Missing aircraft procedures

When an aircraft fails to arrive at its destination airfield at the expected time, it is listed as missing.

LVNL has a structured procedure for such situations. This is divided into three phases: Uncertainty, Alert and Distress. We provide an “alert service” for every flight using air traffic control services, with a submitted flight plan or otherwise known to us, and for those known or thought to have been hijacked or subject to some other form of so-called “ unlawful interference”. As well as alerting those who come to the aid of an aircraft in distress, such as rescue and policing organisations, we provide them with all necessary assistance.


Phase 1: Uncertainty

The Uncertainty phase begins 30 minutes after air traffic control fails to receive a scheduled call from an aircraft or it does not arrive as expected at its destination airfield, or as soon as an unsuccessful attempt is made to contact it.


Phase 2: Alert

The Alert phase is initiated if attempts to contact the aircraft or to obtain information about it from other sources during the Uncertainty phase are unsuccessful, or if it has been cleared for landing but fails to do so within five minutes of its expected arrival time. This phase is also initiated if LVNL receives information indicating that the aircraft its experiencing problems, but these do not appear serious enough to warrant an emergency landing.


Phase 3: Distress

The Distress phase is initiated if we are still unable to contact the aircraft during the Alert phase and information from other sources suggests that it is in distress. This phase is also initiated if the aircraft would now have run out of fuel, or would not have enough left to land safely, or if air traffic control receives information indicating that it has made or will have to make an emergency landing, or probably has or will have to do so.


In the event of an aircraft accident, or the impending danger of one, at or close to an airfield, LVNL is responsible for alerting its emergency services. All airports and airfields have their own local emergency response procedures, and we have a crisis procedure which can be activated should an incident or some other unusual situation occur.