Acceptable Behaviour Rules for Flight Planning and air traffic flow and capacity management (ATFCM) Operations

The obligations of Aircraft Operators regarding Flight Planning, ATFM and Airport/Flight Plan consistency are defined in the relevant EU Implementing Rules and the Network Operations Handbook. Any deliberate or repetitive non-adherence to these rules and procedures is considered as unacceptable behaviour.

The following paragraphs describe the types of abuse that may occur and provide some examples of unacceptable behaviour. The paragraphs do not constitute an exhaustive list.

Adjustments to EOBT

Adjustments to the Estimated Off-Block Time (“EOBT”) take place mainly for legitimate reasons but may also result from attempts to abuse the ATFCM System. Adjustments include the use of Delay (“DLA”) and Modification (“CHG”) messages. The Aircraft Operator shall always file the EOBT which, at the time of filing, is known to be the true EOBT. For flights subject to ATFM, this EOBT shall be updated if it becomes known that it will vary by 15 minutes or more. It is not necessary to notify changes of the EOBT of less than 15 minutes unless expressly notified by EUROCONTROL for specific reasons.

Knowing the true EOBT is essential to ensuring that the required regulations are applied accurately, and with minimum impact on Aircraft Operators. It also avoids creating unnecessary regulations for areas where demand actually meets capacity, or is close to capacity.

Finally, it is the basic prerequisite for ensuring fair treatment between all Aircraft Operators.

Unacceptable behaviour with respect to adjustments to the EOBT, consists in one or more of the following actions:

  • Filing an EOBT which is not the true EOBT of the flight.
  • Filing an EOBT which is not consistent with the planned departure time in the company schedule.
  • Filing an EOBT which is not consistent with the airport slot where applicable.
  • Adjusting the EOBT to an EOBT which is not the true EOBT.
  • Adjusting the EOBT by a series of small increments.

Filing an EOBT which is earlier than the opening hour of the airport minus the taxitime e.g. Opening hour 0600 Taxitime in Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (“ETFMS”) is 15 minutes, earliest EOBT = 0545.

Flight Plans

The use of multiple flight plans wastes valuable slots even if the duration of the flight plan duplication is very short.

Filing a flight plan for a flight whilst another flight plan for the same flight is still active constitutes unacceptable behaviour.

ATFM/IFPS Messages

ATFM/IFPS Messages are intended for specific purposes, which are defined in the Network Operations Handbook.

Unacceptable behaviour with respect to ATFM/IFPS Messages consists in one or more of the following actions:

  • Using ATFM/IFPS Messages for other than their intended purpose.
  • Using multiple messages which cannot be justified by operational reasons. This includes the use of multiple DLA or CHG messages.

Exempted Flights

Exempted flight status is granted to those flights that fulfil specific criteria, for example ‘Search and Rescue’ and ‘Head of State’ or when approved by the relevant National Authority.

Unacceptable behaviour with respect to Exempted Flights consists in one or more of the following actions:

  • Cancelling a flight plan that has received a delay and resubmitting it with an “exempted” status.
  • Inappropriate or improperly authorised use of Status Indicator in a flight plan.