IFATCA Tech Talks - L3Harris

To get 2024 well and truly started IFATCA has new Tech Talks lined up. The first one of this calendar year will be with our Industry Partner L3Harris. This Tech Talk took place on February 8th. The L3Harris speaker is Mr. Chris Collings, General Manager, Managed Services, Space and Airborne Systems. He presented on Data Link Communications and its role in modernizing Air Traffic Control. The webinar was moderated by Mr. Marc Baumgartner (Switzerland) IFATCA SESAR coordinator.

Capture d’écran 2024-01-04 184614

IFATCA Warns Against Premature Conclusions

Press Release - IFATCA Warns Against Premature Conclusions

The aviation community grieves for the tragic loss of lives in the accident involving Japan Airlines flight 516 and a DHC-8 aircraft at Tokyo Haneda Airport on Tuesday January 2nd. 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 Japanese colleagues for whom this is undoubtedly a traumatic experience.

On behalf of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations, please receive our deepest condolences and sympathy.

The air transport industry is a complex system that is made up of humans, procedures and technology that interact and collaborate to create the safest way to travel. The few accidents that occur are always a consequence of multiple factors, all of which combine in a unique way that they push a safe system over the edge towards a breakdown. 

In order to learn from such events and prevent any repetition, IFATCA, the International Organisation representing Air Traffic Controllers, stresses the need for the technical investigation into the circumstances of this accident to be conducted according to the international obligations on accident investigation:

"The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident shall be the prevention of accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability."

Premature conclusions, often based on incomplete, inaccurate or speculative information, and focusing on any one aspect of what happened, 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 authorities perform their investigations. In addition, none of the actual recordings should be made available for purposes other than the safety investigation.

We therefore encourage members of the community to avoid sharing information related to the incident or making comments and speculation on social media, as this can be misinterpreted and impact the independence of the investigation process.

IFATCA has faith that the Japanese authorities 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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Download the full Press Release (English) here.

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Press Release - Attempts to Discredit Air Traffic Controllers in Lima, Peru is Unjust and Unsafe

Press Release - Attempts to Discredit Air Traffic Controllers in Lima, Peru is Unjust and Unsafe

Due to the safety critical nature of the work, air traffic control is a profession with high levels of responsibility. Coordination and communication in air traffic operations shall be precise, effective, and consistent to ensure the prevention of collisions between aircraft, objects, and vehicles. For more than 80 years the Peruvian air traffic controllers have ensured thousands of flights operating under their service reach their destinations safely, orderly, and efficiently by making second-by-second decisions throughout their shifts.

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations (IFATCA), representing air traffic controllers in over 130 countries, sends condolences to all those affected by the accident on 18 November 2022 in Lima, Peru. Our executive board understands and respects the need for the relatives of the victims and the public to find explanations and closure. However, this cannot be achieved by punitive actions and misinformation about the cause of this tragedy.

The establishment of a "Just Culture" in aviation has resulted in an exceptionally high safety standard, making accidents exceedingly rare. The industry is committed to continuous improvement, leveraging lessons from incidents or deviations from expected outcomes. Recognizing the inherent risks in aviation, the sector has proactively regulated access to safety data and information, implementing measures like reporter protection within a modern safety management framework. Recordings and their anonymity are protected by ICAO Annexes 13 and 19 and public release of them is a violation of the ICAO Chicago Convention. Embracing a systems approach in incident investigations, focusing on complex system interactions rather than individual blame, is crucial for the ongoing enhancement of aviation safety. Our colleagues from Jorge Chávez International Airport air traffic control tower are now being subjected to a culpable homicide preliminary investigation. IFATCA denounces this action and the methods the media and others have utilized to try and discredit individual air traffic controllers which were not deemed the cause of the accident.

After the accident, an investigation was carried out by the Aviation Accident Investigation Commission (CIAA) in accordance with Annex 13 of the International Convention on Civil Aviation, as well as by the article 154 of Title XV of the Civil Aeronautics Law of Peru, Law 27261 and the Technical Annex “Investigation of Aviation Accidents and I l parties involved to stick to facts and 
official findings from the CIAA.

3.2.1 CAUSE [1]

Collision of the LATAM Aircraft during the takeoff run, against a SSEI-LAP Rescue Vehicle, which entered the flight runway without having the Express Authorization of the CORPAC Control Tower, when it was carrying out a Time Taking Exercise. Response from the new Aeronautical Fire Station of the Jorge Chávez International Airport. This chain of events originated from the lack of joint planning; poor coordination; and the non-use of communication and phraseology standardized by ICAO.

