Back Story – Air Traffic Controllers

20 October – International Day of the Air Traffic Controller

Today is the International Day of the Air Traffic Controller.

I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the profession of Air Traffic Controllers to the safety of our aviation industry.

Throughout my career I have trained, developed and worked along side this band of professionals who make pilots like me and my friends look good.

Airservices Mackay Tower
(Mackay Tower – Courtesy of Air Services)

Airservices welcomes home Australian Paralympic team
(Australian Olympians returning home  – Courtesy of Air Services)

Air Traffic controllers don’t just work in the control towers at airports – they

Boeing E-3A AWACS Early Warning (

  • control civilian and military  (air intercept controllers) aircraft.
  • build air routes, approach and departure paths
  • sequence aircraft operations (departure, en-route and arrival slots) to reduce congestion
  • separate aircraft (see videos for world wide ,  north America)
  • control ground traffic at airports
  • control lower and upper air spaces
  • plan new technologies such as SESAR

(Brisbane Centre – Courtesy of Air Services)

Works underway on Paraburdoo radar
(Radar at Paraburdoo –  – Courtesy of Air Services)

The safety of our skies relies upon the skill and expertise of our Air Traffic Controllers to  sequence our operations, optimise our performance and keep us separated.  Pilots and controllers work together as a finely tuned team – the teamwork is exceptional.

So on behalf of the 2.8 billion civilians that flew in 38 million flights last year (or about one million civilians in the air at any one time), congratulations and thank you to Air Services (Australia), EuroControl (Europe) and all other ATC agencies that have made our profession the envy of the world’s safety professionals.

EUROCONTROL - Working together to deliver the Single European Sky

One comment

  1. Drew Marshall · · Reply

    Gooday Richard, thank you for the acknowledgment of our profession on your website. So often passengers hear derogatory comments from flight decks about so called ATC induced delays when in fact the delays are often just a symptom of how popular airline flight has become and how congested our skies and airports are. Please let folk know that Air Traffic Controllers are not the blokes with the ping pong bats 😉 Regards, Drew.

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