How to Become An Air Traffic Controller in India

For me, Air Traffic Control is one of the most interesting professions in the world. Air traffic controllers are the eyes and ears of the pilots. Being the navigators of the sky, they need to be vigilant all the time when they are performing their duties. The basic idea behind the Air Traffic Controlling is to achieve the goal of “safe, orderly and expeditious flow” of air traffic. The people who perform this highly skilled task are known as Air Traffic Controllers or Flight Controllers (as they are called in USA).

To differentiate between ATC’s 2 acronyms i.e. Air Traffic control and Air Traffic Controller, I will be using ATCO (Air Traffic Controller Officer) for Air Traffic Controller.

become an atc in india

First, let me tell you pros and cons of being an air traffic controller:

Pros: It allows you to make independent decisions, handsome salary package and other incentives in terms of qualification allowances, happening working environment i.e. no monotonous work, no work to be carried at home, posting in cities only.

Cons: Shift duties which means performing graveyard shift as well, highly stressful job, you need to make error free decision every time and less chances of getting holidays on festivals as ATC is a 24×7 job.

ATC profession is great for those with quick “correct” decision making capability as you need to make countless split-second decision when you are performing the duty (we call it “on channel/position”). I am highlighting the word “correct” as life of thousands of people is your hand when you are on the channel, so your decision has to be correct or error free. Also you need to be fluent with English if you are posted at international airport.


The Employer

Airports Authority of India (AAI) recruits the ATCOs in India for Civil Aviation Traffic Control & Management. AAI is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the aegis of Ministry of Civil Aviation; Govt. of India. It was constituted under an Act of Parliament on April 1, 1995 by merging erstwhile National Airports Division (NAD) and International Airports division (IAD). AAI is a Mini-Ratna Category-1 public sector undertaking.


Selection Process

The ATCOs are recruited at the Post of Junior Executive (ATC) or simply call it JE (ATC). Selection process starts with the recruitment advertisements in major newspapers like Times of India and The Hindu. Interested candidates are required to apply through online method at the website: http://www.aaians2015.in/ . The complete details regarding the recruitment are also published on AAI’s official website www.aai.aero .

Who can apply?

Only Indian Nationals who have one of the following educational qualifications (with minimum 60% marks) can apply for the post of Junior Executive (ATC).
Regular full time Bachelor’s Degree (3 years) in Science (B.Sc.) with Physics and Mathematics from a recognized university.
                                                                                              Or
Full time regular Bachelor’s degree in Engineering/Technology (B.E./B.Tech) in any discipline of Electronics/Telecommunications/ Information Technology. (Updated:02/01/2016)

Age Criteria:

There is some age criterion as well like maximum age for candidates from unreserved categories is 27 years, 30 years for OBC candidates and 32 years for SC/ST candidates.

The Selection Procedure is comprised of three steps:

  1. Written Examination.
  2. Voice Test
  3. Medical Test

1. Written Examination:

Written test is conducted online. It is divided into two parts viz. Technical Section and Non-Technical Section. There are total 120 questions, 60 in each section. Technical section is to test candidate’s knowledge of Physics and Mathematics. Non-technical section focuses on candidate’s reasoning skills, numerical ability and general knowledge of day to day events. It also has questions on English language as ATCOs are required to communicate with Pilots from other countries as well.
There is no negative marking and candidates who score more than 60% can expect to be called for voice test.

2. Voice Test

Voice test is conducted to ensure that the candidate is not stammering. It is a normal test where candidate is required to read a written paper which has sample pilot-controller interaction phrases.

3. Medical Test:

Once the result of Interview is declared, successful candidates are required to undergo medical fitness test as per ICAO Annex-1.

Edited: Here are some points commonly asked by candidates who qualify the Written Test/Interview regarding Medical fitness for ATC Post:

  1. It is Class III Medical test (instead of asking me, please ask its details with some Doctor/Hospital). You will be required to go to Civil/Govt. Hospital for this. They will tell you the procedure for the same. It might take 2-3 days for its completion.
  2. There is no issue with specs provided you have 6/6 vision with help of glasses.
  3. Candidates with color blindness will not be allowed to join the ATC post.

