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Pros & Cons of Air Traffic Control


    • The central purpose of air traffic control lies in safety. Using radar tracking, air traffic controllers monitor incoming and outgoing planes, keeping aircraft safely apart. Lacking the sophisticated system of air traffic control that we've come to rely upon would mean chaos in the sky, which is often filled with thousands of planes at any given time.

    Confusion and Delays

    • The flip side to safety is that air traffic control leaves very little room for error. One mistake in air traffic control might not cause a problem, but it might also be a recipe for disaster for a plane carrying a load of passengers. The sheer number of planes in the sky can easily cause confusion in the world of air traffic control. Delays often occur, as scheduled arrivals, departures and weather are impossible to control on the part of air traffic control.


    • Air traffic controllers earn high pay wages compared with many other professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, air traffic controllers earned an average of $111,000 in 2008. The highest 10 percent earned above the $160,000 mark. Certification requires attendance at an AT-CTI school.

    Working Hours and Stress

    • Air traffic never sleeps, which means that air traffic control must operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week. For the life of an air traffic controller, this can mean very erratic working hours. Alternatively, air traffic control is considered a high stress position due to the constant demands it places on workers to avoid mistakes and constantly monitor air traffic, often with very little downtime between planes.

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