As concluded, the Peruvian air traffic controller colleagues never authorized the entry of the Fire Truck onto the active runway. Recently, an altered video of the air traffic control tower at Jorge Chavez international airport the day of the accident has been disseminated and used as propaganda. These images have been edited, taken out of context and do not align with the timeline of the accident. We strongly condemn the dissemination of the audiovisual materials and urge those responsible for their unauthorized release to be held accountable for their actions.

As is true in many countries across the globe, air navigations services are experiencing a shortage of air traffic controllers which causes fatigue and complicates adequate training for a profession that constantly and consistently seeks to hone and sharpen their skills. IFATCA is consistently advocating that air navigation service providers continually adjust and improve training, education and awareness and seek to fully staff all air traffic control positions while providing reliable equipment and procedures to the workforce. Peru air traffic services is also in need of more air traffic controllers and evaluating their training means and methods in an effort for constant improvement. We applaud CORPAC for requesting technical assistance from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to achieve better preparation training for air traffic controllers. The company believes this will lead to the graduation of new controllers, reducing the personnel deficit [2]. While fatigue was not a contributing factor in this accident increasing air traffic controller personnel is vital to mitigate fatigue and ensure system safety.

Air traffic controllers are highly committed, and responsible experts that work diligently and proudly in service to Peru. Therefore, they are the biggest asset for air navigation service which is an economic engine for the country. 

The public release of the personal identity of the air traffic controllers on duty the day of the accident, the punitive actions against them and the efforts to publicly discredit them and the profession introduces risk into the aviation system. In the interests of safety, professional air traffic controllers must be able to work free from the stress induced by these uncertain conditions and hardships.

Considering these events, IFATCA strongly urges all parties to uphold the principles of a Just Culture by respecting the privacy and rights of individuals involved. We emphasize the importance of relying solely on official investigation outcomes for accurate information, as speculation and unsupported claims can be detrimental to the integrity of aviation safety. IFATCA remains committed to advocating for the protection of safety information and the fair treatment of aviation professionals, ensuring that the focus remains on enhancing systemic safety and learning from incidents to prevent future occurrences.


[1] ICAO Annex 13 Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation. Definition, Causes. Actions, omissions, events, conditions, or a combination thereof, which led to the accident or incident. The identification of causes does not imply the  assignment of fault or the determination of administrative, civil or criminal liability.
[2] https://www.aviacionline.com/2023/11/corpac-changes-its-stance-will-overhaul-air-traffic-control-in-peru/

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) represents more than 130 associations around the world. We enjoy a worldwide reputation amongst all partners in Air Traffic Management with representation in many areas, including ICAO. Promoting safety and efficiency in international air navigation is paramount to us. 

Download the full Press Release (English and Spanish) here.


IFATCA-IFALPA Joint Statement on GNSS Outages

Disruption of Satellite-Based Signals

 This joint statement was prepared together with the IFALPA SEC Committee last August, but since then, GNSS/GPS interferences have moved from simple jamming to spoofing (sending deliberate erroneous positions to aircraft), affecting not only the area around Ukraine and Russia, but also affecting the whole Middle East and the Mediterranean around Israel. This is causing critical safety issues, such as map shifts, inducing EGPWS “pull up” calls at cruising altitudes with the potential of sending aircraft into the opposite direction of traffic, sending aircraft into the wrong airspace, etc. This is not yet happening in ADS-B airspace, but should it be the case, it would become a major issue. Every controller should unfortunately be prepared for such events.


This paper supersedes IFALPA 21POS07, of the same name.


Modern air traffic relies heavily on the internal accuracy of aircraft systems and the aircraft's ability to monitor its own reliability. Satellite-based Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) services have been playing a growing part in the overall ATM system and aircraft are becoming more reliant on space-based signals. 

The accuracy achieved by these signals enables aircraft to perform instrument procedures without the need to rely on ground-based navigational aids, facilitates the reduction of separation by ATC, and helps optimize airspace capacity. Many aircraft navigation and warning systems rely heavily on accurate position. 

In recent years, however, thousands of occurrences of partial or complete loss of these signals have been reported by pilots in different regions, with interruptions generally lasting 10 to 20 minutes.

Reasons for Signal Loss

Satellite signals are, by nature, very weak when they arrive at the receiver. They are therefore vulnerable to interference, natural or artificial, intentional (including jamming and spoofing) or unintentional (malfunctions).

In many cases, en-route signal interference has been linked to military operations. There has been a sharp increase in the proliferation of interference-capable equipment including incorrectly operated GNSS repeaters, miss-operated test equipment, and the foreseeable proliferation of sophisticated jamming and spoofing devices in the future. Personal Privacy Devices (PPDs) for example, designed to jam GNSS signals around them, can also interfere with aircraft or airport Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) and ADS-B ground stations at close distance.

