GEN 3.3  Air traffic services

1.   Responsible service

1.1  ALBCONTROL, Air Navigation Services of Albania, is responsible for the provision of Air Traffic Services in Albania.

ALBCONTROL Air Navigation Services of Albania ATS Department P.O. Box 8172 Rinas, Tirana Albania

Tel:+ 355 4 4522371

Fax:+355 4 2343487


1.2  The Standards, Recommended Practices and, when applicable, the procedures contained in the following ICAO documents are applied:
1.3  Differences from ICAO Standards, Recommended Practices and Procedures are given at GEN-1.7.

2.   Area of responsibility

2.1  Air Traffic Services, notified in the AIP, are provided for the entire airspace within the Tirana FIR.

3.   Types of services

3.1   The air traffic services
3.1.1  The air traffic services comprise three services identified as follows:
  1. The air traffic control service (area control service, approach control service and aerodrome control service);
  2. The flight information service;
  3. The alerting service.
3.1.2  Air traffic control service is provided in controlled airspace and at controlled aerodromes as follows:
  1. in control areas (CTA): by the area control centre (ACC);
  2. in APP area of responsibility: by the approach control unit (APP);
  3. in control zone (CTR) and at LATI AD: by the aerodrome control tower (TWR).
3.1.3  Flight information service and alerting service are provided as follows:
  1. outside controlled airspace within the Tirana FIR below FL115: by the approach control unit;
  2. outside controlled airspace within the Tirana FIR at and above FL115 up to FL195: by the area control centre;
  3. within controlled airspace and at controlled aerodromes: by the relevant air traffic control units.
3.2   Air traffic control service
3.2.1   Application  Air traffic control service shall be provided:
  1. to all IFR flights in airspace Classes C and D;
  2. to all VFR flights in airspace Classes C and D;
  3. to all aerodrome traffic at controlled aerodromes.
3.2.2   Operation of air traffic control service  In order to provide air traffic control service, an air traffic control unit shall:
  1. be provided with information on the intended movement of each aircraft, or variations therefrom, and with current information on the actual progress of each aircraft;
  2. determine from the information received, the relative positions of known aircraft to each other;
  3. issue clearances and information for the purpose of preventing collision between aircraft under its control and of expediting and maintaining an orderly flow of traffic;
  4. coordinate clearances as necessary with other units:
    • whenever an aircraft might otherwise conflict with traffic operated under the control of such other units;
    • before transferring control of an aircraft to such other units.  Clearances issued by air traffic control units shall provide separation:
  1. between IFR flights in airspace Classes C and D;
  2. between IFR flights and VFR flights in airspace Class C.

