Tools Used for Traffic Flow Management

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Ground Stop (GS)

A Ground Stop (GS) is a procedure requiring aircraft that meet specific criteria to remain on the ground. The GS may be airport specific, related to a geographical area, or equipment related.  Ground stops are considered to be the most restrictive of the TMIs.

Ground stops are implemented when air traffic control is unable to safely accommodate additional aircraft in the system. They are most frequently used for:

  • Severely reduced capacity situations such as:
    • Weather below user arrival minima
    • Severe weather reducing usable routes
    • Major equipment outages
    • Catastrophic events
  • Precluding extended periods of airborne holding
  • Precluding sectors from reaching saturation levels
  • Precluding airports from reaching gridlock

Ground stops will be specified as tier-based or distance-based just as GDPs are - reactive to the current situation. However, in some situations, they may be planned in advance.

For example, when weather is forecast to develop along the East Coast, aircraft may be released until the weather materializes. At that time, a ground stop may be issued to ensure that additional aircraft are not released until the operational situation allows.

Facilities may implement ground stops for up to 15 minutes without notifying the ATCSCC. A facility ground stop may not exceed 30 minutes. Once the delay is anticipated to reach 15 minutes or more, the ATCSCC is notified. If the ground stop is expected to continue, an advisory will be issued by the ATCSCC advising customers of the extension.

Ground stop information for delays of less than 15 minutes should be provided by the ATC facility. Delays of 15 minutes or more are viewable on the OIS webpage at www.fly.faa.gov/ois. They can be found under the header “Ground Stops.”

Occasionally, aircraft inbound to an airport may be stopped over a specific fix. This information will be recorded on the OIS under the heading “Delay Info.” Additional guidance about interpreting the data is listed under the “Help” button.