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dallas's picture

US air-traffic control union chief: Privatization possible, but funding crucial

The union chief for air-traffic controllers said he would negotiate with lawmakers and the aviation industry over whether to turn the system over to a private company, as it is in Canada, rather than insisting it remain a government function.

But Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the Aero Club of Washington he would oppose any effort to make air-traffic control a profit-making corporation. And he said stable funding is more important than organizational reform because funding disputes delay improvements.

"I'm willing to have those conversations and move forward on it as long as we find a stable, predictable funding stream," said Rinaldi, who represents 20,000 controllers, engineers and other professionals. "We will fight and oppose any model that strives to make a profit from air-traffic control services."

Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Embark on Six-hour Strike

Air Traffic Controllers, under the aegis of National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), paralysed flight operations when they embarked on a six-hour warning strike. They hinged their reason for the strike on alleged epileptic air navigation equipment and poor staff welfare.

The strike gave rise to delays, prompting some airlines to cancel flights to some destinations. But the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), which pre-empted the strike, sent senior management officials to the towers to control flight movement to curb the adverse effect of the strike. The controllers have threatened to go on strike three times in this year, insisting that the management of the NAMA must abide by the agreement it reached with the controllers in their improved welfare last year.

Jean46's picture

French air traffic controller strike leaves thousands of travellers stranded

Thousands of travellers due to fly from British airports have been left stranded by French air traffic controllers striking over an increase in pension age.

Hundreds of flights were grounded on Wednesday and many more were disrupted, with delays and cancellations not only affecting journeys to France but also to other parts of Europe accessible through French airspace.

AFP reported that the situation in Paris terminals was relatively calm, with passengers apparently making other plans after heeding advance warnings of the strike.

A spokesman for Eurocontrol, the agency that oversees air-traffic control across Europe, said France’s aviation authority had requested a 40% cut in flights to and from French airports.

loulou's picture

FAA Hack Attack Did Not Hit Air-Traffic Control…Yet

Hackers earlier this year attacked a Federal Aviation Administration network with malicious software, agency officials said.

In early February, FAA discovered "a known virus" spread via email on "its administrative computer system," agency spokeswoman Laura Brown told Nextgov. "After a thorough review, the FAA did not identify any damage to agency systems," she added.

An upcoming competition among contractors to help run an FAA cybersecurity center might be altered as a result of the incident, according to an April 2 interim award notice that casually mentioned the attack.

2_b_or_not's picture

Poland charges Russian air traffic controllers over Smolensk

Military prosecutors in Poland have filed criminal charges against two Russian air traffic controllers over the 2010 crash in Smolensk, but Russia rebuffs the claims.

dallas's picture

FAA plans to hire 6,000 air traffic controllers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking to hire a few good air traffic controllers to boost the nation's flight navigation system. 

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Monday that the agency is holding a "virtual career fair" from March 23-28 as it seeks to start filling 6,000 air traffic controller over the next five years. 

Huerta said in a blog post on the Transportation Department's website that air traffic controller position is an attractive post for potential job seekers. 

Giorgos's picture

Inside Nasa’s amazing airport simulator

With air traffic becoming busier every year, how do controllers train to the limits? At Nasa’s Ames Research Center, they can simulate any airport in the world at the click of a button.

The skies are getting crowded. Every year more and more commercial aircraft join the world’s fleets. In the last 40 years the number of passengers flown on the world’s airlines has multiplied 10-fold to three billion a year. By 2030, that’s expected to be six billion a year. Keeping track of all those planes is proving to be a challenge.

Take the winter storms which have battered the Midwest and Southeast United States in recent weeks; they led to many thousands of flights being cancelled. Getting those planes back into the air, resuming their schedules and getting thousands of people to where they need to be is a massive task. It calls for sophisticated technology, and highly trained controllers.

dallas's picture

FAA Is Trying To Keep Hackers Out Of Air Traffic Control, Official Says

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told Congress Tuesday his agency is implementing changes to ensure the nation's air traffic control system is protected against computer hackers. Huerta told a House panel "the system is safe," despite a Government Accountability Office report that found "significant security control weaknesses."

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore, one of the lawmakers who requested the GAO report, said at a House Transportation subcommittee hearing that he is concerned the system could be vulnerable to breach by terrorists. "We know there is an enduring interest in terrorist groups in aviation; they've used our aviation system as weapons. One can imagine they might be interested in hacking the system and perhaps could facilitate a midair collision."

The GAO report found the FAA has taken steps to protect air traffic control systems, but that weaknesses remain in, among other things:

2_b_or_not's picture

FAA Must Address Cyber-Security of Air Traffic Control Systems: GAO

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report calling for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to strengthen the cyber-security of the nation's air traffic control systems.

The report contends the FAA has failed to consistently control access to NAS [National Airspace System] computers, implement controls for identifying and authenticating users and encrypt sensitive data. The GAO conducted its review between August 2013 and January 2015.

Giorgos's picture

New system allows air traffic controllers to converse with drones

If autonomous delivery drones are ever going to see widespread use, then they can't simply fly around with no regard for other aircraft. In recent projects, drone operators had to file flight plans in advance. Researchers from Australia's RMIT University have gone a step farther, however. They've developed a system that lets drones communicate with air traffic controllers using a synthesized voice.

The system was developed by RMIT in collaboration with Thales Australia's Centre for Advanced Studies in Air Traffic Management (CASIA), and software engineering firm UFA Inc. It utilizes UFA's ATVoice Automated Voice Recognition and Response software, allowing drones to both verbally respond to spoken information requests (delivered by radio), and to act on clearances granted by air traffic controllers.

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