Visit to Madrid ACC (air traffic control centre) at Torrejón

Madrid ACC building. The control room is on the second floor. Without windows of course.

In the framework of the World ATM Congress 2022, a visit was organised for the press to the Madrid Area Control Centre located next to the Torrejón air base and airport.

The Spanish Air Navigation Services Provider Enaire is a public company belonging to the Spanish State. Enaire employs 4000 people. The company also owns 51% of the Spanish airport operator AENA.

Spain manages three FIR/UIRs (Flight Information Regions for the lower and upper airspace): Madrid, Barcelona and the Canary Islands.

The Madrid ACC is the Air Traffic Control Centre of the Central-North Regional Air Navigation Directorate (DRNA-RCN) of the Enaire Public Business Entity.  The DRNA-RCN manages air traffic services (ATC) in the area included in the Madrid FIR/UIR, north of the 39th parallel. This airspace includes the autonomous communities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Navarra, Castilla and León, La Rioja, Madrid, as well as part of Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura and Aragón, in addition to the Cantabrian maritime zone and the Galician coast.

The ACC also provides en-route air traffic management services corresponding to the Madrid FIR/UIR and approach services (TMA) to the four airports in the Community of Madrid (Madrid Barajas, Getafe, Cuatro Vientos and Torrejón), as well as military air control through the Air Circulation Squadron Operation No. 1 (ECAO-1).   In addition to this, other military units established in the Madrid ACC are the Madrid Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Madrid), integrated in Spain into the organisation of the Aerial Search and Rescue Service (SAR), and the military space management cell air AMC, integrated into the ATM Central Unit.

This control centre also has the peculiarity of providing centralised services to the entire national territory, through the Centralised Air Navigation Systems REDAN (Air Navigation Data Network), CRAMI (Automatic Retransmission Center for Integrated Messages), SACTA (Automatic air traffic control system), as well as the EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service) satellite navigation system, among others.

The ESSP (European Satellite Services Provider) consortium is also headquartered in the SSCNA building of the Madrid ACC, constituted in Brussels by the members of the EOIG: Enaire (Spain), DFS (Germany), ENAV (Italy), NATS (United Kingdom) and Skyguide (Switzerland) aims to provide the Operation and Maintenance Service of the EGNOS system developed by the ESA (European Space Agency).

The organisation of work is based on shifts: each controller works 5 days (the first two in the morning, the next two in the afternoon and the last one at night) before having three days off. At any time, up to 75 air traffic controllers are at work at Madrid ACC.

No pictures were allowed inside the control room which is divided into three areas: TMA, en-route 1 and en-route 2.

André Orban in Torrejón


Thanks to the European Commission DG Move for organising the visit.

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