Air traffic controllers prepare flight plans, authorise flight departures and arrivals and maintain radio, radar and/or visual contact with aircraft to ensure the safe movement of air traffic.


  • Handles emergencies, unscheduled traffic and other unanticipated incidents.
  • Discusses operational requirements with pilot, issues duty schedules for flight deck and cabin crews, maintains records of flight progress and authorises flight departure.
  • Calculates fuel consumption and optimum flying height, plans route and prepares flight plan for aircraft pilot.
  • Obtains information regarding weather conditions, navigational hazards, landing conditions, seating arrangements, loading of cargo, fuel and catering supplies.
  • Directs movement of aircraft and motor vehicles on runways, taxiways and in parking bays.
  • Gives landing instructions to pilot and monitors descent of aircraft.
  • Directs the movement of aircraft en route to its destination and ensures minimum distances are maintained between planes.
  • Maintains radio and/or radar or visual contact with aircraft and liaises with other air traffic controllers and control centres to direct aircraft in and out of controlled airspace and into holding areas ready for landing.

Typical Education Level

Level 3 NVQ; A Levels

Will retirement created job openings

In the UK, 14% in this profession are aged 55 or above.* They will likely retire in the next 10 years, creating a demand for new workers

*This is based on national data

£69,284 Average wage

Average annual earnings

The current average wage for air traffic controller is £69,284

182 positions

Current Employment

The number of jobs in the career for the current year is 182. Job counts include both employed and self-employed persons, and do not distinguish between full- and part-time jobs.


Job Postings

Over the past year, jobs have been posted for air traffic controller roles.

How well does it pay?

Normal pay for this occupation is £69,284 per year. That is about £5,774 per month or £35.53 per hour. New workers generally start on £44,474, while highly experienced workers can earn as much as £150,811

Is it growing or declining?

This career has remained the same over the last 2 years, and is expected to remain the same over the next 4 years. Currently, 182 people are employed in the region.

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