International Recognition of the Problem

These very serious concerns were raised once again at the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly through 3 different papers:

WP/97, presented by Czechia, provided information on a growing number of occurrences of GNSS interference and called for further action. This paper led to the adoption of ICAO Assembly Resolution 41-8C on “Ensuring the resilience of ICAO CNS/ATM systems and services.”

WP/196 , presented by the UAE, expressed strong concerns regarding ongoing harmful interference to GNSS and invited the Assembly to urge States to adopt and implement measures to manage and reduce the impacts of such anomalies, as suggested in the ICAO Doc 9849, the GNSS Manual.

WP/198, presented by Japan, reported on activities aiming to mitigate GNSS vulnerabilities and stressed the importance of monitoring and reporting GNSS interference, and maintaining air navigation services to the maximum extent possible, in the event of a GNSS signal outage.


IFALPA and IFATCA fully concur with the concerns expressed in these three WPs and support the recommended actions. In addition, IFALPA and IFATCA believe that the following aspects should be addressed as a matter of urgency:

  1. States should establish the necessary legal framework and act upon harmful GNSS interferences caused by illegal transmitters, jamming/spoofing devices, and other sources of electromagnetic radiation, and avoid their commercialisation, proliferation, and use.
  2. States should assess the interference risks associated with conflict zones and consider that satellite-based CNS systems can potentially be impacted well beyond those zones. A civil military coordination should facilitate the sharing of relevant information with airspace users either during civil or military testing and/or other activities, or when flying in the vicinity of a conflict zone.
  3. As resilience measure, fuel planning should take signal outage into consideration. Approach procedures to destination and alternate should not depend solely on GNSS.
  4. GNSS signal interference (whether intentional or unintentional) can occur at any time, with or without prior notice. GNSS resiliency should be improved through a combination of measures such as:
  • Independent networks based on ground and/or airborne components.
  • Appropriate interference protection, detection, mitigation, and reporting capabilities such as Multi-Mode Receivers (GPS/GLONASS/Galileo…) for both the on-board equipment and the ground segments of the satellitebased systems.
  • A review or development by ATS Units and Operators of capabilities to mitigate safety hazards from GNSS signal disruptions.

For the effects of GNSS interference on aircraft and mitigation measures, see 23ADOBL01 – Manipulated GNSS Signals.

Download the IFATCA-IFALPA Joint Statement on GNSS Outages here.


Position on the Impact of ATM related strikes


IFATCA is the global voice of Air Traffic Controllers. It furthers air traffic safety, influences the sustainable evolution of aviation, and embraces all members of its community. The apolitical federation provides guidance, representation, training, and other services to advance the status and professionalism of air traffic control. It collaborates with other international organisations to achieve mutual goals. IFATCA is not a Trade Union.

IFATCA’s Mission

To enhance air traffic safety, to promote the air traffic control profession, and to shape the future of air traffic management.

IFATCA welcomes the debate on the right to strike and wishes to provide a sensible approach to some elements brought to the attention of the highest level of decision-makers, the aviation authorities and, eventually, the (travelling) public.

While some of our members combine the statute of Professional Association and Trade Union at a local level, IFATCA represents the professional and technical interests, including the well-being of 43 Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations in Europe. Nevertheless, not all Air Traffic Controllers are subject to national laws and/or their facilities’ operations are purely concerning overflights. These elements shall be considered when establishing industrial action restrictions to not deprive them of the basic rights recognised by ILO and EU authorities.

IFATCA feels responsible for advising all parties on any restrictions impacting either Safety, the well-being and/or the basic rights and obligations of Air Traffic Controllers.


In April 2023, EUROCONTROL published a study highlighting the impact of strikes on the aviation sector in Europe.

In May 2023 a petition of one of the largest intra-European carriers was delivered to the president of the European Commission Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, which created a debate at a political and public level to restrict and organise the right of strike across the European Union, notwithstanding that it is a recognised national matter.

In October 2023, the Network Manager of EUROCONTROL published a study on the "Impact of ATM related strikes on the European ATM Network".

In the study, EUROCONTROL suggests eight different, possible, scenarios for mitigation measures and analysis, to minimise the impact of ATM related strikes on the European ATM network, including Scenario #3 “USE OF MILITARY ATCOs AS COMPLEMENT TO CIVIL ATCOs.”

