Aerodromes in Finland are divided in four different types of service:

Category Level of service Airports
ATS1 Air traffic service is provided in the form of aerodrome and approach control services based on the use of ATS surveillance systems. Helsinki Airport
ATS2 Air traffic service is provided depending on air traffic needs either in the form of: 1. combined aerodrome and approach control service; or 2. aerodrome control service, and approach control service based on an ATS surveillance system. Halli, Jyväskylä, Kittilä, Kuopio, Mariehamn, Oulu, Pori, Rovaniemi, Tampere-Pirkkala, Turku, Vaasa
ATS3 Air traffic service is provided in the form of combined aerodrome and approach control service. Ivalo, Joensuu, Kemi-Tornio, Kokkola-Pietarsaari, Kuusamo, Utti
AFIS Air traffic services are provided as flight information and alerting services. Enontekiö, Kajaani, Savonlinna, and ATS2/3 airports when AFIS service is provided

 (AFIS units in Finland are explained in more detail here)

In this document you will find useful information when controlling any ATS2 or ATS3 unit in Finland.


The level of service varies according to the airport. Some airports provide separate ground or delivery positions, e.g. Rovaniemi and Tampere-Pirkkala. These positions have same procedures as described below, but different area of responsibility, relieving the workload of one controller. The coordination between two local units is mainly done via voice.

IFR clearance

A clearance for departing IFR traffic consists of clearance limit (destination), departure runway, departure route or direct, next segment of flight plan route, initial climb and the squawk code.

ATCO: Finnair 2PD, cleared to Helsinki, runway 12, direct MIKNU, M857, flight level 350, squawk 0244.

The initial climb is usually the requested final flight level, if not restricted by ACC. If ACC has conflicting traffic at lower levels, he will coordinate with local controllers for a reclearance.

Ground movements

ATCO: Finnair 442, time 58, pushback and startup approved, QNH 1021, (runway 30 for departure).

The QNH value is usually given with the pushback clearance. The direction of pushback is not necessary, but you may include the departure runway.

Taxi instructions and clearances are given by ATC. Unless otherwise instructed the aircraft shall use the shortest possible way to the taxiway parallel to the runway to continue further to the clearance limit given by the ATC. In other words, it is enough to state only the holding point for departures, or the assigned stand for arrivals.

ATCO: Finnair 9PE, landing time 45, taxi to apron, stand 7.

ATCO: Finnair 6MB, taxi to holding point A.

Runway use

The runway in use is determined according to wind and weather, while maintaining a safe and expeditious flow of traffic. If the wind is calm and visibility permits, it is a good idea to select a southwesterly runway.

ATCO: Finnair 446, wind 220 degrees 2 knots, runway 30 cleared for takeoff, right turn.

If departing traffic is cleared direct routing, the inbound turn towards the fix shall be stated in the clearance (left -, right -, free turn)

Conditional clearances are useful when controlling multiple aircraft on frequency. Note! The ICAO phrase "behind" shall not be used for departing traffic. The phrase has been misinterpreted as an instruction to ‘get close to’ the preceding aircraft, leading to serious jet blast incidents.

ATCO: OMP, after departing Airbus 320, lineup runway 12 and wait after.

If a separate approach controller is online, the frequency should be stated with the takeoff clearance: "when airborne contact radar 118.150".

It is common that VFR traffic uses intersection departures conflicting with arrivals. If this is the case, arriving traffic should be informed: e.g. "taxiway P blocked".

Control Zone management

The Control Zone is managed by the tower controller. It is common to see general aviation flights and parachuting activity in the vicinity of many aerodromes. The vertical limits are described in the Finland AIP or in the Aviation Map of Finland. The workload will vary depending on the aerodrome.

One important task is to keep IFR and VFR traffic separated from each other safely. To regulate traffic, the tower controller may advice VFR traffic to perform a 360 turn, to orbit, to circle the aerodrome, to make another circuit, or to extend the downwind leg. Commercial IFR traffic has always the priority in normal situations.

