Airways NZ innovation to address US air traffic controller hiring surge

1 September 2016

Air traffic controllers (ATCs) in the United States will be recruited using rigorous pre-screening assessments as Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) steps up a major recruitment drive.

Airways International Ltd has won a significant contract with the FAA that will see SureSelect used to identify ATC candidates who have the highest chance of success through training.

SureSelect is an industry leading, ATC-specific-recruitment and selection system designed by Airways International Ltd, a global ATC training provider and subsidiary of Airways New Zealand.

ATCs are a unique group – it is estimated that only 2-3% of the general population has the right combination of personality attributes and aptitudes to be successful in the job.

This year the FAA conducted a validation study using SureSelect which tested 2,000 candidates. The results of the study show that people who performed well on the SureSelect tests perform well on the job, Airways International Head of Training Sharon Cooke says.

“The research demonstrates that there is a close connection between on-the-job performance and the abilities we were testing for, which include short-term memory, visualisations skills and multitasking. SureSelect evolved out of the recruitment process used within New Zealand for many years and has been used successfully in a number of countries.

“Not only is there is a growing global shortage of ATCs, but the cost of training is significant and this ability to find the right people quickly and at much less cost gives the industry a big advantage,” Ms Cooke says.

Overall, the industry spends around US$480 million on ATC training every year. Around 30% of this cost, or US$143 million, is spent on trainees who fail to qualify and rate as ATCs.

SureSelect will be used by the FAA for at least the next five years.

Asia Pacific


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