Question to [IFATC] Members

If you’re at [Radar center] at an airport, and one of the planes is in the radar field, he said that he is in emergency, due to a lack of fuel …

In this case …
What are the appropriate procedures that the radar should issue instructions for him?

We will get three choices:

Expect delay
Recommend diversion
Expect no undue delay

Depending on fuel left and traffic we will determine one. I usually will go with expect no undue delay and get them in ASAP. Usually give them a more empty runway so that they get priority when landing without impeding traffic


The aircraft will usually be given priority over the other aircraft to allow them to have a timely and safe arrival. However, I’ve had an aircraft call in with zero minutes of fuel left, so not much to do there. Controllers can respond by diverting the aircraft to a closer and more suitable airport or by simply saying “copy emergency fuel” confirming that you got their message. These two options I listed are for emergency fuel while @Drummer’s are for minimum fuel (less of an emergency).

What is the difference between taking appropriate measures with regard to [Radar approach] and [Radar center] in the same situation?

Exactly, those options are based on fuel left. Fuel emergency fuel will give

Copy fuel emergency
Recommend diversion

Minimum fuel will give the three I stated above.


Huh. When I had the an aircraft with zero minutes left the options were copy and divert.

Sorry I got those backwards. I changed it though


To answer your question, on center you must assess how the time it takes to get to that airport based on their location and speed. Center is much easier to divert aircraft and give them vectors since Center covers a bigger airspace and more airports.

On approach, that’s when you will get them on an expedited procedure if possible. In most cases, it will only be minimum fuel and there will be nothing to worry about.

Feel free to keep asking questions if you are still unsure


Yeah, it’s much easier to manage an emergency fuel scenario when you’re higher versus lower.

Thank you @Drummer
I wanted to understand between the instructions, [Radar approach] and [Radar center], and the difference between the appropriate procedures between them in emergency situations.

We knew that… The radar center has recently come, and we should “us Pilots” know what are the appropriate procedures when we contacting the radar and also know what we should do after contacting the radar.

Center, approach, and tower will all have the same fuel emergency messages. This keeps consistency for the pilot when they let each controller on their descent know about their emergency.


Procedures remain the same to a certain extent. Telling the radar controller that you have minimum fuel is mostly for the controller to know not to vector you too far off course and to sort of wrap the traffic around you for an expeditious arrival.


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