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IFATCA AFM Regional Meeting in Hammamet, Tunisia - Day 1

The first day of the 30th IFATCA Regional Meeting of the Africa Middle-East Region started with official opening remarks from Mr. Skander Khalfallah, President of the Tunisian Air Traffic Controllers Association - Association Tunisienne des Contrôleurs de la Circulation Aérienne (ATCCA), Mr. Lofti Mhicen, CEO of the Office de l’Aviation Civile et des Aéroports de Tunisie (OACA), Mr. Fateh Bekhti, IFATCA Executive Vice-President Africa Middle East (AFM), Mr. Duncan Alex Auld, President and CEO of IFATCA, and His Excellency Mr. Rene Trabelsi, Minister of Transport and Tourism who officially opened the meeting.

The event then continued with two presentations from the Tunisian CAA (Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC) de la Tunisie), an overview of the air navigation system in Tunisia provided by the national Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), and a presentation of the situation in Tunisia offered by the local Member Association, ATCCA. OACA then presented their training support initiative for the Arab Civil Aviation Organization (ACAO) Member States. All presentations were focused on the need for more comprehensive training in the African region and highlighted regional cooperation as a key enabler for achieving such goal.

In the afternoon, a discussion took place on the many items on the work programme of the Professional and Legal Committee (PLC) and Technical and Operational Committee (TOC) of IFATCA, presented by Mr. Jean-François Lepage, Liaison Officer to the ICAO Air Navigation Commission, and an overview of the IFATCA Equality, Diversity, and Ethics Task Force (EDETF), was presented by Mr. Sverre Ivar Elsbak.

Mr. Peter Van Rooyen, Executive Vice-President Professional, gave an in-depth presentation on the many workshops offered by the Federation. This was followed by a presentation from Mr. Mohamed Smaoui, Regional Deputy Director- ICAO Cairo office in Egypt, joined by representatives from IFALPA and IFATSEA, who shared their experiences and initiatives with regards to training in the aviation industry. Mr. Hennie Marais, Chief Air Traffic Services ATNS South Africa gave an entertaining and thought provoking presentation on the links between training and professionalism in aviation.

The day concluded with presentations from our sponsors: United ATS, and Indra.

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Fourth IFATCA Competency-Based Training and Assessment Workshop

Tunis, Tunisia – 11-12 November 2019

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

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

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

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Third IFATCA Competency-Based Training and Assessment Workshop

Algiers, Algeria – 7-8 November 2019

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

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

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

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Swiss Controller Acquitted

It is with great relief that IFATCA has learned that the Federal Tribunal in Lausanne, Switzerland, today acquitted our ATCO colleague in the case of a double take-off on 15 March 2011 at Zurich Airport. He has been cleared of any allegations of negligent disruption of public transport. There is no further appeal possible for the prosecutor.

While this is obviously excellent news, particularly for the colleague involved, there is still a long way to go for Switzerland to embrace the principles of Just Culture. One similar case is still pending and above all, the applicable laws urgently need to be revised to that a safety reporting system can trigger new court cases. As is widely accepted, safety can only improve when professionals can report issues without fear of retribution or prosecution.

There's also a major concern on how long this legal debate took: more than eight years of undue stress placed upon an individual is beyond reasonable. IFATCA encourages all involved in making these necessary changes to the Swiss legal system to take note of the impact this has had on those affected and to approve the necessary changes without further delay.

Read the press release from skyguide here.

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The 40th ICAO Assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mrs. Emilce Molina, ATCO Aeroparque (Buenos Aires)

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IFATCA European Regional Meeting in Aqaba, Jordan - Day 2

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

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

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

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

Iacopo Prissinotti, EUROCONTROL Network Manager

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IFATCA joins with global partners to call for new guidance on drone operations

Important issue raised at ICAO’s 40th Triennial Assembly in Montreal

Montreal, 10 October 2019 – Airports Council International (ACI) World and its global aviation industry partners have addressed the pressing need for standards and guidance to address unauthorised drone operations to the 40th International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly.

