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2_b_or_not's picture

The Economist: Free flight

In a windowless industrial building on the outskirts of Madrid a group of people are watching a series of coloured symbols move steadily across a bank of computer screens. Each icon represents an aircraft flying over southern Europe. In an adjacent room another group are monitoring flights over part of Asia, and next door all eyes are on South America. These flights are not “live” but are simulated by Indra, a Spanish technology company, to train controllers in the operation of a new generation of air-traffic-management systems that promises to make flying more efficient by shortening flight times and reducing delays.

dallas's picture

Bahamas ATCOs Union Says Staff Victimised After Warning Of Health Risk

Gray, president of the Bahamas Air Traffic Controller’s Union, said BATCU will go “as far as it needs to go” to combat the Department of Civil Aviation’s “victimisation” of two employees who had “brought relief” to staff whose health and safety were threatened by departmental “negligence.”

At a press conference yesterday at Labour House, Ms Gray said BATCU “will not accept” disciplinary action against two members who “operated fully within their supervisory right of responsibility to protect the health and safety of their co-workers and themselves”.

The employees had proposed a temporary suspenion of air traffic services because of the conditions in which workers were placed.

World Record for NATS Controllers at Gatwick Airport

Air traffic controllers at Gatwick Airport handled a total of 906 movements on 29 August, breaking their own world record for air traffic movements in a day from a single runway.

The record was broken at the end of the busy summer season and the last weekend of the school holidays, with 906 movements equating to a take off or landing every 63 seconds. 

NATS is the only air traffic services operator in the world to have ever achieved more than 900 aircraft movements in a single day from one runway – a feat it achieved four times in August. It set the previous record of 895 in 2008 and has consistently set the benchmark for the number of movements from a single runway.

Over the past two years, NATS has worked to increase Gatwick’s declared capacity to deliver seven hours of 55 scheduled movements per day, although even more are not uncommon at peak times.

World Record for NATS Controllers at Gatwick Airport

Air traffic controllers at Gatwick Airport handled a total of 906 movements on 29 August, breaking their own world record for air traffic movements in a day from a single runway.

The record was broken at the end of the busy summer season and the last weekend of the school holidays, with 906 movements equating to a take off or landing every 63 seconds. 

NATS is the only air traffic services operator in the world to have ever achieved more than 900 aircraft movements in a single day from one runway – a feat it achieved four times in August. It set the previous record of 895 in 2008 and has consistently set the benchmark for the number of movements from a single runway.

Over the past two years, NATS has worked to increase Gatwick’s declared capacity to deliver seven hours of 55 scheduled movements per day, although even more are not uncommon at peak times.

dallas's picture

Snoozing China air traffic controllers delay jet to land

A Chinese aircraft was forced to delay its landing after two air traffic controllers nodded off, reports said Tuesday, sparking a wave of online anger about airline safety.

The Boeing 737 was preparing to land at Wuhan airport in central China but had no response from the air traffic control tower for 12 minutes, reports said.

Contact was eventually made and China Eastern Airlines flight MU2528 from Sanya landed safely, the Sina.com news portal said.

"Because air traffic control was asleep on duty, (the plane) called many times," civil aviation authorities said in a statement quoted by Chinese business magazine Caijing.

"But there was no reply, and no contact could be made with the control tower."

A separate investigation report cited by Caijing said two controllers had fallen asleep.

loulou's picture

FAA’s new air traffic control system unstable, less capable than old system

The Federal Aviation Administration has begun deploying a new computer system for its air traffic controllers despite warnings that the software suffers from unstable requirements, lacks key safety capabilities and requires training that has yet to be given to workers, a government watchdog warned Monday.

The problems with the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) are so widespread right now that the new system already being installed at the Dallas airport actually has fewer capabilities for air traffic controllers than the old software it was designed to replace, the Transportation Department’s inspector general reported.

One of the missing capabilities is a special warning that alerts controllers of loss of separation between aircraft, a potential safety hazard, the IG said. Officials are scrambling for an upgrade this month to fix that problem.

2_b_or_not's picture

Croatia thanks neighbors after "most terrifying incident"

Croatia's air traffic control authority has thanked Serbia and Montenegro Air Traffic Services (SMATSA) for its "quick and professional reaction on July 30."

SMATSA briefly took control of the entire Croatian airspace after the country was hit by bad weather.

The Consequences of Reagan Breaking the '81 Air Traffic Controllers Strike (1/2)

Prof. Joseph McCartin and former PATCO spokesperson Elliot Simons discuss the anniversary of the firing of 11,000 air traffic controllers and why it matters today.

Labor was a prominent power in 1981. When the air traffic controllers went out on strike 33 years ago yesterday, on August 3, 1981, the labor movement was still seen as a central force in American government and politics. Both parties, Republican and Democrat, saw labor that way.

Giorgos's picture

France air traffic controllers strike called off

There was relief for travellers across Europe Wednesday as French air traffic controllers called an early end to a strike that has caused disruptions for thousands of passengers over the past two days.

The strike by members of the Unsa-ICNA union was launched on Tuesday against what some air traffic controllers say is a lack of sufficient funding for a sector in dire need of modernisation and was due to last until the end of the weekend.

But the remainder of the strike was called off after the government recognised the "importance of investment in the sector," said Unsa-ICNA following lengthy talks with state officials.

The strike had caused scores of flights to be cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday, including those of Air France and budget carriers EasyJet and Ryanair.

dallas's picture

Planes Are Finally Making Logical Descents Onto American Runways

Planes flying into Houston are burning less fuel and making less noise than before, thanks to an FAA project implemented this month. Instead of the conventional descent—leveling out between drops in altitude—pilots will follow a steady path to the ground with the engine throttle near idle.

The shift, along with changes that will ease air congestion around Houston, is part of NextGen, the FAA’s $37 billion program to modernize how American airspace is managed by 2030.

Usually, planes approaching an airport drop altitude in steps, cranking up the engines to level out in between. That makes it easier for pilots to control descents and for air traffic controllers to keep track of everyone and manage spacing between planes. Crews check in with the ground at each interval, making sure they’re clear to drop a few thousand more feet. It’s a safe but inefficient way to get lots of planes on the ground.

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