you could no longer land at EDDT.

After sending the deny entry command I put the aircraft into a hold, until they decided which airport they would like to divert to.

Due to a lack of commands, we cannot tell the aircraft to divert, or to divert to another specific airport. All I am able to do as approach is deny entry and wait till the pilot changes their destination and request an approach to a different airport.

To save the pilot’s time if there idea was to wait in the hold, I was only willing to hold aircraft for about 30 minutes. Throughout the 30 minutes I reminded the aircraft several times that they were denied entry still. If the aircraft requested to land at EDDI or EDDB at any time, I would remove them from the hold and start vectoring them to the airport they choose. If after 30 minutes they never stated their intentions, I would have to ask them.

The reason why I needed to ask is simple, fuel. I did not want the pilots under my control to have fuel emergencies. There is no way unfortunately to tell the aircraft how long they would need to hold before they could be vectored to EDDT to land.

After handing off a large portion of EDDT inbounds.

So you see the dilemma. Here is what you need to do when you are denied entry.

Once you are denied entry please switch your destination to another airport and request an approach to another airport, so the approach controller can allow you to divert.


Now it makes everything more sense to me! I was confused at first about the fact that EDDT approach handed me to EDDB when my destination was EDDT.

However, something I was scared about was ghosting. I was Qatari 77 coming from OTHH, B777-300ER. I believe there are no parking slots in EDDB for this aircraft. Just one for 767.

If I would have chosen to divert to another airport (Frankfurt for example, as it can fit B777) which is outside of radar coverage, how would I have let it known to the controller?

Great work today from all controllers😊✈️!

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Ask for flight following to Frankfurt if that is what you would prefer doing.


Thanks for explaining that. I hadn’t really considered that situation occurring.

It was awkward but most understood eventually.

True! Didn’t though about it. I believe first you need to change the Flight Plan to get that option right?

Yes, and that would help the controller.

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Yes please, clearing a vote slot for that.


I think it would be super helpful. I’ll look at my votes too

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Can I just say @Trio that was a super explanation, extremely helpful. 👍🏻


How do I communicate with approach and departure if I am controlling tower?

Yes! Ok, I am glad that I understood this. I was a Lufthansa Cargo that had a missed approach. As soon as you said that I couldn’t go to EDDT, I requested approach at EDDB. I was a bit confused when I saw that I was on my way to land while there were at least 10 aircraft just circling an airport lol. Great job managing the heavy downpour of airliners though!


You cannot if you are on the training server, expert server controllers talk via Slack, a messaging app.

Thanks!, this is so helpful, especially for those who got ghosted 😅

My calling is in the first pic 😂

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@Trio MaxSez: Denial In this case is an ATC action only. Pilots should not be required to second guess the decision process cause by incomplete or terse directions; eg: length of delay (not stated) Devert Option (not stated) ect.!
Present ATC Approach commands are Inadequate for heavy flow situation as we are now experiencing. Option type guidance commands must be considered, amended and “must” be updated ASAP.

(@Trio. Excellent overview and actions on your part with the tools at hand! Well Done! BZ)


I wasn’t flying and haven’t seen this used on myself or other aircraft before, but this will be helpful in the future!

It was new for me as well in a way, good learning experience though of what to do for sure!

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