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Fourth IFATCA Competency-Based Training and Assessment Workshop

Tunis, Tunisia – 11-12 November 2019

The fourth IFATCA Competency-Based Training and Assessment Workshop was held at the Office de l’Aviation Civile et des Aéroports (OACA) training center, Tunis-Carthage International Airport, on 11-12 November 2019. The event was organized by the Tunisian Member Association, the Association Tunisienne des Contrôleurs de la Circulation Aérienne (ATCCA) and was attended by 56 participants from everywhere in the AFM Region.

IFATCA would like to sincerely thank the ATCCA, and in particular Mr. Skander Khalfallah, for the extraordinary organization of this event; their incredible dedication ensured the success of the workshop. ATCCA graciously provided well equipped facilities, refreshments and meals for all participants and instructors, and arranged accommodation and transportation for instructors from abroad, which means the workshop was held at no cost for the Federation. Needless to say, they have gone far beyond any possible expectations.

Participants were able to learn more about the competency- based approach and related ICAO documents, performance criteria in CBTA, workflows for implementation of CBTA, the ICAO competency framework, training and assessment plans and material, and much more.

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Third IFATCA Competency-Based Training and Assessment Workshop

Algiers, Algeria – 7-8 November 2019

The third IFATCA Competency-Based Training and Assessment Workshop was held at the Centre de formation de l’Établissement National de la Navigation Aérienne (ENNA) in Algiers, Algeria, on 7-8 November 2019. The event was attended by approximately 30 participants from Algeria.

IFATCA would like to sincerely thank the Syndicat National du Personnel du Contrôle Aérien (SNPCA), and in particular Mr. Fateh Bekhti and Mr. Djamel Ait Abdelmalek, for the extraordinary organization of this event; their incredible dedication ensured the success of the workshop. SNPCA graciously provided well equipped facilities, refreshments and meals for all participants and instructors, and arranged accommodation and transportation for instructors from abroad, which means the workshop was held at no cost for the Federation. Needless to say, they have gone far beyond any possible expectations.

Participants were able to learn more about the competency- based approach and related ICAO documents, performance criteria in CBTA, workflows for implementation of CBTA, the ICAO competency framework, training and assessment plans and material, and much more.

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The 40th ICAO Assembly

IFATCA’s participation at the big rendezvous to shape the future of aviation

The 40th ICAO Assembly took place last 24 September to 4 October 2019. It was attended by more than 2 400 delegates from around the world, representing 184 of the 193 Member States of ICAO and 55 international organizations, such as ACI, CANSO, IAOPA, IATA, IBAC, ICCAIA, IFALPA, IFATCA, and many more. Interesting to note is the fact that this year, the Assembly coincided with the 75th anniversary of ICAO.

The Assembly is ICAO’s sovereign body; it meets at least once every three years and is convened by the ICAO Council. It is divided into five different commissions: administrative, economic, executive, legal and technical and its primary objective is to determine the direction, budget and work programme of the organization for the next triennium. It is also during the Assembly that Member States are elected to the Council.

IFATCA was represented at the Assembly by a delegation consisting of Mr. Duncan Auld (President and CEO), Mrs. Helena Sjöström (Deputy President), Mr. Ignacio Baca (EVP Technical), Mr. Peter Van Rooyen (EVP Professional), Mr. Jeffrey D. Richards (RPAS Panel Member for IFATCA), Mr. Thom Metzger (The Controller Magazine Editor) and Mr. Jean-François Lepage (IFATCA Liaison Officer to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission).

During its 40th iteration, the Assembly produced and reviewed more than 640 working papers and information papers. IFATCA co-signed five working papers with other industry organizations (ACI, CANSO, IATA, ICCAIA and IFALPA) on topics of mutual interest, such as commercial space operations integration, the need to address harmful interferences to GNSS signals, the need for standards and guidance to mitigate the risks related to unauthorized UAS operations, the future of frequency spectrum needs in aviation and UAS traffic management.

Among the 640 working papers, the main topics covered were: environment-related issues and the CORSIA initiative (62 papers), security and cybersecurity (55 papers), facilitation (40 papers), ATM-related matters (36 papers), economic issues (31 papers), the “No Country Left Behind” (NCLB) initiative (28 papers), safety management (25 papers), flight operations (24 papers), Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (23 papers) and the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme – Continuous Monitoring Approach (USOAP CMA) (23 papers).

Immediately before the Assembly, the Executive Board gathered for a three-day meeting, also in Montréal. The presence of the entire executive in the city that is home to ICAO was not a coincidence; it was an excellent opportunity for some of the EB members to meet with other international organizations such as IFALPA and ITF, while for others it was the perfect moment to work on logistic and financial issues at the IFATCA office, along with Tatiana, our Office Manager. Meanwhile, our Liaison Officer to the ICAO ANC, Jean-François, was putting the final touch to the interventions drafted by the group for the Assembly and took care of the necessary coordination and arrangements with some of the key industry partners and States present at the event.

