Joint Statement by IFALPA and IFATCA on TCAS

TCAS Needs Your Help!

Following the recent EUROCONTROL report on TCAS RA compliance: https://www.skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/5842.pdf, IFALPA and IFATCA feel the need to send a reminder to the pilot and controller community.

The Eurocontrol study analysed radar data of TCAS RA events taken over a 12-month period over the core area of Europe and reports that only 38% of the RAs were followed correctly, and that 34% even manoeuvred in the opposite direction. The results are in line with previous studies and the trend remains alarming.

While RAs are rare events, when they happen the situation may be critical, and correct action must be taken promptly. Recurrent training should improve flight crew and controllers understanding of how TCAS works, how they should respond to RAs, and the limitations of TCAS. However, monitoring programmes have identified several situations where pilot responses were incorrect.

Aircraft operators and training providers should consider making these the focus of recurrent training sessions. For controllers, the biggest concern is that they could interfere with TCAS by issuing instructions opposite to an RA, which the pilots might then decide to follow instead of the RA. That said, it should be clear that TCAS is a last-resort collision avoidance system, NOT a separation assurance system.


  • Always follow the RAIf you decide not to follow an RA for whatever reason, never ever manoeuvre in the opposite direction. Consider switching to “TA only”if the situation or technical limitations require it (e.g. local approach procedures or engine failure).
  • Do not assume the aircraft you see outside is the one on the TCAS display and vice versa.
  • If your aircraft is equipped with Auto-TCAS, keep the autopilot connected but closely monitor the manoeuvre.
  • If you receive an instruction during an active RA, let the controller know: “Unable, TCAS RA”
  • Report following an RA to ATC as soon as possible. This is essential for ATC to stop issuing instructions.
  • Report the “Clear of conflict” and your intentionsas soon as possible.
  • To prevent unnecessary RAs, plan to reduce your rate of climb/descent to max 1500ft/min during the last 1000ft before a level off (unless instructed by ATC to do otherwise).


  • Once a pilot has announced an RA, do not issue any more instructions, just acknowledge(i.e. “Roger”)
  • If required to pass traffic information (by pilot or by local procedures), preferably use phraseology using relative altitudes (e.g. 1000 ft above or below) instead of mentioning the altitudes or Flight levels of the intruder(s).
  • To prevent unnecessary RAs, it is not recommended to assign vertical rates to be maintained until the cleared level or altitude, unless this is absolutely necessary. Pilots are not allowed to reduce a vertical rate assigned by ATC prior level off. This can result in high vertical closure rates with aircraft 1000ft above/below the cleared level and subsequent TCAS activation

Volcanic Ash Refresher

As this is the year 2020, you might as well be as prepared for any more eventualities that may come your way. Ten years ago, in 2010, air travel over large parts of Europe was halted because of a volcanic eruption in Iceland. While the impact of this was massive, every year, there are several volcanic eruptions which cause disruptions of some sort to air traffic. Hence, IFATCA has compiled some useful information to remind controllers of what impact it may have in their day-to-day work.



During the COVID crisis, many organisations reverted to using a different form of conferencing. IFATCA representatives were invited to participate in some of these webinars and vodcasts. The topics addressed concern not only the handling of the crisis, but talk as well about different technical and professional topics.

We’ve started collecting these talks, presentations and discussions on a special page: IFATCA on Air

The page can also be found under the Newsroom menu item.


IFATCA calls on Russia to respect Just Culture

IFATCA, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations, is extremely shocked to learn of the final verdict passed by the Russian court where three Air Traffic Controllers were sentenced to 5, 5 ½ and 6 years imprisonment (penal colony). Such prosecution and sentencing do nothing to improve aviation safety, well to the contrary, and the consequences of such brutal and unjust treatment cannot yet be assessed.

Russia remains amongst a few States that have chosen to deviate from international standards and recommendations – including those specified in Annexes 13 (Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations) and 19 (Safety Management Systems) to the Convention on International Civil Aviation – when it comes to using safety reports to trigger court cases. To safeguard the whole aviation system in Russia, the judiciary needs an urgent adjustment 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.

