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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.

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IFATCA EU 373/2017 Regulation Workshop

On the initiative of our Lithuanian and Latvian air traffic controllers’ associations, IFATCA held a workshop on the implementation of EU regulation 373/2017 at Oro Navigacija in Vilnius, Lithuania from the 6-7th of January.

The workshop was a mix of presentations and group work with participants from Poland, Rumania, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Lithuania and Eurocontrol. Fatigue, rostering, stress, CISM and the testing of psychoactive substance were among the topics discussed.

For more details on the regulation and its impact, IFATCA published a checklist for Member Associations to verify their ANSP/Country’s compliance with European Regulation 2017/373 on stress, fatigue and psychoactive substances. While obviously most relevant to European associations, it may be of use to others to crosscheck how they are doing in respect to this regulation.

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IFATCA & IFALPA highlight concerns on Just Culture

The first ICAO European Aviation System Planning Group (EASPG) is currently being held in Paris, France. Our EVP Europe, Tom Laursen, presented a joint IFATCA-IFALPA paper on the effects of criminalisation of incidents in the context of Safety Culture. The paper and its conclusions were supported by many Sates representatives and the meeting plans to adapt the detailed conclusions into firm recommendations.

The ICAO EUR office also suggested that they should start workshops on this. It’s another important initiative taken by IFALPA and IFATCA to try to advance Just Culture in aviation as a means to improve safety.

The report can be found here.

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IFATCA Asia/Pacific Regional Meeting in Nepal

The 36th IFATCA Asia/Pacific Regional Meeting was held from 21 to 23 November 2019 in the Aloft Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. This event was organised by the Nepal Air Traffic Controllers’ Association and supported by more than 60 aviation entities. It was a highly attended regional meeting, with 14 Member Associations present. Another three had given proxies, meaning that only two associations from the region were not represented.

It was the third IFATCA gathering in Nepal, after the first regional meeting in 2004 and the annual Conference in 2012.

Apart from a number of highly appreciated presentations and discussions (see https://nepalatc.com/program-details.php), four regional Vice-Presidents were elected to assist EVP ASP: Cheryl Yen-Chun Chen, Taiwan (North-Asia); Niranjan Dallakoti, Nepal (South-West Asia); Greg Okeroa, New Zealand (Pacific); and Rudy S. Boctot Jr, Philippines (South-East Asia).

The next Asia/Pacific Regional Meeting will be held in Cebu, the Philippines.

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IFATCA AFM Regional Meeting in Hammamet, Tunisia – Day 3

The third and last day of the 30th IFATCA Regional Meeting of the Africa Middle-East Region started with the closed session for Member Associations. The meeting adopted the agenda for the 30th AFM RM and accepted the report from the 29th meeting in Abuja, Nigeria (2018).

Mr. Duncan Auld, President and CEO of IFATCA, then presented an update on the upcoming Conference to be held in Singapore in March 2020. He discussed the ongoing preparations, registration process and visas. Mr Auld continued with an update on the Federation’s budget and the adjustments that were made by the Executive Board since the Conference in Conchal, Costa Rica, in order to meet the requirements set by the Directors at Conference.

Mr. Wickel Yannick Elidjé (Côte d’Ivoire) presented the conclusions of a survey conducted within the AFM Region to find out what were the main issues and challenges of the Member Associations.

Mr. Walter Litto Mashaba (South Africa) introduced the problems caused by the lack of a SSR codes allocation scheme in Africa, and proposed certain solutions as a way forward.

Mrs. Nadia Bomowongo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) summarized the challenge of ICAO language proficiency in the region and walked the participants through a review of the current situation in Africa.

Mr. Ahmad Abba then provided the participants with an excellent presentation on the current status of the Safety and Just Culture in the AFM region.

Finally, the Kenyan Member Association presented an offer to host the 2020 AFM Regional Meeting in Mombasa, Kenya. The offer was accepted by the meeting.

The meeting was officially concluded by Mr. Habib Makki, Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Tunisia, Mr. Skander Khalfallah, Secretary General of the Tunisian Association – Association Tunisienne des Contrôleurs de la Circulation Aérienne (ATCCA), and Mr. Duncan Auld, President and CEO of IFATCA.

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IFATCA AFM Regional Meeting in Hammamet, Tunisia – Day 2

The second day of the 30th IFATCA Regional Meeting of the Africa Middle-East Region started with a workshop on the Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) provisions that will become applicable next year, on 5 November 2020.

Mr. Mohamed Smaoui, Regional Deputy Director- ICAO Cairo office in Egypt, gave a detailed overview of the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) contained in Annex 11, paragraph 2.28, and Appendices 5 and 6. Mr Duncan Auld, President and CEO stressed the need for FRMS to be supported by a robust safety oversight system. Mr. Jehad Feqir (IATA) presented the FRMS strategy from the airline perspective.

A panel of experts from different fields in aviation then interacted with the audience and discussed the implementation of FRMS in the region. The panel was moderated by Mr. Mohamed Smaoui (ICAO-MID, Cairo, Egypt), and was composed of Mr. Jehad Feqir (IATA), Mr. Mohamed Rejeb (ACAO), Dr. Hanéne Djmail (CEMEDA), Cptn. Souhaiel Dallel (IFALPA), Mr. Duncan Auld (IFATCA), Mr. Fateh Bekhti (IFATCA) and Mr. Jean-François Lepage (IFATCA).

The afternoon was dedicated to a joint IFATCA-ITF workshop: Working Together – Conflict Management and Resolutions, animated by Mr. Mohamed Dauda Safiyanu (Africa Regional Secretary – ITF) and Mr. Fateh Bekhti, Executive Vice-President Africa Middle-East.

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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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