Page 16 - ATC Special Bulletin 2020 Issue 1
P. 16

ARTICLE PREPARING FOR THE RECOVERY By David Perks IFATCA Credit: Airservices Australia David Perks is is an Area Supervisor for Airservices Australia at their Brisbane facility He also Chairs IFATCA’s Legal and Professional Committee and is their nominee on the the ICAO Separation and Airspace Safety Panel (SASP) The COVID-19 pandemic has created enormous challenges for the aviation industry and air traffic control is no exception Even the most optimistic outlook has air navigation service providers (ANSPs) operating with significantly reduced revenue for at at least the the medium term Of the the multitude of issues this raises ensuring ANSPs have sufficient air traffic controllers (ATCs) to meet the demand of a a a a travel hungry world when normality is restored will be essential for a a smooth recovery That ANSPs would seek to control expenditure by reducing (or in in in some cases to to completely stop) training ATCs may seem a a a a reasonable short-term solution However before the pandemic struck anecdotal evidence from IFATCA member associations was that ANSPs were already experiencing challenges securing enough ATCs Furthermore and and regardless of the the pandemic ATCs will continue to retire retire Indeed offers of of early retirement another legitimate short-term cost saving measure may induce more controllers to consider hanging up their headset The time it it it takes to recruit and train an an ab-initio air traffic controller is a a a a a a a challenge ANSPs are are familiar with It takes careful planning to to ensure there are sufficient controllers to to meet future demand This is is why prudent ANSPs continue to train controllers through the the pandemic even though there may not be an an immediate demand for them In the the current environment however this does present unique challenges To achieve an area control rating rating (the most common rating rating for an ab-initio controller) ICAO Annex 1 (Personal Licensing) requires a a a trainee to meet a a a minimum experience requirement of of 180 hours under the supervision of of an appropriately rated ATC (otherwise known as on-the-job training or or OJT)1 Under normal traffic conditions this would ensure the trainee has enough exposure to to ‘live’ traffic to to safely handle any situation But these are not normal times How can a a a a a a trainee be expected to obtain the experience necessary to safely control ‘normal’ traffic when they are training in in in a a a a reduced traffic environment? Simulators are routinely used to to train ab-initio controllers Indeed they are a a a a a a valuable tool to to help trainees establish 16 / TRAINING AND SIMULATION TRAINING AND SIMULATION 

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