Runway Holding Position

Definition

A designated position intended to protect a runway, an obstacle limitation surface, or an ILS/MLS critical/sensitive area at which taxiing aircraft and vehicles shall stop and hold, unless otherwise authorized by the aerodrome control tower.
Note.— In radiotelephony phraseologies, the expression “holding point” is used to designate the runway-holding position.

Source: ICAO Annex 14 - Aerodromes

Description

An aircraft between the holding position and the runway is considered to be on the runway as far as ATC operations are concerned. This means that:

  • A landing aircraft is not considered to have vacated the runway unless it has passed the holding position
  • A departing aircraft that has moved beyond the holding position is considered to be on the runway although it may technically still be on the taxiway surface. If the movement beyond the holding position is made without appropriate authorisation, this is considered as a Runway Incursion.

Examples of departing and arriving aircraft in relation to the holding position: (1) is at the holding position, (2) has passed the holding position, (3) is about to vacate and (4) has vacated the runway. Aircraft (2) and (3) are considered to be occupying the runway, i.e. that no other aircraft will receive a take off or a landing clearance at this moment.

More than one holding position may be defined for a taxiway/runway crossing. The most common reason for this is the presence of a CAT II/III ILS. If the ILS signals can be affected by reflection from an aircraft near the runway then another holding position is defined that is further away from the runway.

Example of different holding positions - AB13, AB12, AB11 and A10W are CAT I holding positions while A13, A12 and A11 are CAT II/III holding positions. Note: COBRA, DINGO, RABIT, SNAPA, C2 and D2 are intermediate holding positions and not runway holding positions.

Phraseology

While the term "holding position" is used in ICAO documents, it is replaced by "holding point" in radio-telephony. A controller taxi instruction would be something similar to: Airjet 123, taxi to holding point runway 22. The name of the holding position as well as the taxi route (i.e. which taxiways are to be used and in what order) would be added to the taxi clearance if there is a risk of confusion.

The reason for substituting "position" with "point" is that a similar sounding instruction existed in the United States, "Taxi into position and hold" which had a completely different meaning - it was an authorization to line up on the active runway. Therefore, in order to avoid confusion and reduce the risk of runway incursions, the ICAO radio-telephony term was changed. In September 2010 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) amended JO 7110.65 (Air Traffic Control) by replacing the phrase "Taxi into position and hold (TIPH)" with "Line up and wait (LUAW)".

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