Approach and Departure Control
Approach and departure control is an air traffic function provided by air traffic control facilities in Class B and C airspaces. It separates all aircraft, including large and small jet aircraft, according to the guidelines set out through the Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) service.
The controllers responsible for departure controlled are typically located on one of the lower floors within the control tower or centre. Although their visibility may be limited, the controllers follow and track the movement of a large or small jet aircraft on a radar screen.
As an aircraft reaches an altitude of roughly 500 meters, the controller takes over responsibility for that aircraft from tower control. The departure controller will then ensure the aircraft maintains a safe distance from other aircraft while departing. Once the aircraft flies out of their current airspace, the departure controller ensures the flight is then passed onto a controller at the landing facility.
Approach controllers are located in the same area as departure controllers and handle the same responsibilities but in reverse. When an aircraft enters the controller’s area of responsibility, they resume control of the aircraft to ensure it approaches the incoming airport and lands safely.