IFATCA will argue that Scenario #3 (Military take-over in case of a strike) in the EUROCONTROL study “Impact of ATM related strikes on the European ATM network” is not only dangerous, against the objectives of the EUROCONTROL Agency but also illegal in front of the ILO rules and conventions signed by all European States, including EUROCONTROL.

The Right to Strike

Strikes are an integral part of a healthy social dialogue system which is governed by rules and regulations established by national authorities. Strikes in the Aviation sector could lead to a source of disruption of Air Traffic Control services.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has ruled on the Freedom of Association and lengthily describes the rights and obligations in case of a strike. The ILO recognizes that “Strikes are by nature disruptive and costly; strike action also calls for a significant sacrifice from those workers who choose to exercise it as a last resort tool and means of pressure on the employer to redress any perceived injustices”.

A strike is a refusal to work organised by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer.

Lately, mainly due to recurrent actions in France for unrelated aviation matters, this topic has been at the forefront of airlines, some governments, and the European Commission (EC) due to the impacts local actions have (had) on the European Network.

The European ATM network is an infrastructure. The ATM infrastructure consists of humans and machines, and it does not follow market principles.

The human part of the infrastructure is, among others, mainly Air Traffic Controllers – ATCOs. (Approximately 17,000 in Europe). ATCOs are selected, highly skilled, specialised and licensed professionals, employed by Air Navigations Service Providers (ANSPs). These Air Navigation Service Providers can be private companies, government-owned entities or international agencies. They provide safe, continuous and efficient air traffic control services mainly to civilian and commercial air traffic in civilian airspace. Some of them provide integrated civil-military services, however, most European countries have a dedicated workforce of military air traffic controllers who control specific military missions in military airspace, while some other European countries do not have any permanent military airspace and therefore do not have any military air traffic control personnel or other military personnel that would be in any way similar to civil ATCOs.

Basic human rights and EU regulations provide the right to strike to all the employees of the private sector. Some restrictions apply to the public sector. Each country regulates the right to strike according to its national law.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) states: “The right to strike is one of the essential means through which workers and their organizations may promote and defend their economic and social interests”. Furthermore, “The right to strike is an intrinsic corollary to the right to organize protected by Convention No. 87”.

Regarding various types of strike action denied to workers (wild-cat strikes, tools-down, go-slow, working to rule and sit-down strikes), the (ILO) Committee considers that these restrictions may be justified only if the strike ceases to be peaceful”.


Airlines and EU institutions are contemplating the possibility of curtailing the basic human rights and EU legislations for a particular workforce, the European Civil Air Traffic Controllers.

EUROCONTROL proposes measures on how to circumvent the effects of strikes in their recent study, although EUROCONTROL is recognising that “the right to strike is a fundamental right enshrined in the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights”.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) describes the various aspects of a strike and “the possible exclusions from the right to strike: public servants; essential services; minimum service; disputes over rights”. Its reasonings can be found in Chapter 5 of the Labour Legislation Guidelines.

In its report, the Committee of Freedom of Association writes in 2000: “[…] essential services in the strict sense of the term (the interruption of which could endanger the life, safety or health of the whole or part of the population), or in situations of acute national crisis”.

Further, “The use of the military and requisitioning orders to break a strike over occupational claims, unless these actions aim at maintaining essential services in circumstances of the utmost gravity, constitute a serious violation of freedom of association”.

The question remains: Do the social and economic impacts of an Air Traffic Control strike (as experienced in the last decades) qualify to endanger the life, safety or health of the whole or a part of the population and call for minimum services beyond ensuring the guaranteed and safe operations of State, hospital and emergency flights without emptying the basic right of strike, especially with “the use of military ATCOs as complement to civil ATCOs”?

Historic Events

A historical perspective shall also be included in the study evaluation with the objective of sharpening one’s vision of the present, not the past.

In 1973 over Nantes, France, two civil airliners collided while being controlled by military controllers who were ordered to replace French ATCOs who were on strike (BEA Report in FrenchEnglish). 68 people lost their lives. In 1982,  the French Conseil d'Etat, the country's most supreme jurisdiction, ruled that the military air traffic control in place was fully responsible for the accident (Décisions Conseil d'etat nrs  26 892 and 27 066 of 7 July 1982)

In 1992 in Strasbourg, France, one aircraft collided with terrain, when military ATCOs represented the controlling unit. The military radar equipment had limitations for the ATCO to provide a safe and precise vectored approach to the pilots. The ATCO phraseology and instructions were based on a very short training phase, years before the accident. 87 people lost their lives. See the BEA report on this accident for more details.