ATC Training

Once you are done with all these hurdles and formalities, you will be joining AAI’s training institutes. There are total three training institutes at Allahabad (Utter Pradesh), Gondia (Maharashtra) and Hyderabad (Telangana) where AAI will impart ab-initio training of Aerodrome Control Tower and Approach Control. Training cost is borne by Airports Authority of India, in addition, the trainees are paid approx. INR 40,000 as monthly salary. Once training is over you are liable to be posted anywhere in India.

Bond Period : 

AAI will require you to furnish a Bond of Rs. 5 Lakhs for a period of 3 years. This is basically done in order to recover the training cost of the candidate, in case trainee does not want to continue with AAI. The training period is included in this.


So are you ready to rule the Indian skies?? Well, if your answer is affirmative, then start preparing well to be a part of this unique and prestigious profession. I am culminating my article with this nice ATC quote:
“Air Traffic Control is easy until it gets hard. Then it gets very hard. The problem is, it can get very hard very easily.”

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117 thoughts on “How to Become An Air Traffic Controller in India”

  1. Sir, After the Voice test and Interview when would the results be announced ? Since it took almost a year to get the results of Written Test. After approximately how many days would this result be announced ?

    1. There is no fixed schedule as you can see for past two three recruitments done by AAI, it depends on AAI’s requirement and other conditions like availability of training institutes etc. Generally result is declared in a month or two.

    1. sudhir sheoran

      I am not the right person to compare. Pros and Cons of ATC are available on Incomopedia. You can check.

  2. I want to study ATC SO Can I apply with MY Somali National OR ONLY FOR INDIAN
    If yes How ? And where Can I contact ?
    Ahmed

  3. Hi,

    I am a BE(IT) holder in and diploma holder in the same stream and not 10+2. Presently, I am working in a software industry as software developer. Am I eligible for the same?
    Also when will be the next recruitment drive carried out by AAI (Any tentative period)?

    Thanks

  4. I am a final year student of engineering, i.e, 2018 pass-out batch. Am I eligible to apply for this years exam? As you mentioned that there is a sufficient delay in declaring the results then going by the logic I need to show my certificates only in the interview if selected which i will get by then.
    And where can I get the notification for online application ?
    And one more, Is there any limit on the number of times a single candidate can appear?

    1. sudhir sheoran

      1. As no notification is expected before this year end. Final year student can apply for exam. They need to show their marksheet during interview.
      2. Notification will be on website of AAI, we also upload such notifications on our AAI ATC news page and our FB page.
      3. No such limitations for appearing in exam.

        1. sudhir sheoran

          You should have read the post carefully. Only Indian Nationals who have one of the following educational qualifications (with minimum 60% marks) can apply for the post of Junior Executive (ATC).

  5. Thank u for information, but i need some information..

    1. Is there any transport facilities provided to this ATCO, as they need to reach the airport at time??

    2.when will the notification for the next recruitment will be released?? (If released could u just inform me through e-mail or phone, please…my number 8*******6 and du*****5@gmail.com)

    3.how much time does it generally take to complete recruitment process?? (Without including the training process)

    1. sudhir sheoran

      1. AAI doesn’t provide any such facilities. Generally people use pooling for this purpose.
      2. This is too much
      3. It varies every time but rough estimate can be around 6-7 months.

  6. Venkatesh dasari

    Sir, after 10th i did diploma in mechanical engineering and then B. Tech in mechanical engineering i. e(10+3+3)..in both i am having more than 60%..am i eligible to apply fir ATC post??

  7. Hi, what will be median salary package after completing the training and what is the career scope in next 10.
    Thanks

  8. Hello sir,
    I did read the whole post but I need a small info, I’m a Bsc microbiology graduate and had math and physics in +2, so am I eligible for this job profile?

  9. Hello sir !

    Your blog was very helpful. Thank you for all your effort in penning this down. Now that i have few queries and would be greatful if you could resolve them up for me..

    1. My main subject was maths, physics and biology in 12th. Hope i am elegible ?

    2. I am a passed out engineering candidate (B.Tech, Biotechnology) with above 60%. Hope this makes me eligible too ?

    3. Is height of the applicant considered under medical fitness, if so what would be the least value ? and is there any other criteria being looked into under this session.

    Thanks in anticipation !

