En-route air traffic controllers perform their tasks from control centres called Area Control Centers (ACC). They control aircraft which, after take-off, leave the terminal area of an airport (TMA) until their arrival in the airspace of the terminal area of the airport of destination. The en-route control predominantly regards cruising navigation on the air routes, that allow the aircraft to join the destination airport terminal areas.
En-route controllers guide the aircraft to their requested altitude while at the same time ensuring that the aircraft respects the safety distances that separate it from other aircraft. Additionally, the aircraft must be placed in a flow consistent with its flight plan. This effort may be complicated because of cross traffic, bad weather conditions, special missions that require large airspace allocations, or high traffic density. When the aircraft approaches its destination, the control centre must apply altitude restrictions and provide many destination airports with a traffic flow, preventing all the arrivals from taking place at the same time. These restrictions often occur in the middle of the flight, as the controller positions the aircraft with the same destination so that they are sequenced when they approach their destination.
When an aircraft reaches the boundary of an ACC control area it is handed over to the next centre. In some cases this handover involves communication between controllers, identification of and data about the aircraft so that the air navigation service is provided in a seamless manner. In other cases local agreements may allow "silent handovers". When the traffic is presented according to an agreed method, co-ordination is no longer required. After the handover, the pilot of the aircraft receives a new frequency to communicate with the next controller. This process continues during the whole flight until the aircraft is handed over to a approach controller (APP).
Belgocontrol manages the en-route air traffic above Belgium and a part of Luxembourg up to an altitude of 24,500 feet from the CANAC 2 centre in Steenokkerzeel.
The traffic above 24,500 feet falls under the responsibility of the air traffic control centre of Maastricht, managed by Eurocontrol.
En-route separations in nautical miles (NM) and feet (ft)