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Air traffic control training for NZ students

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Train for air traffic control - do you have what it takes?

Are you interested in training for one of the most critical roles in aviation, helping to guide aircraft safely through the airspace?

Airways International, the accredited training provider for Airways, opens its air traffic services training programme for applications around twice a year. 

We train air traffic control and flight service students in our training facilities in Christchurch, New Zealand. Following successful completion of this training, students will then be offered employment with Airways New Zealand (subject to pre-employment processes) and will commence on-job training. 

Find out more below about the training, the selection process, and the role of an air traffic controller and flight service officer with Airways.

Applications for the October 2024 intake now open

Applications for our training programme starting in October 2024 are now open – click “Apply now” below to complete our application form.  Applications close on 31 July 2024.

PLEASE NOTE: This training is for New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, and Australian citizens only. Students will complete New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) approved qualifications.

Air traffic control training flyer

Join our virtual info session about ATC training

You’re invited to join our virtual info session to learn more about our ATC training programme. This is a free virtual event, brought to you via Microsoft Teams, where you will learn all about the training and the application and selection process, and what you can expect in the role of an air traffic controller.

Please join us on Monday 15 July 2024 at 6pm (New Zealand time).

Air traffic control career opportunities

Once you’ve successfully completed training with Airways International, you will be offered a job with Airways, subject to pre-employment processes, such as a drug test and a Ministry of Justice criminal records check.

Most new Airways air traffic services staff start their careers training at a regional control tower, where they gain experience before seeking positions in one of Airways’ 17 air traffic control towers around the country, or in one of our surveillance centres in Christchurch and Auckland.

A small number of air traffic controllers will be employed directly into a surveillance centre. With experience, there are also opportunities to pursue a range of related specialist and management roles.

Training & selection

Learn here about eligibility and selection for air traffic control and flight service training, and what the training programme involves.

Air traffic control training FAQs

Read our detailed FAQs for further info, and to determine if air traffic services training is the right fit for you.

NZQA pathways

Students training to be an air traffic controller or flight service officer for Airways in New Zealand can gain NZQA qualifications.

What do air traffic controllers & flight service officers do?

Keeping our skies safe is a big responsibility. It takes a certain kind of person with the right skills, aptitude and attitude. In return it offers a career full of challenges, opportunities, rewards and a sense of purpose and achievement.

Air traffic controllers are responsible for the safe and efficient movement of aircraft, and provide pilots with flight information so every flight takes off, flies and lands safely. They either work in surveillance control centres or in airport control towers and use various equipment, such as radar and radios to communicate advice and instructions to pilots. 

Flight service officers work in an aerodrome or in our main surveillance centre, and give advice and information for the safe and efficient movement of flights. 

Airways NZ - become an air traffic controller
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How does air traffic control work through the airspace?

Different controllers handle the various stages of flight – as shown in this graphic. They are responsible for air traffic management, navigation services, and communications. 

How Air Traffic Control (ATC) works through the airspace

What are the different roles?

Controllers have different areas of responsibility, depending on the stage of flight they manage – as shown in the graphic above. In New Zealand, ATCOs work from our surveillance centre in Christchurch, our Oceanic Control Centre in Auckland, or in one of 17 control towers throughout the country. 

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Aerodrome/Tower

These controllers enable the safe and efficient operation of aircraft near the aerodrome. They are based at an aerodrome’s control tower and control traffic visually within the control zone. 

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Area Surveillance

These controllers work in enroute upper airspace sectors and are responsible for keeping aircraft separate in the airspace around them. 

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Approach Surveillance

These controllers manage and sequence traffic approaching and departing an aerodrome. They handle arriving and departing aircraft by working closely with both Area Surveillance and Tower controllers. 

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Flight service officers

Flight service officers provide key advice and information, such as weather updates and operational information to aircraft operating outside controlled airspace. 

How do I apply?

Applications are now open for our air traffic control training programme to start in October 2024. Applications close on 31 July 2024.