The total number of ATCOs employed by the DHMi was 689 for 2006. However, this number is still too few, and if we take into account the increasing need for air traffic controllers as a result of the system modernizations and dramatic growth in aviation the increase in the number of newly licensed air traffic controllers still falls short of the need. Therefore, a primary aim of the DHMi for the years to come will be to systematically overcome and minimise this current and expected controller shortage.

The DHMi proved itself able to keep the shortages controllable and prevent bottlenecks in air traffic handling in 2006 owing to great commitment and motivation. However, some administrative measures have been taken to remedy the shortfall, including a new recruitment programme. According to this recruitment programme, at least 70 additional ATCOs are to be employed each year for all the ATC units, with priority being given to the Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya units, and it is planned to increase the number of ATCOs up to 1,010, as required by the SMART Project.


To comply with the ICAO language proficiency requirements and ensure that all the ATCOs have the proficiency in English at operational level 4 as a minimum, it was decided to send all of them abroad for Aviation English Courses. A contract has been signed between the DHMi and the MLS International College, and courses began in February 2006.

ATCOs are being sent to Bournemouth, England in groups according to a prepared time schedule that takes into consideration operational needs. Some 302 ATCOs completed their training in 2006 and it is planned to complete the Aviation English Courses by March 2008.