Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures (SLOP) In Oceanic And Remote Continental Airspace.
SLOP are approved procedures that allow aircraft to fly on a parallel track to the right of the centre line relative to the direction of flight. An aircraft’s use of these procedures does not affect the application of prescribed separation standards.
Note 1. The use of highly accurate navigation systems (such as the global navigation satellite system (GNSS)) by an increasing proportion of the aircraft population has had the effect of reducing the magnitude of lateral deviations from the route centre line and, consequently, increasing the probability of a collision, should a loss of vertical separation between aircraft on the same route occur.
Note 2. The following incorporates lateral offset procedures for both the mitigation of the increasing lateral overlap probability due to increased navigation accuracy, and wake turbulence encounters.
Note 3. Annex 2, 126.96.36.199.1 (Adherence to flight plan), requires authorization for the application of strategic lateral offsets from the appropriate ATS authority responsible for the airspace concerned.
The following shall be taken into account by the appropriate ATS authority when authorizing the use of strategic lateral offsets in a particular airspace:
a) strategic lateral offsets shall only be authorized in en-route oceanic or remote continental airspace. Where part of the airspace in question is provided with an ATS surveillance service, transiting aircraft should normally be allowed to initiate or continue offset tracking;
b) strategic lateral offsets do not affect lateral separation minima and may be authorized for the following types of routes (including where routes or route systems intersect):
1) uni-directional and bi-directional routes; and
2) parallel route systems where the spacing between route centre lines is not less than 55.5 km (30 NM);
c) in some instances it may be necessary to impose restrictions on the use of strategic lateral offsets, e.g. where their application may be inappropriate for reasons related to obstacle clearance;
d) strategic lateral offset procedures should be implemented on a regional basis after coordination between all States involved;
e) the routes or airspace where application of strategic lateral offsets is authorized, and the procedures to be followed by pilots, shall be promulgated in aeronautical information publications (AIPs); and
f) air traffic controllers shall be made aware of the airspace within which strategic lateral offsets are authorized.
The decision to apply a strategic lateral offset shall be the responsibility of the flight crew. The flight crew shall only apply strategic lateral offsets in airspace where such offsets have been authorized by the appropriate ATS authority and when the aircraft is equipped with automatic offset tracking capability.
The strategic lateral offset shall be established at a distance of 1.85 km (1 NM) or 3.7 km (2 NM) to the right of the centre line relative to the direction of flight.
Note 1.— Pilots may contact other aircraft on the inter-pilot air-to-air frequency 123.45 MHz to coordinate offsets.
Note 2.— The strategic lateral offset procedure has been designed to include offsets to mitigate the effects of wake turbulence of preceding aircraft. If wake turbulence needs to be avoided, one of the three available options (centre line, 1.85 km (1 NM) or 3.7 km (2 NM) right offset) may be used.
Note 3.— Pilots are not required to inform ATC that a strategic lateral offset is being applied.
Source: ICAO doc 4444