VATGlasses is a new tool that shows accurate coverage in the UK. You can adjust the slider to show coverage at different levels and also track your flight.
Please note: Other tools such as VATSpy, SimAware and Qutescoop may not 'light up' the correct areas.
This page explains the basics of the En Route (CTR) sectors in the UK. The information is split into sections for different stages of flight.
If you are ever unsure who to call, please message one of our controllers. They will be more than happy to help!
Do not call EGTT_I_CTR or EGPX_I_CTR as civilian ‘airliner’ traffic – these positions are for UK Flight Information Services (FIS) outside of controlled airspace only.
Do not call EGVV_CTR as a civilian ‘airliner’ – these positions are for Military operations. UK FIS may be available on request (normally only above FL100).
The two main radio callsigns for Area controllers in the UK are:
Always contact local ATC (DEL/GND/TWR/APP) where it is online. There are many APP positions that cover more than one airfield top-down:
In the absence of local ATC, our area controllers provide a top-down service at airfields contained within the sector(s) they are controlling. You should request clearance, pushback, taxi etc. as you would if there were an aerodrome controller online.
Our controllers provide a top-down service at all airfields that have a permanent Tower or Approach facility in the real world. This includes airports outside of controlled airspace.
When it is busy, controllers will usually downgrade the service at quieter airfields. Before departing, you must contact the controller to check what service they are providing.
If you are departing from an airfield outside of controlled airspace (with or without top-down cover) and intend to join controlled airspace on your route, you must ensure you obtain clearance to do so on the ground or in the air.
When there is no local ATC, contact the first controller listed below that you see online. The priority is from left to right.
Note: Sometimes, the callsign may be different from below, so it is best to cross-check the frequency too.
You can also see these airports on the sector maps in the next section.
MAN_SE_CTR (134.425) → MAN_E_CTR (133.800) → MAN_CTR (133.200) → LON_N_CTR (133.700) → LON_NW_CTR (135.575) → LON_CTR (127.825)
Leeds (EGNM), Doncaster (EGCN), Humberside (EGNJ), Newcastle (EGNT), Teesside (EGNV)
MAN_NE_CTR (135.700) → MAN_E_CTR (133.800) → MAN_CTR (133.200) → LON_NE_CTR (128.125) → LON_N_CTR (133.700) → LON_CTR (127.825)
Liverpool (EGGP), Hawarden (EGNR), Isle of Man (EGNS), Blackpool (EGNH)
MAN_W_CTR (128.050) → MAN_CTR (133.200) → LON_NW_CTR (135.575) → LON_N_CTR (133.700) → LON_CTR (127.825)
LON_NE_CTR (128.125) → LON_N_CTR (133.700) → LON_CTR (127.825)
East Midlands (EGNX), Birmingham (EGBB), Coventry (EGBE)
LON_M_CTR (120.025) → LON_C_CTR (127.100) → LON_SC_CTR (132.600) → LON_CTR (127.825)
London/Stansted (EGSS), Cambridge (EGSC)
LTC_NE_CTR (118.825) → LTC_N_CTR (119.775) → LTC_CTR (135.800) → LTC_E_CTR (121.225) → LON_E_CTR (118.475) → LON_C_CTR (127.100) → LON_SC_CTR (132.600) → LON_CTR (127.825)
LTC_NW_CTR (121.275) → LTC_N_CTR (119.775) → LTC_CTR (135.800) → LON_M_CTR (120.025) → LON_C_CTR (127.100) → LON_SC_CTR (132.600) → LON_CTR (127.825)
London/Heathrow (EGLL), London/City (EGLC), Southend (EGMC), Biggin Hill (EGKB), Lydd (EGMD)
LTC_SE_CTR (120.525) → LTC_S_CTR (134.125) → LTC_CTR (135.800) → LON_D_CTR (134.900) → LON_S_CTR (129.425) → LON_SC_CTR (132.600) → LON_CTR (127.825)
London/Gatwick (EGKK), Farnborough (EGLF)
LTC_SW_CTR (133.175) → LTC_S_CTR (134.125) → LTC_CTR (135.800) → LON_S_CTR (129.425) → LON_SC_CTR (132.600) → LON_CTR (127.825)
Southampton (EGHI), Bournemouth (EGHH)
LON_S_CTR (129.425) → LON_SC_CTR (132.600) → LON_CTR (127.825)
Bristol (EGGD), Cardiff (EGFF), Exeter (EGTE), Gloucester (EGBJ), Newquay (EGHQ), Channel Islands (EGJJ/JB/JA)
LON_W_CTR (126.075) → LON_CTR (127.825)
Edinburgh (EGPH), Glasgow (EGPF), Prestwick (EGPK)
STC_CTR (126.300) → SCO_D_CTR (135.850) → SCO_WD_CTR (133.875) → SCO_S_CTR (134.775) → SCO_CTR (135.525)
Belfast/Aldergrove (EGAA), Belfast/City (EGAC)
STC_A_CTR (123.775) → SCO_R_CTR (129.100) → SCO_W_CTR (132.725) → SCO_WD_CTR (133.875) → SCO_CTR (135.525)
Aberdeen/Dyce (EGPD), Dundee (EGPN)
SCO_S_CTR (134.775) → SCO_E_CTR (121.325) → SCO_CTR (135.525)
Inverness (EGPE), Stornoway (EGPO), Kirkwall (EGPA), Sumburgh (EGPB), Wick (EGPC)
SCO_N_CTR (129.225) → SCO_E_CTR (121.325) → SCO_CTR (135.525)
Our controllers will always send you a contact me if you are entering their airspace. However, you can use the diagrams below or VATGlasses if you want to know when to call them in advance.
