First Area Air Traffic Controllers Fully Trained in Croatia

October 14, 2022

Following the establishment of the integrated training system for all types of air traffic controllers (ATCO) in 2021 by Croatia Control Ltd. (CCL), first male and female Area ATCOs fully trained in Croatia recently finished their training.

Up to 2020, all ATCOs had been trained abroad for the most part of their demanding training, with solely the final part having been conducted in our company. With significant expenses, such training organization entailed a lack of development of local instructors and continuous monitoring of candidates, resulting in low pass rates.

“I am proud of successfully passing the theoretical part of the examination as well as finishing the practical skills, and that I will care for the safety of aircraft, cabin crew and passengers at Zagreb Area Control Center. I have chosen this job because it is very dynamic and it fulfils me,” said Vice Torić, the first Area ATCO who successfully completed the whole training in Croatia in two years and four months. Vice has an MA degree in Mathematics, who right after his studies at Zagreb Faculty of Science applied for the job of ATCO and was selected in the first generation of candidates fully trained at CCL from start to finish.

Just a few days later, Diana Patajac, a grammar school graduate, successfully completed her practical training, thus becoming the first female Area ATCO trained in our company. She is also the first woman who has been licensed for Area Air Traffic Control in the last eight years, deeming her new job the best in the world.

“This is a big day for our company, because after a decade of training air traffic controllers all across Europe, we have shown that in Croatia, we have the knowledge, technology, and capacity to independently train our own air traffic controllers. Other countries in the region are showing interest, and I hope that we will offer this valuable service to our neighboring countries,” said Vlado Bagarić, the Director General of CCL.

Besides Area ATCOs, after the establishment of the integrated training system, CCL trains Tower and Approach ATCOs. Currently, three generations of Area ATCOs are in different stages of their training, as well as one generation of Tower ATCOs and one generation of Approach ATCOs. Applications for the fourth generation of Area ATCOs are planned for October.

Candidates are trained on a state-of-the-art simulator at the company headquarters. Last year, a tower simulator fully developed by CCL’s experts was implemented in Split, completely meeting the infrastructure requirements for ATCO training in Croatia. Besides the modern infrastructure, the most important link in the training system are the experts – teachers, instructors, assessors, and training managers.