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Since the US handles the landing clearance differently, this is limited to Europe (EASA-land).

From Eurocontrol:

Continue Approach

If the runway is obstructed when the aircraft reports ‘final’, but it is expected to be available in good time for the aircraft to make a safe landing, the controller will delay landing clearance by issuing an instruction to ‘continue approach’. The controller may explain why the landing clearance has been delayed. An instruction to ‘continue’ is NOT a clearance to land.

I understand it's also used for sequencing, e.g., continue approach number 2, number 3, etc.


Here's the scenario:

STACK 1 has been cleared to land, and is 8 NM out. STACK 88 was holding short and was requesting sometime to verify something, but now they are ready.

STACK 88: Tower, Stack 88 is now ready for departure.

Tower: Stack 88, traffic 8 mile final, are you ready for immediate departure?

STACK 88: Affirm, Stack 88 is ready.

Tower: Stack 88, cleared for immediate takeoff, no delay.

STACK 88: Cleared for immediate takeoff.

Tower: Stack 1, cancel landing clearance, continue approach number 1, traffic departing, minimum approach speed.

STACK 1: Roger, continue approach, minimum approach speed.

Is the above exchange correct? In terms of both procedures and phraseology, i.e., can a landing clearance be cancelled for reasons other than a go-around instruction?

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    $\begingroup$ As you point out, in the US more than one aircraft may be cleared to land at one time, and may be cleared to land even if there is another aircraft taking off in front of it ("Stack 1, traffic departing prior to your arrival"). But no aircraft may be cleared to land on a runway with an aircraft holding in position (LUAW), so: "Stack 1, cancel landing clearance, runway XX continue, traffic holding in position." $\endgroup$ – randomhead Feb 14 at 3:20
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    $\begingroup$ Also note that eight miles is a LOT of room on final. Two or maybe even three aircraft could be departed before Stack 1 reaches the threshold, depending on performance and how close the controller wants to cut it. $\endgroup$ – randomhead Feb 14 at 3:21
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The example is correct, except that the landing clearance for stack 1 must be cancelled before the takeoff clearance is given to stack 88. The logic is that only one aircraft can ever be cleared to land on or take off from a given runway at any one time. So in your example, you just have to swap the order of instructions 3 and 4.

Stack 1 cancel landing clearance, continue approach

Continue approach, Stack 1

Stack 88 runway 12 cleared for takeoff

Runway 12 cleared for takeoff, Stack 88

...

Stack 1 runway 12 cleared to land

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