Life as an air traffic controller


The role of an air traffic controller is to ensure the safe landing, departure and movement of aircrafts at the airport. For starters, one can work as an area, approach or aerodrome controller. In addition, busy airports have separate aerodrome air and ground controllers.

Air traffic controllers are responsible for creating an efficient order for all landing aircrafts. This is achieved by putting all approaching aircrafts into a landing sequence and giving initial clearance for any one of them to approach the airport.

Pilots are guided into safe landing by the aerodrome controllers who work from the top of control towers. This means they take charge of the final landing stage. Aerodrome controllers make sure that each landing aircraft gets into its allocated parking stand and that each leaving aircraft reaches the runway safely.

Air traffic controllers are also tasked with overseeing a number of take-off procedures to ensure efficiency of and safety of aircrafts at the airport. This also helps eliminate delays of flights. They direct the movement of every aircraft at the airport (onto and off the runways and ground movement around terminals) and ensure that aircrafts maintain a given minimum distance from each other. They are also in charge of maintaining air buses. For instance, they should ensure each one of them is prepared for emergencies.

In order to coordinate passage of civilian and other aircraft through the airspace in question, air traffic controllers must communicate with civilian air authorities. This is a precaution for safety of all aircrafts.

For purposes of safety while aircrafts are on transit, an air traffic controller communicates with all aircraft about weather conditions. The contact is made via radio or radar. They also allocate the final cruising levels and instruct climbing or descending of aircrafts.

The controller is also expected to handle all emergencies and unscheduled traffic. It is also the work of air traffic controllers to handle movement of vehicles at and around the airport.

There are many benefits and challenges of being an air traffic controller. Apart from the attractive salary package, annual leaves and membership to contributory pension schemes, air traffic controllers enjoy family friendly policies and work in environments that promote learning and career growth. Air traffic controllers are trained on joining the employer, and are remunerated during this period. They also work in environments where they can interact with international aircraft operators, pilots and other staff.

Globally, air traffic has increased dramatically, but the air control systems has failed keep up with this pressure. As such,air traffic controllers feel the pressure of handling many aircrafts on a daily basis. This traffic is expected to increase in folds in the near future, which will put more pressure to these officers. This problem is made worse by shortage of officer, meaning many endure long hours at work.

In places where modern software does not exist in busy airports, the pressure of manual labour is too high and the situation is made worse by higher risk of collisions and delays. Such risks also exist where officers endure long hours at work even if there were modern software installed. In the event of collisions and accidents, controllers may be answerable to authorities since the controller-pilot communications are investigated. Besides, there are high risks in case of errors.

Comments are closed.