    1. Thanks for the mail. Aai has nothing to do with candidates’ 12th stream. All they need is B.Tech. degree, so you are eligible.
      There is no criteria regarding height. You should be fit, that’s all

  10. Thank u for information sir , but i want to know that
    i m a graduate last year pass out in bsc (computer sci)
    i have math and physics in 1st year only
    so its eligible or not ?
    and one more thing i got 59.60 %
    this makes me eligible or not…
    i am intrested in ATC course
    pls reply sir
    thank u

    1. gurmeet singh jat

      Hi,

      I am a BE(CSE) holder in and diploma holder in the same stream and not 10+2. Presently. Am I eligible for the same?
      Also when will be the next recruitment drive carried out by AAI (Any tentative period)?

      Thanks

    1. You don’t have 60%+ in graduation. Also you are required to have maths as a subject in all the 3 years.

  11. Is possible to continue after the bond period is getting completed, if he is willing.
    What will be the average salary package?
    Is this job is permanent after the bond period?
    During the bond period the worker will get the package of 5 lacs per annum (every year) or the whole completion of the bond period (ie. 3 yrs) he will get 5 lacs for 3 yrs?

  12. Hello sir,
    I have read your post very informative i would like to thank you first.
    Hope you can help me with a few quireis:
    1)I have a B.SC in aviation studies but I did distance learning. Have secured more than 70% . But the reason why I did this is I m a pilot have an Airline Transport pilots licence. Have been working outside India for last 5 years. So will I be eligible to apply for this post in India considering I have the background of aviation?

  13. Sir I m doing my UG math right now..is it preferable to apply for ATCO after completion of UG or is it good that i had to complete my PG…?

    1. sudhir sheoran

      For ATC you need only UG. Make sure you are studying maths and physics as your main subjects. Only Maths will not do good

      1. Thanks for the mail sir. Pleaes do bare with me…I have one more doubt..my college offers physics only for two semester and the rest four semester I ll b doing major maths papers…is it enough to join ATCO or should i do an extra physics course..? I am asking such silly doubts because i have a ken interest in joining ATCO aftr reading all those posts
        …plz do reply

        1. sudhir sheoran

          As per qualifications required to become an ATCO you must have read Maths and Physics as two of the main subjects in B.Sc.
          My interpretation is that you must have read these two subjects in all of your semesters or all the three years, whichever be the case.

  14. I am a Masters graduate in the field of telecommunications, with a bachelors degree in Electronics.

    1. Will my grade in Masters be considered or of the bachelors?

    2. Are there any specific training institutes for the written exam preparation?

    1. sudhir sheoran

      If you have studied Maths and Physics as two of your main subjects in your B.Sc. then only you will be eligible for applying for ATC.
      1. No, grades in masters are not considered. Grade in Bachelors matters.
      2. I don’t know.

  15. May I know about Chennai international airport ATCO salary and I also wants to know is it a government job or private job….plz do reply Sir

    1. sudhir sheoran

      Starting salary is expected around 60k. Will be increased after rating which may take around 7-8 months after posting at Chennai.

  16. Sir, would you please quote how much will JE be paid initially? And what are the prospects of promotion in this field? I’m currentlyi in 3rd Year B.E. Computer Engg but an aviation geek. I want to be a part of Aviation industry and explore the field! Help me out!

  17. Sir now im pursuing btech 4th year in ELECTRONICS AND COMMUNICATION ENGINEERING. I am sure that i will get above 60% in engineering and i have above 60% in 12th( maths, physics, chemistry) class too but i am not having above 60% in class 10. So, am i eligible for atc. And i hope 10th class subjects are just base for 12th class not for atc! Isnt it sir?

  18. After completing BSc. Non medical having maths and physics as main subjects for 3 yrs….am i eligible for ATC

  19. Prashant Yadav

    Sir, is there any height and weight criteria in medical fitness test for ATC…. Also sir my right arm doesn’t straighten upto full 180 degree( it almost straighten upto 165 or 170 degrees) but that has never hindered my work in any way…… If selected for medicals… Will I be rejected in medicals for that???

  20. hello sir, I have completed diploma in Mechatronics am i eligible for ATC?
    or holding BE/BTech degree Mandatory???

    1. sudhir sheoran

      To become eligible, One need Regular full time Bachelor’s Degree (3 years) in Science (B.Sc.) with Physics and Mathematics from a
      recognized university with minimum 60% marks.

    1. sudhir sheoran

      Final year students are allowed to appear in the exam, subject to the condition that they will produce the final result at the time of document verification/interview.

