The following Questions and Answers are related to Air Traffic Control (ATC).
1. What is Air Traffic Control (ATC)?
ATC is a service provided to promote safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic. Safety is principally a matter of preventing collision between aircraft with other aircraft, obstructions and the ground; assisting aircraft in avoiding hazardous weather; assuring that aircraft do not operate in airspace where operations are prohibited; and assisting aircraft in distress. Orderly and expeditious flow assures the efficiency of aircraft operations along the routes selected by the operator. It is provided through the equitable allocation of system resources to individual flights.
2. Who are ‘Air Traffic Controllers’?
Air traffic controllers are selected and trained personnel who keep air traffic safe and efficient. They help pilots take off and land safely and make sure that airplanes are kept in a safe distance apart from one another.
Air traffic controllers are responsible for a particular section of airspace which includes frequent radio contact with pilots flying over their section, and the responsibility involves giving the pilots instructions, advice and information. The duties assigned to the controllers differ according to where they are based.
3. Where do ‘Air Traffic Controllers’ work?
Air traffic controllers are stationed at the control tower in airports or the control centre located in Subang, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
4. What are the job scopes of a controller?
- keeping radio and/or radar contact with aircraft;
- directing the movement of aircraft in flight or at an airport;
- instructing aircraft to climb or descend and allocating final cruising level;
- providing information to aircraft on weather conditions;
- making sure the minimum distances are maintained between airplanes;
- handling unexpected events, emergencies and unscheduled traffic.
5. How many types of ‘Air Traffic Controllers” are there?
There are three types of Air Traffic Controllers:
- Area controllers – they are based at the control centres. They direct airplanes in flight and give them the most efficient route to their destinations. By using radar and computer technology, they can track the exact position of each aircraft. They also use radar to keep traffic separated in the air.
- Approach controllers – they are based at the control centres. They take control of communication from area controllers as the aircraft approaches the airport. They are responsible for deciding when and where each airplane should land and guiding them in the most efficient order.
- Aerodrome controllers – they are based at the control tower in airports. They are in charge of aircraft landing and departing as well as managing the movement of aircraft on the ground.
6. What are the hours and working environment like?
Air traffic control is a 24-hour operation, which includes weekends and also public holidays. The controllers work on shift hours, with one shift comprising of two working days, one resting day and one day off. The working days are divided into afternoon shift on the first day, followed by morning and night shifts on the second day. The work of Air Traffic Controllers involves manning a workstation, gathering and interpreting data using computers and radar displays as well as communicating with pilots by the use of radio equipment.
7. What are the requirements needed to become an Air Traffic Controller?
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability able to work under pressure
- Ability to make fast and decisive decisions and must be goal focused
- Ability to handle a theory-based course and then apply it in a practical situation
- Ability to visualize picture objects moving in three dimensions
- Must be a team player
- Ability to meet the requirements issued by the Civil Aviation Authority class three medical examination
8. What are the qualifications needed to become an Air Traffic Controller?
- Degree – Air Traffic Controller Officer
- Diploma – Assistant Air Traffic Controller Officer
- MCE – Assistant Air Traffic Controller
9. What are the processes involved in becoming a controller?
Those who are interested in applying for this job can do so as follows:
- Apply through ‘Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam (SPA)’ by using online form.
- Successful candidates from SPA will sit for the following tests before being shortlisted for an interview:
- IQ Test
- Voice Test
- English Test
- Psychology Test
- After the interview, successful appointed candidates will go through the following processes:
- Undergo a training course with maximum time duration of 66 weeks in the Academy of Civil Aviation Malaysia.
- Attend On Job Training (OJT) in order to get live rating
10. What will I learn in the 66 weeks courses?
The induction module covers meteorology, aircraft operations, air navigations, navigation aids, communication, aviation laws and publications. The modules cover the basics of hands-on air traffic control in aerodrome or area procedural environment. It teaches trainees how to keep aircraft separated without using radar.
11. What is “On Job Training”?
The real fun begins after leaving the Academy of Civil Aviation. 'On-the-job' training is carried out at a regional air traffic control tower or a radar centre under the supervision of an experienced controller. At this stage, you will move from 'student' to 'trainee' and will train in the operational environment, dealing with live traffic.
Initially, you'll have the On Job Training Instructor with you all the time. As training progresses, the instructor will gradually step back, allowing you to make your own decisions and control the traffic as if you were on your own.
When you've attained sufficient experience and have shown that you can deal consistently with all traffic situations and complexities, you'll be recommended for a final proficiency assessment. On successful completion of this, you'll be issued your Air Traffic Control License and Rating.
12. What is “Live Rating”?
“Live Rating” is an international license that gives you recognition to carry out the job of air traffic control. Malaysia Air Traffic Controller license is issued by the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia (DCA) and is recognized by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This means you have obtained a qualification which can be used in many countries overseas.
13. Monthly salary expected?
- Air Traffic Controller Officer
- Basic Salary : RM 1815.52 – RM 5301.27
- Allowance : RM 810.00
- Incentive : RM 600.00
- Rating Allowance ( Refer Table Below )
- Assistant Air Traffic Controller Officer
- Basic Salary : RM 1490.41 – RM 3435.45
- Allowance : RM 640.00
- Incentive : RM 250.00
- Rating Allowance ( Refer Table Below )
Assistant Air Traffic Controller
- Basic Salary : RM 829.45 – RM 2178.66
- Allowance : RM 595.00
Rating Allowance Table
APPROACH CONTROL (RADAR)
AREA CONTROL (RADAR), SURFACE MOVEMENT (RADAR)
SMC, AERODROME CONTROL, AERODROME CO-ORDINATOR, CLEARANCE DELIVERY, TOWER AREA/ APPROACH FLIGHT DATA
14. Are there internet sites that offer audio samples on pilot-controller communication?
There are some sites/blogs that allow you to listen to pilot-controller communication. If you’re interested, you can do a web search with “live ATC” as the criteria.
15. For further information concerning a career as Air Traffic Controllers, please contact:
Air Traffic Management Sector
Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia
Aras 4, Block Podium B,
No. 27, Persiaran Perdana
Presint 4, 62618
Tel : 03-88714000