Australian air traffic control
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Air traffic control in Australia is provided by two independent organisations, one civilian and one military. The civilian provider is Airservices Australia, which controls civilian airfields and airspace. The military provider is the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which controls military airfields and adjoining airspace. (This includes Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy aviation bases). Some airfields in Australia are categorised as Joint User airfields, where there are both civilian and military operations based at the airfield. Normally, Joint User airfields have air traffic control provided by the RAAF.
- 1 Civilian Air Traffic Control
- 2 Military Air Traffic Control
- 3 Further information
Civilian Air Traffic Control
Airservices Australia is a government owned corporation that provides Air Traffic Control (ATC) services, as well as other related services such as communications, navigation, surveillance, aeronautical data and airfield fire services. ATC services include tower, approach and centre (en route) services.
Currently, most Airservices Australia ATC units use The Australian Advanced Air Traffic System.
- Adelaide Airport (ADL), SA
- Brisbane Airport (BNE), QLD
- Cairns Airport (CNS), QLD
- Canberra Airport (CBR), ACT
- Gold Coast Airport (OOL), QLD
- Hobart Airport (HBA), TAS
- Melbourne Airport (MEL), VIC
- Perth Airport (PER), WA
- Sydney Airport (SYD), NSW
Regional / Minor Metropolitan / Former "General Aviation" Airports
- Albury Airport, NSW
- Alice Springs Airport, NT
- Archerfield Airport, QLD
- Avalon Airport, VIC
- Bankstown Airport, NSW
- Broome Airport, WA
- Cambridge Aerodrome, TAS
- Camden Airport, NSW
- Coffs Harbour Airport, NSW
- Essendon Airport, VIC
- Hamilton Island Airport, QLD
- Jandakot Airport, WA
- Karratha Airport, WA
- Launceston Airport, TAS
- Mackay Airport, QLD
- Moorabbin Airport, VIC
- Parafield Airport, SA
- Sunshine Coast Airport, QLD
- Rockhampton Airport, QLD
- Tamworth Airport, NSW
- Adelaide, SA
- Brisbane, QLD
- Cairns, QLD
- Canberra, ACT (Located at Melbourne Centre)
- Melbourne, VIC
- Perth, WA
- Sydney, NSW
Centre (En route) Units
Airservices Australia manages 11 per cent of the world's airspace, including very large portions of the Indian and Southern Oceans, and parts of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea. The airspace consists of two Flight Information Regions (FIR), the Brisbane FIR and the Melbourne FIR. Each FIR has its own centre to run en route services.
The Brisbane FIR consists of New South Wales north of Sydney, all of Queensland, most of the Northern Territory and the northern half of Western Australia. It also contains the Australian Tasman Sea airspace. Due to the nature of the airspace it controls most international flights in and out of Australia (except Indian Ocean flights), and domestic flights operating to airports within the FIR. As only two of eight capitals are located in the Brisbane FIR, it handles a lesser volume of traffic than Melbourne Centre. However, Sydney is just south of the border of the two FIRs (the Sydney Basin is part of the Melbourne FIR), and thus Brisbane Centre has control of flights arriving or departing in Sydney from the North.
Brisbane Centre is located adjacent to Brisbane Tower at Brisbane Airport. It also contains Brisbane Approach.
The Melbourne FIR consists of all other Australian airspace outside the Brisbane FIR. This includes Victoria, Tasmania, southern New South Wales including Sydney, most of South Australia and the southern half of Western Australia. It also contains the Australian Indian and Southern Ocean airspace. Apart from International flights arriving from the Indian Ocean, most International flights will pass through Brisbane Centre first. However, as the FIR contains six of the eight capital cities, a very large portion of domestic flights are controlled from Melbourne Centre.
Melbourne Centre is located adjacent to Melbourne Tower at Melbourne Airport. It also contains Melbourne Approach and Canberra Approach.
Military Air Traffic Control
Like civil air traffic control, the Australian Defence Force provide Tower and Approach services but do not provide en route services.
Although historically each of the three services had its own air traffic controllers, the Royal Australian Air Force exclusively provides air traffic control services to the Australian Defence Force.
44 Wing (44WG) was formed to centrally manage ATC personnel and facilities at 11 Defence bases. 44 Wing is an Air Command unit, belonging to the Surveillance and Response Group. Each base has its own 44WG detachment which manages air traffic control services at the base, although is ultimately commanded from HQ44WG in Williamtown, NSW.
The RAAF provide both Tower and Approach services, and in some cases a limited Centre (or en route) service. However, centre services are normally amalgamated with approach control. Two bases, Richmond and Edinburgh, provide only a Tower service, given their close proximity to Sydney and Adelaide respectively. Civilian ATC provide approach services to these bases.
Tower and Approach services are normally located within the control tower or an adjacent building. Unlike civilian ATC, no approach or en route services are provided remotely.
Currently, most military ATC units use the Australian Defence Air Traffic System. The RAAF use Airservices Australia's TAAATS systems in Perth to provide approach services to RAAF Base Pearce.
Military ATC Units
Royal Australian Air Force
- RAAF Base Amberley - 44WG DET AMB (Tower and Approach)
- RAAF Base Darwin - 44WG DET DAR (Tower and Approach)
- RAAF Base East Sale - 44WG DET ESL (Tower and Approach)
- RAAF Base Edinburgh - 44WG DET EDN (Tower only)
- RAAF Base Pearce - 44WG DET PEA (Tower, Approach and Centre)
- RAAF Base Richmond - 44WG DET RIC (Tower only)
- RAAF Base Tindal - 44WG DET TDL (Tower and Approach)
- RAAF Base Townsville - 44WG DET TVL (Tower and Approach)
- RAAF Base Williamtown - 44WG DET WLM (Tower, Approach and Centre)
- RAAF Gingin - (Pearce provides a Tower and Approach service)
- HMAS Albatross Naval Air Station Nowra - 44WG DET NWA (Tower and Approach)
- Jervis Bay Airfield (Nowra provides Approach services only, there is no Tower service)
- Army Aviation Centre/Army Airfield Oakey - 44WG DET OAK (Tower and Approach)
Joint User Airfields
- Darwin International Airport - (co-located with RAAF Base Darwin)
- Townsville International Airport - (co-located with RAAF Base Townsville)
- Newcastle Domestic Airport - (co-located with RAAF Base Williamtown)