Update: Read the statement from IFALPA


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 (25Mb).
  • For Member Associations: a print-ready PDF version (about 25Mb) 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 pages.

eurArtboard 1

Revised SES2+ Package Press Release

Following the publication of the revised legislative SES package, known as SES 2+, on 23rd of September 2020 and the upcoming Council of Transport Ministers on Monday 28th of September 2020, IFATCA submits the following.

The impact of the COVID -19 sanitary crisis on society at large and aviation in particular is of unknown dimension. Traffic recovery will depend on the medical progress and it might be a dire and long way to achieve pre-COVID traffic numbers. The proposed legislative package is astonishingly rehashing old principles which have in the past not provided the needed impetus for a reform of the 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 raise again will push the sector further down the road of fragmentation and a slowed down reform process. In a situation like the current one a legislative package using the strength of the current system and provide legislative support to raise out of the 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.

The proposed reform package relies on the same mechanisms and instruments which failed to bring any reform in the past:

  • Functional Airspace Blocks; instead of working towards a seamless sky as recommended by the Wise Persons Group the proposed way forward will increase fragmentation.  
  • The cost recovery and charging mechanisms has shown its fragility it the current crisis.  IFATCA is proposing that part or all of the activities involved in the provision of ANS are funded independently of the current “airspace users pay all” principle. The possibility of creating an infrastructure fund at multinational level to finance ANS provision should be considered. Such a hybrid approach would prevent a situation where States have to step in to financially support commercialized or privatized ANSPs which run out of funds when traffic significantly decreases (experienced in 2001 and during the current pandemic).
  • To propose the future independent economical regulator under the helm of the European Aviation Safety Agency is an error. It undermines the credibility of EASA as an agency for safety as it requires at institutional level the guardian of safety to make compromises with safety.
  • Instead of providing a sustainable future funding scheme, which create a sound Air Traffic Management infrastructure the proposed Union wide unit rate without a proper backup by member states will rely on the continuous uninterrupted growth of air traffic.  
  • The current crisis has highlighted that Air Traffic Management is an essential service which needs to function properly in any given situation. To this end, a robust and standardized infrastructure needs first to be set up. Liberalisation and market mechanisms as proposed in the EC proposal is the wrong strategy to achieve this.

Following the reports of the European Court of Auditor and the Recommendations of the Wise Person Group, IFATCA hoped that the European Commission would use the current crisis to come up with a real adequate proposal for a needed reform process in the sector. Is it is disappointing to see that this is not the case. Europe can only become one of the global actors if it can rely on a robust infrastructure in aviation. This needs to be built, including new technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning and possibly remote operations on a sound and commonly agreed and shared vision.  

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.


COVID-19 & Aviation – Time to Rethink!


Time to rethink!

Covid-19 demonstrated that aviation is a critical strategic infrastructure and service, providing essential connectivity, promoting socio-economic cohesion and timely supply of goods, thus serving our societies.

The professionals working in aviation – who provide a safe & dedicated service – are a crucial part of the aviation ecosystem: both before, during and after the crisis, and any potential recurrence thereof, and during the recovery – which is expected to be of unpredictable length.

This strategic inf rastructure, service and its people deserve priority attention. To do so, policy-makers and aviation stakeholders must use the crisis to rethink the ‘old’ system and to ‘repair’ its structural weaknesses and distortions that the crisis revealed – which, if unaddressed, will hinder the recovery, weaken the aviation sector, and harm the public interest.

To rethink the system and to make aviation resilient, sustainable and serving society as a whole, aviation professionals call for the following initiatives:


THINK  SOCIALLY  SUSTAINABLE:  Social  responsibility  must  guide  all  aviation stakeholders during crises and recovery, and should be a ‘hard’ condition for providing public funding, bailouts and/ or regulatory relief measures. The principle of preserving jobs should guide decisions, incl. making full use of public support schemes, and any personnel-related measures must be agreed upon through genuine social dialogue.


