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Working conditions of controllers in Cyprus

ATCEUC and IFATCA criticize the working conditions of the ATCOs in Cyprus

ATCEUC and IFATCA express their support to the Air Traffic Controller, who was injured during the collapse of the ceiling on the 13th of June 2019 in the Area Control Centre of Nicosia. ATCEUC and IFATCA also express their sympathy with the employees of the Department of Civil Aviation Cyprus and the effects that this accident has on their working environment. This will increase pressure on the work force, reduce moral and will create further delay and safety concerns in the area.

Ceiling collapse in Nicosia ACC on 13 June 2019 – photo CYATCU

ATCEUC and IFATCA have criticized the working conditions in Cyprus for more than 10 years. The interventions did not result in actions from the national or European competent authorities. In the opinion of ATCEUC and IFATCA the current situation is the result of years of mismanagement and underinvestment.

The Cyprian Air Navigation Service Provider is understaffed, work with antiquated equipment, work from the third floor of an abandoned office building with very little space. Furthermore, the operational environment is
characterized by many different political interests, e.g. the lack of communication between Ankara and Nicosia, making it difficult to maintain a safe an orderly flow of traffic.

Unfortunately, in some cases it takes an accident to show decision makers that action is needed:

ATCEUC and IFATCA call upon the European Commission, Eurocontrol, Airlines, the Cypriot government and the DCA Cyprus to invest in improving the working conditions significantly for our Cypriot friends and colleagues.
We suggest that the European Commission suspends the performance scheme for Cyprus and engage in negotiations with the Cypriote authorities to develop a sufficiently funded National performance plan.

A PDF version of the press release can be downloaded here.

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IFATCA / ECA JOINT PRESS RELEASE

IFATCA & ECA are deeply concerned about the negative impact of judicial decisions on air transport safety in and over Switzerland

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The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations, IFATCA, and the European Cockpit Association, ECA, are extremely disappointed to learn of the conviction of two Air Traffic Controllers in Switzerland. In April and December 2018, two air traffic controllers were convicted by the Federal Penal Court and by the Cantonal Court of Zurich respectively for operational incidents. No one was injured in either event, nor was there any damage sustained to any of the involved aircraft or to ground infrastructure. This reaction does nothing to improve aviation safety.

Aviation is the safest mode of transport, and accidents are extremely rare. This is thanks to the continuous effort to learn from incidents where the stringent aviation standards may not have been met. A ‘Just Culture’ is one where aviation professionals, including pilots and air traffic controllers, are encouraged to report issues relevant to safety without undue fear of punishment. This makes the aviation system safer. Despite drastic increases in traffic, safety levels have continued to improve to the level the flying public enjoys today.

Switzerland remains one of the few States that has chosen to deviate from international standards and recommendations – including those in the Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation – when it comes to using safety reports to trigger court cases. The Swiss judicial system is limited by the 1942 penal code which binds the courts to perform in a manner that is not benefical to aviation safety. An urgent review is needed in line with Resolutions 38-3 and 38-4 of the General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the aviation specialised body of the United Nations.

Aviation, and in particular air traffic control, is a complex industry where the front-end operator is working as an integral part of the system, interacting in teams with systems and procedures. These complex systems are extremely resilient and do not fail only because of one element of the system, it is the system that fails, not the individual.

Lengthy and costly court cases do not improve aviation safety, nor do they contribute to the robustness of complex systems. They create a climate of fear amongst aviation professionals and result in a reluctance to submit reports. The opportunity to learn from these events is therefore severely compromised. Just Culture is not a carte blanche for aviation professionals, including air traffic controllers. It is an essential cornerstone that allows aviation professionals to actively engage in the process of improving safety.

IFATCA & ECA urgently call upon Switzerland to align with other States and International standards, to incorporate the principles of Just Culture into their legal system in order to provide for a balanced approach between safety and the administration of justice.

Note to editors:

IFATCA is the recognised international organisation representing air traffic controller associations. The Federation has been representing air traffic controllers for more than 50 years and has more than 50,000 members in over 125 countries.

ECA is the representative body of European pilot associations, representing over 38.000 pilots from across Europe, striving for the highest levels of aviation safety and fostering social rights and quality pilots in Europe.Website: www.eurocockpit.be twitter @eu_cockpit

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IFATCA / IFALPA JOINT PRESS RELEASE

International Organisations warn against premature conclusions

The aviation community grieves for the tragic loss of lives aboard US-Bangla Flight 211 on 12 March 2018. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those lost, and the survivors who may still have a long road to recovery. We also wish to extend our support to our Nepalese and Bangladeshi colleagues for whom this is undoubtedly a traumatic experience.

In order to learn from such event and prevent any repetition, IFATCA and IFALPA, the International Organisations representing Air Traffic Controllers and Air Line Pilots, stress the need for the technical investigation into the circumstances of this accident to be conducted according to international Standards.

Such investigation should strictly follow the provisions laid out in Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, which states that “the sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents” and that “it is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability”.

Accident investigators should have unrestricted access and control over the evidence to ensure that a detailed examination can take place. Whilst the investigation is ongoing, there should be no disclosure of the accident evidence such as recordings, in order to avoid misinterpretation of the events that occurred.

Premature conclusions, often based on incomplete, inaccurate or speculative information, and focusing on any one aspect of what happened, will only hamper the ability to learn from these tragic events. We urge the media, the public, and the concerned stakeholders to respect the long established procedures for analysing these events and let the accident investigation run its course.

IFATCA and IFALPA will closely monitor the investigation to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with the principles described above, and that all efforts are made to prevent the recurrence of such an event.

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