The automatic terminal information service (ATIS) is another valuable tool for gaining weather information. ATIS is available at most airports that have an operating control tower, which means the reports on the ATIS frequency are only available during the regular hours of tower operation. At some airports that operate part-time towers,ASOS/AWSS information is broadcast over the ATIS frequency when the tower is closed. This service is available only at those airports that have both an ASOS/AWSS on the field and an ATIS-ASOS/AWSS interface switch installed in the tower.

Each ATIS report includes crucial information about runways and instrument approaches in use, specific outages, and current weather conditions including visibility. Visibility is reported in statute miles and may be omitted if the visibility is greater than five miles. ATIS weather information comes from a variety of sources depending on the particular airport and the equipment installed there. The reported weather may come from a manual weather observer, weather instruments located in the tower, or from automated weather stations. This information, no matter the origin, must be from National Weather Service approved weather sources for it to be used in the ATIS report.

The digital ATIS (D-ATIS) is an alternative method of receiving ATIS reports. The service provides text messages to aircraft, airlines, and other users outside the standard reception range of conventional ATIS via landline and data link communications to the cockpit. Aircraft equipped with data link services are capable of receiving ATIS information over their Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) unit. This allows the pilots to read and print out the ATIS report inside the aircraft, thereby increasing report accuracy and decreasing pilot workload.

Also, the service provides a computer-synthesized voice message that can be transmitted to all aircraft within range of existing transmitters. The Terminal Data Link System (TDLS) D-ATIS application uses weather inputs from local automated weather sources or manually entered meteorological data together with preprogrammed menus to provide standard information to users. Airports with DATIS capability are listed in the A/FD.

It is important to remember that ATIS information is updated hourly and anytime a significant change in the weather occurs. As a result, the information is not the most current report available. Prior to departing the airport, you need to get the latest weather information from the tower. ASOS/AWSS and AWOS also provide a source of current weather, but their information should not be substituted for weather reports from the tower.