THINK ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE: The recovery f rom this crisis must  be  used  to  put  our  sector  on  a  growth  path  that  is  compatible  with  the  goal  of  decarbonising  aviation.  New  aircraft  and  aerospace  technologies, alternative fuels, and emissions pricing & trading will play a key role. Adequate investments into Research & Development as well as industrial production facilities (e.g. for electro-fuels) must be made available and facilitated by national, regional and EU funds and private investors in an organized and coherent way.


THINK TOTAL SYSTEM: Aviation is a system where one part depends on the system’s other parts doing well, performing to standard and in a fair manner. To emerge f rom the crisis stronger, all parts need to support each other, rather than some players opportunistically (ab)using the crisis to push others to the wall, to weaken parts of the system, or to lower social standards in a race to the bottom. Aviation must be f inancially viable, but there is no automatic supremacy of e.g. airlines’ or airports’ shareholder value or ANSPs’ economic performance criteria over the public interest, over passengers and the professionals working in our industry.


THINK REPAIR & REDESIGN: The crisis put the spotlight on numerous short-comings & distortions, which need to be addressed urgently, such as:

Vulnerability of ANSP funding

Whilst  ATM/ANSPs  being  an  essential  part  of  the  aviation  infrastructure,  the ANSP funding mechanisms & performance criteria have shown their limits during the crisis – and without change they will again during the next one. Hence, the current scheme, which works only in times of growing air traffic, must be fundamentally rethought & redesigned in order to build economic resilience of ATM/ANSPs during crisis situations, i.e. by building buffers for times when traffic is going down. Resilience (buffering) should be a standard element of the Key Performance Areas of all actors in the aviation infrastructure. In the meantime, public financial support is currently needed to ensure an efficient & safe service during the crisis and recovery, maintaining skills & professional staff.

Market distortions & social engineering

For too long, authorities turned a blind eye on certain air operators exploiting legal loopholes to engage in  social  engineering,  atypical  employment,  outsourcing  and  regulatory  forum  shopping  –  thereby  distorting  competition  to  the  disadvantage  of  those  who  do  not  make  use  of  such  (mal)practices.  Governments as well as the European Commission need to step up their efforts to eliminate predatory & unfair behaviour and to ban precarious atypical employment forms and outsourcing.


THINK SKILLS: The performance and safety of aviation directly depends on the skills & competences of those working therein and their formal, legal recognition. Job-insecurity and wide-spread, lasting unemployment will entail a loss of skills, experience and recency, as well as a brain-drain as professionals seek employment in other sectors. To ensure the ability to recover f rom the crisis fast and safely, maintaining the human capital & skills base of aviation professionals will be crucial – and should be a guiding principle for any measures taken at company, national, European and international level.


THINK SAFETY: The crisis pushed our industry to the limits of its safety performance, by exacerbating existing hazards, creating new ones, and by allowing operations way outside established safety regulations. Loss of operational experience and recency is one area of concern. Aircraft airworthiness is another, due to cost cuts and lay-offs in maintenance organisations. At the same time the national authorities’ ability to carry out their safety oversight is weakened. While the economic need for a swift recovery is evident, re-establishing pre-crisis safety standards and levels quickly – and further improving them – must be a priority. If in doubt, safety must always override commercial considerations. Personnel skills and experience are a key prerequisite for Safety.


THINK REFOCUS: A ‘smart & digital’ recovery is what everybody talks about. However, smart & digital cannot become synonymous with simply designing the human out of the equation and/or pursuing some ‘pet projects’ promoted by certain players, without ensuring an equivalent level of safety and without considering social implications. Particularly in times of crisis & recovery, priority must be given to getting back to a safe and functioning system, rather than pushing forward concepts like Remote Towers, Single Person Operations in ATM, Reduced Crew Operations, Crew Interoperability/ Group Operations (which should be halted). Instead, a re-focus is needed on addressing the rise of atypical employment forms, systematic ANSP f ragmentation and outsourcing, ATM inf rastructure & f inancing, maintaining skills, etc.


