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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

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.

Need access to AOP?

Colleagues employed directly by Heathrow can request an AOP account through the TechHelp portal on HUB+.

TeamHeathrow colleagues who are not employed directly by Heathrow should use the following process. Please ensure you read and follow the instructions carefully.

  1. Register your email address with Heathrow Digital Identity – if you already have access to the Airport Community App and/or other Heathrow systems, you may be able to skip this step.
  2. Once HDI registration is completed and confirmed, then request access to AOPPlease ensure you list your organisation and your specific job role in the ‘Justification’ field. Generic responses such as ‘Needed for Job Role’ or ‘Operational Reasons’ will cause your request to be rejected.
  3. The Aircraft Operations Duty Manager Team will review and approve the request electronically. You will receive an approval notification. This may take up to 48 hours depending on operational requirements.
  4. You now have access to AOP and can access it at by selecting the AOP icon. Alternatively, you can use this link.
  5. If you need access to the De-Icing Interface, Passenger or Freight Data (restricted to your airline or those you are contracted to) you will need to email after your account is created and you are able to log in. These requests are manual and can take up to a week to action; where possible please consolidate the request with other colleagues who require the same information.
  6. Please note that AOP accounts need to be re-validated every 90 days. You will receive an email from Microsoft Azure/HDI and must confirm your continued need for access to AOP – this is a mandatory cyber security requirement, and failure to respond will result in your account being deleted. If your account is deleted, you will need to raise a new request as in Step 2.  
  7. If you also need access to the AOP Situational Awareness Map, you will need to call the Heathrow IT Service Desk (02087455355) after your AOP account is created and you have logged in for the first time. Please ask them to use the ‘All Heathrow Maps’ form and grant you access to ‘AOP Map Live’ – this will be reviewed and approved and you will receive a separate username and password for the Map. If asked for a Heathrow Department, please list ‘APOC’ and for a Heathrow Line Manager, please list Diogene DeSouza.

Note: Heathrow Digital Identity is used to grant access to HAL IT applications for external stakeholders. For example, it is used for access to the Heathrow Airport Community app. If you are already registered with HDI you can skip the first step and go directly to Step 2.

Contact us

  • Email 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

    After completing online registration, external stakeholders should contact the IT Service Desk for any further assistance.

    Call 020 8745 5355
  • Urgent queries
    Urgent queries

    If your query is urgent and may affect the timely operation of a flight please call the Aircraft Operations Duty Manager at any time 24 hours a day.

    Call 07525 825585