IFATCA’s Position

IFATCA is more than highly concerned about the proposed Scenario #3 – “USE OF MILITARY ATCOs AS COMPLEMENT TO CIVIL ATCOs”.

EUROCONTROL has, in collaboration with the European Union Airspace Safety Agency (EASA), established the basis for the European license requirements. In short, a holder of a European ATCO license is subject to different regulations which includes medical fitness, competency and currency requirements as well as a minimum of theoretical and practical checks per year. All licenses within the ATM system are described in the EU Regulations which shall be followed by EUROCONTROL and EASA. The European Commission Regulation 2015/340 describes in detail, the requirements to become a licensed ATCO (see the extract below).

Meanwhile, the EUROCONTROL report suggests that the current EU Regulation on ATCO licenses provides the possibility to extend these requirements to the military ATCOs.

To bring this proposal into perspective, should this scenario be prepared in the right manner, it would require training, licensing, continuation training and refresher training for a sufficient number of military ATCOs – for specific units with sufficient numbers of military ATCOs being available.

IFATCA fails to understand why EUROCONTROL has, without proper disclaimers, brought this possibility forward to be included in an official study. IFATCA has thus explored different perspectives:

  • a)

    From a regulatory perspective, the European Commission Regulation 2015/340 does not leave any space to just ‘complement the civil workforce with military ATCOs’ – without proper licensing, based on proper training by the competent authority.

    This cornerstone element is briefly mentioned in the assessment in the right column of the EUROCONTROL study: “This scenario has a limited network impact but it will require a significant number of actions to be taken (feasibility demonstrated by EASA, civil training and licensing of military ATCOs, ensuring that competences are maintained on a permanent basis and that a sufficient number of military ATCOs are available for this task, acceptance by civil ATCOs, etc.). It might not be readily available in the short term”.
  • b)

    From an economic perspective, this scenario would consequently lead to a large and continuous investment by the member states, solely with the purpose of maintaining the possibility of complementing the civil workforce with military ATCOs in the possible event of a strike.
  • c)

    From a legal perspective and based on ILO judgements, this scenario is purely illegal “unless these actions aim at maintaining essential services in circumstances of the utmost gravity, constitute a serious violation of freedom of association”. Moreover, the ILO legal perspective defines the minimum service frame and, in the vast majority of the cases experienced in Europe, the use of military ATC staff would not be legally justified.
  • d)

    From a historical perspective replacing civil ATCOs with unqualified, untrained military ATCOs can lead to fatal accidents – accidents where unqualified personnel have contributed, both directly and indirectly, to tragic outcomes.

IFATCA believes these regulatory, economic, legal and historical arguments are clear enough to not propose this scenario describing the use of military ATCOs as a complement to civil ATCOs.

Besides the perspectives analysed, IFATCA also has multiple policies, with many of them being in line with the ICAO policies and regulations, and which present the best possible ‘solution’ to a ‘problem’ while trying to achieve the highest level of a professional environment with the main goal of air traffic safety.

An IFATCA policy on the use of unqualified personnel (see Annex A) has been written as a result of events in different countries, where certified personnel were forced to leave, and were replaced by unqualified personnel. Similar occurrences have also happened recently within the EUROCONTROL area, as unqualified personnel replaced certified ATCOs by force in Albania in 2020. In Spain, in 2010, the military was ordered to supervise civil ATCOs’ return to work following an action over overtime hours. The use of the military in ATC to reduce the impacts of strikes has been happening in Europe.

These occurrences are jeopardising the safety of European aviation and of the European public.


EUROCONTROL has, in collaboration with EASA, established the basis for the European license requirements. IFATCA feels responsible to advise all parties of any restrictions impacting either safety, the well-being and/or the basic rights and obligations of Air Traffic Controllers.

IFATCA is deeply concerned that EUROCONTROL, in its publication “Impact of ATM related strikes on the European ATM network”, does relay a proposal (Scenario #3) for the use of military ATCOs to complement civil ACTOs to minimise the impact on the European network in case of any industrial action.

Such a proposal, based on regulatory restrictions, economic impact, ILO judgements and historical events, will jeopardise the stability of the ATM infrastructure and aviation safety. It will bring an unnecessary risk to passengers, to the general public and to airspace users.

It seems more than incoherent for an organization responsible for the safety of the European Network, to include such a proposal in a professional study and to promote it without further, yet necessary, disclaimers, historical references, legal and detailed impacts.

IFATCA is more than extremely concerned with the EUROCONTROL proposal of Scenario #3: “USE OF MILITARY ATCOs AS COMPLEMENT TO CIVIL ATCOs”.

IFATCA cannot consider option #3 as a potential scenario in any instances related to industrial action.

