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Air Traffic Controller
(Airport Hero)

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Air Traffic Controller (Airport Hero) (1998) is a series of games where you take charge of an airport. You deal with landing planes, directing them to runways and gates while ensuring things run on time and without accidents. Each session is a unique set of inbound and outbound flights, your job is to run this smoothly within the limitations of traffic control.

Play involves making decisions about how planes are allowed to land at your airport. You choose which runway is best based on wind direction, terminal, other air traffic and the business of the airport. You also need to manage planes on the ground to taxi them to the runways for takeoff, or to the gate to disembark.

It's both complicated and slow. On the earlier games (like the 3DS versions) you can't speed up the time between decisions that means you are often waiting for planes to arrive before the next decision is required. However, this quirky commitment to realism is part of the charm.

You are limited in how you can view proceedings and must often make decisions (when they arrive) with minimal time and information. As you do this you learn about the various stages a plane goes through from first entering airspace, being guided in by the tower, negotiating land and then taxiing to the gate.

As you progress you are faced with busier airports and different times of day. Unexpected events, like emergency landings or change of wind direction, raise the stakes further. You can have everything all perfectly balanced and then find a plane has a failed take off and you need to quickly reorganising the other air traffic.

The game started on PC with four versions spanning 1998 to 2020, originally called Air Traffic Controller but latest version named I am an Air Traffic Controller 4. It also became popular on PlayStation Portable, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS and 3DS:
  • Airport Hero (2006) PSP
  • Air Traffic Chaos (2007) Nintendo DS
  • Airport Hero 3D (2012) Nintendo 3DS with versions for Honolulu, Narita, Naha Premium and Osaka KIX
  • Airport Hero 3D All Stars (2015) Nintendo 3DS with versions for Narita, Haneda and Kansai Airports

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Air Traffic Controller (Airport Hero) 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 2 years ago.
Too complex for your family? There are lots of games similar to Air Traffic Controller (Airport Hero). Here are some easier younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Sequencing and Strategy game with Simulation elements. This is a single-player game.

This has been enjoyed by families in the following styles:


Play Time: It takes between 20 minutes and half an hour to play a round of this game. In the older games you take over the airport for an hour of game time, which is usually completed in about half an hour.


This game is good if you want to:

This game has helped players develop their Disposition as part of the following pathways:

This game has been the inspiration for the following activities:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

This game has been rated PEGI 3.

Skill Level

14+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. You need patience, forward planning and three dimensional thinking to do well in this game. Older children enjoy this challenge and the sense of doing a grown up role.

Our Game Pathways reveal how 14-year-olds play this game:


Air Traffic Controller (Airport Hero)

Steam Store PC -
There are the following additional costs associated with this game:
  • In-Game Purchases: Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.
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DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/1998, updated in 2020

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, DS, PC and PSP

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Sequencing, Strategy and Simulation

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night and Weather

Developer: Techno Brain Jpn (@TechnoBrainJpn)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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