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IFATCA Americas Regional Meeting in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina – Day 3

The third day of the 36th IFATCA Regional Meeting of the Americas region started with two presentations from Mr. Jean-François Lepage, Liaison Officer to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission. He first gave a detailed overview of the ICAO main bodies and hierarchy, where IFATCA is present in the organization, how Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and Procedures for Air Navigation Services (PANS) are developed, and finally where IFATCA can assist and shape the work of ICAO and ensure the Federation’s concerns, challenges and needs are heard.

The second presentation provided the participants with an overview of the many items on the work programme of the Professional and Legal Committee (PLC) and Technical and Operational Committee (TOC).

Following these presentations, Member Associations represented at the meeting (Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile, Canada, United States of America, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica) presented their report to the audience. Jamaica updated the participants with their preparations for the IFATCA Annual Conference, to be held on the island in May 2021.

The last presentation of the day was a brief overview of IFATCA’s Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) Workshop, presented by Mr. Jean-François Lepage (IFATCA – ICAO).

Mr. John Carr, Executive Vice-President Americas, concluded the meeting with a few closing remarks, thanking ATEPSA for their dedication organizing the event, and wished all air traffic controllers an excellent International Air Traffic Controllers Day, on this 20th October 2019.

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IFATCA Americas Regional Meeting in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina – Day 2

The second day of the 36th IFATCA Regional Meeting of the Americas region started opening remarks by Mr. Jonathan Doino, General Secretary for ATEPSA. He highlighted the importance for his association to be part of ITF and also the importance for air traffic controllers to be well represented at ICAO. He also emphasized the need for effective cooperation between all stakeholders, namely IFATCA and ITF, because we are stronger together.

From left to right: Mr. Edgardo Llano, Secretary General – Asociación del Personal Aeronáutico Argentina, Mr. Jonathan Doino, Secretary General – ATEPSA, Mrs. Dina Feller, Civil Aviation Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean (ITF).

Following this address, ATEPSA invited all Member Associations present at the meeting for a flag exchange ceremony. ATEPSA thanked all the attendees and welcomed all participants to Argentina. While there are several challenges to tackle in the region, ATEPSA is confident that with the help of IFATCA, a lot of work can be done and solutions can be found.

From left to right: Martin (Córdoba, Argentina), Danila (Mendoza, Argentina), Wilton (Asunción, Paraguay) and Rossana (Montevideo, Uruguay).

A panel of four controllers from the South American region gave an overview of the activities taking place in their respective Association. The group explained how they interact at the regional level and how important this cooperation is for South America. They stressed that it is paramount to raise awareness and interest among the membership of controllers for them to get involved within their organization.

The afternoon was dedicated to a presentation made by Mr. Mick Devine (Regional Vice-President, NATCA – USA) on the “Stop and Go Funding” issues in the United States, the state of the US NAS and NATCA’s strategy to tackle this important issue.

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IFATCA Americas Regional Meeting in Puerto Iguazú, Argentina – Day 1

The 36th IFATCA Regional Meeting of the Americas region started this morning at 9:30AM. Mr. John Carr, Executive Vice-President Americas, offered some opening remarks to the participants, followed by the organizing committee from ATEPSA addressing the audience. The meeting continued with a brief overview of IFATCA’s activities in ICAO and a summary of the recent ICAO 40th triennal Assembly highlights, presented by Mr. Jean-François Lepage, Liaison Officer to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission.

The rest of the day was dedicated to two presentations of great interest. The first presenter, Mr. Steven Hansen (NATCA, USA) presented the Just Culture model developed and used in the United States: ATSAP (Air Traffic Safety Action Programme). The second presenter, Mrs. Emilce Molina (ATEPSA, Argentina) gave an overview of the GEFLA programme, related to innovative strategies to optimize human resources and relationships between air traffic controllers and pilots.

Mrs. Emilce Molina, ATCO Aeroparque (Buenos Aires)

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IFATCA European Regional Meeting in Aqaba, Jordan – Day 2

On its second day, the IFATCA European Regional Meeting in Aqaba discussed controller training in Europe. According to ICAO, there will be a need to train and validate an extra 23 500 controllers in the next 20 years to fulfil vacancies created by retirements and cope with traffic increase forecast. The training organization GLOBAL ATS of Denmark explained that with the new young generation, we need to adapt training to them if we want to succeed.

Then Iacopo Prissinotti, the new Eurocontrol Network manager, told the meeting that despite an increase in traffic of 1,3 %, the average delay decreased by 10% in 2019 so far, but at 1,8 min per fight, it remained well above expectations.

