What ATC entities do a commercial airliner communicate with?

Joe
  • What ATC entities do a commercial airliner communicate with? Joe

    As a private pilot, I am familiar with tower, ground, approach and departure, but I am aware that there are other entities like clearance, pushback and center. If I were flying a commercial airliner, what is a complete, ordered list of entities (and a brief description of roles) I might talk with over a flight between two class B airports?

  • As others have commented, it's really not much different than the average GA communications.

    Instead of communicating with an FBO, airlines communicate with their company. (The company handles the aircraft part of it, anyway.)

    The clearance controller exists just as it does in GA.

    There'll be a ground controller they need to ask before pushing back, but that's just because it's logistically a tad more difficult for two 737s to go around each other than two 172s.

    Tower (called "local control" in ATC) is just like you're used to - control of the runways and the immediate airspace.

    Jets (and turboprops...) spend less time talking to Departure/Approach, and usually end up on Center frequencies much more quickly. There's various sectors, but again... it's no different than you're used to.

    The process then goes in reverse for landing as you'd expect.

    All of these (even the airline company frequencies at larger airports) are available on LiveATC. Try following one flight through from start to finish sometime!

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