Aerodrome Radar Control Rating

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Aerodrome Radar Control Rating

34TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Jerusalem, Israel, 27-31 March 1995

WP No. 133

Aerodrome Radar Control Rating


Many states undergoing radar modernisation programs which includes the installation of radar displays in many aerodrome control towers. The purpose of these installations is to provide aerodrome controllers with the required tools to facilitate increased capacity at those locations concerned while maintaining the same level of safety. The Air Navigation Commission of ICAO considered the introduction of an Aerodrome Radar Control Rating. They concluded that “Aerodrome controllers routinely use radar, when the equipment is available, to assist in the visual acquisition of the traffic but they are not providing radar services”. Based on this ICAO decided such a rating was not yet necessary but the matter should be reconsidered during the next amendment. Resolution C.11 at IFATCA 93 in Christchurch New Zealand put the subject of an Aerodrome Radar Control Rating on the Work Programme for SC4 for 1993/1994.


IFATCA submits that the Air Navigation Commission was incorrect in their assertions when they stated that “Aerodrome controllers routinely use radar, when the equipment is available, to assist in the visual acquisition of the traffic but they are not providing radar services“. Aerodrome controllers can utilise radar for the following purposes:

  • The provision of IFR separation minima between:
    • successive IFR departing aircraft;
    • departing and arriving aircraft.
  • The provision of wake-turbulence radar minima;
  • The provision of radar vectors to IFR and VFR aircraft;
  • The provision of radar observed weather advisories;
  • The provision of navigation assistance to aircraft in an emergency;
  • The provision of traffic advisories.

Aerodrome Controllers in some States use surface movement radar in marginal weather condition to determine:

  • The existence of IFR separation minima between arriving and departing aircraft;
  • The accurate location of aircraft and vehicles.

Some ATC authorities have responded to recent ICAO Airspace classification and have placed additional responsibilities on aerodrome controllers to separate aircraft. The use of radar equipment is becoming increasingly important in assisting aerodrome controllers to undertake these new responsibilities. Furthermore, the inadequate use of radar equipment in Control Towers without appropriate standards for training and rating would result in a less efficient services and possibly even endanger flight safety.


Until now no standards, similar to Area and Approach controller, have been established by ICAO to ensure adequate radar training for aerodrome controllers. In response to recent ICAO Airspace Classification some national ATC authorities have imposed the concept of “conflict resolution” as an additional responsibility for aerodrome controllers. This has resulted in aerodrome controllers being required to use radar equipment in order to provide this identified level of service. As identified in this working paper, the use of radar has become a normal practice at some of the most complex and busy airports around the world. Airport capacity would be significantly reduced if aerodrome controllers did not utilise radar for the separation of aircraft at locations so equipped and where radar is not presently used to its fullest extent, airport capacity could be increased without jeopardising aviation safety. The establishment of an Aerodrome Radar Control Rating would serve to ensure the appropriate training and qualification of those aerodrome controllers tasked with using radar as a means of ensuring separation, maintain safety and improve efficiency in the airport environment.


The Executive Board shall liaise with ICAO about the introduction of an aerodrome radar controller rating.

Last Update: September 28, 2020  

February 12, 2020   819   Jean-Francois Lepage    1995    

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