Yesterday I started a flight from Hong Kong (VHHH) to Brussels (EBBR) considering Brussels would be staffed when I arrived. The ATC staffing is supposed to start from 0600Z but there is still no one staffing EBBR, is this normal?

Hello Bruce!

The ATC schedule that’s posted every month by Tyler is just a suggestion for IFATC members to control. These are often themed to some community event or just a showcase of various airports in the region. However, this ATC schedule doesn’t mean that controllers must control the airports that are featured.

As it stands, ATC members are free to control any airport in the world, at any time, without regard for the ATC schedule, though I can assure you that you’ll most likely find featured airports to be controlled. I also want to stress that IFATC is run by volunteers and just as there are times when there are plenty of airports being staffed, you’ll also occasionally find times where no airports are open at all. Controllers do not have an obligation to control every day, with the minimum requirement only being once a month.

It should also be mentioned that the spread in IFATC members means that a considerable number of controllers are based in North America and Europe. At this time of day, most of them are asleep or busy with their daily lives. If you do try coming back at a later time, I can assure you that you’re likely to find Brussels to be staffed.

Hopefully, this will give you a quick explanation of how airports are staffed by ATC members, though if you wish to read up more on this matter, you’re free to check out this blog post below, written by Tyler, the ATC Manager at Infinite Flight.


Good to know! thank you