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Air traffic controllers are now trained at Avia College’s new premises

Published on 31.8.2021

At the beginning of August, staff and students at Fintraffic Air Navigation Services’ Avia College were able to start working and studying in new premises on the second floor of Avia Fleet (formerly the TOKE building). Added advantages of the new premises include modern facilities for training air traffic controllers, technology upgrades, and a better location for harnessing synergies.

Avia College is a special vocational school owned by Fintraffic Air Navigation Services. It is the only educational establishment in Finland that offers the training required to become a qualified air traffic controller. The college also provides a variety of refresher, advanced and unit-specific training courses.

Not only new premises but also technology lifecycle upgrades

The new premises provide Avia College with 600 m2 of extra space. The premises were renovated a couple of years ago. Avia College’s simulators were moved into the space and the premises were adapted to suit the college’s needs. The new premises are now modern, bright, spacious and user friendly.

“We used to have smaller premises spread across three different floors. Now we all work together on the same floor in premises designed to meet our needs,” says Antti Ruhanen, acting Principal of Avia College.

The college’s training technology was also examined. The simulators used to train air traffic controllers would have been up for renewal in a few years anyway, so it was decided to upgrade them in conjunction with the move.

“Now we have not only new premises, but also modernised equipment that will last us for at least the next ten years,” says Ruhanen.

New location will lead to more versatile collaboration

Avia College’s former premises were located on Tietotie, in a separate building in the far corner of the airport. Now both work and teaching can be carried out from the TOKE building, right next to the terminal’s services. Hotels, restaurants, the railway station and the air terminal will now be conveniently located in the same building as the college.

“The move will hopefully increase the proportion of external air traffic controllers at Avia College, in other words commercial customers. Although our former premises were not far from the airport’s services, the new ones are considerably more attractive in this respect,” says Ruhanen.

Although the new premises will not bring any changes to the training itself, the move is expected to increase synergies between Avia College and operative air navigation personnel. This is the first time that Avia College is located in the same building as operative personnel and Fintraffic Air Navigation Services’ headquarters.

“Now that we’re all in close proximity to each other, we’ll be able to talk with other units in a whole new way. This will bring more flexibility to staff use and training. At the same time, we’ll be able to dispel the myth that the people at Avia College are somehow a separate group within the company,” says Ruhanen.

New premises completed during the summer in time for a busy autumn

Autumn is a busy time at Avia College, as there’s a lot going on during September and October. A new basic course for air traffic controllers will start in October, with another basic course having now reached the simulator phase. Training is also provided for both the company’s own operative personnel and customers from abroad.

In addition to basic courses, the college’s offering includes refresher courses for both network air traffic controllers and flight information service officers as well as ACC and EFHK air traffic controllers. Students from Luxembourg and Qatar will be attending Avia College for training this autumn. In addition to larger training packages, there will be numerous smaller training events during the autumn, such as refresher courses for on-the-job trainers and inspectors.

“It’s great that we have more room and that the premises were finished in time for the autumn season. The project was carried out to a very strict schedule, and I’d like to give a big thank you to both the project manager and the rest of the team. Feedback on the new premises has been really positive,” says Ruhanen.