He advocated more discipline in the network, especially regarding flight plan adherence.

Finally Helena Sjöström, IFATCA Deputy President, promoted her newly created Equality, Diversity and Ethics Task Force (EDETF).

Iacopo Prissinotti, EUROCONTROL Network Manager

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IFATCA European Regional Meeting in Aqaba, Jordan – Day 1

The ERM started in the Jordan town of Aqaba and was opened by the CEO of the Jordan CAA who welcomed around 100 delegates representing 32 European Associations. The ERM was preceeded by a meering of the representatives working for SESAR and a workshop.

Mustafa Abu Farah, chairman of JATCA,
Captain Haitham Misto, CEO of Jordan CAA and
Tom Laursen opening the ERM

During the day a large part of the discussions were concentrating around Just Culture and its effects on Europeans controllers after the Swiss judiciary guilty verdicts imposed on Controllers after incidents.

The representative of Switzerland controllers gave a long briefing of the status of the situation and IFATCA EVP Europe detailed the actions the meeting will be taking, which will include a presentation at the next ICAO EASPG Meeting and information papers on this subject.

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Just Culture: Where are we going now?

IFATCA will be publishing several short articles on our website in the coming days. The articles will be asking important questions about the current status of Just Culture triggered by the conviction of an Air Traffic Controller in Switzerland. It is the purpose to trigger thoughts and ideas for how to proceed.

To describe one of the operational dilemmas that convicting individuals for being involved in incidents, we would like to tell a story that could happen to any of us:

Following the Swiss Federal Court verdict of an air traffic controller for an incident where nobody was hurt and no material damage was done, a conflict materialized between the duty of the judiciary and the needs of a safety-relevant reporting system in complex systems. Through this, aviation is subjected to a stress test.

You are driving your car on a small road in the countryside you are not familiar with. You find yourself suddenly driving 70 km/h by some houses with small children playing on the sidewalk. You suddenly realise you are in a village, but you missed the road sign. Looking back, you see it is there but the sign was mostly hidden by branches from a tree that outgrow towards the street.

You are a responsible driver and want to prevent somebody else falling in the same trap and possibly hitting a child, so you drive to the local authorities (a police station) and report your experience, arguing, one day someone might hit a kid involuntarily. The mayor is grateful and will trim the tree, the parents of the local kids probably agree, but the police officer says: you were driving 70 in a 50 km/h zone? Here you go: a 150 EUR fine!   

So, tell me, what are you going to do next time you find yourself in a similar situation? Go to the police again?

Is this the way we want to go in the future of Air Traffic Control?

It looks like today, the common law, which is applicable to every citizen, is also applied to an air traffic controller who reports an incident. If this is the case then should you do the same as most normal citizens do: i.e. not report your own mistakes or violation of laws to the authorities, whether it is your regulator or the police. You should not be incriminating yourself, there are even laws for this (like the USA 5th amendment).

The danger of all this:

Once again, common sense means reporting incidents to prevent they become accidents. Our authorities are implementing Just Culture to protect us from disciplinary actions when dealing with incidents reporting and investigating, but this should also have been extended to the judiciary level. Failure to do so, will be treating us just like normal citizens before the law, but then, following that logic, we should act like most normal citizens too, and this means keeping our mistakes for ourselves.

We need to make the case for a change in the law for professionals, similar to the recent Italian laws for medical doctors; You should not be punished for doing your job according the best practices and for reporting and talking about your honest mistakes while performing your job. But this needs to be done FOR EVERY country that wants to apply Just Culture and a free incident reporting system.

Achieving this is one of IFATCAs top priorities.

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Bridging the gap – are we fighting windmills?

IFATCA will be publishing several short articles on our website in the coming days. The articles will be asking important questions about the current status of Just culture triggered by the conviction of an Air Traffic Controller in Switzerland. It is the purpose to trigger thoughts and ideas for how to proceed.

This article explains why we need to continue pushing for Just Culture and educate the Judiciary and prosecutors.

“Despite the efforts to bridge the gap between aviation safety (ultimately the passengers’ safety) and the judiciary, the Just Culture concept is challenged by the recent Swiss Federal Court decision.

These court cases in Switzerland have allowed Just Culture to be debated in public, with an understanding of the Just Culture concept and the acceptance that the Swiss legal framework has to change in order to be compliant with the ICAO and EU regulations and to continue the improvement of aviation safety.

A contribution factor to this could be the joint training for aviation experts and judicial authorities provided by Eurocontrol and the international umbrella organisation of air traffic controllers, IFATCA.

A few years ago such a debate would not have been possible as the notion and the importance of the Just Culture would have been unknown to most of the public and the administration of justice.”

Click here for the full article

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