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IFATCA 2013: EGATS Delegation Update #1

Panel Discussion (M. OTT)

The topic of this year's IFATCA panel was: Will controllers/pilots be needed in the future (for this discussion in the next 20 years)? Four interesting guests, all with very different background, presented their view about the question, which was further discussed by the representatives afterwards. The conclusion of the discussion was that none of the speakers expects full automation to take over in the mentioned timeframe. However partly automation will play an increasing role in the coming years. Appropriate training is as important as the development of these tools.

A more detailed report on the topic will be in our next Output magazine.

Committee A (B. Romanik)

For the first time, the committees started on the second day of the conference, as the opening ceremony was followed by the panel on wednesday afternoon. In committee A, two new member associations (MAs) where accepted: Lebanon and Brazil. EGATS requested clarification what happened with FEBRATCA the brazilian MA that got suspended last year and why the debt of 15000$ will not be
taken over from the new MA SINA.

Thereafter all the members of the executive Board (EB) gave their report, most interesting for us of course the report of the EVP Europe and the EVP Finance. Our own Patrik Peters (Deputy President) outlined the activities of the office, the new website and communication channels. EVPEUR stated that he had to stop attending meetings Dec 2012 because the budget was all spent. The question was raised income from EASA and SESAR should not be directly used in Europe. EGATS questioned the presence of 6 EB members at the regional meeting in Belgrade last october.

EVP Finance outlined his reports in great detail. Besides some minor issues, EGATS also questioned EVPFs presence at ITF and ILO
meetings. The Chairman of the Finance Committee (FIC) voiced some disagreement with proceedings within the EB in his report, which more or less were discussed! After the meeting, I got the chance to inspect the finances, and EVPF was very open to questions.

Committee B - Coming Soon

Committee C - Professional & Legal Issues (F. Deleau)

With the Plenary and other formalities out of the way, the Committees started their discussions. In Committee C, this year’s working program is exciting and interesting, not only for the issues that will be discussed but surely because EGATS experience on various matters is considerable and we will be able to share it with our colleagues.

The Executive Vice-President Professional (Scott Shallies, AUS) and the chairman of the Professional and Legal Committee (Jez Pigden, UK) gave us an overview of their activities in the past 12. Besides a considerable amount of meetings, they tackled the work program assigned to PLC. They also called for people to consider putting themselves forward for PLC membership. EGATS was approached several times in the last 2 days to run again for PLC, but due to several constraints, we had to decline.

IATA made a presentation on Fatigue Management, which is very topical with several media reports on pilots falling asleep in the cockpit. It also linked seamlessly to the PLC’s work on Fatigue Risk Management Systems. Extracts taken from an extensive and complete work produced by the Dutch Guild were debated. While most of the recommendations seem logical to us in MUAC - basically to have a system in place taking into consideration the impact of shift work and reduction of performance associated with fatigue – one of the conclusions, to introduce a systematic learning environment to improve the system and prevent risks, was very valuable.

An analysis of the right to take industrial actions and what steps to consider was the next topic. It describes and compares the IFATCA policy to the current reality. EGATS brought forward a few comments, especially stressing the fact that ATC is an essential service. Some did not agree to minimum services while we could consider that "essential" services such as hospital flights and State flights should be the only flights allowed as minimum service in order to guarantee effects but also safety of the system. A tense situation such as a strike, should not be hollowed out by going beyond essential services.

It was interesting to hear that ILO confirms that the right to strike is guaranteed for certain category of essential services. ATC is one of them and they also advise that an arbitration process SHALL be put in place.

Review of Single Person Operations Policy and Four Eyes Principle. While IFATCA stresses the need to operate sectors with 2 qualified ATCOs, it also defend the idea that ATCOs shall not be held liable for incidents or accidents resulting solely or in part from the non-implementation of the 4EP (4 eyes principle) Safety Net. EGATS brought the idea of the Multi sector planner concept and asked this item to be put on next year PLC work program.

Update on commercialisation of ATS: some examples given of the transformation of public (administration) ATS services into private/corporatized services. EGATS intervened for one factual mistake included in the paper presented, namely that MUAC was not mentioned as providing ATC over Germany ("In the case of Germany, (...) ATC for Upper Airspace is only provided from Rhein Radar today"...) This will be corrected. We also contributed a lot in the discussion on the very principle of commercialization of ATS.

The last presentation for the day: CISM. For us in MUAC, CISM is a known and working system while for others it seems still far from implementation.