EDCTs Explained

Ever wonder what exactly EDCT’s are?


EDCT stands for “Estimated Departure Clearance Time”, and are essentially the time slot that an aircraft must depart from an airport at, in order to arrive at the destination airport at a specific time.  EDCTs are generally only assigned when there is congestion at the arrival airport or in the airspace surrounding the arrival airport. It’s common to see EDCTs during peak days, holidays, and during adverse weather events. 


It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that EDCTs are not flexible since the EDCT is an agreed upon time, dictated by the affected air traffic facilities and the Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC) in Virginia. For this reason, your aircraft must be wheels-up within five (5) minutes of your assigned EDCT time.  If not, then you forfeit your EDCT time, and Air Traffic Control at your departure airport is required to call the ATCSCC and receive a new EDCT. This often results in additional delays. 


How are EDCTs determined?


The FAA utilizes software that collects and displays the known demand at airports across the nation. A Ground Delay Program (GDP) will be put into effect at airports where the demand out-weighs the capacity. Aircraft that file to an airport with a GDP, will be issued an EDCT. EDCTs meter the amount of arrivals to an airport so that the capacity isn’t exceeded. 


Your Flight Support Team is constantly monitoring delays and will provide regular updates to you if your flight will be issued an EDCT. 

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