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ANACNA Monograph on Emergency Management at the time of COVID-19

This year 2021, still undermined by the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must reflect on what has been, what is, what will be. For this reason, ANACNA wishes to realize a multi-authorial monograph, the management of the emergency at the time of COVID-19, with the participation of those who, in the aeronautical world, acted as barrier to the spread of virus and are a bridge to the new social and operational structure.

Read more about the ANACNA initiative – the foundation of the project, its framework, rationale and schedule, by downloading the brochure here.

Happy International Women’s Day 2021

Happy International Women’s Day 2021!

This year, the international air traffic controller community and the international pilot community join forces to promote gender equality in aviation.

In creating its Equality, Diversity and Ethics Task Force in 2019, IFATCA made a very public commitment to promote equality and diversity within our profession. In doing so, IFATCA believes this will strengthen our profession worldwide. IFATCA encourages all its member associations to promote equality and diversity regardless of philosophy of life, culture or gender. IFATCA encourages all member associations to take action to ensure that female air traffic controllers are represented at all levels within their association, on their executive board and on their committees. IFATCA Member Associations are invited to further ensure that the recruitment and selection of new air traffic controllers should not be biased by gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, cultural backgrounds or any other characteristics. IFATCA will continuously work to promote equality and diversity within our profession.

Both IFATCA and IFALPA embrace the International Women’s Day theme of #ChooseToChallenge. We in IFATCA and IFALPA choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality in aviation. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge. Join us and show your support with the choose to challenge pose.

#chooseToChallenge #IWD2021 #IFALPA

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ICAO Drone Enable Webinar – Human Dimension in UTM

With the ever-increasing dialogue on unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), “drones” etc. the discussion is largely influenced by the technical and regulatory debate. How to safely grant UAS flight in segregated, hybrid and non-segregated airspace are some of the major challenges which influence the current discussions. Concepts such as detect and avoid (DAA), remain well clear (RWC), Lost C2 Link (LC2L), unmanned traffic management (UTM) come to mind. While all these topics are an important and necessary, one element which might not be at the forefront, is the human dimension, both on the ground and in the air.

You are cordially invited to register for this 4h Session of the ICAO DRONE ENABLE Webinar Series on the human dimension in UTM. The Session will be moderated by Marc Baumgartner.

 

You are cordially invited to register for:

Session 4 – Human Dimension in UTM
24 March, 2021
1300 UTC

Register now using the button below

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Webinar 1 – Occupational Health and Safety in the Context of COVID

CANSO, IFATCA, IFALPA and IATA are excited to announce the launch of a second webinar series that will focus on the safe recovery to normal operations. The first episode will focus on affected ability of operational staff to go back to normal working environments. 

You are cordially invited to register for:

Episode 1 – Occupational Health and Safety in the Context of COVID

Target Audience: Airlines, ANSPs, ATC/OCC Shift Supervisors, ATC Unit/OCC Managers, Training Managers / Directors
18 March, 2021
1130 UTC

Register now using the button below

Please note this is a FREE webinar however live attendance is limited to the first 1000 attendees connecting
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New Issue of The Controller

Thanks to the hard work of our Editor Thom Metzger (USA NATCA) and his editorial team, we’re proud to present the latest electronic issue of The Controller. As usual, our magazine is available on a variety of platforms:

  • The IFATCA website: https://the-controller.ifatca.org, where issues can be read from within your browser. While this can be read on mobile devices, it does require you to be online (and your provider may charge you for this).
    For the best experience, we recommend to select the full screen option via the toolbar on top of the pages.
  • Mobile Devices (tablets): We use issuu.com for the best experience on mobile devices. The issuu.com app, which allows you to read The Controller offline on your tablet can be downloaded via https://ios.the-controller.net, https://android.the-controller.net and https://windows.the-controller.net. Best of all, the issues are now available for free – look for IFATCA once you’ve started the app.
  • PDF Version: download the pdf version of the latest issue. This file is about 4Mb in size and requires a PDF viewer to be able to read it. A higher quality version is available via this link (18Mb).
  • For Member Associations: a print-ready PDF version (about 18Mb) can be downloaded that can eventually be printed for your members. Alternatively, issuu.com also offers a printing service. Please visit https://issuu.com/ifatca for more details. Associations that have problems to download 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 articles and adverts can be clicked and open to the relevant page

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IFATCA Position Paper on on COVID-19 Vaccination of ATS Staff

IFATCA has issued this position paper in its wish to continue efforts to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic and provide advice to our Member Associations.

IFATCA wishes to address growing concerns and potential questions regarding the issues raised around COVID-19 vaccination and our profession. We invite Member Associations to reflect on their response to the topic and provide advice to their membership based on facts and collaboration with authorities and employers.

It is applicable to those states that have authorised the use of registered COVID-19 vaccines and those that are preparing to do so. IFATCA encourages all States to facilitate the availability of COVID-19 for individuals that wish to be inoculated.

