Did You Know Why Holding Stacks Is So Important to the Busiest Airports?


Let’s start from the beginning! The definition of holding (or flying a hold) in aviation field means some manoeuvres of aircraft before the landing. Incoming aircraft must sometimes be stacked when an aircraft which has arrived at their destination but cannot land yet because of the traffic congestion, poor weather, or runway unavailability.

Stacking means that pilots go into a holding pattern circling radio beacons.

Holding stacks work as waiting room for an aircraft before landing. Then the aircraft is in the “waiting room” the air traffic controller efficiently organises the landing directions and runway. For this reason, there can be several aircraft separated vertically by 1,000 feet or more at the same time in holding stack. When the plane leaves the holding stack it is safely directed towards the runway.

One airport may have several holding stacks; depending on where aircraft arrive from or which runway is in use, or because of vertical airspace limitations. For example, around Heathrow airport there are four holding stacks called Bovingdon, Lambourne, Ockham and Biggin.

We use cookies and other similar technologies to help provide our Services, to advertise to you and to analyse how you use our Services and whether advertisements are being viewed. We also allow third parties to use tracking technologies for similar purposes. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. To learn more, Read More.

Necessary Cookies

Always enabled

These cookies are necessary for our website to function properly and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms or where they’re essential to provide you with a service you have requested. You cannot opt-out of these cookies. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but if you do, some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
Performance Cookies
These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site, which helps us optimize your experience. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not be able to use your data in this way.
Targeting Cookies
These cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.
Save & Accept