U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Air Traffic Organization Policy

ORDER
JO 7210.3X
Effective Date:
February 9, 2012
 
     
Subject:  Facility Operation and Administration
       Includes:  Errata effective 2/9/12, Change 1 effective 7/26/12, Change 2 effective 3/7/13, and Change 3 effective 8/22/13
 

Section 11. Ground Stop(s)

17-11-1. POLICY

Ground stop(s) (GS) override all other traffic management initiatives. Aircraft must not be released from a GS without the approval of the originator of the GS.

17-11-2. GENERAL

The GS is a process that requires aircraft that meet a specific criteria to remain on the ground. The criteria may be airport specific, airspace specific, or equipment specific; for example, all departures to San Francisco, or all departures entering Yorktown sector, or all Category I and II aircraft going to Charlotte. GSs normally occur with little or no warning. Since GSs are one of the most restrictive methods of traffic management, alternative initiatives must be explored and implemented if appropriate. GSs should be used:

a. In severely reduced capacity situations (below most user arrival minimums, airport/runway closed for snow removal, or aircraft accidents/incidents);

b. To preclude extended periods of airborne holding;

c.  To preclude sector/center reaching near saturation levels or airport grid lock;

d. In the event a facility is unable or partially unable to perform ATC services due to unforeseen circumstances;

e. When routings are unavailable due to severe weather; and

f. When routings are unavailable due to catastrophic events.

NOTE-
Helicopters are exempt from ground stops based on weather unless specifically included by the ARTCC facility when requesting the ground stop.

17-11-3. LOCAL GROUND STOP(S)

A facility may initiate a local GS when the facilities impacted are wholly contained within the facility's area of responsibility and conditions are not expected to last more than 30 minutes. Local GSs must not be extended without prior approval of the ATCSCC.

a. The TMU must:

1. Explore and, if warranted, implement alternative initiatives before implementing a local GS.

2. Notify the ATCSCC before implementing a local GS.

NOTE-
If conditions prohibit notifying the ATCSCC before the GS is implemented, the TMU must inform the ATCSCC as soon as practical.

3. Issue GS information to underlying facilities, using normal communication methods, in sufficient time for proper planning.

b. The Terminal facility must notify the appropriate TMU before implementing a local GS.

NOTE-
If conditions prohibit notifying the TMU before the GS is implemented, the facility must inform the TMU as soon as practical.

c. The ATCSCC must:

1. When available, use the FSM to implement the GS.

2. Issue an advisory.

17-11-4. NATIONAL GROUND STOP(S)

Prior to implementing a national GS, less restrictive traffic management initiatives must be evaluated. Upon receipt of information that an immediate constraint is needed to manage a condition:

a. The ATCSCC must:

1. Time permitting, conference affected facilities and system users, as appropriate, to implement a national GS.

2. When appropriate, utilize Flight Schedule Monitor (FSM) to implement a national GS, except when deemed impractical.

NOTE-
FSM does not allow for the implementation of category specific GSs, for example, GS for single airline flights or GS for all Cat I and II flights. In these cases the use of the FSM GS is not practical.

3. Transmit an ATCSCC advisory providing information to air traffic facilities and user groups about the implementation or modification of a national GS. The ATCSCC advisory must include the following items:

(a) Airport.

(b) Facilities Included.

(c) Expect Update Time.

(d) Reason.

(e) Probability of Extension.

(f) Remarks. (Optional)

4. Continually monitor, adjust, and cancel national GSs, as appropriate, and transmit an ATCSCC advisory as necessary.

5. Coordinate with the affected facilities to ensure the GS is managing the condition.

b. The ARTCC TMU must:

1. Explore and implement alternative initiatives prior to requesting a national GS, if feasible.

2. Issue GS information to underlying facilities, using normal communication methods, in sufficient time for proper planning.

3. Coordinate closely with the ATCSCC on conditions affecting capacity.

c. The Terminal facilities must:

1. Issue GS information to underlying facilities, using normal communication methods, in sufficient time for proper planning.

2. Coordinate closely with the appropriate TMU on conditions affecting the national GS.

3. Request release of aircraft through the appropriate protocol.

17-11-5. CANCELLATION PROCEDURES

a. The ATCSCC must:

1. Time permitting, conference affected facilities and system users, as appropriate, to develop an operational plan to release nationally ground stopped traffic.

2. Transmit an ATCSCC advisory when a national GS has been cancelled.

3. Transmit an ATCSCC advisory to cancel an ATCSCC issued local GS advisory.

4. The advisory must include the following items:

(a) Airport.

(b) Facilities Released.

b. The ARTCC TMU and the Terminal facilities must:

1. Issue cancellation information to underlying facilities, using normal communication methods, in sufficient time for proper planning and control actions.

2. Notify facility personnel, as appropriate, of the cancellation.

3. Notify the ATCSCC if a local GS was coordinated with the ATCSCC.

17-11-6. DOCUMENTATION

a. The ATCSCC must document all pertinent information related to the GS in their position logs, including, but not limited to, the start and stop times, the affected facilities, and the reason for the GS.

b. The ARTCC TMU and the Terminal facilities must document all pertinent information related to the GS in their position logs.

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