General information and access to the profession

    The Air Controller is the person responsible for providing the ATC (Air Traffic Control or Air Traffic Control) service, directing the transit of aircraft in the airspace of their responsibility and at airports in a fluid, safe and orderly manner, granting the pilots the appropriate authorisations and providing them with the necessary instructions and information, in the airspace of their responsibility, in order to prevent collisions between aircraft or obstacles in the scope of their manoeuvres. He is therefore ultimately responsible for air traffic control.

    The Air Controllers carry out their work in the so-called Area Control Centres or ACCs, within the Control Towers or TWR and in the Approximation Control Offices or PPPs and apply standards arranged and delivered by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the aeronautical authorities of each country.

    In short, the main tasks performed by ATC staff are:

    • Prevention of collisions between aircraft.
    • Prevention of collisions between aircraft in landing or take-off operations within the same airport space or with geographical features or obstacles present in the area, such as antennas or buildings.
    • Expediting and maintaining the orderly flow of air traffic.
    • Provide useful information for safe and effective flight management.
    • Report incidents to the responsible organisations, for example that may result in search and rescue operations.


    How to be Air Controller in Spain?

    In order to carry out the work of Air Controller in Spain, you must be in possession of an air traffic controller licence issued by any Member State in accordance with Regulation 2015/340 of 20 February 2015. If such a licence is from a country other than Spain, an exchange must be made.

    Access to an Air Controller post is determined by the fact that in 2010 the air traffic control sector in Spain was privatised, with the public company or a number of companies within the private sector being possible employers of an air traffic controller on state territory. To work on either side of the sector, the licence will be required, fulfilling at least the requirements set out in ATCO.B.005 of Regulation 2015/340. However, such employers, hereinafter referred to as service providers, may require additional requirements for their recruitment, with substantial differences between access to each other. (it is recommended to consult the special conditions of access for the different providers)


    The complete process of obtaining the licence to exercise as an air traffic controller consists mainly of 4 phases:

    1. Initial training. An initial training school must be accessed in order to complete the desired training itinerary.

    It consists of two parts:

    basic Initial Training: for the most part theoretical, common to all controlling students.

    B) Initial habilitation training, with theoretical part and part of training in simulator.

    Depending on the courses carried out, the following ratings/qualifications will be obtained:

    visual aerodrome control (ADV);
    aerodrome (ADI) control with control tower rating (TWR), air control (AIR) and ground movement control (GMC) endorsements and aerodrome radar control (RAD) and ground movement monitoring (GMS) endorsements;

    approach control by procedures (APP);

    approach Surveillance Control (APS), with the endorsement of Terminal Control Rating (TCL), Precision Approach Radar (PAR) and Surveillance Radar Approach (SRA);
    control by procedures (ACP);
    area surveillance
    control (ACS), with the endorsement of terminal control rating (TCL) and ocean control (OCN)


    2. Issue of student air traffic controller licence (SATCO). A certificate of completion of the initial training, if the requirements specified in ATCO.B.001 of Regulation 2015/340 are met, will be applied for a student air traffic controller licence, which will be issued by the State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA).


    3. Unity Formation. If the service provider’s selective process has been passed, the controlling student must pass a training in the unit which may consist of up to 3 parts:

    theoretical transition training.

    on-the-job training (OJT) with real traffic and under the supervision of an OJTI instructor.

    pre-OJT training, only in certain complex and dense transit units.


    4. Air traffic controller (ATCO) licence is issued. Once unit formation has been completed, if the requirements specified in ATCO.B.005 of Regulation 2015/340 are met, the air traffic controller licence will be requested and issued by the State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA).

    • Currently the licence of both SATCO and ATCO is issued electronically in accordance with the Resolution of 19/06/2020 of the Directorate of EASA on electronic licences for civil aviation personnel. (see Regulation section)


    You can consult the list of certified organisations to provide the different types of training in the section “ENLACES DE INTERÉS” of this website.

    For those procedures for applying for a licence must conform to the forms and formats contained in the section “FORMULARS AND FORMATOS”

    Notwithstanding the above, and in relation to ATCO.B.001 and ATCO.B.005 it is clarified as follows:


    Language proficiency

    In order to obtain the licence and to practice as an air traffic controller in the Spanish state, it is necessary to certify a level of English and, where applicable, Spanish, equivalent to at least an operational level 4 ICAO. All this in accordance with Regulation 2015/340.

    To consult the centres of linguistic proficiency approved by EASA see the section “Links of interest” on this website.


    Medical certificate

    A Class 3 Aeronautical Medical Certificate is required to obtain an air traffic controller licence. The requirements for obtaining such a certificate are set out in Regulation (EU) 2015/340, as well as the limitations and exclusions for its issue.

    The applicable legal and regulatory basis for the medical assessment of air traffic controllers and the list of centres certified to perform the reviews can be found in the section “Aeronautical Medicine” in the “Links of Interest” section of this website.

    As a department outside the ATC Licensing Service, enquiries on this subject should be addressed to the following address:


How to process the application

    • By face-to-face registration in any of the forms provided for in Article 16(4) of Law 39/2015 of 1 October 2015
    • Telematically for those training organisations authorised here
    • Telematically for other organisations and individuals here
    • For payment of the telematics fee here

Forms and formats


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