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Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:39 am
by monzo
Just curious. When I listen to ATC Ground/Tower, I often hear the controller refer to the other plane as for example, "The Company 737". Why would they not refer to the other plane as the Southwest 737?

Thank you.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:19 am
by Starlionblue
I suppose it cuts down on confusion.

"United 438, follow company 737," answered by, "United 438, follow company 737," seems much less ambiguous than "United 438, follow United 737," answered by, "United 438, follow United 737."

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:27 am
by freeze3192
Quoting monzo (Thread starter):


Just curious. When I listen to ATC Ground/Tower, I often hear the controller refer to the other plane as for example, "The Company 737". Why would they not refer to the other plane as the Southwest 737?

Thank you.


They use the phrase "company" to mean an aircraft of the same airline. If a United 737 is being told to follow a Southwest 737, they'll be told to "follow the Southwest 737"

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:19 pm
by cornutt
Perhaps an extension from the old days when en route air traffic control was done through airline dispatch, and pilots referred to the dispatch frequency as the "company" frequency.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:08 pm
by atct
I do it when following....Company! Follow company right to left, monitor tower etc. If a United is following a Southwest, I wouldnt say company.

atct

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:53 am
by NWADC9
For my FBO, we have a few planes with similar tail numbers, and some controllers know who we are, so if several of our planes are up (say, a caravan to a nearby airport for chicken wings), they'll also use "company."

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:16 am
by HAWK21M
Similiar Airline Aircraft are reffered to as "company" aircraft.....I've noticed the impaitence level is reduced by waiting crew when its a "company" aircraft delaying them  

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:13 pm
by srbmod
I heard the term quite a bit when I was a ramper at ASA, as my usual assigned duty was as one of the pushback drivers for my gates and the pilots would often tell me that we were cleared to push back after the company ATR/Brasilia/CRJ (If the plane we had to wait to pass was from another airline, they would say after the Citrus 717 [As they used the callsign for the airline.] or the Delta MD-88.).

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:15 am
by NBGSkyGod
It is a term used to identify traffic from the same company. I am not near a 7110.65, but it is part of our phraseology.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:07 pm
by apfpilot
Quoting NBGSkyGod (Reply 8):
It is a term used to identify traffic from the same company.

Something interesting I saw along that line once was when I was visiting the RSW tower/TRACON. This was when Song was around and the operated on DL flight numbers. The comments section on a flight strip for a song flight indicated: ACFT has Song Paint so the controller would be aware that even though it was a DL aircraft telling a pilot to follow the DL aircraft might cause some confusion since it had non standard color.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:33 pm
by NBGSkyGod
This is also standard procedure. When Northwest and Delta merged Northwest aircraft flying under the Delta call sign would add the phrase "in Nothwest colors" to their call sign.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:49 pm
by hivue
So how are AA and US being handled now? Still separately? "American in Cactus colors?" I remember Doug Parker said during the employee vote on the tail design that they wanted to get US planes re-painted as soon as possible.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:01 pm
by harrystanhope
When we get told of other company aircraft we listen more intently on company frequency in case we need to talk without clogging up approach or tower. Works well in VFR situations when we are just given traffic so we can keep updating each other between ourselves and not bother anyone.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:49 pm
by srbmod
Quoting hivue (Reply 11):
So how are AA and US being handled now? Still separately? "American in Cactus colors?" I remember Doug Parker said during the employee vote on the tail design that they wanted to get US planes re-painted as soon as possible.

Until both airlines are under the same certificate, for ATC purposes, nothing changes. As US a/c get painted into AA colors (but still operating US Airways flights), they will refer to them as Cactus in American colors. This was the case when DL and NW were merging and NW planes were being painted in DL colors but still operating as NW flights.

RE: Why Does ATC Tower Refer To Airliners As "Company"

Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:58 pm
by onetogo
They don't use ATC callsigns when pointing out traffic. Example, if I'm told to follow a "Brickyard E170" it could be US Air colors, or American Eagle Colors. If I'm told follow "Mercury E170" It could be Delta or United. The same goes for many other regionals that fly for several airlines.

So you'll hear ATC say "follow United colors E170". If they want me to follow a US Airways E190, I'll hear "Follow US Air E190" Not follow "Cactus E190" lol many pilots dont know what callsigns refer to what possible colors.