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West Germany’s Air Navigation Services after 1945

West Germany’s Air Navigation Services after 1945

The reconstruction of the German air navigation system after the war was subject to the decisions of the Allied Occupation Forces. They began to establish their own air navigation services in the respective occupation zones. Only a very few flight routes were opened for flights to and over Germany. Civil flights within Germany were only conducted by French, British, American and Russian airlines.

Along the first airways (AWY) some kind of air traffic control (ATC) was provided. There were three air corridors to Berlin. The US Air Force soon established the two flight information regions (FIR) Frankfurt and München as well as a normal airways system, which was monitored by AACS units with the area control centers - ACC Frankfurt and München. The French established the Eastern FIR controlled by FIC Strassburg and the British the Bad Eilsen FIR with its ATCC, both providing flight information service - FIS only.

In May 1949 civil aviation departments were formed by the High Commissioners (HICOG) and the Allied Forces created an Allied Civil Aviation Board - CAB in Wiesbaden, consisting of an american, a british and a french element. In 1949 the american department began to hire the first german personnel, trained in Bremen on aerodrome and approach control- TWR & APP and assigned to aerodrome control towers in the US Zone. The RAF started the same in 1951. Area control - ACC continued to be performed by USAF directly, as of 1952 under ICAO rules. During 1951 and 1952 the german employees were also trained on area control by USAF and the US CAD at the newly established air navigation school at München-Riem airport. The first ACC staffed by only german personnel, transferred on 15.1.1953 to BFS, was München. Frankfurt ACC, first located in the IG-Farben building downtown Frankfurt/Main, was transferred to BFS in June1953.

Until September 1952 no controlled airspace existed around civil airports in the british Zone. In 1951 the following advisory routes - ADR had been implemented as a forerunner of airways for the provision of air traffic advisory service - ADS : Düsseldorf – Gütersloh – Völkenrode + Düsseldorf – Germinghausen + Düsseldorf – Winterswijk. Towards the end of 1952 the CAB changed a few of these routes into controlled airways - CTA/AWY, i.e. Copenhagen – Hamburg – Frankfurt + Amsterdam – Winterswijk – Germinghausen – Frankfurt + Amsterdam – Eelde – Helgoland – Copenhagen. The british CAB began to train german personnel in October 1949. This personnel was trained in aeronautical information service - AIS and for flight data processing in the ATC service at airports in the british Zone. In December 1949 the german AIS personnel took over the responsibility for the provision of the AIS in accordance with ICAO rules. In December 1952 the “Vorbereitungsstelle” of BFS took over all AIS and its units.

In October 1951 training of german staff for the aerodrome control towers in Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Hannover followed. Four courses were conducted in Hamburg. In preparation for the take-over of the area control service - ACC at the Bad Eilsen ATCC area control courses were conducted.  In 1953 the airspace of the french Occupation Zone, initially part of the Strasbourg FIR was incorporated into the München FIR.

Regarding aeronautical telecommunications the Allied Forces already applied ICAO SARPs as laid down in ICAO Annex 10. A central aeronautical telecommunication centre did not yet exist. Frankfurt finally came into the role of an international telecommunication centre, which it still is for Europe today. In 1952 direct telecommunication lines existed to London, Paris, Kopenhavn, Zürich,  Prague and Linz, as well as to the USAF, RAF and FAF centres and all their AC&W stations of the air defence network. The first recommendations for a european airways system were made in 1951. These suggestions led to a corresponding plan, which was adopted by ICAO during its III. EUM Conference in Paris in February/March 1952. In 1956 the FRG joined ICAO as its 66th Member State.

Read More:
German Air Traffic Control During The Cold War
The Story of Rhein Control
Vol 3, The Operation of ATC in South Germany's Upper Airspace 1957-1977


Die umfassende Dokumentation über den Luftverkehrsdienst Flugsicherung. Eine Buchreihe in mehreren Bänden, die von Frank W. Fischer im Verlag der International Advisory Group Air Navigation Services (ANSA) herausgegeben wurde.