If a light aircraft is behind a larger aircraft which may generate turbulence or disturbance in the air, it is highly recommended to advice the pilot about wake turbulence, jet blast or slipstream.

Terminal Area management


Inbound IFR traffic should already be cleared arrival routing (STAR, vector, or direct) and flight level 100 by ACC. On initial contact, arriving traffic should get further descent, QNH-value (if below the transition level), expected approach type, (left or right circuit) and traffic information if needed.

ATCO: Nortrans 114, Oulu Tower, radar contact. Continue descent 2300ft, QNH 1021. Expect RNP or visual approach runway 30, left circuit, number 1 in traffic.

You may give descent clearance for arriving traffic before the TMA lateral border. It is on pilot’s discretion to remain in controlled airspace or enter uncontrolled airspace at all times. It is common to give ACC approval to clear arrivals direct IAF if traffic permits. In this case, it is more difficult for the pilot to adjust the vertical speed accordingly to stay inside controlled airspace. After the descent clearance, you may advice the pilot’s about track miles to the TMA border:

ATCO: Nortrans 114, for your information next 40 miles below flight level 95 uncontrolled airspace.

The local QNH-value needs to be stated with the approach clearance, even if the QNH is already given.

ATCO: Nortrans 114, cleared visual approach runway 30, QNH 1021.


If separate tower and approach controllers are not online, the controller should initiate the radar confirmation by himself (“Finnair 2PD, radar contact. Report altitude passing”). If both tower and approach are online, the pilot should report the passing altitude on initial contact with approach. Normally departing traffic will already be cleared to requested flight level in the En-route clearance. When departing traffic is approximately passing flight level 95, it needs to be transferred to ACC.


The terminal area is divided in four “invisible” sectors: north, south, east and west. To regulate traffic, the approach controller may clear VFR traffic to stay inside these sectors. (“OBN, cleared Oulu terminal area, north and east sectors, 4000ft or below, QNH 1021.”). This will also give VFR traffic lots of space to maneuver while waiting for other traffic to clear the area. These sectors are also used for parachuting activities.

All VFR traffic intending to operate inside the TMA are subject to a clearance.

ATCO: OMG, cleared Oulu terminal area, 2000ft, QNH1002.

ATCO: OME, cleared Oulu terminal area, direct en-route towards Hailuoto, 4000ft or below, QNH 1002.

Departing VFR traffic will usually be advised to leave the Control Zone via a visual reporting point or direct en-route.

ATCO: OME, leave Oulu Control Zone via SIIKA


Coordination between ATS units

It is very important to maintain proper coordination and communication with other ATS units, to ensure a safe and expeditious flow of traffic. Here is a few examples of standard coordination between two ATS units:

Transfer of aircraft

Communication between two ATS units (e.g. local and ACC) during transfer of aircraft, only when silent coordination is not executed:

a) request release of (aircraft call sign)

b) (aircraft call sign) released [at (time)] [conditions / restrictions]

c) is (aircraft call sign) released [for climb (or descent)]

d) (aircraft call sign) not released [until (time or significant point)]

e) unable (aircraft call sign) [traffic is (details)]


Communication between two ATS units when requesting a reclearance:

a) may we change clearance of (aircraft call sign) to (details of alteration proposed)?

b) agreed to (alteration of clearance) of (aircraft call sign)

c) unable (aircraft call sign)

d) unable (desired route, level, etc) [for (aircraft call sign)] [due (reason)] (alternative clearance proposed)

Approval request

Departing traffic in Finland needs to be approved (or released) by the ACC (flow management). This is done by silent coordination or the following communication standards. This is not mandatory in IVAO, however it will help in bigger events to regulate traffic and ensure that departures are separated from arrivals. Note: Helsinki has a different flow management system, and the same procedures does not apply.

a) approval request (aircraft call sign) estimated departure from (significant point or aerodrome) at (time)

b) (aircraft call sign) request approved

c) (aircraft call sign) unable (alternative instructions / expected time)


If using IVAC2, you may also use silent coordination methods with COPN/COPX and PEL/XFL fields.


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