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dallas's picture

German Labour Court declares air traffic controllers strike illegal

The federal Labour Court in Erfurt on July 26 declared a strike by air traffic controllers to be illegal. The air traffic controllers union GdF must now pay millions in damages to the airport operator Fraport AG following the strike in February 2012.

In February 2012, ground controllers held a nine-day strike at the Rhein-Main airport to enforce an arbitrator’s decision that granted them their own contract with better pay and shorter working hours. Ground controllers are airport employees who coordinate ground traffic and accompany aircraft prior to take-off and after landing as guides or “follow-me” drivers.

Fraport AG did not want to accept the arbitrator’s decision presented, even though they appointed an arbitrator, CDU politician Ole von Beust, and went to court against the strike as it took place, as well as claiming for damages.

2_b_or_not's picture

Real-time flight data exchange between Eurocontrol, UAE goes live

Eurocontrol and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) have begun exchanging real-time flight data, as part of a cooperation agreement signed in October last year.

The agreement was signed with the aim of addressing a lack of predictability of traffic between Europe and the Middle East. It covers not only the exchange of real-time flight data, but also updated flight plan and airport departure planning information.

Eurocontrol DG Frank Brenner said: “Real-time updates of departure times and other trajectory information is now being exchanged between the operational systems of the Eurocontrol Network Manager and the UAE main air traffic control center on the major traffic flows between Europe and the UAE. This is a significant contributor to realize the Global Air Traffic Flow Management Concept, where the different parts of the world connect and exchange these very important data.”

Irish Aviation Authority backs new plane tracking system

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is a shareholder in Aireon, a multinational partnership developing a new satellite-based air traffic control system that can pinpoint the location of craft even in remote areas with no infrastructure, such as the north Atlantic.

Tests by the IAA and Aireon confirm the equipment that the Irish regulator will use to collect surveillance data is operating to the highest standards.

The company, in which the authority is a 6 per cent shareholder, hailed the success as a significant breakthrough in the development of the system, which is due to go live in 2018.

As part of the project, the IAA’s communications centre in Ballygirreen, Co Clare will operate Aireon’s emergency tracking system, dubbed Alert, which will provide precise details on a craft’s last known location if it goes missing.

Jean46's picture

Italy’s ENAV getting in shape ahead of flotation

Cost-cutting efforts and a recovery in international traffic allowed Italian air traffic control to deliver an improved first-quarter performance.

The air navigation service provider which is due to be privatised when it floats on the Italian stock market in July saw en-route traffic over Italy enjoying a 0.3% year on year increase on 360,702 flights managed.

There was a 2.4% increase in the number of service units which takes into account the weight of the aircraft and, in the case of the en-route traffic, also the distance travelled, to 1,587,750.

Total consolidated revenues for the first quarter reached €177.4 million, increasing by 5.3% from €168.4 million – helped by a mechanism that allows ENAV to recover any difference between the planned air traffic, as defined in the performance plan, and the actual traffic recorded (€11.5 million).

Giorgos's picture

FAA’s bid to expand air traffic hiring pool hits turbulence

A revamped hiring process for federal air traffic controllers that the government says is designed to broaden the applicant pool is being assailed by critics who say it has resulted in the selection of candidates with no experience over graduates of rigorous aviation programs.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it changed the process and added a personality test, called the Biographical Questionnaire, as the first hurdle in hiring controllers in order to get the best possible job candidates.

The test, officials said, measures risk tolerance, dependability, cooperation, resilience, stress tolerance and other traits. It was developed through years of research to predict pass rates at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, the agency’s principal training facility, and whether a controller will be certified at his or her first air traffic site.

Swedish air traffic controllers debunk cyber attack disruption theory

Sweden's civil aviation administration (LFV) has concluded that radar disruptions that affected services in Stockholm and Malmö last November were down to the effects of a solar flare, scotching rumors reported by El Reg and others earlier this week that a hacker group linked to Russian intelligence might be to blame.

Radar stations were not relaying the correct data to air traffic control during the afternoon of November 4, prompting controllers to switch over onto a different way of managing the aircraft, and to restrict the number of planes allowed into Swedish airspace. The disruption lasted for around 90 minutes.

An investigation by LFV did consider the possibility that a cyber attack against the system might be behind the disruption, but this theory was quickly discounted by aviation experts.

2_b_or_not's picture

French ATCOs to Ryanair: 'We don't care about your profits'

French air traffic controllers have dismissed Ryanair’s complaints about their strikes having cost the budget airline millions in lost profit calling boss Michael O’Leary a “provocateur”.

A representative of the leading French air traffic controllers union told The Local that safety and not Ryanair’s profits were their priority after recent complaints from O’Leary that his airline’s takings had nosedived by millions thanks to strikes in France.

“What matters to us is how secure the air traffic control system is in France,” Stephan Lonni, from the SNCTA union told The Local. “Besides, Ryanair’s profits have never been higher.”

“The fact that there have been over 40 strikes in France is a symptom of a problem that clearly has not been resolved.

Swedes secretly blame Putin for air traffic break-down

While the Swedes publically blamed solar flares for downing its air traffic control system last Novemer, it secretly warned NATO that it was really an attack by Russian hackers.

According to Aldrimer, authorities in the Scandinavian country notified NATO of a serious, ongoing cyber attack by a hacker group linked to Russian intelligence.  That was not the official story.  The Swedish Civil Aviation Administration told the world that a solar storm had knocked out air traffic control systems in much of Sweden.

Sweden is not a member of NATO, but it issued the warning to the alliance and several NATO allies, including Norway and Denmark. The Swedes believed the cyber attack was led by the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group which previously has been linked to the Russian military intelligence service GRU.

Giorgos's picture

Air traffic control services at Gatwick Airport transferred to ANS of DFS

Tower services at Gatwick Airport transferred from provider NATS to ANS at midnight on 29 February 2016. The transfer of operations from Gatwick’s current air traffic control provider is the culmination of a 14-month transition effort. ANS, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German air navigation service provider DFS, will provide air traffic control and air traffic engineering services over a 10-year period at what is the world’s busiest single runway airport with a maximum of 55 aircraft movements per hour. NATS will continue to provide approach control to Gatwick from its centre at Swanwick.

dallas's picture

Drone near-misses prompt calls for plane strike research

Pilots are calling for research into what would happen if a drone hit an airliner, after 23 near-misses around UK airports in six months last year.

Reports from the UK Airprox Board reveal the incidents happened between 11 April and 4 October 2015.

In one incident a drone passed within 25m (82ft) of a Boeing 777 near London Heathrow Airport.

Pilots union Balpa wants the government and safety regulator to back research into how serious a strike could be.

The incident at Heathrow was one of 12 that were given an "A" rating by the independent board, meaning there was "a serious risk of collision". It is the most serious risk rating out of five.

Other incidents given the most serious rating include a drone coming within 20m (66ft) of a Embraer 170 jet on its approach to London City Airport above the Houses of Parliament on 13 September.

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