Air traffic controllers worldwide celebrate International Day of The Controller on October 20. It is a day that air traffic controllers, air navigation service providers and users pause to acknowledge the contribution of the profession to the aviation community.
Behind the scenes, air traffic controllers are responsible for safely keeping airctaft apart from each other in the air and on the ground, and for expediting and maintaining the orderly flow of traffic.
The day coincides with the constitutional meeting of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations (IFATCA), held in Amsterdam in 1961.
IFATCA unites the professional associations of air traffic controllers from around the world including Guyana. In total, the international fraternity represents over 130 of such organisations, with a combined membership of over 50,000 air traffic controllers.
Director of Air Navigation Service in Guyana, Rickford Samaroo in a statement said, “On this International Air Traffic Controller’s Day, we express our sincerest gratitude to the air traffic controllers, assistants and technicians in Guyana, who toil diligently to connect millions of passengers and cargo by air travel all around the world. On behalf of the Management team of Air Navigation Services, I take this opportunity to extend sincerest thank you to all the men, women and your extended families, who work assiduously in ensuring the safety and efficiency of this service.”
Air traffic controllers in Guyana are responsible for approximately 290,000 square kilometers of airspace stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the north to the Amazon Jungle in the south. In 2019, air traffic controllers handled 86,434 aircraft movements at an average of 237 per day.
Guyana currently has 42 air traffic controllers and 39 air traffic control assistants/aeronautical information management officers including recent graduates and some undergoing training. These professionals work in the Timehri and Ogle control towers and the Georgetown Area Control Center.
Secretary of the Guyana Association of Air Traffic Controllers, David Low told Guyana Aviation that the customary celebration held annually has been put off due to the coronavirus pandemic. The professional body will however make a charitable donation to an organization that supports Breast Cancer Awareness as it is being observed in October.
Millions of passengers and tons of mail and cargo are transported safely and efficiently across the globe daily with air traffic controllers playing a critical role in the process.