During radar vectors, the ATCo informed to the pilot, "no longer a factor." Please, can you clarify to me what this radio transmission means?

  • $\begingroup$ Are answers that discuss the meaning of a phrase in general on-topic here? I thought I was in ELL for a moment and I wrote up an answer discussing the meaning in general, and then I realized I wasn't after I posted it, so I deleted it. $\endgroup$
    – nick012000
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ What does the acronym "RT" stand for? I don't think I've ever heard that before. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ @TerranSwett "Radiotelephony." $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ I assume the o in ATCo is for operator? I thought ATC was either Air Traffic Control or Air Traffic Controller, depending on context. $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ @CGCampbell the term in the United States is "Air Traffic Control Specialist." Most of the rest of the world uses "Air Traffic Control Officer." $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


This one is usually replied in relation to other air traffic around a particular flight which at one point may have posed a collision risk but is no longer in a position to do so. Example

ATC: “United 2410, traffic is two miles at your ten o’clock at 5,700. Cessna. Report them in sight.”

If it appears the other aircraft will no longer cross paths with the aircraft being directed, the controller may say something like:

ATC: “United 2410, the Cessna traffic no longer a factor. Turn right heading 340. Descend and maintain 3,800, slow to 160 knots.”

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ ATC typically wouldn't specify direction and distance when saying traffic is no longer a factor (what's the point?). Just something like "mentioned traffic no longer a factor". $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 16:08

It means that the previously mentioned traffic is no longer likely to cause a collision, and that the two aircraft in question are now on diverging flight paths. In layman's terms, it tells the pilot to stop worrying about looking for the other traffic.

"Cessna 3AB, previous traffic no longer a factor."

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Or, less commonly, "Cessna 3AB, if you are receiving this transmission, previous traffic no longer a factor." $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 20:55

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