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COVID-19 & Aviation - Time to Rethink!

COVID-19 & AVIATION

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:

SOCIALLY SUSTAINABLE

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.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE

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.

TOTAL SYSTEM

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.

REPAIR & REDESIGN

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.

SKILLS

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.

SAFETY

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.

REFOCUS

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.

EUROPE

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:

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

Date: 13 August 2020
Time: 1200UTC

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

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

TARGET AUDIENCE

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.

Panelists

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.

Pilots in the cockpit

Webinar #4: Safely Navigating the Industry Restart

We are pleased to announce the fourth webinar of the Safely Navigating the Industry Restart web series. This exciting webinar will provide an overview of potential challenges related to the interface between ATCOs and pilot in light of the new and changing operating environment resulting from COVID 19. It will also provide insights to best practices and mitigations during the restart phase of aviation.

You are cordially invited to register for:

Episode 4 – Pilot & ATCO Interface during Restart

Target Audience: Pilots, ATCOs, ATC/OCC Unit Managers
30 July, 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
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Bulletin #2: 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 Maintaining Competency During COVID-19 and Throughout the Restart of Aviation. 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 2 – Maintaining Competency During COVID-19 and Throughout the Restart of Aviation

Target Audience: ATC/OCC Shift Supervisors, ATC Unit/OCC Managers, Training Managers / Directors

Download the bulletin using the link below:

Depositphotos_10105638_xl-2015

Bulletin #1: 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 Human Factors for ATCOs and Dispatchers. 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 1 – Human Factors for ATCOs and Dispatchers

Topic: Addressing the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce
Target Audience: ATC/OCC Shift Supervisors, ATC Unit/OCC Managers, Training Managers / Directors

Download the bulletin using the link below:

Depositphotos_84029984_s-2019

Webinar #3: Safely Navigating the Industry Restart

We are pleased to announce the third webinar of the Safely Navigating the Industry Restart web series. This exciting webinar will provide participants with an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on Safety Management Systems (SMS) and gain insights from industry experts on best practices for maintaining SMS for ANSPs and safety culture during and post COVID-19, in light of all the changes in the operational environment and risk landscape.

You are cordially invited to register for:

Episode 3 – Maintaining Safety Culture & SMS during a Pandemic

Target Audience: ANSPs, ATC/OCC Unit Managers, Safety Managers/Supervisors, Dispatchers
9 July, 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
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IFATCA & IFALPA on Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 Preliminary Report

Press Release

The aviation community grieves the tragic loss of lives aboard Pakistan International Airlines Flight 8303 on 22 May 2020. Our thoughts are with the families of those lost and the survivors who may still have a long road to recovery. We are extending our support to our Pakistani colleagues for whom this is undoubtedly a traumatic experience.

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

In order to learn from accidents and prevent recurrence, international ogranisations the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) would like to emphasise that the technical safety investigation by the accident investigation authority must be conducted according to the international standards on accident investigation. As stated clearly in Annex 13 to the Chicago Convention:

"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."

Such investigation should not be impeded or influenced by administrative, disciplinary, or judicial proceedings that would apportion blame or criminal liability.

Whilst the investigation is ongoing, there should be no disclosure of the accident evidence other than the basic factual information usually included in a Preliminary Report. None of the actual recordings should be made available for purposes other than the technical safety investigation.

There should also not be premature conclusions, which are often based on incomplete, inaccurate and/or speculative information and which focus on one aspect of what happened. Premature conclusions hamper the ability to learn from these tragic events and could be unfair to one or more of the parties concerned. We urge the media, the public, and the concerned stakeholders to respect the long-established processes and procedures for analysing these events and let the accident investigation authorities perform their investigations professionally and objectively.

IFALPA and IFATCA will monitor the investigation closely to ensure that it is conducted in accordance with the principles described above. We will support all efforts to prevent the recurrence of accidents.

Download the pdf

For more information, contact the IFATCA Office

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Save your sky!

For a safe and resilient air traffic control system

Press Release

Air traffic control across Europe is in danger. Unprecedented cuts in resources are underway, affecting the social and working conditions of workers in air traffic management, the safety of passengers and the overall capacity of air traffic control in the near future. To inform the EU citizens of the current situation of Air Traffic Services and potential consequences for the safety in the skies, Unions and Professional Associations representing ATM/ANS (Air Traffic Management/Air Navigation Services) staff (ATCEUC, ETF, IFAIMA, IFATCA, IFATSEA) have decided to launch a petition. We are seeking support for our appeal:

We call upon European institutions and member states to work with all aviation workers and find a plan for the European aviation sector that includes air traffic management systems!

