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 with radar service (SSR) in Finland.

Minimum radar separation within all TMA:s is 3 NM or 1000 FT.


Departing Aircraft

Standard Departure Clearance:

  • Aircraft callsign
  • Clearance limit (airport, significant point or airspace boundary)
  • SID designator
  • Inital level (unless included in SID)
  • SSR code
  • Other instructions or information

The initial flight level is usually the FPL requested flight level (RFL). Departing aircraft shall be considered climbing to RFL when transfer from Local Unit to ACC is initiated, unless otherwise coordinated.

Finnair 2K, cleared to Helsinki, runway 24, ENETI 3E departure, T95, flight level 150, squawk 0244.

Finnair 2K, selvä Helsinkiin, kiitotie 24, ENETI 3E lähtöreitti, T95, lentopinta 150, koodaa 0244.

The local QNH shall be given before departure. Preferably with the pushback clearance. ATC should clear deparing traffic via SID, if published. Generally the next segment of flight plan route (airway T95 in example above).

Clearance shall specify:

  • Direction/turn after takeoff
  • Level(s)
  • Any other necessary manoeuvres

Departure sequence:

Normally according to Estimated Time of Departure (ETD), but if delay:

  • Maximum number with least average delay
  • If anticipating delay of more than 30 minutes: inform operators

Release valid ETD +/- 4 minutes.

To delay departures:

  • EXPECT (number) MINUTES DELAY DUE (reason);
  • EXPECT START-UP AT (time);

Departure phase:

After takeoff, aircraft shall be identified (use term "Radar Contact" for SSR identification). Identification is usually initiated by the controller, if separate ATS-Units are not used. Callsign, ASSR and passing altitude/flight level shall be confirmed.

Finnair 2K, radar contact. Report altitude passing.

Passing 1900 feet, Finnair 2K.

Finnair 2K.

Finnair 2K, tutka yhteys. Ilmoita korkeus läpi.

Läpi 1900 jalkaa, Finnair 2K.

Finnair 2K.

Note the ATS airspace classification of your CTR and TMA! In Finland most controlled airspaces are either class C or D. There are different responsibilities, that the controller shall be aware of.

  • Separation: IFR/IFR & IFR/VFR
  • Service ATC
  • Speedlimit: NO
  • Separation: VFR/IFR
  • Service: ATC, Traffic info for VFR
  • Speedlimit: YES

When passing FL95, departing aircraft shall be transfered to ACC, if not otherwise stated in the Letter of Agreements (LoA).

Finnair 2K, contact Helsinki Control 125.225.

Finnair 2K, ota yhteyttä Helsinki Controlliin 125.225.

The Local Unit is responsible for separation until departing aircraft has been transfered to ACC (even if the aircraft has already passed FL95). Separation between departing traffic needs to be at least 5 NM before transfer to ACC.

Arriving Aircraft

Arriving aircraft will be transfered from ACC at least 2 minutes before the airspace border (TMA) somewhere between FL100 and FL200.

Arrivals will be cleared FL100 and STAR serving the runway in use. If the airport does not have published STARs, ACC will clear arrivals to the end of ILS or RNP T-bar, so, that the angle to ILS or RNP approach track is less than 90 degrees.

Procedures for arriving aircraft:

  • Should be informed about delays
  • Extend delays as early as possible
  • IFR shall not be cleared below MSA or SMA
  • STARs should normally be followed

Information for arriving aircraft (as early as possible) when in contact:

  • Type of approach
  • Significant changes to wind (H 10 kts, X 5 kts, T 2 kts)
  • Latest information of wind shear or turbulence
  • Current runway conditions
  • Visibility (RVR)

Standard clearance for arriving aircraft:

  • Ident
  • (Initial) altitude + local QNH
  • Runway in use
  • Type of approach
  • (Speed restriction)
  • (Traffic information)

Finnair 5ZY, Oulu radar, radar contact. Continue descent to 2300 feet, QNH 1013. Cleared ILS-Z approach runway 12, number 1 in traffic. Report established on localizer.

Finnair 5ZY, Oulun tutka, tutka yhteys. Jatka laskeutumista korkeuteen 2300 jalkaa, QNH 1013. Selvä ILS-Z lähestymiseen kiitotie 12, vuoro 1. Ilmoita suuntasäteessä.

Visual Approach:

  • A shorter approach than planned to save time/fuel
  • Requested by pilot or initiated by ATC (acceptance of pilot is required)

The reported ceiling needs to be at or above the approved initial approach level.

Separation during VA:

  • ATC responsibility
  • Exception: When aircraft is instructed to follow and maintain own separation to the preceding aircraft. Pilot shall accept and read back the clearance.
  • If ownd separation is given, ATC shall issue caution wake turbulence information to the pilot.