except that, when requested by the pilot of an aircraft and agreed by the pilot of the other aircraft and if so prescribed by the appropriate ATS authority for the cases listed under b) above in airspace Class D, a flight may be cleared subject to maintaining own separation in respect of a specific portion of the flight below 3 050 M (10 000 FT) during climb or descent, during day in visual meteorological conditions.  Except for cases when a reduction in separation minima in the vicinity of aerodromes can be applied, separation by an air traffic control unit shall be obtained by at least one of the following:
  1. vertical separation, obtained by assigning different levels selected from the table of cruising levels in ENR 1.7.5, except that the correlation of levels to track as prescribed therein shall not apply whenever otherwise indicated in air traffic control clearances. The vertical separation minimum shall be a nominal 300 M (1 000 FT) up to and including FL 410 and a nominal 600 M (2 000 FT) above this level;
  2. horizontal separation, obtained by providing:
    • longitudinal separation, by maintaining an interval between aircraft operating along the same, converging or reciprocal tracks, expressed in time or distance; or
    • lateral separation, by maintaining aircraft on different routes or in different geographical areas.
3.2.3   Clearances to maintain own separation  Clearances for a pilot to maintain own separation in respect of a specific portion of the flight in airspace Class D below 3 050 M (10 000 FT) during climb or descent, during day in visual meteorological conditions are based on the fact that in those airspace classes a speed restriction of 250 kt is applied to all flights, allowing pilots of both aircraft to observe other flights in time to avoid collision.
3.2.4   Application of wake turbulence separation minima  Wake turbulence separation minima shall be applied to aircraft in the approach and departure phases of flight under the following circumstances:
  1. an aircraft is operating directly behind another aircraft at the same altitude or less than 300 M (1 000 FT) below it; or
  2. both aircraft are using the same runway or parallel runways separated by less than 760 M (2 500 FT); or
  3. an aircraft is crossing behind another aircraft at the same altitude or less than 300 M (1 000 FT) below it.
3.2.5   Air traffic control clearances  Air traffic control clearances shall be based solely on the following requirements for providing air traffic control service:
  1. Clearances shall be issued solely for expediting and separating air traffic and be based on known traffic conditions which affect safety in aircraft operation. Such traffic conditions include not only aircraft in the air and on the manoeuvring area over which control is being exercised, but also any vehicular traffic or other obstructions not permanently installed on the manoeuvring area in use.
  2. ATC units shall issue such ATC clearances as necessary to prevent collisions and to expedite and maintain an orderly flow of air traffic.
  3. ATC clearances shall be issued early enough to ensure that they are transmitted to the aircraft in sufficient time for it to comply with them.
3.2.6   Operation subject to clearance  An air traffic control clearance shall be obtained prior to operating a controlled flight, or a portion of a flight as a controlled flight. Such clearance shall be requested through the submission of a flight plan to an air traffic control unit.  The pilot-in-command of an aircraft shall inform ATC if an air traffic control clearance is not satisfactory. In such cases, ATC will issue an amended clearance, if practicable.  Whenever an aircraft has requested a clearance involving priority, a report explaining the necessity for such priority shall be submitted, if requested by the appropriate air traffic control unit.  Potential reclearance in flight. If, prior to departure, it is anticipated that, depending on fuel endurance and subject to reclearance in flight, a decision may be taken to proceed to a revised destination aerodrome, the appropriate air traffic control units shall be so notified by the insertion in the flight plan of information concerning the revised route (where known) and the revised destination.  An aircraft operated on a controlled aerodrome shall not taxi on the manoeuvring area without clearance from the aerodrome control tower and shall comply with any instructions given by that unit.
3.2.7   Clearances for transonic flight  The air traffic control clearance relating to the transonic acceleration phase of a supersonic flight shall extend at least to the end of that phase.  The air traffic control clearance relating to the deceleration and descent of an aircraft from supersonic cruise to subsonic flight shall seek to provide for uninterrupted descent at least during the transonic phase.
3.2.8   Contents of clearances  An air traffic control clearance shall indicate:
  1. aircraft identification as shown in the flight plan;
  2. clearance limit;
  3. route of flight, …
    • the route of flight shall be detailed in each clearance when deemed necessary; and
    • the phrase ‘cleared via flight planned route’ shall not be used when granting a re-clearance;
  4. level(s) of flight for the entire route or part thereof and changes of levels if required;
  5. any necessary instructions or information on other matters such as approach or departure manoeuvres, communications and the time of expiry of the clearance.
3.2.9   Read-back of clearances and safety-related information  The flight crew shall read back to the air traffic controller safety-related parts of ATC clearances and instructions which are transmitted by voice. The following items shall always be read back:
  1. ATC route clearances;
  2. clearances and instructions to enter, land on, take off from, hold short of, cross, taxi and backtrack on any runway; and
  3. runway-in-use, altimeter settings, SSR codes, newly assigned communication channels, level instructions, heading and speed instructions; and
  4. transition levels, whether issued by the controller or contained in ATIS broadcasts.  Other clearances or instructions, including conditional clearances and taxi instructions, shall be read back or acknowledged in a manner to clearly indicate that they have been understood and will be complied with.  The controller shall listen to the read-back to ascertain that the clearance or instruction has been correctly acknowledged by the flight crew and shall take immediate action to correct any discrepancies revealed by the read-back.
3.2.10   Changes in clearance regarding route or level  When issuing a clearance covering a requested change in route or level, the exact nature of the change shall be included in the clearance.  When traffic conditions will not permit clearance of a requested change, the word ‘UNABLE’ shall be used. When warranted by circumstances, an alternative route or level shall be offered.
3.3   Flight information service
3.3.1  Flight information service shall be provided by the appropriate air traffic services units to all aircraft which are likely to be affected by the information and which are:
  1. provided with air traffic control service; or
  2. otherwise known to the relevant air traffic services units.
3.3.2  The reception of flight information service does not relieve the pilot-in-command of an aircraft of any responsibilities and the pilot-in-command shall make the final decision regarding any suggested alteration of flight plan.
3.3.3  Where air traffic services units provide both flight information service and air traffic control service, the provision of air traffic control service shall have precedence over the provision of flight information service whenever the provision of air traffic control service so requires.
3.3.4  Flight information service shall include the provision of pertinent:
  1. SIGMET and AIRMET information;
  2. information concerning pre-eruption volcanic activity, volcanic eruptions and volcanic ash clouds;
  3. information concerning the release into the atmosphere of radioactive materials or toxic chemicals;
  4. information on changes in the availability of radio navigation services;
  5. information on changes in condition of aerodromes and associated facilities, including information on the state of the aerodrome movement areas when they are affected by snow, ice or significant depth of water;
  6. information on unmanned free balloons;

and of any other information likely to affect safety.

