The International Air Traffic Controller Day falls on October 20th – a global holiday of air traffic controllers and all air traffic agencies, which ensure safe air navigation.
That date is to bring to mind the establishment in 1961 of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers.
Civil air traffic controllers employed at Polish Air Navigation Services Agency are responsible for the safety of passengers and planes within the Polish airspace. There is more than 500 of them. They serve 365 days a year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Those are area controllers, approach controllers and controllers, who work on airport traffic control towers at Polish communication airports. The profession of an air traffic controller falls within the group of the most responsible and stressing professions in the world. Air traffic controllers are required to possess extraordinary resistance to stress, the ability to quickly assess situations and make quick decisions, they also must be incredibly perceptive, have the ability to work in a team, be assertive and have perfect mastery of English language. Every single day they take care of close to 2500 planes in the Polish sky, with over 700.000 air traffic operations within the Polish airspace and airports handled every year. Air traffic controllers are responsible, conscientious and extraordinarily precise people – thanks to them passengers and crews of hundreds of thousands of planes are safe.
Area controllers are responsible for the safety of planes flying through the Polish airspace,
Approach controllers are tasked with safely navigating planes in the vicinity of their respective target airports in Poland,
Airport control tower air traffic controllers are responsible for takeoffs and landings of planes, as well as the safe traffic of planes operating on tarmacs of national airports in Warsaw, Kraków, Katowice, Wrocław, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, Gdańsk, Rzeszów, Zielona Góra, Modlin, Bydgoszcz, Szczecin and Radom.
On October 20th, one also cannot forget about Flight Information Services informers, who take care of pilots in the so-called uncontrolled airspace, meaning where general - tourist, training or rescue air traffic takes place. FIS informers, on a daily basis, serve as support to the crews of small aircrafts in their safe flights up to the altitude of 3000 meters.
The International Air Traffic Controller Day is the holiday of the whole Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, including the technical services and operating support. Those services are responsible for the correct operation of navigation device systems (radars), beacons and devices allowing an exchange of air messages between air traffic controllers and crews of airplanes located within the Polish airspace. There are more than 200 such devices in the whole of Poland, and thanks to the work of technical services, their reliable operation is ensured. Between 2015 and 2020 Polish Air Navigation Services Agency will designate over PLN 1 billion to investments connected to the construction of new devices and modernization of the existing air traffic infrastructure, which ensures safe air navigation. The service performed by Polish Air Navigation Services Agency is also the work of people, who on a daily basis elaborate air navigation procedures, maps, sets of air traffic information as well as descriptions of operating situations, i.e. information necessary for airplane crews operating within the Polish airspace.
Polish Air Navigation Services Agency is also the only institution in Poland authorized to train future civil air traffic controller personnel. At the PANSA Aviation Training Centre for Air Traffic Services over 160 air traffic controller candidates are currently undergoing various stages of education. On the eve of the holiday, 21 air traffic controller candidates started the third course at Polish Air Navigation Services Agency this year. 20 months of intensive learning divided into the individual stages, each finishing with an exam, await them. Multi-stage training, according to the modernized curricula, is conducted by experienced PANSA employees, who are professionally active instructors - air traffic controllers and highly-qualified specialists in the field of navigation, technology or psychology. People, who managed to pass a detailed and highly-demanding recruitment process, in the course of which their aptitude for the profession of an air traffic controller is verified, participate in the courses.