Page 20 - ATC Special Bulletin Series - Training & Simulation 2022-01
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 20 In the first year of its operations in 1972, exactly 50 years ago, EUROCONTROL’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC) already controlled nearly 200,000 flights in just the Belgian and Luxembourg upper airspace. These numbers have continued to grow over the past five decades together with the expansion of MUAC’s area of responsibility, which now includes the Netherlands and north-west Germany as well. In pre-pandemic times, MUAC handled 1.9 million flights a year, with the highest controller productivity on the continent (2.23 IFR flight hours per air traffic controller hour), first-rate cost efficiency and excellent safety records. PANDEMIC TRAFFIC IN THE CORE AREA OF EUROPE Sadly, for over two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has been hitting all actors of the aviation industry hard. It was distressing to see empty skies. In 2020, MUAC traffic was only 46% of that of the previous year, whilst in 2021, it increased only 10% compared with the first year of the pandemic, remaining below 1 million IFR movements in our airspace. The last time the yearly traffic was below the seven-digit mark in MUAC airspace was in 1997. Fortunately, we are now steadily getting closer to 2019 traffic levels again. In order to protect employees and minimise the amount of on-site transmission, working from home for non-operational staff became the norm. For operational personnel, however, this was not a viable option, but since traffic was low, distance between working positions and plexiglass dividers provided a good temporary solution. HOW TO MAKE THE BEST HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OUT OF A CRISIS OUT OF A CRISIS ATM TRAINING AT MUAC DURING THE PANDEMIC ATM TRAINING AT MUAC DURING THE PANDEMIC  By Andreas Sauerwein, EUROCONTROL MUAC © EUROCONTROL | SPECIAL BULLETIN SERIES | 2022 | | 

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