The 55th Annual Conference of IFATCA, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations ended on Friday, March 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. Over 400 delegates from over 70 Member Associations traveled from around the world to discuss and debate the professional, technical and operational aspects of air traffic control.
In their opening addresses, IFATCA President & CEO, Patrik Peters and National Air Traffic Controllers Association President, Paul Rinaldi, from the United States stressed the importance of international cooperation. This year’s Conference theme “The Formula Worldwide: Global Professionalism + Leadership = Safe Skies” heightened awareness of promoting and safeguarding the highest professional standards and the highest levels of safety for the travelling public.
The Conference included a panel covering Global Partnerships and featured speakers Teri Bristol (COO FAA), Jeff Poole (DG CANSO), Frank Brenner (DG EUROCONTROL), Rip Torn (Chairman IFALPA ATS Committee) and Patrik Peters (President & CEO IFATCA) who exchanged views on the topic of Global Partnerships and what they mean for IFATCA and its members. Other panels included the Foundations of Air Traffic Control Professionalism as well as a panel on streamlining the US National Airspace System.
The Conference ended with a farewell dinner under the stars, in the shadow of the replica Eiffel Tower at the beautiful Paris Hotel on the famous Las Vegas Strip. “Our international community comes together every year to improve and enhance the art and science of air traffic control,” said IFATCA President, Patrik Peters, “and for the first time in 55 years we were honoured to have our conference hosted in the United States. We leave here with many new friends, and a renewed commitment to ensuring the safest aviation system across the globe.”
Sytuacja kontrolerów ruchu lotniczego w Belgii
16 APRIL 2016
The Air Traffic Situation in Belgium
The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations, IFATCA, is deeply
concerned about the developments within Belgocontrol, the Belgian air traffic services provider,
and the problems these have caused for the safe and efficient flow of air traffic in the region.
This conflict again highlights the shortcomings within the Belgian air traffic control system. In a
letter to the Belgian government in 2009, IFATCA highlighted the unacceptable and potentially
unsafe working conditions and lacking involvement of staff representatives. Despite continued
promises made by management, no measurable improvements can be seen - on the contrary.
Air traffic controllers are faced with unworkable rosters to account for the long lasting lack of
recruitment and training of personnel. In all likelihood, these practises violate European rules on
air traffic controller working conditions and fatigue management. Controllers have to cope with
incessant, politically-driven procedure changes and are frequently confronted with technical
outages. Their pension age is now set to well exceed the accepted norm for controllers working
high-density airspace. On top of this already almost unbearable pressure, a slanderous
campaign was launched against highly skilled professionals without any respect or
consideration for their continued commitment that has helped the Belgian aviation system
survive crisis upon crisis.
Besides the local problems, there is also a European dimension to the conflict. Both in Belgium
as elsewhere in Europe, air traffic control increasingly has to rely on the willingness of
individuals to make the system work. If controllers, responsibly and in accordance with EU
regulation, declare a ‘provisional inability’ to safely perform their duty, the system collapses,
resulting in huge delays and painful situations for all involved stakeholders.
Similar situations have been experienced in Spain, Poland, France and other European
countries. Under pressure from the European Commission to minimize costs, service providers
have significantly reduced or stopped investing in their staff and in modernization of technical
equipment. While this may save money in the short term, this shortsightedness will in the long
run create major problems to maintain a safe and efficient Air Traffic Management system.
IFATCA calls upon all European governments and the Commission to finally understand that the
current approach of the Single European Sky undertaking puts the entire system at risk. To
consider only cost saving without regard to safety and human factors is having dramatic and
possibly irreversible effects throughout our industry.
The modernization process of the Air Traffic Management system in Europe can only be
achieved if the affected service providers and staff, in particular the air traffic controllers, are
involved to find safe and sustainable solutions. Controllers are not part of the problem: they are
an absolutely essential part of the solution!
The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers (IFATCA) represents more than 50.000 Air Traffic
Controllers in 128 countries. We enjoy a worldwide reputation amongst all partners in Air Traffic
Management with representation in many areas including ICAO and Eurocontrol. Promoting safety,
efficiency and cooperation in international air navigation is of paramount importance to us.
Najnowszy numer The Controller
Najnowszy numer magazynu The Controller dostępny do pobrania po zalogowaniu.
IFATCA European meeting Tallin 2015
12 October 2015
The European Regional Meeting of IFATCA, the International Federation of Air
Traffic Controllers’ Associations, was held 9th – 11th October in Tallinn, Estonia. More
than 150 participants, representing 38 of the 44 member associations in the Region,
attended the meeting, showing the continued dedication of Air Traffic Controllers in
Europe. ATCEUC, IFATSEA, the European Cockpit Association (ECA), SESAR and
EUROCONTROL were also in attendance.
During the meeting, following the signature of the Corporate Just Culture Declaration
at the European Commission on October 1st, a complete day was dedicated to the
understanding and implementation of Just Culture.
Members of the European Region raised their concerns against the threat of
increasing retirement ages based on economic or political interests, disregarding
acknowledged fatigue and stress studies. Insufficient staffing at several Air
Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), combined with a general increase in aircraft
traffic numbers, leads to an increase in dropouts due to fatigue, stress and burnouts.
Ageing controller workforces, higher retirement ages, stringent cutbacks in
personnel, recruitment and training by ANSPs have an unfiltered impact on a number
of European member associations. The investment in people – the air traffic
controllers – remains a vital issue in this highly complex and technical environment.
While the implementation of better tools and technologies in many workplaces help
the controller’s duties, it cannot replace the human actions necessary to guarantee
overall safety. Just Culture and health protection of air traffic controllers in the
execution of their profession require more attention than ever before.
IFATCA Executive Vice President Europe, Mr. Zeljko Oreski, encouraged further
collaboration amongst aviation industry, “Europe is faced with challenging issues that
can only be resolved with true collaboration among all stakeholders involved. Air
Traffic Control Associations have comprehensive experience and constructive ideas
that are significantly valuable in finding positive solutions”.
Finally, a new worrying issue was highlighted following court decisions in Belgium;
income that should have been paid to ANSPs in Moldova and Romania has been
withheld. EUROCONTROL, the organization responsible for collecting the user fees,
is forced to retain the payments owing to the ANSPs, creating potential financial
difficulties. “IFATCA members are extremely concerned that the financial restrictions
on MoldATSA and RomATSA will potentially impact the level of safety within the
airspace of these countries”, said IFATCA President and CEO, Mr. Patrik Peters.