In the United Kingdom there are three main categories of aeronautical communications service:
- Air Traffic Control Service (ATC) which can only be provided by licensed Air Traffic Control Officers who are closely regulated by the relevant regulatory authority.
- Flight Information Service at aerodromes and Area Control Centres which can be provided only by licensed Flight Information Service Officers (FISOs), who are also regulated by the CAA.
- Aerodrome Air/Ground Communication Service (AGCS) which can be provided by Radio Operators who are not licensed but have obtained a certificate of competency to operate radio equipment on aviation frequencies from the CAA. These operations come under the jurisdiction of the radio licence holder, but are not regulated in any other way.
It surprises many people to learn that FISOs provide services to a large variety of aircraft, including airliners, military fast jets, helicopters, light aircraft, microlights, gliders and gyrocopters!
For more information about the role of FISOs at Area Centres visit this page on the NATS website
For more information about the role of FISOs at Aerodrome have a listen to this podcast !