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We are all one in the sky

Fifteen signatories, including IFATCA, support the European regulatory authorities in producing a robust, harmonised, EU-wide regulatory safety framework that enables the safe, secure, efficient and fair integration of drones in the aviation system, and fosters broad public acceptance.

In order to facilitate the integration of drones in very low-level airspace (i.e. below 500 ft) and preserve the high level of safety in the entire European airspace, we jointly call to accelerate the implementation of a number of measures as detailed in the declaration.

European Excellence Award

During the 2019 World ATM Congress​ in Madrid, the International Federation of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations (IFATSEA), the European Cockpit Association (ECA) and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) have jointly been awarded the Single European Sky Excellence Award.

The European Commission attributed the award to the “complete commitment from staff to delivering the essential services needed to enable capacity and deliver safety.”

Needless to say that as representatives of air traffic controllers worldwide, IFATCA is honoured to share this award with our engineering and pilot colleagues. We also want to explicitly recognise all of our members for their continued commitment and skill with which they uphold the highest safety standards in often challenging circumstances.

IFATCA wants to thank the European Commission for recognising the vital role the front-line operators play in keeping aviation the safest mode of transport.

Marc Baumgartner (left, IFATCA SES Coordinator), Costas Christoforou (middle, IFATSEA Regional Director Europe) and Loïc Michel (right, ECA Technical Policy Advisor) accepting the award on behalf of European staff.

International Women’s day 2019

Women and Equality in Air Traffic Control

There is a growing worldwide shortage of air traffic controllers, a profession which is key to a safe aviation industry. Forecasts from the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a United Nations specialized agency, predict a shortfall of over 40,000 controllers over the next 20 years.

Many of IFATCA’s Member Associations also report a decreasing interest from qualified applicants to pursue a career in ATC. As with aviation in general, women remain significantly under-represented in our profession. Given the gender imbalance, investing in making the profession more attractive to women could tap into a currently underused demographic, which currently risks missing out on up to 50 % of the recruitment base.

In most countries, female air traffic controllers remain a minority. While an increasing number of women have been working as controllers over the past decades, there is still a significant imbalance, even in the public perception of the job. While a controller requires specific skills, none of these correlates directly to gender. Our profession is generally open to female applicants, however greater effort is needed to make it more accessible and attractive to women, and to encourage them to apply.

The air traffic control community consists of an extremely diverse mix of people, in which women should be proportionally represented. One of the enablers for this is to have role models. In other words:

If She Can See It, She Can Be It

As the professional organisation representing over 50,000 air traffic controllers worldwide, IFATCA joins other organisations on March 8th, the International Women’s Day. We acknowledge the contributions of all female colleagues to our unique profession. At the same time, we recognise the women who are at the start of their career in ATC and encourage those that are considering pursuing one.

IFATCA highlights the importance of role models to help convince new generations of women that they have an essential role in aviation and in air traffic control. We call upon employers and lawmakers to ensure an equal opportunity environment exists in recruitment, training and career opportunities. Any existing bias should be removed, aiming for a more balanced gender distribution in air traffic control, and aviation in general.

Annual Report from the Expert Group on the Human Dimension

The Expert Group on the Human Dimension (EGHD) of the Single European Sky (SES) was formally established by the European Commission in 2017 to advise on the implementation and development of SES from a human dimension perspective. It represents the opinion of all frontline operators and support staff who are impacted by the latest regulatory, operational and technological changes resulting from SES. The group is co-chaired by Paul Neering, an experienced IFATCA Representative. Within the group, IFATCA is represented by Anders Liebl (DK). They have just published their 2018 Annual Report, which gives an excellent overview of the importance of this group.

PCX Resignation

The Executive Board of IFATCA regrets to announce the resignation of Mr. Patrik Peters, IFATCA President & Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 March 2019.

In a letter to the IFATCA Member Associations, Mr. Peters explained that personal circumstances no longer allow him to fully focus on the needs of the Federation. Over the past 13 years, Mr. Peters has held several positions on the Executive Board, including the post of President and Chief Executive Officer for the last 5 years. As such, we are humbled by and grateful for his long dedication to our Federation and commitment to the air traffic control profession.

Mr. Peters took this decision in full coordination with the Executive Board. We therefore expect the transition to be smooth, despite the fact that Mr. Peters’ input and experience will leave a void. In accordance with our constitution, the responsibilities of the President and Chief Executive Officer will automatically transfer to the Deputy President until the next annual conference.

The e-mail address [email protected] will remain active for the foreseeable future for personal messages to Mr. Peters. For issues addressing the Federation, kindly contact the IFATCA Office at [email protected] or the Deputy President at [email protected]

Our Member Associations will formally elect a successor to Mr. Peters at our Annual Conference in Costa Rica, from May 20-24, 2019. The outcome of the elections of the Executive Board will be communicated in due time.

