Some information about the airspaces and air traffic control services provided.

airspaces & air traffic control services


Some information about the airspaces and air traffic control services provided.

In air traffic, there are the following airspaces: ATZ (Aerodrome Traffic Zone), CTR (Control Zone), CTA (Control Area) which is made of TMA (Terminal Control Area) and AWY (Airway), FIR (Flight Information Region), UIR (Upper Information Region) and ADA (Advisory Area). Air traffic services provided in these airspaces vary in accordance with the airspace.

The ATZ airspace, which is an aerodrome traffic zone, goes from ground up to 1500-2000 feet, and is big enough to contain the standard traffic circuits. The authority which manages this airspace is the control tower if it's a controlled airport or the AFIS Unit if it's an uncontrolled airport. The control tower provides ATCS (Air Traffic Control Service), while the AFIS Unit provides only flight information (meteorological conditions, air traffic).

Proceeding with the other airspaces we have the CTR which is a controlled zone; vertically it expands from ground surface up to a specified altitude; the ATZ airspace is located within the CTR airspace which can contain one or more ATZ airspaces. The istitution which operates in this airspace is the APP (Approach Control) and suplies ATCS service. To ease the management, the CTR airspaces may be devided into more zones.

The next airspace on the "airspaces list" is the TMA - terminal control area. The vertical expansion of the TMA airspace goes from a specified limit up to FL195; the TMA airspace contains more CTR airspaces. The authority which operates in this airspace is the ACC (Area Control Center); the air traffic service provided in the TMA airspace is ATCS.


Airways are airspaces having the shape of a lane of 10 nautical miles width. The lower limit of the airways is given by the MEL (Minimum Enroute Level), while the upper limit is FL195 (Flight Level 195). On the charts, along the airways are marked empty triangles and filled triangles; when an aircraft is over an empty triangle in an airway, the report of the position by the pilot it isn't mandatory, while when crossing a filled triangle the report of the position by the pilot is mandatory; each of these triangles is called FIX. On the charts, between two fixes, is indicated the name of the airway, which is an alphanumerical code, the distance between the fixes, the minimum enroute level and the heading. Above FL195, the airways are called routes. The control service provided in the airway airspace is ATCS.

The FIR (Flight Information Region) airspace expands below flight level 195, and within it we find the other airspaces: ATZ, CTR, TMA, AWY. The Flight Information Region is an uncontrolled airspace; in this airspace the following services are provided: FIS (Flight Information Service) and ALS (Alerting Service). The authority which manages this airspace is the FIC (Flight Information Center).

The UIR (Upper Information Region) airspace goes from flight level 195 to unlimited. The UIR airspace is devided into two secondary airspaces: the lower UIR - from FL195 to FL460 - and the upper UIR - from FL460 to unlimited. In the lower UIR airspace the control service provided is ATCS while the istitution which operates in this airspace is the ACC (Area Control Center). In the UIR airspaces develop R/NAV and ATS routes.

The last on the list of airspaces is the ADA (Advisory Area). This airspace isn't controlled and within it ADS (Advisory Service) is provided.



By Claudio Adriano Dobre, © 2005

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