• SJU reference # 64 /Release 2
  • Stakeholders
  • Benefits Capacity
  • Status Available for industrialisation/deployment


Today, aircraft making their final approach to land are obliged to maintain minimum separation distances. These distances are fixed whatever the wind conditions. When keeping to these distances in strong headwinds longer gaps of time develop between aircraft. This means fewer flights landing per hour (reduced airport capacity), leading to delays and increased holding at busy times, which results in increased fuel burn.

SESAR’s time-based separation (TBS) replaces current distance separations with time intervals in order to adapt to weather conditions. It provides consistent time-based spacing between arriving aircraft in order to maintain runway approach capacity.

The TBS software uses real-time information about the weather, airspeed, ground speed, heading and altitude to display time-based separation and arrival speed information to the approach controller. No changes are required on board the aircraft, but the controller uses the real-time separation indicators to manage the final approach separations.

TBS research included analysis of the arrival paths of over 100,000 aircraft using state-of-the-art equipment to measure the behaviour of aircraft wake vortices. The procedure now is in daily use at London Heathrow, where, in strong wind conditions, it delivers up to 4.2 additional aircraft landings with TBS per hour compared to traditional distance-based separation procedures. TBS results in savings of 90k minutes of arrival delays, 15kt of fuel and 47kt of CO2 per annum.

The SESAR Solution is available for industrialisation. TBS entered into full-time service at London-Heathrow in March 2015.

SJU references: #64/Release 2


-Improved airport capacity as a result of increased aircraft landing rates in strong headwind conditions
-Reduction in holding times as well as stack entry to touchdown times
-Increased situational awareness


Contextual Note

Regulatory overview



Validation Report

Performance result