On behalf of the IFATCA Executive Board,

Duncan Auld
Deputy President

Letter to Argentinian Government

IFATCA has addressed the government of Argentina, through its President – His Excellency Mauricio Macri. We are extremely concerned about the disrespect for international safety culture standards at the Aeroparque Jorge Newberry airport. Following a single complaint from one pilot regarding an event where safety was not compromised in any way, the controllers working at the time were removed from their position, seemingly as a disciplinary measure. The information we have suggested they were replaced by staff who may not have been licensed or rated for the positions they occupied, clearly creating a serious breach of the applicable safety levels.

The full letter, in Spanish and in English can be found here.

Congratulations to GATCO and the UK for involving professionals that have hands on expertise!

Congratulations to GATCO – The Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers and BALPA for making sure professional voices are being heard! Active involvement from the front line is essential for these kind of projects – not only in the UK!

Productive Meeting with ITF

On January 18th, IFATCA representatives met with membersof the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The meeting successfullyagreed on a common approach to the challenges of planned remote towersoperations, whether sequential or simultaneous. We also paved the way for arenewed memorandum of understanding between our organizations and planned acommon workshop to brief our members on how to deal with conflict/disputeresolution.

We especially want to thank NATCA representatives AdamRhodes and Jeff Richards for coming over to Europe, despite the shutdown and theissues this is causing for their members and them personally!

13th Air Navigation Conference – IFATCA’s delegation at work for you at ICAO!

The 13th Air Navigation Conference took place in Montréal, Canada, from 9 to 19 October 2018. It was attended by 1022 participants, from 116 States and 37 International Organizations. Over 300 working papers and information papers were presented and discussed in two committees.

Committee A discussed the technical items of the Conference: air navigation global strategy, enabling and enhancing the global air navigation system, implementing the global air navigation system and the role of planning and implementation regional groups (PIRGs) and finally, emerging issues. Committee B handled all safety related items of the Conference: organizational safety issues, operational safety risks and emerging safety issues.

IFATCA was well represented at the Conference by a delegation comprising the Deputy President, Duncan Auld, the Executive Vice-President Professional, Peter Van Rooyen, the Executive Vice-President Technical, Ignacio Baca, and the Liaison Officer to ICAO, Jean-François Lepage.

IFATCA presented 7 working papers, in partnership with other international organizations, on global runway safety action plans, on the concept of acceptable level of safety performance, on the integration of drones within ATM, on cybersecurity, on remote ATS, on commercial space operations, and on the protection of safety data and safety information.

IFATCA also intervened on eight occasions to share the views of the Federation on a variety of topics: role of the human in the development of the GANP, proposed update of Doc 9426 (ATS Planning Manual), certification of ANSPs, remote ATS, challenges in aviation phraseology, investments in ATM, coordination of flights through controlled airspace for space operations, management of fatigue for ATCOs, and global ANS personnel shortage.

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Earthquake in Sulawesi, Indonesia

As you may have heard, Indonesia was struck by another earthquake last week. This time, the epicentre was near the island of Sulawesi. In addition to the strong quake, a devastating tsunami hit Palu Bay. Currently, there are over 1,000 fatalities reported.

Our thoughts go out to the many victims of this disaster and especially to one of our colleagues: Anthonius Gunawan Agung was was the only person left in the control tower of Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu when the magnitude-7.5 quake struck the coastal city on Friday. He remained behind to ensure a flight that was about to take off could do so safely. The decision to stay cost him his life, but potentially saved hundreds of others. Agung was born in 1996 in Abepura - Papua. He graduated from the Aviation Training Centre in Makassar on 2017. He was working at AiNav Indoneaia since June 2018. He was still single and would turn 22 later this month.

Via our Indonesian member association, IFATCA has reached out to the family: we've sent a wreath and have made a donation towards the costs of the service. We are evaluating whether we can help in any other way. In the mean time, we would encourage everyone to consider donating to the relief efforts for Indonesia: over the past months, different parts of the country have been hit by major earthquakes and any help is welcome. A number of non-government organisations have set up fund raisers to collect money towards the relief efforts. Please look in your country for such actions and consider donating - every little bit helps.

On behalf of the IFATCA Executive Board and all our Federation's members, we again extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. We hope they find some comfort in remembering his bravery and commitment to our profession. May he rest in peace.

Lastly, we salute our colleagues in Palu, who in very difficult circumstances continue to provide air traffic control services. In doing so, they're a vital link in the crucial relief efforts for the area.

IFATCA Technical Award

Recipients of the IFATCA Technical Award

2019 – Vibe Solution
2017 – NAVCanada NAVCANsuite
2016 – Frequentis
2015 – Imtradex

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