For questions and further reference, please contact:

IFATCA Executve Vice President EUROPE, Frédéric Deleau


Extract of European Commission Regulation 2015/340 on the requirements to become a licensed ATCO:

“Air traffic controllers and persons and organizations involved in their training, testing, checking and medical examination and assessment must comply with the relevant essential requirements set out in Annex V.b to Regulation (EC) No 216/2008. In particular, they are to be certified or licensed once they have demonstrated compliance with the essential requirements”.

“The European license has proved to be an effective way of recognizing and certifying the competence of air traffic controllers, who as a profession play a unique role in the operation of safe air traffic control”.

“To ensure the highest level of safety, uniform requirements for the training, qualifications and competence of air traffic controllers should therefore be introduced”.

“Air traffic controllers employed by air navigation service providers providing air traffic services in the airspace of the territory to which the Treaty applies and having their principal place of operations and their registered office, if any, located outside the territory subject to the provisions of the Treaty, shall be deemed to have been licensed in accordance with paragraph 1, where they meet both of the following conditions:

  1. they hold an air traffic controller license issued by a third country in accordance with Annex 1 to the Chicago Convention;
  2. they have demonstrated to the competent authority referred to in Article 6 that they have received training and successfully passed examinations and assessments equivalent to those required by Part ATCO, Subpart D, Sections 1-4, set out in Annex I.
    The tasks and functions assigned to the air traffic controllers referred to in the first subparagraph shall not exceed the privileges of the license issued by the third country”.

Details on Unit Endorsements

Furthermore, the license system is built to be relevant to each applicable unit – the details are described in Regulation 2015/340, Annex 1, Subpart B: ATCO.B.005 Air traffic controller license, ATCO.B.010 Air traffic controller ratings and ATCO.B.015 Rating endorsements.

ATCO.B.020 Unit endorsements

(a) The unit endorsement shall authorize the license holder to provide air traffic control services for a specific sector, group of sectors and/or working positions under the responsibility of an air traffic services unit.

(b) Applicants for a unit endorsement shall have successfully completed a unit endorsement course in accordance with the requirements set out in Part ATCO, Subpart D, Section 3 (Unit Training requirements).

(c) Applicants for a unit endorsement following an exchange of a license referred to in ATCO.A.010 shall, in addition to the requirements set out in point (b), meet the requirements of ATCO.D.060(f).

ATCO.D.060 Unit endorsement course

(a) A unit endorsement course shall be the combination of the relevant unit training phases for the issue or renewal of a unit endorsement in the licence. Each course shall contain:

(1) a transitional training phase;
(2) an on-the-job training phase.

IFATCA POLICY on the Use of Unqualified Personnel

“For the purpose of guaranteeing safety, ATCOs shall not be replaced by personnel who do not hold ATC licences in accordance with ICAO Annex 1, with the ratings, recency and competency appropriate to the duties that they are expected to undertake”.

The functions which are contained within ICAO Annex 1, as being ATC functions shall not be added to the work responsibilities for unlicensed personnel”.

“All Air Traffic Controllers must hold air traffic control ratings appropriate to the duties they are undertaking”.
“In the event of an incident, caused totally or in part by the use of unqualified personnel, primary responsibility must lie with the person or the authority responsible for allocating the unqualified staff to the task undertaken”


IFATCA TECH TALK 1 with Frequentis

At the end of August, IFATCA held its first Tech Talk, with our Industry Partner Frequentis. Speakers were Theodor Zeh, Director Control Room Consulting, Frequentis AG and Thomas Günther, ATM Product Expert, Frequentis Orthogon.

The topic for the talk was 'The value of AI in ATM' and discussed digital transformation and its potential for air traffic controllers. The discussion was moderated by Marc Baumgartner and Umi Muthiah Syahirah provided technical support.


New Issue of The Controller

It is our pleasure to present the latest electronic issue of The Controller. Our magazine is available on a variety of platforms:

  • Online: all issues of The Controller ever published are available on issuu.com. The latest version is available via this link.
  • PDF Version: download the pdf version of the latest issue. This file is about 4.0Mb in size and requires a PDF viewer to be able to read it. A higher quality version is available via this link (12Mb).
  • For Member Associations: a print-ready PDF version (about 27Mb) can be downloaded that can eventually be printed for your members. Alternatively, issuu.com also offers a printing service. Please visit http://issuu.com/ifatca for more details. Associations that have problems downloading these files can contact our Montréal office via [email protected].

Besides being free, an electronic issue also offers new possibilities to interact with the content. Links in can be clicked and opened to the relevant pages.

