Australian traffic holding is a funny one; you can fly 16 hours directly from a place far far away, and then just before landing you get told to hold for 20 minutes – even though you have been in Australian airspace for sometimes 7 hours plus, they wait until the last few minutes to slow you down. 🤷

A recent AIP update and AIC Supp (H25/18) has updated the Airborne Holding Requirements for the four major Australian airports:

YBBN/Brisbane and YMML/Melbourne now are all in line with YSSY/Sydney

  • Daily, 2000Z-1300Z (0600L-2300L) = 20 Minutes 

YPPH/Perth Monday to Friday ONLY

  • 0100Z-0500Z (0900L-1300L) = 10 Minutes
  • 0500Z-0900Z (1300L-1700L) = 5 Minutes
  • 0900Z-1300Z (1700L-2100L) = 10 Minutes

There has been a slight change in the AIP requirements also. Instead of publishing “holding fuel advisories” – it’s now called airborne traffic delays”. So they aren’t really advising you on what fuel to carry anymore. In fact they go as far as saying that:

“All traffic delay estimates are an indication only. Actual holding may differ from the estimate, and operators should use their own judgement on fuel carriage decisions. More detailed historical holding data is available from the NCC on request.”

But… if you arrive at a destination without sufficient holding fuel for “actual traffic holding” then… “you will not be accorded a priority approach unless you declare an “emergency”.

So keep an eye on the NOTAMs for updated daily requirements. Even as recently as this week, 30 minutes holding was being required in YSSY/Sydney due to ATC shortages.

Insider tip: If you see the winds in Sydney from the west gusting more than 25 knots, you will see a NOTAM for traffic holding that increases the 20 minutes to 50 minutes or more due to single runway ops. You can expect to see similar NOTAMs when any low visibility operation kicks in at the other airports.


A few other quick updates for operations around Australia that you might have missed.

  • YPPH/Perth now has a Category III Instrument Landing System. Perth is a very isolated airport, especially for long-haul widebody operations, with the nearest diversion alternates being over 600-1000nm away.
  • YBBN/Brisbane‘s main runway, 01/19, will be changing designation to include a LEFT and RIGHT in early November in preparation for the certification of the parallel runway in 2020.

Have we missed anything? Then let us know!