Air Traffic Services

At the heart of every Airport within the HIA group is the control tower.

From this building, HIA Air Traffic Services (ATS) staff provide instructions and advice to pilots and drivers of airside vehicles to ensure the safety of the operation. Safety is afforded the highest priority and all HIA ATS staff are fully trained and annually checked by the Regulator (The Civil Aviation Authority) to ensure that our high standards are maintained.

The history of Air Traffic Control can be traced back to around 1920 with the advent of passenger services from Croydon Airport near London. The “control” was limited to a red or green light signal and occasional position reports from pilots. From these humble beginnings, following the Second World War, Air Traffic Control developed into the high tech global system we have today.

Many exciting developments are happening within the ATS World with the advent of new technology and the influence of Europe – HIA are at the forefront of much of these advances and boasts one of the most modern radar systems in use within the UK at one of its Airports – Inverness.

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At the busier Airports within the group – Inverness, Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Stornoway, and Dundee – the air traffic service is provided by licensed Air Traffic Controllers. Only one Airport, Inverness, has its own radar. The radar service for Sumburgh is currently provided by a third party under contract. All the other Airports in the group are non radar – the levels of traffic means that aircraft can be separated safely by use of procedural separations.

At the smaller Airports, the level of traffic does not warrant a full Air Traffic Control service, so HIA employs Flight Information Service Officers (FISOs) who provide information and advice rather than special instructions to enable flights to be operated safely. The FISOs are also licensed and regularly checked to ensure that they meet the required standards.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in ATC, please see the careers page on this website for further details.