What is Air Traffic Control (ATC)?
In absolute simple terms, Air Traffic Controllers stop aircraft collisions in the air and on the ground.
The company does this through the provision of Air Navigation Services (ANS) and associated services in New Zealand and internationally.
- air traffic management - through air traffic control, aircraft flow management and flight information and alerting services.
- navigation services - the navigation infrastructure and supporting services used by aircraft to navigate their path.
- communications - Airways operates a sophisticated communications system throughout the country, which includes everything from satellite coverage to cell phones.
When you train as an ATC you're gaining more than a qualification, and actually, more than a job. That's because once qualified you've got a career, and it's one with a lot of potential, and plenty of possibilities for your future. While you'll initially gain experience and grow your abilities working at a regional control tower, Airways has an excellent range of avenues available to advance your career. It could be by moving on to an international tower or radar centre, or even into one of many specialist or management roles. And because the ATC qualification is recognised internationally, you'll have the opportunity to travel and work in many other countries around the world.
Post Training Career Progression
The majority of new Airways controllers work at a regional control tower where they gain experience before seeking positions in international towers or the radar centre. A small number of controllers will be employed directly into Area Radar. With experience, there are also opportunities to pursue a range of related specialist and management roles.
- Tower Controllers - are situated at an aerodrome's control tower. They control traffic visually within the Control Zone. Control towers also have a radar screen to assist in the provision of visual control. Airways operate 17 control towers around the country.
- Area Radar Controllers - control en route traffic by radar in the Upper Control Area of the Domestic Flight Information Region. The Radar Centre is based in Christchurch.
- Approach Radar Controllers - handle arriving and departing aircraft and work closely with both Area Radar Controllers and Tower Controllers. Approach Controllers work in the Radar Centre.
Controllers must be rated for each position and cannot swap between them. In fact, a Christchurch Tower Controller could not travel to Auckland Tower at short notice to help out. They would need weeks of specialised training covering the local environment before receiving the required rating validation.
In parallel with the development of your operational career, there are technical specialties that can also be pursued.
Trainee ATC Quick Links
Tales From the Tower
Alice Palmer is living proof that complaining about your job can change your life! Alice was working at an entry-level government job in Wellington.
Karen Bradley has traded apertures for aircraft with the help of Airways New Zealand.