Rating of ATFM Staff

Rating of ATFM Staff

31ST ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Bournemouth, UK, 23-27 March 1992

WP No. 104

Rating of ATFM Staff

 

Introduction

During IFATCA ’91 conference it was recommended to put the item “Rating of ATFM staff” on the work programme of 1991/92. In 1986 the following IFATCA policy regarding ATFM staff was passed:

“ATFM units and their associated positions must be staffed with appropriately trained and qualified personnel. These personnel should be currently licensed air traffic controllers.”

 

During IFATCA ’91 conference this policy was replaced by the following one:

“ATFM staff not performing clerical or administrative functions must be qualified as active civilian ATCOs in Area or Approach Control or must have undertaken the duties of a qualified civilian ATCO in Area or Approach Control functions.”

 

EUROCONTROL has been charged by ICAO to establish a Central Flow Management Unit (CFMU). ICAO is very vague and unclear as to what personnel is needed. Staffing requirements (by ICAO): “it is essential that the staff of the CEUs* and FMPs* include personnel with practical air traffic control experience, who are familiar with the various areas for which they provide ATFM service.”

(* CEU: Central Executive Unit, FMP: Flow Management Positions)

For example EUROCONTROL has specified the nature of posts and recruitment criteria:

a. Principal Expert: management staff with good operational background;

b. Flow Manager: senior ATCOs fully experienced in ATFM;

c. Flow Controller: ATCOs with good ATFM background;

d. Airline co-ordinator: experienced Airline operations staff;

e. Flow Assistant: non-controllers with a limited ATC/ATFM background.

Discussion

During our last SC4 meeting (31.8.1991 in Maastricht) it was suggested to find a specific generic term “ATFM Controller”. During this meeting, the following proposals were adapted to form the basis on Licensing and Rating of ATFM staff:

i. Definition: An ATFM controller is defined as a member of the ATFMU staff not performing clerical or administrative duties;

ii. To become an ATFM controller, one must be currently qualified as an ATCO with recent experience in control duties;

iii. An ATFM controller must hold an ATFM Rating. The ATFM Rating will require the ATFM controller to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge, skills and experience of all relevant ATC procedures and ATFM duties.

How can those proposals be achieved to be IFATCA policy considering the currently observed problems such as:

  • No fixed guidelines are given by ICAO. Implementation of strict rules might become impossible due to staff-shortage, which could lead to lower the standards.
  • Amongst the present ATFM staff working in Europe are at the moment:
    • retired ATCOs;
    • medically unfit ATCOs;
    • ATCOs that failed their on-the-job training;
    • flight data assistants;
    • airline staff with no ATC background;
    • of-the-street people, with a 3 month “crash-course” in ATFM.

Conclusions

In view of the above-mentioned problems, it is absolutely necessary to have a revised IFATCA policy on “Rating of ATFM staff”.

Recommendations

ATFM staff not performing clerical or administrative functions, so called ATFM Controllers, must be qualified as ATCOs with recent experience in control duties on entry to ATFM services.

An ATFM Controller must hold an ATFM Rating. Such rating will require the ATFM controller to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge, skill and experience of all relevant ATC procedures and ATFM duties.

ATFM Controllers should be obliged to familiarise themselves with major changes in ATC procedures and maintain their acquaintance with problem areas with relation to ATFM within their region.

The Executive Board is requested to liaise with ICAO about the introduction of an ATFM Rating.

Last Update: September 20, 2020  

December 19, 2019   687   Jean-Francois Lepage    1992    

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