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Jean46's picture

US ATCOs texting on duty

The Eyewitness News Investigators have uncovered exclusive details about air traffic controllers distracted on the job, including workers who were watching sexually-explicit videos and taking selfies while directing planes in the air.

Using open records law, we were able to get disciplinary documents that show air traffic controllers around the nation suspended from their jobs for texting or watching video instead of watching planes.

One recently retired New York air traffic controller, whose identity we are protecting, spoke at length about what she considers to be a growing problem.

In the last few years of her highly-demanding job, she noticed more and more of her fellow controllers often distracted by their cell phones, even though FAA rules require all cell phones to be turned off when on duty.

"I would see people talking on the phone, I did see it many times," she said. "While they were working traffic."

loulou's picture

Europe’s biggest airlines form new lobbying group

Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, the International Airlines Group (IAG) together with EasyJet and Ryanair will form a lobby group to influence policies regarding the European aviation.

According to AFP news agency, the name of the new association will be Airlines for Europe (A4E) and according to a statement it will “represent the interests of its members when dealing with the EU institutions, international organizations and national governments on European aviation issues.”

“Six months ago we got together to agree that Europe needs a loud and unified and clear voice to represent the airline industry in order to bring changes to the EU aviation framework,” said Willie Walsh, chief executive of the International Airlines Group (which consists of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling, IAG Cargo,Iberia Express, BMI Regional, OpenSkies and Comair.)

Giorgos's picture

US Aviation groups plead for private air traffic control plan to be grounded

Aviation groups who represent non-commercial flight operators are pleading for Congress to ground a proposal to privatize privatize large portions of the nation's air traffic control system in a funding measure for the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Lawmakers are already expected to debate a proposal from House Republicans to create a new nongovernmental agency that would take over air traffic control from the FAA as Congress tries to beat a March 31 deadline for renewing the agency's funding.

dallas's picture

ICAO reports positive global traffic trends for 2015

Provisional figures from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) indicate strong passenger traffic growth in 2015, although the air freight sector continues to face challenges.

ICAO will issue its final statistics in July 2016. Its preliminary analysis shows that 3.5 billion passengers used scheduled airline services in 2015 (a 6.8% year-on-year increase when measured in revenue passenger-kilometres, or RPKs). This was partly stimulated by an almost 40% fall in the price of aviation fuel, which enabled airlines to reduce fares.

International scheduled passenger traffic RPKs grew by 6.7% in 2015, compared with 6% in 2014. Europe accounted for 37% of international traffic, ahead of the Asia-Pacific region (28%), Middle East and North America (14% each), Latin America/Caribbean (4%), and Africa (3%).

2_b_or_not's picture

Heathrow staff keep working long after the last plane lands at 11pm

Resurfacing the runways, shooing the birds away and clearing aircraft for late landings. These are just some of the jobs that are carried out at London Heathrow - Europe's biggest airport - after the last scheduled flight of the day at 11pm.
Heathrow, which covers an area of 4.6 square miles, has around 1,290 flights every day that arrive and take-off to 84 different destinations - but even at night this busy airport never sleeps. 

During the day, a flight lands at the airport every 45 seconds, so it is a stressful and demanding job. Heathrow is particularly challenging for a controller as no comparable international airport is packed into anywhere near so tight a space.
To keep their concentration levels razor-sharp, controllers work for 90 minutes before taking a 30 minute break. 
At night, their workload is more manageable as there are less aircraft to give instructions to.

loulou's picture

FAA hires air traffic controllers off the street, students claim reverse discrimination

For 24 years, the FAA relied on colleges and universities to prepare the next generation of air traffic controllers through the Collegiate Training Initiative.

Arizona State University has produced hundreds of these students.

Two years ago, the FAA did a startling about face, suddenly announcing it would begin hiring air traffic controllers "off the street" with no experience necessary.

Anthony Fox, head of the Department of Transportation, which oversees the FAA, told Congress about the sudden hiring changes.

"The FAA took an opportunity to take a broad opening of the aperture, if you will, to try to get a larger universe of applicants into the program."

Erin Hogan graduated from ASU at the top of her class.

"I scored 99 on the AT-SAT," she said.

The AT-SAT, since 2002, is the gold standard for screening air traffic control applicants.

dallas's picture

Australian investigation found military plane and helicopter missed each other by 15m above Adelaide

A helicopter and a military plane came within 15m of a disastrous crash over houses in Adelaide’s north, a report has found.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau report found a lack of communication was to blame for the near crash, which happened about 180m above residential suburbs north of Edinburgh Airport on August 31.

The military Lockheed AP-3C Orion aircraft, which had five crew members and 14 passengers on board, was forced to increase its rate of descent when the co-pilot noticed the helicopter in its path and warned ‘go low, go low, go low’.

Crew on-board the Orion later told investigators they feared the plane’s vertical tailfin would hit the helicopter.

The incident happened as the Orion was coming in to land at Edinburgh Airport just after 3pm, following a 10-hour international flight.

Jean46's picture

ICAO audit flags ATC staff shortage in India

A severe shortage of air traffic controllers (ATCOs) in India may prove to be the latest worry for international aviation authorities and trigger a global fear over flying in the country. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a UN agency, completed its audit of Indian aviation last week and is learnt to have red-flagged the shortage.

While the ICAO report will be ready in about 90 days, sources said its officials made their concerns clear during the audit.

Highly placed sources said that if ICAO makes this issue a "serious safety concern" in its report, there could be critical repercussions for Indian aviation.

dallas's picture

Chronic air traffic controllers shortage at 13 of US busiest facilities

Thirteen of the nation's busiest air traffic control facilities are suffering from a shortage of air traffic controllers, a problem that demands "urgent attention," a government watchdog told lawmakers.

The number of fully qualified controllers is "below the minimum staffing requirements" the Federal Aviation Administration has set, Matthew Hampton, a Department of Transportation assistant inspector general, told members of the House transportation aviation subcommittee. He didn't provide a list of all 13, but cited facilities in New York, Dallas, Denver and Chicago as examples.

The facilities also are under stress because a large share of their controllers are still being trained and are not yet competent to work on their own, he said. Many of their experienced controllers also are eligible to retire, Hampton said.

2_b_or_not's picture

Zimbabwe: Aviation Workers Say Working Conditions Deplorable, Urge CAAZ to Upgrade Infrastructure

THE Air Traffic Controllers Association of Zimbabwe (ATCAZ) has called upon the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to immediately speed up the upgrading of its infrastructure and equipment as the current ones are in a sorry state.

President of ATCAZ Evans Makuku said that "The communication equipment which is an absolute requirement is in shambles and in fact, obsolete." He said communication gear which included handsets, headsets or headphones were not readily available and have to be shared.

"We have staff shortages and this issue has not been addressed for too long resulting in the staff being overworked," he added.

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