    1. sudhir sheoran

      To be eligible, one need Regular full time Bachelor’s Degree (3 years) in Science (B.Sc.) with Physics and Mathematics from a
      recognized university with minimum 60% marks.

  21. I have done b. Sc in physics.. But I had maths and physics in first and second year. Am I’m eligible for atc

    1. sudhir sheoran

      I am not sure. “Regular full-time bachelor’s degree of 3 years in Science(B.Sc.) with Physics and Mathematics from a recognised university with minimum 60% Marks”. This is all they have said about eligibility. Now you have to decide yourself. Some says you are eligible while other thinks you must have maths and physics in every year of graduation. ONly AAI can clear this confusion.

  22. Shivangi Gupta

    Sir I am completed my graduation this year in b.sc ….Sir I want to ask I had pcm in first two year of b.sc but in the third year our university gaves us a chance to choose any two subject then I choose Maths and chemistry in third year…..Sir can I apply in JE(ATC)

    1. sudhir sheoran

      I am not sure. “Regular full-time bachelor’s degree of 3 years in Science(B.Sc.) with Physics and Mathematics from a recognised university with minimum 60% Marks”. This is all they have said about eligibility. Now you have to decide yourself.

  23. Hi sir iam nirmal iam a bba 3rd year student my age is 21 after bba can i apply for this job ? I need to know iam eligible for this to apply

  24. Ishwari Shirapure

    Hello sir,
    I find your blog very informative but I have some queries. Hope you will answer it as soon as possible so that I can start with my preparation.
    1- I’m second year Bsc student and planning to opt for statistics in my final year. Am I eligible for the post or is it mandatory to have mathematics or physics as my major subjects?
    2- I studied physics only in first year Nd droped the same in second year. Will it be okay?
    3- As you have mentioned “one should have Mathematics AND Physics as their main subjects in all the three years of graduation. But we are allowed to have only one subject in the final year. So, do you mean DOUBLE GRADUATION or you mean to say Mathematics OR Physics.
    Please try to answer all my three questions in detail.
    THANK YOU!

    1. AAI has not cleared this doubt. I even forwarded this query to a group of candidates preparing for ATC exam. Some says you must have physics and maths in all the 3 years and other says one is eligible even if he/she studied physics and maths even 1 year during graduation. I am among the first ones. Yet I would say, You should take a risk.

        1. Taking risk means, you apply for the exam, pass the exam, go for interview and document verification. If you are eligible, no one in AAI will question your qualifications otherwise you will not be selected. This is the only way to know your eligibility for the exam until someone from AAI clears the doubt.

  25. Do a women atc get a posting around their home region?! Any preferences or consideration will be given to women for place of posting??

    1. It is dependent on vacancies near the airport around your hometown. If there are vacancies then you will get preference.

  26. HELLO SIR
    IAM A BTECH GRADUATE PREPARING FOR ATC EXAM BUT I HAVE RED GREEN COLOR BLINDNESS (STRONG DEUTAN ) SOMEONE TOLD ME THAT MEDICAL TEST TAKE PLACE AFTER FINAL RESULT AND COLOR BLIND PERSON CAN JOIN ATC BUT HANDEL ONLY ADMINISTRATIVE WORK . IS THIS TRUE ? OR I SHOULD HAVE TO CHANGE MY GOAL ? PLZ REPLY SIR

    1. You can take a chance. Color blindness is not allowed at all in a safety-oriented job like ATC where you will be working in front of so many screens with different colored data blocks.
      Administrative work will come into picture only when you will get medical fitness certificate from Doctor prior to joining AAI.

  27. Hi sir….I wish to pursue mechanical engineering and then apply for Air Traffic Controller Officer…..Will I be eligible?

  28. Hello sir…i am doing bsc aeronautical science…which have maths only in first year..and physics upto 5 semesters…am i eligible for this job?

    1. sudhir sheoran

      none will work. One need either B.Sc. or B.Tech. in order to be eligible for the post of ATC in AAI.

  29. Sir can I apply I have done bsc/ plan/bio and nowadays i am pursuing the course of Aviation (diploma)
    Please help me ……..

    1. maximum age for candidates from unreserved categories is 27 years, 30 years for OBC candidates and 32 years for SC/ST candidates.

  30. I am studying in class 12 now and wanted to become air traffic controller. so suggest me the best profestional course after my class 12

    1. They ask questions from Physics and Maths. So I think any branch where you get to read these subjects a lot will be better.

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