VFR Aircraft

All VFR traffic are subject to clearance in order to operate inside a local CTR and/or TMA. Visual Reporting Points (VRP), maximum altitudes and CTR upper limits are shown on the airport VAC chart, found in AIP Finland. The VRP:s are placed with noise abatement in mind, and shall be used for arriving and departing traffic (especially during night time). Direct entry to traffic circuit can also be given.

Departing VFR:

  • LEAVE CONTROL ZONE VIA [VRP], AT (altitude).

O-ME, taxi to holding point A runway 12, leave Oulu Control Zone via SIIKA, 1300 feet or below. QNH 1013, squawk 0411.

O-ME, rullaa odotuspaikalle A kiitotie 12. Jätä Oulun lähialue SIIKAn kautta, 1300 jalkaa tai alle. QNH 1013, koodaa 0411.

Takeoff clearance shall specify direction of turn after departure.

O-ME, wind 300 degrees, 5 knots, runway 12 cleared for takeoff, right turn.

O-ME, tuuli 300 astetta, 5 solmua. Kiitotie 12 selvä lentoonlähtöön. Oikea kaarto.

When outside of the CTR (VRP outbound), traffic shall be advised, that frequency change is approved.

Arriving VFR:

Arriving VFR traffic will usually contact tower or approach 2 minutes before the airspace border. On initial contact, arriving VFR traffic shall be advised of the arrival runway in use, local QNH and any significant changes in MET conditions.

O-MK, cleared Oulu Control Zone and Terminal Area, 3000 feet or below. QNH 1013, Join final runway 12 direct, VFR.

O-MK, selvä Oulun lähi- ja lähestymisalueelle, 3000 jalkaa tai alle. QNH 1013. Aikanaan liity loppuosalle kiitotie 12 suoraan, VFR.

  • JOIN [(direction of circuit)] (position in circuit)
    (runway number) [SURFACE] WIND (direction and
    speed) (units) [TEMPERATURE [MINUS] (number)]
    QNH (or QFE) (number) [(units)] [TRAFFIC (detail)].

To delay VFR Traffic:

IFR scheduled commercial traffic has always priority over VFR general aviation. To delay VFR traffic, visual holding points are established in the vicinity of the runway. The holdings are usually located on either side of the runway, outside of the approach funnel. VFR traffic can also be delayed by extending downwind or orbit.

O-ME, after departure join southern holding, 1000 feet or below. Wind 300 degrees, 5 knots, runway 12 cleared for takeoff, right turn.

O-ME, lähdöstä liity eteläiseen odotukseen, 1000 jalkaa tai alle. Tuuli 300 astetta, 5 solmua. Kiitotie 12 selvä lentoonlähtöön. Oikea kaarto.

Traffic information shall be given according to ATS Airspace Classification. When VFR aircraft in circuit has arriving or departing traffic in sight, it can be cleared to continue the pattern as number 2 (or more depending on sequence). It is ATC responibility to advise the pilot of caution due to wake turbulence.

O-ME, continue as number 2. Number 1 Airbus 320 on 5 miles final. Caution wake turbulence.

Continue as number 2. Caution wake turbulence, O-ME.

O-ME, jatka lähestymistä vuorolla 2. Liikenteesi Airbus 320 viiden mailin loppuosalla. Varo jättöpyörrettä.

Jatketaan lähestymistä vuorolla 2. Varotaan jättöpyörrettä, O-ME.

Coordination and decisions

ATS is teamwork. It is very important to maintain proper coordination and communication with other ATS units, to ensure a safe and expeditious flow of traffic. Your action is important for the next controller.

Coordination principles between TWR, APP and ACC:

  • Accpeting controller sets the conditions
  • Suggestions are often better than questions
  • Have the workload in mind (you and your fellow controller)
  • Caution: Unnecessary coordination or information

Tower to Approach:

  • Runway in use
  • Information of missed approaches
  • Essential local traffic (VFR)
  • SVFR-flights

Approach to Tower:

  • Notification at least 15 minutes prior to ETA
  • Departure delay due to traffic

Tower and Approach as a team:

  • Instrument approach to be used
  • Landing rate

Approach to ACC:

  • Ruwnay in use
  • Type of instrument approach
  • Lowest vacant flight level at holding fix
  • Landing rate
  • Revision of EAT
  • Cancellations of IFR flight
  • DEP times
  • Unreported aircraft
  • Missed approach

ACC to Approach:

  • Estimated time and level of arriving aircraft over holding fix
  • Requested type of approch if different from specified
  • Departure delay due to traffic

Emergency and abnormal situations:

Emergency traffic should always be coordinated with all parties concerned. If inbound, the type of emergency, EAT, expected type of approach, expected runway and types of service required (e.g. fire services) shall be coordinated with the Local ATS-unit.

Closure of any runways shall be coordinated locally. Do not forget to coordinate new inbound clearances with ACC, if the runway or instrument approach procedure has been changed.


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