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  • Airport Operations Plan (AOP)

    The most accurate, up to date information for better planning and more informed decision making.

    AOP in summary

    AOP is the platform we use at LHR to allow airport stakeholders (the airport operator, aircraft operators/ground handlers, ATC and the Network Operations Manager at EuroControl) to show and share information on both the progress and plans for arrivals, departures and towed movements around the airport. By openly sharing information we can work together more efficiently and transparently and maximise the use of both the runways and preferred stands.

    One of the main outputs of the AOP process is to provide a greater degree of accuracy to the EuroControl Network Manager through publishing Target Take Off Times for departures from LHR. The Network Manager can use this information to improve en route and sector planning of the European ATM Network. The ultimate benefit for LHR is that using the latest and most accurate information allows the Network Manager to plan and prioritise in advance, allowing improvements in slot delays to LHR departures. Slots are given to departures if there is an excess in demand for traffic to a given outstation or in the en route airspace that a flight is planned to operate in. They are referred to as Calculated Take off Time (CTOT) and in effect provide a guaranteed runway slot to that aircraft, which may be some time after the aircraft is scheduled to depart or is ready to depart. The fewer CTOTs that we have at LHR the greater flexibility the Air Traffic Controllers have in delivering the flow of traffic to our busy runway(s).

    At thirty minutes before departure we use the Target Off-Blocks Time (TOBT) to create a 'virtual place' for the aircraft on the runway and provide visibility of an expected Target Start-up Approval Time (TSAT). We also use your TOBT to calculate a Target Take-Off Time (TTOT) that is communicated to the Network Manager. This TTOT is used in the management of European airspace.

    Heathrow and NATS working with stakeholders on predictable operations

    Planned improvements to AOP

    As part of the continued improvements to AOP we are currently looking at introducing the following amendments. These amendments are subject to full testing to ensure that they do not lead to a deterioration in system performance..

    Page Improvement   Priority
    New page AOP flight split screen functionality introduced September 2019 N/A
    Admin Edit in Excel for flight alert functionality Low
    Landing page Passenger delay minute correction on PDF exports Low
    Landing page RAG status correction on OTP arrival performance Low
    Departures No A-DPI messages to be sent after CTOT received once AOBT is confirmed Medium
    Arrivals page Correct sorting errors on air hold and hold for stand Medium
    Stand and Jetty page Correct printing issue when printing from screen Medium
    Rig allocator Correct error when some movements still show as scheduled although activity has commenced Low
    Rig allocator Correct hover error on rig allocation overlaps Low
    My reports Introduce filter for external users for snow data Low
    Add ability to hide an additional three columns High
    Landing page Fix issue with missing flights on Scattergraph Medium
    Landing page Amend AFR box to support TTA trial Low
    Departures Add ability to hide an additional three columns High
    Arrivals Amend shading on hold colum Low
    Landing page Allow external users to drill down for cancellation detail from landing page Low
    De-icing Identify fix to inconsistency with visibility of de-icing requests Low

    Ground operations

    Target Off-Blocks Time (TOBT) must be updated to an accuracy of +/- 5 minutes. If your TOBT is changing please take a minute to think through the reason the time is changing and decide on a new time that is realistic. Late, small, and repeated incremental changes are to be avoided as this creeping delay creates a phantom requirement for a runway place. Please find below some key points

    • If you are ready to go with less than 10 minutes left before your TOBT it is recommended that you do NOT update your time – you may still call 5 minutes before your TOBT.
    • If you know that you will be unable to achieve your TOBT you should enter a new, realistic TOBT as soon as possible. Remember you have the 5 minute window before and after your TOBT – if you will exceed that window, update with a new, later TOBT: this will free up your theoretical runway slot for another movement and allow the system additional time to search for an optimal runway slot for your new TOBT.
    • Never update a TOBT with a time in the past - this causes great system instability.

    Flight Operations

    Estimated Off-Blocks Time (EOBT) must be aligned to within +/-10 minutes of the TOBT.


    Pilots should call Delivery at TOBT +/-5 minutes. If they become aware of any reason why they may be unable to meet the TOBT (+/- 5 mins) they should advise the ground handler and provide a new, realistic TOBT.

    Contact us

    • Email us

      Please email the team if you have any questions. If you have a technical issue, HAL employees should raise a fault via the IT portal on HUB+.

    • Phone

      External stakeholders should please contact the IT Service Desk

      Call 020 8745 5355
    • Urgent queries

      If your query is urgent and may affect the timely operation of a flight please call the Aircraft Operations Duty Manager between 05.30 - 00:30

      Call 07525 825585