Feedback is always welcome, and if you know anyone that might be interested in The Controller and IFATCA, please encourage them to subscribe to our magazine and/or forward this mail to them.

On behalf of the Editorial Team, we hope you will enjoy this latest issue of The Controller,

Philip Marien & Nicola Nì Riada
IFATCA Comms Team


Remote Towers - Interactive Map

Changes in the Air Traffic Management (ATM) domain are continuous and challenges of research, development and transition to introduce these changes are daily life for Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) and their staff: air traffic controllers, technicians, engineers, managers, and decision-makers. Automation is nothing new in the ATM system. The so-called ‘new technologies’ leading digitalization, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine learning (ML), are finding their way into the ATM working environment. Whereas a lot of expectation is linked to technology hype, introducing new technology will have to follow the path of introducing new technological components into a running ATM system.

A Digital Tower environment offers possibilities to use technologies in a novel way and comes with new challenges for the Air Traffic Controllers working in such an environment. Licensing, mainly where current EASA licensing regulation prevails, opens a new challenge for Air Traffic Control.

The provision of aerodrome air traffic services (ATS) from remote locations is receiving more and more attention. Remote operational services have been provided at airports open for commercial aircraft operations since April 2015, and several new services are being deployed. The ‘remote provision of aerodrome air traffic services’ (known as remote tower operations) enables the provision of aerodrome ATS from locations where direct visual observation is unavailable. Instead, the provision of aerodrome ATS is based on a view of the airport and its vicinity through technology.

The IFATCA Remote Tower Task Force (RTTF) produced an interactive map of all the Remote Digital and Tower operations known to IFATCA to provide an accessible overview at the global level of the various initiatives.


The IFATCA ROSC (Remote Operations Standing Committee, later re-labelled to Remote Tower Task Force RTTF) was established during the Conference of Toronto 2017 as a specialized team to draft a position paper on Remote Tower operations. The group gathered more than 40 people from all regions. In 2022, the SESAR/EASA coordinator assumed responsibility for the group and, as one of the initiatives, produced this interactive map for all the Remote Digital and Tower operations known to IFATCA.

The Task Force is composed of Katariina Syväys (Finland), Antonio Anzellotti (Italy), Thomas Kolbeisen (Norway), Thomas Harrison (UK), Adam Rhodes (USA), Péter Szalóky (Hungary), Jaymi Steinberg (TOC Chair), Benjamin van der Sanden (IFATCA EVP Technical), Ignacio Baca (Spain) and Marc Baumgartner (SESAR / EASA coordinator).

The work of the RTTF aims to provide more insight into the challenging topic of Remote/Digital Tower, by analyzing some of the identified topics such as Frame Rate, Licensing of ATCOs and recording of new data sources. In parallel, it also provides an exchange platform to coordinate ongoing work at ICAO, EASA, Eurocae and SESAR. If possible, in the coming year, Guidance Material will result as a final product of the work started.

Disclaimer: The information and data on this page are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis. While we have tried to represent the information provided to us as accurately as possible, IFATCA takes no responsibility for the accuracy and does not warrant the accuracy of or make any other warranties or representations regarding the information presented here. Furthermore, the information here may be updated without notice to the users. Use of the information here is at your sole and absolute risk. If you believe data is misrepresented, please get in touch with [email protected].


International Aviation Organizations Condemn Workplace Harassment and Violence

MONTREAL- The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA), the
International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), and the International
Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), are united in their condemnation of all forms of workplace
harassment and violence. Workplace harassment happens in all sectors, all global regions, and
in all industries. However, in a world shifting rapidly towards total condemnation of workplace
harassment, aviation often lags behind other industries.

It is impossible to address workplace harassment, particularly sexual and gender-based
harassment, in the aviation industry without an examination and understanding of its severe
gender imbalance. Women make up fewer than 5% of airline pilots, 3% of aircraft maintenance
engineers and technicians, and only about 20% of air traffic controllers worldwide. This lack of
diversity continues to support an environment of exclusion.

If we are to maximize the potential of aviation professionals worldwide, we must all unite to
counteract this imbalance. The culture of aviation must accelerate to the level of other
industries if we are to attract and retain the skilled workforce required to address the staffing
shortages – for pilots, ATC, cabin crew, and ground crew.

We call on the entire aviation industry to establish practices in alignment with the International
Labour Organization’s Convention No.190- on the elimination of violence and harassment at
work. We call on States to ratify both the ILO C190, as well as the ICAO Montreal Protocol 2014
to prevent violence from unruly passengers.