Further, IFATCA is of the opinion that whilst Air Traffic Services (ATS) personnel should rightly be considered as essential workers within the national critical infrastructure, it should not necessarily mean that ATS staff require priority over other essential workers, such as health professionals, who face a direct and increased risk of infection when compared to the rest of the population. Rather, a pragmatic list of priority, based on the requirement to ensure that the aviation industry may continue to provide crucial logistical support to the overall pandemic response, should be created.

While it is recognised that a vaccine not only protects the individual but indirectly also protects others, IFATCA recommends that the decision on whether to receive a vaccine remains an individual and confidential choice. As such, it should not be included in any licensing, aviation related medical certification process or requirement. In deciding, IFATCA encourages that ATS personnel should accept the recommendations and advice of their medical professionals and relevant authorities.

Member Associations can actively ensure that their members are adequately informed. Care should be taken to avoid disinformation which is prevalent during times of crisis. To counter this, it is important to share information that comes from reliable sources, such as health authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Only trust official information sources and credible media outlets.

Efficient and timely regulatory decision making may have an important impact in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the aviation industry. National Regulatory Authorities (NRA) are encouraged to develop and implement regulatory methods to assess the quality, safety and efficacy of vaccines using a risk-based approach as described by the WHO.

A protocol should be developed for all medical certificate holders wishing to be vaccinated against COVID-19 valid for the period prior to, during and after the actual inoculation. Ideally this protocol would be jointly developed between Member Association, employer and NRA. The protocol should contain rostering consequences. These constraints, at the very least, should address whether a period of time should elapse after inoculation and before returning to operational duties. As an example, the U.S. F.A.A. require the individual ATCO to avoid operational duties until 48 hours after the inoculation. On the other hand, many states recognise the COVID 19 vaccine as a ‘standard’ vaccination and therefore operational duties may resume directly afterwards. IFATCA, therefore, strongly recommends efficient and robust communication between all parties in order to avoid confusion and increase trust in the process.

Adequate rostering planning must ensure that in whichever scenario, both related directly to ATS personnel vaccination processes and also to that related to individual state transport policy, the ability to respond to air traffic demand remains a priority.

As in other matters, IFATCA promotes the exchange of information between Member Associations to stimulate the concept of best practices within air traffic control.

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IFATCA welcomes a new Corporate Member


IFATCA welcomes its newest Corporate Member: Takeoff Aviation Academy. Based in the UK, the are an international aviation training organisation. Most of courses are provided under license from the Eurocontrol Training Zone. Where they develop they own courses, these comply with the ICAO syllabus and or mapped to the Eurocontrol Specification for the ATCO Common Core Content Initial Training. More information can be found on their website https://toaa.aero

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IFATCA cautions on post-COVID-19 air traffic recovery

The duration of the COVID-19 crisis is having a serious impact on the amount of air traffic since March All kinds of precautionary measures are being taken to protect operational Air Traffic Management (ATM) staff against spreading of the virus.

All these different measures, in combination with the relatively low traffic demand, may have affected the competency levels in air traffic service units around the world.

Though many national safety authorities acted within their jurisdiction to keep licensed staff at the highest possible level of competence, the combination of the low traffic levels and the duration of the crisis carries a clear safety risk.

Whenever and wherever traffic recovers to pre-COVID-19 levels, operational staff may reach a point, either in peak or in continuous traffic flows, where their ability to handle the traffic has not yet regained the required level.

As experience shows, such a temporary gap can only partly be trained for in simulations. If at the same time, social distancing and protection measures still have to be applied, the situation is likely to be even more complex.

Bearing in mind ICAO provisions and IFATCA policies on competency-based training and assessment and refresher training, full competence has to be rebuilt and maintained by both operational staff and assessors.

The current solution adopted by some regulators would suggest that competence can be maintained by merely working during a certain number of hours, regardless of the amount of traffic (even zero). While this may be compliant with the letter of the rules, it clearly does not meet the intent, as it does not fulfil the purpose for which competencies safeguards and thresholds were created.

Moreover, in their aim to keep their licensed staff at maximum (theoretical) competence levels, Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) may be tempted to schedule more staff than the current level of traffic actually requires, which is doubly counterproductive: not only it does not help to consolidate competence, it also unnecessarily puts operational staff at risk during a pandemic as staff is exposed more than needed in close contacts in these units.

An additional concern is that many ANSPs have taken the opportunity to optimize traffic flows, enabled by the low demand and lower traffic complexity. As these optimisations have not been tested in high traffic situations, it is vital that when traffic levels recover, these changes are carefully monitored and, where necessary, reverted.

Lastly, IFATCA submits that the global pandemic has also likely had psychological and/or physical impact on some of the staff, which may, in turn, have compromised their ability to cope with pre-pandemic traffic levels. This aspect should not be ignored and needs to be carefully considered.

