Wednesday, 29 July 2015

What does an Air Traffic Controller do?

As the name suggests, an air traffic controller is in charge of traffic, in and around the airport, and maintains communication with pilots, appraising them with vital information. They also perform several other duties which ensure aircraft safety in the air and on the ground.

The air traffic controller position is one of the most important job profiles in the airline industry. They are responsible for the safety of an aircraft and all its passengers. People working in this field work long hard hours and the job can become very stressful at times!

This job carries a lot of responsibility, as you are in charge of the safety of passengers, crew, and expensive aircraft. The job is kind of like being a traffic cop, standing at a junction. They are responsible for the smooth flow of traffic, without any accidents. One of the primary functions of the controller is to make sure that landing strips are free for aircraft landing and taking off. To ensure this, they must always have constant communication with the aircraft on the ground and in the air. They use advanced telecommunication systems to do their job effectively.

They will also stay in touch with the weather services and the air traffic control centres for information on weather conditions like wind, rain, snow, etc. In cases of bad weather, they will assist pilots in safely landing the aircraft, by providing vital information, and preparing the ground crew for any emergencies.

They will also monitor air traffic with the help of radar, from a screen in the control tower. The controller will use the radar screen to chart a safe and correct flight path for aircraft approaching and leaving the airport.

He will also provide assistance to pilots for in-flight emergencies, related to technical difficulties or related to passengers. For example, if a passenger has health problems on board, the controller will facilitate a priority landing and make sure that emergency medical services are available on the ground. A few air traffic controllers will also be in charge of charting safe and congestion-free flight plans to prevent in-air collisions and ensure smooth passage of aircraft.

That the job carries great responsibility is probably a huge understatement, considering the nature of the work. The profession commands high respect. If you are looking to make a career in this profession, you need to have personal qualities like patience, ability to interpret data quickly, and excellent communication skills.


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