It is not only pilots who take care of everything from take-off to landing. Only a few know about the people who work behind the scene, taking care of the responsibility of guiding the pilots and airplanes during the source to destination journey. These people are called Air Traffic Controllers. Air Traffic Controllers coordinate the traffic in the air to make sure that the flying plane does not get any trouble. They are also required to redirect the planes to avoid delays.
Airport Authority of India is the sole employer for ATCs in India. Some small and private players are there too like Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. They also recruit ATCs from AAI employees. One can start as a Junior executive and can climb up to the Executive Director. Junior executive can have a pay scale of Rs. 16400-40500.
Communication is a vital part of the job and Air Traffic Controllers has to be sharp and quick enough to give the pilot perfect directions. One should possess very good communication skill. And the default language for the Aviation is English. Efficiency is the strongest attribute of the ATCs because during the hectic schedule of flights one has to work with calm and make focused decisions. Clear concentration is needed while more than one pilot on the line at the same time and controllers has the responsibilities that all the pilots get the right directions on the right time. Air traffic controllers need to work in a noisy and unwanted situation during bad weather. Delay or lack of knowledge for the side of ATCs may result in big catastrophe. In short, controllers cannot get luxury during their working hours. Controllers must have a good memory too as they are continuously getting the information from all the sources and must remember them, interpret them and deliver them to the pilots accurately. They are supposed to interact not only with pilots but also with the engineers and managers. Teamwork is a crucial part of the ATC job.
The basic requirements for getting into the ATC entrance exam are either a first-class engineering degree in Electronics/Telecommunication/Radio Engineering or first class master’s degree in science with physics or maths as a principal subject. Once the entrance exam is cleared you would need to clear the voice test, personal interview and finally fitness test. On selection, candidates are sent to Civil Aviation Training College, Allahabad for further training.
Merits and Demerits
This job of controllers involves high stress, a huge responsibility, and non-availability of leave. No luxury at work place. Air Traffic Controllers is motivated by self-satisfaction knowing that it requires a lot of hard work to help the passengers reach their home safely.