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I just read a post from a pilot complaining about how he thought a metering frequency was useless. It has something to do with being on the ground at an airport.

What is it, what purpose does it serve, and what causes an airport to adopt one?

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Use of a metering controller and frequency at an airport is one strategy used to prevent congestion on ramps and taxiways. When ready for push back from the gate, pilots call metering. The metering controller will typically either give them permission to push with a ground frequency to call when ready for taxi, or they will tell them to monitor a particular ground frequency for permission to push. They may even tell the pilots to stay on the gate and call back after a specified delay. The use of metering allows the airport controllers to manage ramp and taxi space by sequencing aircraft push and taxi.

Metering control can also help manage potential congestion due to ground delays for situations such as poor weather, runway closures, deicing, flow times into particular destination airports or any other situation that increases taxi time or slows down departures.

Some airports uses different strategies such as discrete ramp areas and frequencies to coordinate push back and taxi flow or internal coordination between controllers.

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Have you ever driven into a freeway on-ramp and ran into a traffic light that tells drivers when they can proceed? It's usually turned on during rush hour to prevent jams and accidents. Same thing. It's a flow control method. That pilot was probably unhappy at how long he/she had to wait to be handed over to Ground Control so they could pushback/taxi after contacting the controller on the metering frequency.

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    $\begingroup$ "Have you ever driven into a freeway on-ramp and ran into a traffic light that tells drivers when they can proceed?" No, I haven't. Could you explain in a bit more detail what exactly the metering frequency is actually used for? $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard May 19 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ If you are in the air... A fix along an established route from over which aircraft will be metered prior to entering terminal airspace. Normally, this fix should be established at a distance from the airport which will facilitate a profile descent 10,000 feet above airport elevation [AAE] or above. On the ground, metering is a process by which you call a controller on a freq NOT ground control, and that controller puts you in a queue to contact ground control when they are ready for you. It's flow control. :) $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez May 20 at 8:30
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    $\begingroup$ Would be nice if you could add that last description to your answer $\endgroup$ – J. Hougaard May 20 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Hougaard You're welcome to edit the answer. :) $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez May 20 at 12:56

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