Air Traffic Control

English: Air Traffic Control

French: Contrôle du trafic aérien

Air Traffic Control, often abbreviated to ATC in English, is the control tower of an airport that, as the name suggests, controls the air traffic of planes departing from and arriving at the airport. When the weather deteriorates, ATC might make decisions to delay certain flights for safety. ATC gives each flight take-off and landing authorization.

As such, when delays happen, you may need to tell your passengers that ATC at the arrival airport has not given your flight the authorization to take off from the departure airport yet (perhaps because of bad weather at the arrival airport.) Or you may be en route to the arrival airport but ATC slows your flight down to regulate the traffic.

Formally, there are two expressions in French for “Air Traffic Control”.

Contrôle (m)=Control

Trafic (m)=Traffic


Contrôle du trafic aérien=Air Traffic Control

Circulation (f)=Circulation, Traffic

Alternatively, the word ‘’circulation’’ can also mean “traffic” or “circulation”, so in French, ATC can also be translated as “Contrôle de la circulation aérienne”.

The word “aérien/aérienne” is not the easiest word to pronounce for most French learners and thus Module 4 of our Canadian French for Flight Attendants audio course will use a different French expression for “ATC”.