THINK EUROPE: Our aviation inf rastructure will only come out of the crisis unharmed – and possibly stronger – if decision-makers promote a level playing f ield and think in terms of a resilient European aviation transport network. This means wider use of Public Service Operations, it means defending airlines within the same regulatory system against subsidised competitors f rom 3rd countries, limiting the market access to certain traff ic rights and limiting 3rd country wet-leasing, ANSP f ragmentation or unbundling, as well as maintaining & enforcing Ownership & Control rules, rather than loosening them and liberalising even further access to the European market.

Returning to ‘business as usual’ is not an option. Professional staff organisations therefore stand ready to help rethink & redesign the system, shift priorities and (re)-build a safe, social & sustainable air transport infrastructure – to the benefit of all.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) has issued a statement identical to and supportive of this statement. It is available here.

A PDF version of this statement can be found here.

Pilots in the cockpit

Bulletin #3: Safely Navigating the Industry Restart

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the aviation industry and its stakeholders. In order to help facilitate the industry restart in these challenging times,  the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (IFATCA), International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently held a webinar on the topic of Pilot & ATCO Interface during Restart. Following the webinar, IATA has drafted a bulletin highlighting the main points covered during the webinar.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Safety Risk Assessments (SRAs) allow for the identification of hazards, risks and control measures associated with a given event or change. The example provided in this bulletin is for information only and is NOT a replacement for a proper SRA taking into account the local environment for which it will be used.

IFATCA will not be responsible for how the assessment is carried out, and is not responsible for the use of the example provided. It should be noted that nothing within the example provided overrides any requirements needed to comply with national regulation and approved procedures.

The assessment is a continuous, live process and must be monitored and audited, reviewed and revised with any change occurring. Any change could lead to new risks and hazards needing to be considered and no liability rests with IFATCA in this respect. The assessment should be programmed for review at appropriate intervals.

Bulletin 3 – Pilot & ATCO Interface during Restart

Target Audience: Pilots, ATCOs, ATC/OCC Unit Managers

Download the bulletin using the link below:


Webinar #5: Safely Navigating the Industry Restart

It is our pleasure to announce the final webinar of the Safely Navigating the Industry Restart web series. The fifth episode will focus on the potential challenges caused by COVID-19 pertaining to traffic management and airport operations. It will also provide expert insights into mitigation measures that could be implemented during the restart phase of aviation.

You are cordially invited to register for:

Episode 5 – Traffic Management & Airport Operations during COVID-19

Target Audience: Airport Operations Managers, ATC/OCC Unit Managers, Airlines
13 August, 2020
1030 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

ICAO/IFATCA Webinar on ATC Licensing in view of COVID-19

Date: 13 August 2020
Time: 1200UTC


The ICAO ESAF and WACAF Regional offices, in coordination with IFATCA, have organized a webinar (English) on the theme “Manage – ICAO/IFATCA Webinar on ATC Licensing in view of COVID-19”.
The primary objective of the Webinar is to address the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on personnel licensing, especially as it relates to Air Traffic Controllers; highlighting the challenges that have been faced by States to ensure the validity of licenses and guidelines for preparation of the recovery phase for the resumption of aviation operations post-COVID-19.
The discussions will include the following areas:

  1. Status of ATC licensing implementation in the AFI region;
  2. How States are dealing with the requirements of Annex 1 to the Chicago Convention – Personnel Licensing (with ATC in perspective) in the COVID-19 environment;
  3. State preparations for the Restart/recovery phase


The Webinar targets participants from the air navigation services providers, air traffic controllers, air traffic controllers’ professional associations, the civil aviation authorities, and other stakeholders interested in the area of personnel licensing.


Papa Issa Mbengue, Regional Officer/OPS, ICAO
Kebba Lamin Jammeh, Regional Officer/FS, ICAO
Duncan Auld, President and CEO IFATCA
Alfred Vlasek, IFATCA Expert

Free Registration

Clicking the button below will take you to a zoom registration page.


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