Further, we urge the international aviation community to actively support ICAO’s Gender
Equality Programme promoting the participation of women in the global aviation, and to follow
ICAO as it “Reaffirms its commitment to enhancing gender equality and the advancement of
women’s development by supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender
equality and empower all women and girls including by aiming to achieve an aspirational goal
of 50-50 (women-men) by 2030 at all professional and higher levels of employment in the global
aviation sector…”

IFALPA, IFATCA, and the ITF are united in condemning all forms of workplace harassment in the
aviation industry. We encourage every employer to establish and maintain a safe working
environment, free from harassment and intimidation. “A positive atmosphere, open interaction,
and a functional work community elevates the wellbeing of employees.”

Media contacts:
IFALPA, Emily Bitting
ITF, Luke Menzies,
IFATCA, Nicola Niriada, or Tatiana Iavorskaia

Note to Editors

About ITF - The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation of unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives, connecting trade unions from 154 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice for 18.5 million transport workers who move the world.

About IFALPA - The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations represents more than 100,000 pilots in nearly 100 countries. The mission of IFALPA is to promote the highest level of aviation safety worldwide and to be the global advocate of the piloting profession, providing representation, services, and support to both our members and the aviation industry.

About IFATCA - The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) represents more than 130 associations around the world. As the professional voice of Air Traffic controllers, we enjoy a worldwide reputation amongst all partners in Air Traffic Management with representation in many areas, including ICAO and Eurocontrol. Promoting safety and efficiency in international air navigation is paramount to us.


IFATCA EVP Europe on the European Staff Shortage

In 2022, the European network delays cost the airlines an estimated EUR 800 million!

According to the Network Manager, around 70 sectors – out of nearly 570 – were responsible for the vast majority of this delay. The main cause for this 7% under-capacity was a shortage of air traffic controllers (ATCOs). With the foreseen 15% traffic increase in summer, the effects of this shortage will be a major hurdle for air travel in Europe and will affect all stakeholders.

Still according to EUROCONTROL, the actual shortage is between 700 and 800 ATCOs. This would mean that there is a need for a “one-off investment" of between EUR 70-200 million for the ANSPs.

How does it compare to an annual cost of EUR 800 million?

IFATCA EVP Europe, Frédéric Deleau

Regulating European Air Traffic Management has been a challenge since the beginning of the European Commission’s Performance Scheme. Following the COVID crisis, the evolution of the existing system has been subjected to new stressors. Continuing to focus on cost efficiency has the potential to suffocate the existing system and undermine the resilience needed for the expected traffic increase. We have witnessed the recurrent formula: stop hiring and training to reduce the costs, after that with the same consequences a few years later: a capacity crisis and sky-rocketing delays. From IFATCA’s perspective, continuously hammering on reducing costs has had the opposite results - i.e. lack of capacity, increased delays, and extra CO2 emissions. Despite what some would like us to believe, this cost-cutting policy contributes to a very inglorious cocktail for the future of a sustainable aviation industry.

Consequently, IFATCA calls on the European Commission to exclude the hiring of the needed workforce from a future target-setting scheme, as it could avoid continuing this negative spiral.

Targeted cost efficiency, performance goals, robust professional dialogue, and sound resource management within a political visionary project shall be our main targets to deliver what we all look for: a safe, performant, continuous and viable European aviation industry.

Building on the existing experience and performance of the ATM system, there is a need to continue to strive for the long-term sustainable development of a robust and resilient system.

Solutions exist, though, depending on political will. IFATCA has always been willing to participate in constructive debate and has proposals for a “win-win” system.

A few established ATC systems exist ( even for decades) with a proven performance and efficiency record, which can serve as the blueprint of the Single European Sky at a regional level.

Therefore, the potential exists to spread this performance across the European Network if one would look to work “Together-Further” towards a common goal. A political commitment is needed.

For now, IFATCA has produced a self-reported heat map which you can access via the following link. While the data is, of course, subjective, it demonstrates how our European Member Associations perceive their situation.

Read IFATCA's Press Release on the European Staff Shortage

To make matters worse, the demography of the current workforce does not look like this problem will go away soon. To ensure the transition to a more digital and greener industry, we will likely need extra resources. It would be timely to highlight this general challenge.

All (European) Air Traffic Controllers take pride in ensuring a safe and efficient service to airspace users. Solutions exist to achieve more performance, not necessarily embedded in SES2+. We have missed many opportunities and wasted exceptional resources due mainly to the wrong target foundations of inconsistent political agendas.

IFATCA remains available to deliver its professional and technical expertise to achieve the safe, continuous, sound, and performant Air Traffic Control system the European continent deserves.


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