A person who directs pilots from the ground in order to ensure the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic through his/her airspace.
The air traffic controllers at high volume airports and enroute centers have one of the most stressful jobs in the world and are often unfairly blamed for airport delays. A given airport can only handle a certain number of flights per hour, and the airlines frequently schedule more flights than that number, causing delays that even the most skilled controller could not avoid. Furthermore, each controller is allowed three losses of separation minimums between two aircraft every two and a half years. One more and he/she gets suspended - and many of them are controlling around a hundred planes per hour. Think about that before you blame them for your late flights.
You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it.
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