ATC – Definition & Meaning

Air traffic control (ATC) is an essential component of the aviation industry, which is responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient movement of aircraft. ATC is a complex system that involves communication, navigation, and surveillance technologies to manage the flow of air traffic in the airspace. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of ATC in detail.


ATC is the service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. ATC is responsible for maintaining a safe distance between aircraft, ensuring that they follow the correct flight path, and providing pilots with information about weather conditions and other potential hazards.


The origins of ATC can be traced back to the early days of aviation when pilots relied on visual flight rules (VFR) to navigate. As the number of aircraft increased, it became necessary to develop a system to manage the flow of air traffic. The first air traffic control tower was built in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1930, and the first radar-based ATC system was developed in the United States in the 1950s.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ATC is “the system by which air traffic is controlled, especially by radio communication between ground-based controllers and aircraft.” Merriam-Webster defines ATC as “the service of ground-based personnel who direct and control the movement of aircraft on the ground and in the air.”


ATC is closely associated with the aviation industry and is an essential component of the air transportation system. ATC is also closely associated with air traffic controllers, who are responsible for managing the flow of air traffic in the airspace.


Synonyms for ATC include air traffic management, air traffic services, and air traffic control services.


Antonyms for ATC include uncontrolled airspace and visual flight rules.

The same root words

There are no root words associated with ATC.

Example Sentences

  1. The air traffic control tower at JFK airport is one of the busiest in the world.
  2. The air traffic controller directed the pilot to land on runway 27R.
  3. The ATC system uses radar and other technologies to track the movement of aircraft.
  4. The air traffic controller alerted the pilot to a potential hazard on the runway.
  5. The ATC system is designed to ensure the safe and efficient movement of air traffic.
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