You should look-up and plan for descent according to your expected STAR. You can also report your expected STAR on first contact to save time. If you need to descend before you enter an online controller’s airspace, then do so.
The main London sector groups (North, South, Central & West) are shown below. Sometimes these sectors are combined using the LON_SC_CTR or LON_CTR callsigns.
e.g. If LON_CTR, LON_S_CTR and LON_W_CTR are online, then the...
We can also split off the airspace in the London area with LTC sectors. There are 4 main sectors (NE, NW, SE, SW) which may be combined using the LTC_N_CTR, LTC_S_CTR or LTC_CTR callsigns.
The top of these sectors is generally at FL155, but no higher than FL195.
It is especially important to descend according to your STAR when only these sectors are online. Do not wait for a contact me before starting your descent.
You will most often see SCO_CTR which covers all Scottish airspace. The diagram below shows the two main upper splits.
STC_CTR covers an area below FL255 around the Scottish TMA - near the main airports, EGPH, EGPF and EGPK.
STC_A_CTR covers an area below FL255 in the Belfast area, with responsibility for EGAA and EGAC traffic.
Further Scottish splits are sometimes used during events.
If you are departing from an airfield as VFR, please see the section above - "I am departing from a UK airfield".
If you want to enter controlled airspace, you must check if any controller is covering that airspace. If yes, you need to get a clearance before entering it.
By using the altitude slider on VATGlasses, you can check for coverage. Feel free to ask a controller whether they cover airspace if you are unsure.
EGTT_I_CTR (124.600) – "London Information"
EGPX_I_CTR (119.875) – "Scottish Information"
Both of these positions are able to provide a Basic Service to flights outside of controlled airspace. This is a type of UK Flight Information Service (UK FIS) (see page 71 of The Skyway Code).
They are also able to arrange airspace joining clearances for IFR departures from airfields not covered top down.
Military airfields are not covered 'top-down' by the civilian En Route Control positions.
If local military ATC is online, you should contact them on the ground or if you are inbound. Otherwise, if Swanwick Mil is online, they cover all airspace and airports.
EGVV_CTR (133.900) – "Swanwick Mil"
Covers EGTT and EGPX FIR airspace and airports for military operations.
If you are departing from a military airfield and joining controlled airspace in the same way civilian air traffic does, you must get a joining clearance from the relevant civilian area sector before you enter controlled airspace. If you are unsure who to get this from, please ask a controller or check VATGlasses.
For the purpose of controller bookings, the 'Primary Sectors' are defined as:
The 'Secondary Sectors' are defined as:
UK home-rated or visiting controllers may open either a single Primary or Secondary sector,
or a valid combination of Primary (e.g. LON_SC_CTR) or Secondary (e.g. LTC_CTR, MAN_CTR) sectors.
Further splits require the remaining portion of the Primary or Secondary sector to be staffed too - e.g. opening LTC_NE_CTR requires LTC_NW_CTR (as the remaining portion of LTC_N_CTR) to be online. Splits not defined in the London or Scottish FIR (EGTT) vMATS Part 2 require specific approval from the Operations Department in the form of a Temporary Instruction or permanent Procedure Change.