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Briefing and Provision of Operational Aeronautical Information to Air Traffic Controllers

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Category: Safety Alert Safety Alerts
Content source: EUROCONTROL Safety Alerts EUROCONTROL

Request for Support Message

Briefing and Provision of Operational Aeronautical Information to Air Traffic Controllers

Date: 20 August 2010 Request for Support Message.gif


The purpose of this Request for Support message (RFS) is to gather good/best practices associated with the briefing and provision of operational aeronautical information to air traffic controllers, both before and after they assume responsibility for a particular control position.


A European ANSP has received safety reports regarding a lack of operational information (e.g. NOTAM, airspace/procedure changes etc) available at controller working positions (CWP).

ICAO Provisions

ICAO Doc 9426, Air Traffic Service Planning Manual, provides guidance on the type of facilities and information that should be provided to air traffic controllers prior to, and during, delivery of ATS, specifically:

  • Part I Chapter 10 describes the ‘’Information From Other Sources” including Met, AIS and COM that should be available to ATC.
  • Part III § 3.2 states that ANSPs should locate a briefing room close to the operations room to be used for briefing sessions and for current pre-shift, individual, briefing.
  • Part III § 3.3.1 states that there should be access to current weather information at each control position.
  • Part III § 4.3 describes the basic accommodation and equipment requirements for Flight Information Centres.
  • Part IV § 1.7.5, describes the broad list of relevant operational information that ATCOs should be conversant with prior to taking over an ATC operating position.

In addition, in the context of presentation and updating of Flight Plan and Control Data to ATC, ICAO Doc 4444, PANS ATM § says that, "“requirements regarding other information to be displayed, or to be available for display, shall be specified by the appropriate authority”".

There are no other known specific requirements/standards related to the type and format of the aeronautical information that should be displayed to controllers when they are at their operating positions.


The timely and accurate presentation of operational aeronautical information is clearly safety related. ATCOs need access to it to permit them to assess situations and adjust their controlling actions accordingly. The specific briefing actions that should be taken at each unit and at each operating position vary according to local ANSP needs. Some ANSPs use verbal briefings and/or written information to inform controllers whilst others use electronic, self-briefing facilities and display operational aeronautical information at CWP.

Support Requested

  • Air navigation service providers are kindly requested to provide brief details of how they disseminate operational aeronautical information to ATCOs and in particular if this is delivered/accessed via electronic self-briefing facilities and/or is presented in electronic format to controllers at CWP.
  • Aircraft operators are also invited to contribute any information they feel may benefit the ANSP community and enhance operational safety mutually.

Further Reading

  • ICAO Doc 9426, Air Traffic Service Planning Manual.
  • ICAO Doc 4444, PANS ATM.

Summary of Responses

A total of 19 responses were received: 15 from ANSPs, 2 Associations, and 2 from independent aircraft operators.

It was evident from the replies from ANSPs that a variety of methods are used to brief controllers prior to their undertaking operational control tasks. These include:

  • Verbal briefing by Supervisor/manager. Military ANSP includes aircrew.
  • Electronic self-briefing
  • Email, internet
  • Written documentation (AIP AMDTs, NOTAMs etc)/Checklists/Information folders/Staff Notices etc

For the provision of operational safety-related aeronautical information at controller working positions (CWP) there was again a mixed-bag of responses:

  • Electronic Support Information Retrieval type systems
  • Paper NOTAMs (Flight Info Centre)
  • Supervisor support


© European Organisation for Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) August 2010. This alert is published by EUROCONTROL for information purposes. It may be copied in whole or in part, provided that EUROCONTROL is mentioned as the source and to the extent justified by the non-commercial use (not for sale). The information in this document may not be modified without prior written permission from EUROCONTROL. The use of the document is at the user’s sole risk and responsibility. EUROCONTROL expressly disclaim any and all warranties with respect to any content within the alert, express or implied.