Sep 22 19

Drive launched to recruit hundreds more air traffic controllers

Whether you are a recent employee in the aviation industry now on the lookout for an aviation outplacement service, or you are a student wondering what life may be like in the sector, you may be interested to know that hundreds more air traffic controller (ATC) trainees are now being sought.

As reported by the BBC and other sources, NATS – formerly National Air Traffic Services, the main air navigation service provider in the United Kingdom – has launched a recruitment drive ahead of what could be UK airports’ busiest summer on record.

The organisation is encouraging students on the verge of achieving their exam results to consider an ATC career, but is also urging graduates and people “from all walks of life” to apply.

UK flight numbers expected to soar

While this summer alone is shaping up to be an extremely busy one for British airports – with daily flights across the entire country peaking at more than 8,800 a day – NATS expects the number of flights to continue climbing in the more distant future.

It has forecast that by 2030, there will be 355 million passengers flying to and from the UK on more than 3.1 million flights, equating to an extra 500,000 flights annually.

About 1,670 NATS controllers currently manage the flow of aircraft through UK airspace, at 13 of the busiest airports in the country. The organisation has said that it will need to hire more than 200 trainees each year to meet rising demand.

“Not necessarily looking for aviation geeks”

General manager of NATS at Aberdeen Airport, Daryl Heaselgrave, commented: “We are looking to recruit a good number of ATCs over the next few years and we are looking for people from all walks of life.

“We are not necessarily looking for aviation geeks – we are looking for people who want to get into a job that is exciting, demanding and lives at the centre of the airport.

“It is not necessarily about academic capability – it is about aptitude. Yes, we would like people with a good basic mathematical brain but we are also looking for decision-makers, for people who can prioritise and people who can multi-task.”

NATS says that candidates to be an ATC do not need to possess a degree, with five GCSEs at grades of between A and C being adequate. Only around one in 200 candidates is hired on average, but trainees are paid, and a career as a qualified ATC can come with a six-figure salary.

It also takes about three to four years from the initial application stage for successful candidates to be validated as ATCs.

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