Friday, July 9, 2010

A Visit With The Air Traffic Controllers

Yesterday I was given the unique opportunity of a tour inside the new Air traffic Control facility at the Male International Airport.

Now just to clarify a little bit. This is not something that just anyone can do .I was granted permission because of my security clearance level along with the fact that I am a pilot working in the country of the Maldives.

This tour was high on my list of things to do while here and I can't emphasize enough how excited I am to have met the people I speak with on the VHF radio everyday . They were very hospitable and were only to happy to share their world with me. I regret that I did not get everyone to write their names down for me so if by chance you are from the Air Traffic Control service and you read this please forward their names to me.(

Up until recently the Air Traffic Controllers relied upon pilot reporting in order to organize the air traffic that flowed in , out and around the Maldives. Now this is not an unusual circumstance as in many areas I have flown this is the case.Normally this is the case in areas of low traffic volume.

That being said the traffic around the Maldives has increased steadily throughout the last 15 years, not only with regards to the international carriers that are arriving and departing but as well there has been a marked increase in the seaplane traffic. Radar control is something that was increasingly becoming a requirement. I am happy to report it has been here , I believe, for the better part of a year now. This has greatly increased the level of flight safety.

The people who once had to use there memory skills to manage the 3 dimensional area around the Maldives now have a very effective tool to help them. It is my feeling that their previous experience combined with their new equipment gives them a unique skill set that I am sure most control agencies would envy.

As you will see from the pictures they have an amazing view. As I side note, at the base of the tower there is a reef that they often see such things as a 4 foot black tip reef shark, eagle rays,sting rays,Jacks and turtles,just to name a few. Not to many tower controllers have that kind scenery!

Anyway on to the pictures!Remember give them a click and they will expand.

That view I was speaking about!A great view of the capital city of Male.(Please forgive my panoramic editing I am still pretty new to the photoshop thing!)

Inside the tower. Pictured here are Mohamed Husny the SATCO along with the number 1 and number 2 tower controllers Ahmed Giyaz and Hussain Ismail.

On the bottom floor is where the approach and area controllers are. The fellow standing up in the blue shirt is Mohamed Husny the SATCO. Again my apologies to the unnamed fellows, if you are reading this and can fill in the blanks please do!
The names are in! From left to right....
Amir (approach controller), Hosny ( standing SATCO), Ahmed (Area controller), Nashwan (assistant controller) and Shahid (Supervisor)
Thanks Ahmed!

Some more shots of the area control centre.

Again if you know his name! I feel terrible, if I don't write the name down right away I will forget! Next time for sure!

Here we have a shot of one of our Twin Otters landing on the water way designated as North Right. Captain Dave Kuruvita
on the left.

This Machine is equipped with CAP floats. Soon Maldivian Air Taxi will have converted all the aircraft over to Wipline series floats.

Dave taking her to the dock

Almost there!

Gulfstream landing on runway 36

Sri Lankan Airlines leaving the Maldives for Colombo.

I would like to thank the gentleman in the Maldives Air Traffic Control unit once again for allowing me to visit them!

To end this post I have pasted some information about the Male International Airport.

G'day from the Maldives.......

Aerodrome Location Indicator and Name VRMM - Malé International
ARP coordinates and site at AD 041130N 0733145E
Runway mid point
Direction and distance from City 051 degrees 2.8KM from Malé
Elevation / Reference temperature 1.73 M (6 FT) / 30.0 degrees C
MAG VAR / Annual change 3.8 degrees W (1994) / Nil
Apron surface and strength Surface: Concrete
Strength: PCN 58/R/A/W/T
Taxiway width, surface and strength Width: 23 M
Surface: Asphalt
Strength: PCN 58/F/A/WT for TWY A, B and C
PCN 12/FC/WU for TWY D
ACL Location and elevation Location: Runway mid-point
Elevation: 1.62 M / 5 FT
AD Administration Maldives Airports Company Limited
Address Malé International Airport
Republic of Maldives
Telephone (960) 313309 (960) 313309
Fax (960) 323504
Telex 66123 MAA MF
Types of traffic permitted IFR / VFR
VRMM Operational hours 24 Hours
Cargo handling facilities All modern facilities handling weights up to 20 tonnes.
Fuel / Oil types Jet A1
Hotels In AD and at the city
Restaurants In AD and at the city
Transportation Launches and dhoanis can be hired from the AD
Medical facilities First Aid at AD. Hospitals in the city.
Bank / Post At AD. Open within AD HR.
Tourist Office Tourist Information Counter at AD. Office in the city.
Tel: (960) 323224
(960) 323224
Fax: (960) 322512
* Prior permission required for NON-SKED TFC
* On Friday BTN 0715-0815 UTC ground handling services (Fueling and
Handling) not available.
For more detailed information visit Civil Aviation Department website


  1. good information.
    I am a photographer not by profession. I want to fly with you to take pics of Maldives. Pl tell how it is possible and how mush is cost?

  2. Hi There Mr. Singh,
    I just the driving. I really don't know what we charge for a photo flight. Normally the plane is booked for anywhere from 10 to 18 passengers who split the cost amongst them.
    I would invite you to contact my employer through our website . Or email our reservation manager at,
    I am sorry that I cannot help you more than that. Should you have a problem contacting them please let me know and I can try to assist.
    I hope this helps. If you do come to the base and see me please introduce yourself and I will do my very best.

  3. hey Rob
    nice photography from the tower its a quite nice view from up there. I also was given a chance to go there. Let me say the view is awesome.
    Nice piece of information as well....!!

  4. Hi Abdulla
    Thanks man! Your right they have a spectacular view up there. I feel pretty honoured they allowed me up for a visit and also agreed to let me take pictures!