3.3.5  Flight information service provided to flights shall include, in addition to that outlined in 3.3.4, the provision of information concerning:
  1. weather conditions reported or forecast at departure, destination and alternate aerodromes;
  2. collision hazards, to aircraft operating in airspace Classes C, D, and G;
  3. for flight over water areas, in so far as practicable and when requested by a pilot, any available information such as radio call sign, position, true track, speed, etc., of surface vessels in the area.
3.3.6  Flight information service provided to VFR flights shall include, in addition to that outlined in 3.3.4, the provision of available information concerning traffic and weather conditions along the route of flight that are likely to make operation under the visual flight rules impracticable.
3.4   Flight information services in Class G airspace
3.4.1   Overview  Within Class G airspace, regardless of the service being provided, pilots are ultimately responsible for collision avoidance and terrain clearance, and they should consider service provision to be constrained by the unpredictable nature of this environment.  A pilot may request avoiding action following traffic information by controller. Pilots has to be aware that traffic information will be passed by controller, but no avoiding action is to be expected. The pilot is responsible for his own separation.  The information including only known aircraft the presence of which might constitute a collision hazard to the aircraft informed, will sometimes be incomplete and air traffic services cannot assume responsibility for its issuance at all times or for its accuracy.  Controllers will make all possible efforts to provide the information that a pilot requests.  There may be cases that prevent controller from passing timely traffic information, e.g. high workload, areas of high traffic density, against unknown aircraft conducting high energy manoeuvres, or when traffic is not displayed to the controller or obscured by surveillance clutter.  Agreements can be established between controller and a pilot on a short-term tactical basis, such that the operation of an aircraft is laterally or vertically restricted. This is for the purposes of co-ordination and to facilitate safe interaction with other airspace users.
3.4.2   Flight information services in remote areas where the ATS surveillance system coverage is affected by terrain  In remote areas, where the ATS surveillance system coverage is affected by terrain, controllers will provide advice and information useful for the safe and efficient conduct of flights. This may include weather information, changes of serviceability of facilities, conditions at aerodromes, general airspace activity information, and any other information likely to affect safety. The avoidance of other traffic is solely the pilot's responsibility.  Such flight information service is available under IFR outside controlled airspace in any meteorological conditions, or under VFR.  Due to constrains in ATS surveillance system coverage, controllers shall consider flight information service provided to aircraft as procedural service. ATS surveillance service shall be provided, if practicable.  Controller may identify an aircraft to facilitate co-ordination or to assist in the provision of generic navigational assistance, but is not required to inform the pilot that identification has taken place.  Pilots should not expect any form of traffic information from a controller and the pilot remains responsible for collision avoidance at all times. However, where a controller has information that indicates that there is aerial activity in a particular location that may affect a flight, they should provide traffic information in general terms to assist with the pilot's situational awareness.  Flight information service is available outside controlled airspace within the Tirana FIR below FL115 and the pilot remains responsible for terrain clearance at all times.  Unless the pilot has entered into an agreement with a controller (see to maintain a specific course of action, a pilot may change heading, route, or level without advising the controller. A controller will not issue specific heading instructions; however, generic navigational assistance may be provided on request.

Alternative routings may be suggested to assist the pilot in remaining clear of notified airspace reservations.

