Who tells pilots where and when to turn?

Monday September 23 2019

Commercial pilots flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) file a flight plan and follow a particular route from takeoff to landing.  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control (ATC) guide aircraft along their route, and provide precise instructions on the altitude, heading, and airspeed a pilot should fly their plane.  When an airplane departs from or arrives at DFW, only the FAA can direct an aircraft to turn off its filed course.  When controllers turn an aircraft and deviate it from its planned path, it is in response to an operational requirement such as maintaining minimum spacing between aircraft, weather in the intended path of the airplane or other operational factors.  DFW Airport is responsible for operating and maintaining airport facilities and for ensuring the vast network of runway and taxiways are in good working condition, meet FAA regulations, and are available for use.  However, the airport does not have the authority to control air traffic on the ground or in the air.