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2_b_or_not's picture

Striking air-traffic controllers in Spain to appear in court

ATCOs who went on strike despite the president of Spain calling a State of Emergency will be in the dock shortly along with their union leaders.

A total of 112 air-traffic control staff downed tools over working conditions and pay in early December 2010, leaving thousands of passengers stranded or delayed for hours if not days.

The then president, socialist José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero called a State of Emergency to force them back to their seats, but they ignored this and carried on with the strike.

This led to Spanish air-space being closed.

Lawyers working on behalf of the air-traffic controllers called for the judges handling the case at 22 provincial courts to close it without charging the accused workers, stating that the closure of Spanish air-space was a ‘unilateral’ decision by the nation’s airport governing body, AENA.

loulou's picture

Air traffic controllers begin trial aiming to reduce Heathrow holding stacks

The time aeroplanes spend circling Heathrow before landing could be cut as air traffic controllers join forces internationally in a trial.

In an attempt to reduce the holding stacks of planes waiting to land at Britain's biggest airport, air traffic controllers in England will share data with colleagues in France, the Netherlands, Scotland and Ireland, allowing them to manage incoming traffic much further in advance and before planes enter UK airspace.

The trial, which began on Tuesday and will last until the end of 2014, hopes to see the time planes spend in holding stacks around Heathrow, which cause extra noise and pollution, cut by at least 25%, or two minutes off the average eight-minute wait.

Lebanon air traffic controller two-hour strike delays flights

A two-hour strike by Lebanese air traffic controllers at Beirut's airport delayed over a dozen arriving and departing flights on Tuesday, airport sources said.

The air traffic controllers called for the stoppage to press for higher pay and the implementation of other demands they say had been agreed with government officials.

"If there is no response to our demands, then of course the subsequent steps will be escalatory," said Ali Hammoud, the head of a committee representing air traffic controllers, according to a statement.

Airport sources said a total of 13 flights were delayed because of the work stoppage, which ran from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

The strike coincided with the first legislative session to be held by Lebanon's parliament in about a year, during which lawmakers are expected to discuss laws regarding wages for public workers.

Air Traffic Controllers in Ghana challenge Labour Commission

“Capacity reduction on March 4 this year to ensure safe operations cannot be described as a strike,” the Ghana Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (GHATCA) stated in a statement.

The GHATCA statement signed by its President Mr Michael K. Atiemo addressed to the Acting Executive Director of National Labour Commission (NLC) and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said “Air Traffic Controllers did not embark on industrial action on March 4.

“We did not withdraw our services and therefore finds it difficult to understand why NLC described the capacity reduction as illegal strike”.

The GHATCA explained it could reduce capacity based on the structural complexity of the control area, the control sector or the aerodrome concerned and controller workload, including control and coordination tasks to be performed.

loulou's picture

French flight disruption likely as air traffic controllers join strike

Flights to and from major French cities are likely to be disrupted on Tuesday as trade unions have called a strike against President Francois Hollande's proposal to cut payroll taxes for businesses.

The country's DGAC civil aviation authority said airlines were reducing their flights into and out of Paris airports by 30 percent and those to and from the cities of Lyon, Marseille, Nice and Toulouse by 20 percent.

"Disruptions are expected throughout France," the DGAC said in a statement, pointing out that unions representing air traffic controllers had asked their members to go on strike as part of a wider call for all public sector employees to stop work.

The cuts to payroll taxes are part of what Hollande calls the “Responsibility Pact”.

Giorgos's picture

Striking airport workers ground Ghana's domestic flights

Ghana's air traffic controllers began an unlimited strike on Tuesday over working conditions, grounding domestic flights, the head of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said.
The controllers last month raised safety concerns and demanded immediate action from authorities. They also wanted some senior managers removed from office for non-performance.
"Domestic flights have been disrupted and I would like to apologise to all passengers who have been affected by this action," GCAA chief Kwame Mamphey said.
Mamphey said management was holding an emergency meeting with controller representatives aimed at ending the strike.

The commitment required to achieve a Just Culture

The Dominican Republic’s aviation authority (IDAC) is locked in a dispute with their air traffic controllers. A letter was dispatched to IDAC from IFATCA last week in support of the controllers. Obviously, this necessitated a response from IDAC which came two days later. I published the letter from IFATCA on this blog with a clear attempt to highlight the point of SYNERGY.

The letter republished below originated for Eddian Mendez, a member of the management team at IDAC. He has greater insight into the dispute and attempts to cover yet another angle – Just Culture.

dallas's picture

Headband could help brain communicate with computers

With hundreds of lives riding on every decision, the job of air traffic controller ranks near the top of almost any list of the world’s most stressful jobs. The stakes are so high that the Federal Aviation Administration has increased staffing and rest requirements in recent years to help keep controllers alert in the tower.

But imagine if a computer could know the precise moment an air traffic controller approaches mental overload, and reassign some of his responsibilities to a fresher colleague.

Technology in development at Tufts University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab could do just that. Computer scientist Robert Jacob and biomedical engineer Sergio Fantini are working on a headband to read brain activity, enabling a computer to determine whether the wearer is bored, fatigued, or sharp.

Irish Aviation Authority invests in space-based surveillance system

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), alongside partners ENAV of Italy and Denmark's Navair, has closed an initial $50m (€36m) investment in a space-based surveillance system.

The investment is in Aireon, a US company that uses satellites to monitor air traffic.

Aireon will use the investment to create a system that will use satellites to track planes across the world, ultimately creating the first global air traffic control system.

The three European air traffic control companies will invest a combined $120m in the business between now and 2017. From 2018, once the investment is complete, the IAA will hold a 6pc stake in the business.

US satellite operator Iridium Communications and the air navigation service providers Nav Canada are the other backers.

Jean46's picture

NATS boasts lowest January delay figures since records began

UK air navigation services provider NATS halved the level of delay recorded in UK airspace in January this year compared to the same month last year, and the lowest January total since records began in the mid-1990s.

This improvement was achieved despite the severe weather that affected the UK during the first month of the year.

In January, NATS handled a total of 152,930 flights, an increase of 3.1% compared to the same period last year. NATS-attributable delays for the month totaled 1,068 minutes, a decline of nearly 50% when compared to January 2013.  NATS said 99.9% of flights experienced no delay as a result of NATS-attributable regulations.

Of all flights handled by NATS in UK airspace during January, only the domestic market saw a decrease of 1.3%. All other market sectors grew during the month, with transatlantic routes up 4.1% and all other markets up 4.5%.

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