3.4.3   Flight information services with the use of ATS surveillance in other airspace  Such airspace is when ATS surveillance system coverage is positively good and controller can maintain identification with aircraft at all times.  Flight information service in such areas is a surveillance based ATS, where in addition to the provisions mentioned in 3.4.2, the controller provides specific surveillance derived traffic information to assist the pilot in avoiding other traffic. The avoidance of other traffic is solely the pilot's responsibility.  Subject to ATS surveillance system coverage, flight information service may be provided outside controlled airspace within the Tirana FIR and the pilot remains responsible for terrain clearance at all times.  Flight information service is available under IFR outside controlled airspace in any meteorological conditions, or under VFR. If a controller issues a heading and/or level that would require flight in IMC, a pilot who is not suitably qualified to fly in IMC shall inform the controller and request alternative instructions.  The controller shall identify the aircraft, inform the pilot that he is identified, and maintain identity. If identification is lost the pilot shall be informed and the controller shall attempt to re-establish identity as soon as practical.  The controller will pass traffic information on relevant traffic, and update the traffic information if it continues to constitute a definite hazard, or if requested by the pilot. However, high controller workload and RTF loading may reduce the ability of the controller to pass traffic information, and the timeliness of such information. Whether traffic information has been passed or not, a pilot is expected to discharge his collision avoidance responsibility without assistance from the controller.  Avoiding action is not offered by controller in Class G. If a pilot requires avoiding action, controller shall make all reasonable efforts to accommodate this request as soon as practical. However, the controller is not required to achieve defined separation minima and pilots remain responsible for collision avoidance, even when being provided with suggested headings/levels by controller. Controller shall specify in their phraseology that pilot remains responsible for collision avoidance.  When operating under their own navigation, pilots may alter course as required; however, unless safety is likely to be compromised, pilots will not change their general route or maneuvering area without first advising and obtaining a response from the controller.  A controller may suggest headings and levels for the purpose of positioning, sequencing or as navigational assistance, when the aircraft is operating at or above the controller unit’s terrain safe level.

Note: Due to lack of unit’s terrain safe level in Class G, controllers shall not initiate vectoring, unless required by the pilot in exceptional circumstances.

In exceptional circumstances such as request for avoiding action or unable to comply with Rules of the Air, if a pilot requests heading or level to fly from the controller, this may be suggested as long as the controller reminds the pilot that he remains responsible for terrain clearance.  When following a controller heading, or flying at a level allocated by controller, unless safety is likely to be compromised, a pilot shall not change heading, level or level band without first advising and obtaining a response from the controller as the aircraft may be coordinated against other airspace users without reference to the pilot. If a heading or level is unacceptable to the pilot, he shall advise the controller immediately. Pilots remain responsible for collision avoidance, even when in receipt of controller headings or levels, and will advise him/her in the event that they need to deviate from a heading or level in order to comply with Rules of the Air with regard to collision avoidance, or for any other reason.
3.5   Alerting service
3.5.1  Alerting service shall be provided by the air traffic services units:
  1. for all aircraft provided with air traffic control service;
  2. in so far as practicable, to all other aircraft having filed a flight plan or otherwise known to the air traffic services; and
  3. to any aircraft known or believed to be the subject of unlawful interference.
3.5.2  Unless otherwise prescribed by the competent authority, aircraft equipped with suitable two-way radio-communications shall report during the period 20 to 40 minutes following the time of the last contact, whatever the purpose of such contact, merely to indicate that the flight is progressing according to plan, such report to comprise identification of the aircraft and the words ‘Operations normal’.
3.5.3  The ‘Operations normal’ message shall be transmitted air-ground to an appropriate ATS unit.
3.5.4  The absence of an ‘operations normal’ message does not constitute a situation of urgency. In the absence of such a report, ATS should endeavour to contact the aircraft on available frequencies. A failure to contact the aircraft could lead to any type of measure including the declaration of ‘uncertainty phase’.
3.5.5  When it has been established by an air traffic services unit that an aircraft is in a state of emergency, other aircraft known to be in the vicinity of the aircraft involved shall, except as provided in 3.5.6, be informed of the nature of the emergency as soon as practicable.
3.5.6  When an air traffic services unit knows or believes that an aircraft is being subjected to unlawful interference, no reference shall be made in ATS air-ground communications to the nature of the emergency unless it has first been referred to in communications from the aircraft involved and it is certain that such reference will not aggravate the situation.

4.   Coordination between the operator and ATS

4.1  Coordination between the operator and air traffic services is effected in accordance with ICAO Annex 11, Chapter 2, paragraph 2.17 and ICAO Doc 4444 - Chapter 11, paragraphs and

5.   Minimum flight altitudes

5.1  The minimum flight altitudes on the ATS routes, as presented in section ENR 3, have been determined by the appropriate ATS authority so as to ensure a minimum vertical clearance above the controlling obstacle in the area concerned.
5.2  The minimum vectoring altitudes within the ATC Surveillance Minimum Altitude Area ensure terrain and obstacle clearance in conformity with ICAO Doc 8168 requirements. Corrections to the published minimum vectoring altitudes for low temperature effect are applied, when necessary, by ATC.

6.   ATS units address list

Unit name

Postal address









Tirana ACC

Rinas, Tirana, Albania

+355 4 2371230

+ 355 4 2343487


Tirana APP





Tirana FIC





Tirana TWR


+355 4 4542-396
+355 4 4542-397