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Increased utilisation of automation is seen as a potential, if not the most likely solution to cope with the forecasted increase in air traffic (SESAR, 2006; FAA, 2010). However, Air Traffic Controller Operators (ATCOs) are very selective about forms of automated assistance (EUROCONTROL, 2000). Automation acceptance is considered crucial for the successful implementation of any new technology within air traffic management and therefore is one of the largest challenges the industry faces (Hilburn & Flynn, 2001). Since traditional predictors of automation acceptance such as trust and job satisfaction appear to be diminishing (Bekier, Molesworth & Williamson, in press), the main aim of the present research was to identify the factors that help to explain ATCOs willingness to accept more mature forms of automated assistance. The results revealed that ATCOs value automation that is user-friendly, removes ‘boring’ and ‘standardized’ tasks, and importantly keeps them cognitively challenged in their role.