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on European aviation, affecting Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs - companies or agencies providing air traffic control) as much as other sectors of the aviation industry. Due to the nature and complexity of the infrastructure and services provided, ANSPs have suffered greatly from the COVID-19 crisis. They will continue to suffer in the future if there is no Europe-wide solution in place. Air navigation services were maintained 24/7 during the crisis (ambulance flights, cargo flights carrying essential equipment and medicines, hospital and repatriation flights).

Volker DICK, ATCEUC President: “The good functioning of Air Traffic Services was proven to be essential in this period of crisis. First necessity goods, doctors, sick people had to be transported with the highest level of safety for the benefit of the entire European society.

Since the beginning of February, ANSPs have faced a total absence of revenue. An agreement has been made to allow airspace users to defer charges which would normally be paid to ANSPs. This lack of funding has translated into severe difficulties for the ANSPs, and it is affecting the lives of workers in the air traffic management.

 Frédéric DELEAU, IFATCA (Acting) Executive Vice-President Europe, explains: “Without proper and sustainable funding of ANSPs,  the quality of services given and performance in capacity and safety will be jeopardised for the coming years. The existence of such services in certain areas of the network is now clearly at stake. Air Traffic Controllers and other front-line staff have proven to take their responsibilities seriously in times of crisis. IFATCA expects other stakeholders to cooperate and guarantee stability while creating sustainability for the critical infrastructure of Air navigation Services (ANS).

Costas Christoforou, IFATSEA Director Europe, complements: “Medium/long-term investments in technology and people can no longer be guaranteed. ANSPs have to focus simply on their survival and on maintaining the highest level of service possible.

Urgent help is needed to rebuild this sector and secure the recovery and the future of the entire aviation industry. Maximum effort has to be done to maintain stable air traffic management, a critical infrastructure to support Europe and its economy fully. EU citizens need to be aware of what is going on in the European sky. The high level of performance and the safety of European Sky could be put at risk if nothing is done.

Charles-André QUESNEL, ETF ATM Committee Chair, reflects on the significance of cooperation on the side of the European institutions: “No help for ATM/ANS sector is planned at European level to face the harsh consequences of COVID-19 crisis. To the contrary, we can see disastrous political manoeuvers by the European Commission, hampering the difficult recovery of these general European’s interest services.

Lately, the European Commission has attacked air traffic control systems in multiple ways. Firstly, it proposed to change the regulation defining ANSPs revenues by abolishing or completely diminishing recovery mechanisms in case of low level of traffic (traffic risk-sharing mechanism). At the same time, its officials have put some inappropriate pressure on employers’ representatives around Europe to increase the numbers of ANSPs staff layoffs, to continue to reduce salaries drastically and to stop any recruitment. Employees and their families have already been badly hit, but this severe social damage seems not to be sufficient enough for the European Commission.

Fernando LOPES, IFAIMA President confirms: “Attacks against ANSPs and their employees have increased to an unprecedented level and have to stop now.

For questions and further information, please contact

Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) was created in 1989 and is currently composed of 34 professional and autonomous trade unions representing more than 14000 Air Traffic Controllers and Air Safety Engineering Personnel throughout Europe. ATCEUC is an EU srecognised social partner in air traffic management.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) represents more than 5 million transport workers, including approx. 370,000 aviation workers from more than 200 transport unions and 41 European countries. It is a srecognised social partner and the only representative of aviation workers across all sub-sectors (air traffic management, aircrew, ground handling, maintenance, etc.).

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) is the recognised independent, non-political and non-industrial International sorganisation uniting air traffic controller associations for the last 60 years. IFATCA represents more than 50.000 air traffic control professionals in over 130 countries and holds an observer seat at the ICAO Air Navigation Commission. The main aims of the Federation are the promotion of safety, efficiency and regularity in international air navigation, along with safeguarding the professional interests of air traffic controllers.

International Federation of Aeronautical Information Management Associations (IFAIMA) is the Global Voice of AIM. It represents Professional Associations, Organisations, or guilds of Aeronautical Information Management (AIM), Aeronautical Communications (COM) and Flight Data Processing (FDP) personnel worldwide. The objects of IFAIMA are and shall be to operate as a non-partisan, non-profit-making to promote safety, efficiency and regularity in International Air Navigation. Officially srecognised by ICAO, EC and EASA. Your safety starts with us.

International Federation Air Traffic Safety Electronics Associations – IFATSEA region Europe unites the Professional associations of Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP) from around the world. It is the authoritative voice on the competence of air traffic safety electronics personnel. Using our strong global network, we actively contribute to the improvement of air traffic safety performance.

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