INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER
Every year on October 20th, International Day of the Air Traffic Controller celebrates those who work hard to keep air travel safe. It’s also a day to learn more about the profession of air traffic controller.
About 100,000 flights around the world take off and land each day. In just one year, over 4 billion passengers travel by plane. With so many planes in the air, it’s amazing that flying by plane is as safe as it is. The safety of air travel is largely attributed to air traffic controllers. These professionals direct air traffic on the ground at airport runways and taxiways. Air traffic controllers also monitor and direct the movement of planes through airspace. Additionally, they issue landing and takeoff orders to pilots.
The job of air traffic controllers is extremely difficult. Their job requires intense concentration. Sometimes the plane is only a blip in a sea of darkness. No wonder it’s one of the 5 most stressful professions. There is never a time when the skies are not monitored by air traffic controllers. They work day and night, including weekends and holidays, to keep pilots and their passengers safe. They must also direct planes during inclement weather and a variety of emergency situations.
Air traffic controllers that work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must be at least 30 years old. They must also retire by the age of 56. However, if they have exceptional skills, they may work until the age of 61. In the United States, there are more than 14,000 air traffic controllers.
HOW TO OBSERVE
On the International Day of the Air Traffic Controller, members of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Association gather together to discuss ways to improve air safety. It’s also a day to encourage air traffic controllers and thank them for doing a great job. To participate:
- Learn more about the profession of air traffic controllers.
- Watch a movie that features air traffic control, such as Aftermath, Pushing Tin, High Tech Airport or 9/11: Cleared for Chaos.
- If you know an air traffic controller, thank them for their hard work and dedication.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #InternationalDayOfTheAirTrafficController
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER HISTORY
In 1956, Jacob Wachtel proposed his idea of an international federation for air traffic controllers. Wachtel was the founder and first chairman of the Israel Air Traffic Controller’s Association. On October 20th, he along with representatives from 12 different countries, formed the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (IFATCA) on October 20th, 1961. The IFATCA is registered in Switzerland but has its headquarters in Montreal, Canada. To mark the IFATCA’s anniversary, the International Day of the Air Traffic Controller is held every year on October 20th.
There are over 1,500 national days. Don’t miss a single one. Celebrate Every Day® with National Day Calendar®!