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Weekend London (Area) Control Restrictions

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Jack Edwards

Valid from 10 February 2021 UFN

Every Saturday and Sunday 1200-2200L

Weekend traffic on the network is approximately 80% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Pilot and ATC feedback supports the fact that area controllers are under considerable pressure to provide the consistent high standards of control commonly found in the UK.

Bandbox positions were created to allow area controllers to offer their services to more pilots in off-peak periods. For most of the weekend, using these sectors as originally intended is not possible.

Rather than remove bandbox positions, they are instead temporarily limited. These restrictions will be rescinded if/when weekend traffic levels return to pre-pandemic levels.


LON_CTR - May only be opened when 2 or more of the following positions are staffed by other controllers:

  • LON_C_CTR;
  • LON_S_CTR.

LON_SC_CTR - May only be opened when either:

  • LTC_N_CTR and LTC_S_CTR are both covered by other controllers (see next section) or;
  • LON_C_CTR or LON_S_CTR is staffed by another controller.

LTC_CTR - LTC can be a very intense sector with many more time-critical interactions than an AC position. The responsibilities of LTC_CTR must be split between a minimum of 2 controllers. For example:

  • LTC_N_CTR and LTC_S_CTR or;
  • LTC_CTR and LTC_SE_CTR or;
  • LON_C_CTR and LTC_S_CTR.


Example peak period London FIR split:




  • Can I always open any of the 'standard' LON_N/S/C/W_CTR sectors? - Yes
  • 2+ people are planning to split a bandbox position according to the restrictions, can I log on before they do? - Yes, common sense applies - a short grace period is assumed (same as opening LTC_SE/SW)
  • Could we open LTC_CTR, LTC_E_CTR and LON_E_CTR during peak periods? - No, as LTC_CTR takes LTC_NE_CTR in this cirumstance and therefore LTC_CTR is not split between 2 controllers
Edited by Jack Edwards
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