IFATCA recommends that ANSPs, in collaboration with their regulators and capacity managers, ensure that a relevant level of competence can be maintained. To mitigate some of the risks mentioned above, traffic levels need to be carefully managed and, where necessary, restricted to allow staff
sufficient time to get reacquainted with increasing demand and complexity. Furthermore, IFATCA encourages ANSPs to engage with their staff and ensure mental and physical health support programmes are made available to help them meet the challenges that will undoubtedly present themselves during the recovery from this unprecedented crisis.

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IFATCA Position on Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems

Note: this position must be considered as provisional policy until has been approved by IFATCA's Member Associations

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), their market and their operations, are the future for airborne mobility and logistics and will have a significant impact on aviation. To facilitate safe access to airspace for the increasing numbers of unmanned aircraft (UA), a dedicated UAS traffic management (UTM) system has been proposed and is currently being developed.

The purpose of a UTM is to safely manage UAS operations both in controlled and uncontrolled airspace using a high degree of automation. Information will automatically be collected from and distributed to all affected stakeholders leaving the UAS operator to be responsible for managing its operations safely without direct interaction with Air Traffic Management (ATM).

In the short to medium term, the development of UTM will focus on Very Low-Level Airspace (typically 500ft and below) to accommodate Urban Air Mobility (UAM), parcel delivery, industrial applications, etc. Even though UTM is still a general concept with no altitude restrictions, this initial development is focused on low-level airspace with the potential to leverage off knowledge gained to apply to Very High-Level Operations like stratospheric balloons or hypersonic vehicles into the future (ETM: Upper-E Traffic Management).

Due to different technologies and capabilities, specific operational requirements and limitations, and different regulatory requirements, UTM is considered a separate, but potentially complementary, system to the ANSP-supplied ATM. In fact, all the fundamental characteristics of an ATM system (Air Traffic Services, Air Space Management, Air Traffic Flow Management TFM) can also be found, with the necessary peculiarities, in UTM.

It is anticipated that in the future the two systems will converge into one traffic management system providing a seamless service to all airspace users with manned airspace users maintaining existing operational capacity and safety standards.

In order to promote safe, efficient and consistent regulation, and to assist and advise in the development of safe and orderly systems of Air Traffic Control, IFATCA would like to provide the following observations with a view to contributing to ongoing development of UTM.

CONCLUSION

It is important that a UTM is coordinated and developed with the ultimate goal on integration to the current ATM system. This requires discussion, standardisation and a UTM safety risk assessment model.

The fundamental aspect remains the adoption of an adequate regulatory framework that allows safe interactions between ATM and UTM. The required level of automation shall be carefully evaluated for a clear and unambiguous allocation of responsibilities.

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IFATCA Position on Europe’s Single European Sky

Considering the publication of the revised legislative SES package, known as SES 2+, on 22nd of September 2020, the upcoming Committee of Transport and Tourism first reading at the European Parliament, and in anticipation of the Council of Transport Ministers on Tuesday 8th of December 2020, IFATCA submits the following:

The impact of the COVID -19 sanitary crisis on society at large, and aviation in particular, is of an unprecedented dimension. Traffic recovery will depend on the medical progress and it might be a dire and long way to achieve pre-COVID traffic numbers. It is therefore astonishing to note that the proposed legislative package is simply rehashing old recipes, which have in the past completely failed to provide the needed impetus to evolve towards a Single European Sky.

In the view of the professional air traffic controllers / sector, the proposal of the European Commission will create additional burden on the current system and if traffic figures rise again, it will push the sector further down the road of fragmentation and a slowed down reform process. In a situation like the current one, with an operational coherence and efficiency as prime goal, a legislative package using the strength of the current system and provide legislative support to emerge from this latest crisis in a better shape would have provided the needed support to create a competitive and modern European Air Traffic Management infrastructure. Europe deserves better to ensure the stability and resilience of its air transport industry.

IFATCA has published the “Single European Sky III – Mission possible” document (2019, pre-COVID crisis), where the Federation provides recommendations to achieve a long term, more efficient, user and passenger friendly Single European Sky.

As the 2020 crisis forces upon the industry a unique pause to establish a solid foundation for aviation, the initial “Single European Sky III – Mission possible” document shall be complimented with a new financing mechanism and an institutional re-organisation.

Europe can only maintain its position as a global actor if it can rely on a robust aviation infrastructure. IFATCA’s vision is designed to meet the following critical objectives:

IFATCA proposes the following eight recommendations to address the root causes of the SES delay:

IFATCA remains committed to and has been supportive of the Single European Sky since its inception. We strongly believe that the SES is possible. However, the onus is on all the stakeholders to collaborate, leave vested interests aside and find a way forward with a view of what will be gained for all, which avoids the mistakes of the past and addresses the current problems of the ATM system. Only then will the SES become a reality.

IFATCA and its professional representatives are always standing by to assist in developing such necessary changes and to be a driving force to defend the implementation of sound solutions: a performant European ATM system for the benefit of all stakeholders, including all ATM professionals.

IFATCA remains available to make the Single European Sky a coherent, logical and competitive mission possible.

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