Air Traffic Services & Management

Roles & Functions of ANS within Pakistan

While Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has been made responsible for the regulation and control of civil aviation activities within the country under Pakistan CAA Ordinance 1982, it has also been entrusted the responsibility for provision of civil airports and provision of Air navigation services under the same ordinance. ANS Division mainly comprises three directorates i.e. Operations Directorate, CNS Engineering Directorate and Flight Calibration Directorate. The provision of Air Navigation Services is the prime responsibility of Operations directorate with the support of CNS engineering and Flight Calibration Directorate who caters for the provision of required infrastructure and facilities for provision of such services. ANS Division is responsible for Air Traffic Management, provision of Search & Rescue Services, Aeronautical Communication, Navigation & Surveillance Services, Aeronautical Information Service and Flight Procedure Design services within Pakistan airspace whereas the responsibility for the provision of Meteorological services for air navigation rest with Pakistan Meteorological Department under a MoU.

The term Air Navigation Services includes Air Traffic Management (ATM), Communications, Navigation and Surveillance systems (CNS), Meteorological Services for Air Navigation (MET), Search and Rescue (SAR) and Aeronautical Information Service/Aeronautical Information Management (AIS/AIM). These services are provided to air traffic during all phases of aircraft operations (En-route, Terminal and Aerodrome).

ATM is the dynamic, integrated management of air traffic and airspace including air traffic services, airspace management and air traffic flow management. The objective is to ensure safely, economically and efficiently the air traffic flow through the provision of CNS facilities and seamless services in collaboration with concerned stakeholders.

Air traffic services are used to manage the safe and orderly flow of aircraft into, out of, and across Pakistan airspace including those portions of high seas for which the responsibility has been delegated to Pakistan under Regional Air Navigation Agreements.

Airspace management (ASM) is a planning function with the primary objective of maximizing the utilization of available airspace by dynamic time – sharing and, at times, the segregation of airspace among various stakeholders based on their needs.

Air traffic Flow Management (ATFM) is a service established with the objective of contributing to a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic by ensuring that ATC capacity is utilized to the maximum extent possible, and that the traffic volume is compatible with the capacities declared by the appropriate ATS authority.

Pakistan Airspace is divided into 02 Flight Information Regions (FIRs) i.e. Karachi and Lahore FIRs. Lahore FIR includes Pakistan airspace North of latitude 300 North whereas Karachi FIR includes Pakistan airspace south of latitude 300 North as well as those portions of high seas (upto 2330N) where the responsibility for provision of ATS rest with Pakistan. The services in respective FIRs are provided by Karachi and Lahore Area Control Centers (ACCs). Karachi ACC is further subdivided into 4 control sectors (East, west, North and South) whereas Lahore ACC has 03 control sectors (East, West Upper and West Lower).

Besides Area Control Centers, Aerodrome and Approach Control Services are provided from Aerodrome Control Towers established at each airport and Approach Control offices established around major airports depending on the traffic flow and requirements as specified in AIP Pakistan. Pakistan CAA provides Air Traffic Services to both civilian and military flights using CNS facilities from these ATS units.

Voice communication system through Very High Frequency (VHF)/Extended VHF radio and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radio network throughout the country have been provided in ATS units to enable two way direct pilot controller communication. Pakistan CAA has also installed ATS Message Handling System (AMHS) to support exchange of ATS messages.

ATM Contingency Plan
Karachi FIR
ATM Contingency Plan

There are navigation aid facilities located at airports nationwide to provide vital navigational guidance for pilots. The facilities consist of three main elements: first the Non Directional Beacon (NDB) and Very High Frequency Omni Directional Range (VOR) indicate the direction to airports for aircraft, second the Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) indicates the distance between aircraft and airport, and third the Instrument Landing System (ILS) indicates the optimum glide slope, which helps land the aircraft at the centerline of the runway.


Surveillance system precisely indicates the information about location, altitude, and velocity of aircraft and have vital role in provision of surveillance based ATS. Pakistan airspace is therefore covered with a network of 03 co-located Primary Surveillance Radar (PSR)/ Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR) installed at majors locations of Karachi, Lahore & Islamabad Approach Control with a coverage of 98 Nautical mile radius for PSR and 200NM for SSR and 03 SSR installed at remote locations of Pasni, Rojhan and Lakpass with a coverage of 200NM.

Operators Utilizing Pakistan Airspace

In addition to Pakistani operators, the services of Pakistan ANS are being utilized by 19 international airlines at 04 major airports of Pakistan i.e. Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar whereas 88 schedule operators are utilizing the services while overflying Pakistan airspace.

Pakistan has strategic location for traffic overflying between Far-East and Europe/America. The growth in aviation industry during last decade has therefore also been witnessed by Pakistan. With the efforts made by ANS for improvement in ATS Route structure and ATS facilities to enhance airspace capacity, the traffic overflying Pakistan has shown a remarkable increase of more than 200% from 2002 (62276flights) to 2012 (200,000flights).

Pakistan also has an important role in Asia/pacific Regional ATFM Project BOBCAT implement to optimize traffic flow through Kabul FIR. Whereas the level allocation is made by AERTHAI ATFM unit, the primary responsibility for tactical management of level allocation rest with Karachi and Lahore ACCs. Under the project all aircraft intended to enter Kabul via ATS routes, N636, P628, L750, N644, M875 and L509.

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority | All rights reserved | Last updated December, 2022