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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.

Earthquake in Sulawesi, Indonesia

As you may have heard, Indonesia was struck by another earthquake last week. This time, the epicentre was near the island of Sulawesi. In addition to the strong quake, a devastating tsunami hit Palu Bay. Currently, there are over 1,000 fatalities reported.

Our thoughts go out to the many victims of this disaster and especially to one of our colleagues: Anthonius Gunawan Agung was was the only person left in the control tower of Mutiara Sis Al Jufri Airport in Palu when the magnitude-7.5 quake struck the coastal city on Friday. He remained behind to ensure a flight that was about to take off could do so safely. The decision to stay cost him his life, but potentially saved hundreds of others. Agung was born in 1996 in Abepura - Papua. He graduated from the Aviation Training Centre in Makassar on 2017. He was working at AiNav Indoneaia since June 2018. He was still single and would turn 22 later this month.

Via our Indonesian member association, IFATCA has reached out to the family: we've sent a wreath and have made a donation towards the costs of the service. We are evaluating whether we can help in any other way. In the mean time, we would encourage everyone to consider donating to the relief efforts for Indonesia: over the past months, different parts of the country have been hit by major earthquakes and any help is welcome. A number of non-government organisations have set up fund raisers to collect money towards the relief efforts. Please look in your country for such actions and consider donating - every little bit helps.

On behalf of the IFATCA Executive Board and all our Federation's members, we again extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. We hope they find some comfort in remembering his bravery and commitment to our profession. May he rest in peace.

Lastly, we salute our colleagues in Palu, who in very difficult circumstances continue to provide air traffic control services. In doing so, they're a vital link in the crucial relief efforts for the area.

TOC & PLC January Meeting – Tokyo, Japan

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Twice a year TOC comes together for a 3-day meeting to discuss the progress and the desired outcome of the papers. Although a great share of the discussion is done via email throughout the year, meeting in person provides the opportunity to have more in depth discussions. By having the meeting in different places, the committee is able to involve corresponding members or by some paper subjects concerned MAs in the discussion. 

In January 2017, the meeting took place in Tokyo, Japan. Since there were several combined papers on the working program, the final day of the meeting has been a combined TOC/PLC meeting. This day was also the start of the 3 days of meeting PLC had scheduled. 

 

Several subjects were discussed during the meeting.

The paper on Ambient Workplace Recording (AWR, combined PLC/TOC) created much discussion. The controversial subject is current is many countries. In a world where aviation and incident reporting is not only getting more and more important, but also more transparent, the urge to implement systems such as AWR is getting bigger.

The lengthy discussions on the subject showed that this implementation is a delicate issue. To stand against AWR seems to be the easiest way forward, especially regarding the many discussions on privacy issues, which are not solely aviation related. However, as said before, there is a big push toward implementation so the question is if our objection would actually prevent it. Also, AWR could be beneficial to safety investigation is some cases, not just for the overall result but also for an ATCO’s case in particular.  There is no hesitation that the AWR data collected should be handled with extreme care.

The committees decided that no AWR records shall be made public. Since the data will be used for incident investigation, it was agreed that a censured transcript of the data is needed. Sufficient and clear agreements on when to use the AWR data and who is allowed to access the data should be made between controllers and management. 

These kinds of comprehensive subjects usually create a lot of discussion. By having these discussions, the committees try to cover all point of views so that they can epitomize this in widely supported policy statements to be presented during conference

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