ACI World, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO), International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA), International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented a paper – entitled The need for standards and guidance to mitigate the risks of, and to improve response to unauthorized UAS operations – which stated that disruption to airport operations by drones is a matter that requires urgent attention by ICAO, States and industry.

In addition to the safety risk which comes directly from unauthorized drone – or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) – operations, several major airports have been shut down by drone sightings around the world and this major disruption has led to frustration for passengers and substantial economic costs.

The ICAO Assembly supported the working paper, recognizing the safety risks associated with the unauthorized presence of unmanned aircraft in close vicinity to commercial aircraft and airports and noted the offer from industry to assist in drafting suitable guidance material.

The Assembly was invited to request ICAO to establish a process to allow the industry to provide input to mitigate the risks of, and improve government and industry responses to, unauthorized drone operations, such as:

  • developing guidance material
  • developing a generic concept of operation that could be used by States to establish procedures, and,
  • defining taxonomy related to UAS incidents and accidents.

ICAO noted the offer of the industry to assist in drafting the above guidance material.



“The issue of unauthorized drone incursions is a clear and present risk to airport operations around the world,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “ACI is ready to join our industry partners to work with ICAO in drafting new international guidance material which builds upon existing standard, guidance, and regulations to protect operations and assist airports in responding to incidents. The industry needs harmonized processes for the detection of – and counter measures against – unauthorized drone operations that may interfere with international aviation.”

“The issue of unauthorized drone incursions is a clear and present risk to airport operations around the world,” ACI World Director General Angela Gittens said. “ACI is ready to join our industry partners to work with ICAO in drafting new international guidance material which builds upon existing standard, guidance, and regulations to protect operations and assist airports in responding to incidents. The industry needs harmonized processes for the detection of – and counter measures against – unauthorized drone operations that may interfere with international aviation.”

IFALPA President Captain Jack Netskar said, “It is critical that all States address the risk to aviation safety due to the unauthorized use of drones in controlled airspace. IFALPA has already produced some guidance material aimed at flight crew on what to do when a drone is reported or encountered with specific actions that can reduce the risk of a collision. We believe a collective effort by industry and regulators to mitigate these risks will lead to a harmonized set of standards and guidance for all stakeholders to implement.”

IFATCA President & CEO Duncan Auld said, “Air Traffic Controllers require clearer procedures for the handling of unauthorized UAS. Controllers are expected to make informed decisions based on established rules, without any ambiguity. A risk-based procedure will allow more practical management of these situations, where often the complete closure of an airport introduces significant complexity and associated risk into the ATM system.”

In addition, the Assembly reviewed a paper – entitled UAS Traffic Management – which was presented by ACI, IFALPA, IFATCA, and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA). The Assembly recognized the value of ICAO’s activities towards the development of a common framework for UAS traffic management and recommended that ICAO be urged to accelerate and expand its work on the development of a full regulatory framework for this.

The Assembly reviewed an additional paper – entitled The safe and efficient integration of UAS into airspace – presented by CANSO, IATA, IFALPA, which outlined the expected growth of the UAS sector, and requested ICAO to consider establishing a framework through which it can work with industry on developing provisions for new airspace entrants. The Assembly agreed that UAS should be a key focus of the assessment on new entrants that the Assembly will submit for the consideration of the Council.



Notes for editors

  1. Airports Council International (ACI), the trade association of the world’s airports, was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization. In representing the best interests of airports during key phases of policy development, ACI makes a significant contribution toward ensuring a global air transport system that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sustainable. As of January 2019, ACI serves 646 members, operating 1,960 airports in 176 countries.
  2. IFALPA is the global voice of pilots. An international not-for-profit organization, IFALPA represents over 100,000 pilots in nearly 100 countries. The mission of the Federation 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.
  3. IFATCA is the recognized international organisation representing air traffic controller associations. The Federation has been representing air traffic controllers for more than 50 years and has more than 50,000 members in over 125 countries.

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