AFIS (Airfield Information Service)

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AFIS (Airfield Information Service)

24TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Athens, Greece, 18-22 March 1985

WP No. 39

AFIS (Airfield Information Service)


At the 1984 conference SC 1 was directed to carry out a study on AFIS. By the closing date for the questionnaire related to this study, 12 answers were received, out of which 9 came from Europe, 4 of these from countries that do not have or expect to have AFIS. This leaves 8 answers from which to base the information requested.

The world-wide analysis of the extent of AFIS which was intended, is not possible at this moment. But the following facts can be derived from the returned questionnaires: The criteria established, in order to decide whether or not to have ATC /AFIS, is almost always the number of operations at ascertain airfield, and that factor only. No one seems to worry about other factors such as terrain, geographical location, flight safety etc..

The training and licensing of AFIS staff varies from almost nothing and up to systemised training for four weeks followed by OJT.

The kind of traffic operating into AFIS – fields vary from light aircraft only, to a mixture of light and medium aircraft, including public passenger transport with aircraft types such as DC9, B737, F27 etc.

The following remarks from the questionnaire stand alone, but do give some indications as to how the feelings are on the subject:

  • We feel that AFIS staff has a lack of understanding of ATC problems;
  • Problems concerning lack of separation are often caused by over-ambitious AFIS staff;
  • Rules and regulations are often broken by AFIS staff when they have more than one aircraft on the frequency, indicating that flight safety is impaired when you are not allowed (educated) to separate air traffic from the ground;
  • We support qualified ATC at all aerodromes;
  • We are changing our systems to ATC only;
  • We have no problems with AFIS, looking upon it from an operational viewpoint, because as soon as the aircraft leaves controlled airspace it is told to leave the frequency, but talk about air safety…

To Conclude

As has been mentioned SC 1 is not able to depict the extent of AFIS world-wide at this time, but from the information received it can be concluded;

That where AFIS is provided, it is done differently from country to country. That training and licensing varies enormously. That almost all kind of traffic operates in and out of AFIS fields.

It is recommended that:

When analysing whether or not an airfield should be served by ATC/AFIS, not only the number of operations should be taken into consideration, but also such factors as terrain, geographical location, flight safety, weather, etc.

Where public air transport, and IFR flying in general is taking place, ATC should be provided. AFIS fields should only be flown in and out of when the weather minima are above those that apply to VFR flying outside controlled airspace.

Last Update: September 20, 2020  

November 30, 2019   491   Jean-Francois Lepage    1985    

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