Maintenance of Recency and Competency

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Maintenance of Recency and Competency

33RD ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Ottawa, Canada, 18-22 April 1994

WP No. 148

Maintenance of Recency and Competency

Introduction

At the previous Annual Conference (Christchurch ’93) SC4 indicated that there is no IFATCA Policy on minimum working hours to maintain recency and competency. SC4 believes that establishing such a minimum is necessary for the work of an operational controller in order to maintain a high proficiency level. SC4 at that time asked for the input of all MA’s on the subject. SC4 received about 15 reactions and we want to thank those MA’s for their input. Most of the MA’s are not satisfied with their regulations, national, local or based on Annex I, are considered to be inadequate. A proposal for minimum working hours is not to be seen as a proposal for social benefits. It is primarily for those ATCO’s who hold the rating next to their other ATC-related job or activities in the office (management, training, developing new systems, etc.)

Discussion

ATCO’s involved in other important tasks (beside their actual job), such as Training (classroom and/or On-the-Job), Supervising, Management and developing New Systems need a minimum amount of working hours in the OPS-room to keep them current.

The minimum amount of working hours should be appropriate. That means that these hours must be spread over the year, but also over the day. It must include all positions for which one has a rating and the hours must have enough quality. This means quality in relation to the amount of traffic handled. The quality of a shift can only be judged by the ATCO’s. Many ATCO’s not working full-time on the actual job, can do the work because they can rely on their routine. Introduction of new procedures or a new ATC-system attacks the routine of an ATCO. In such cases the minimum working hours should be increased so that the ATCO can acquire new routine.

Other situation in which the minimum hours should increased are:

  • a difficult position. Some positions/sectors are more complicated than others. The ATCO needs more hours to maintain his competency.
  • at instigation of the ATCO. Under special circumstances an individual ATCO can ask for more hours if he feels he needs it for his recency and competency.

It is very difficult for IFATCA to determine the exact amount of minimum working hours an ATCO needs to maintain recency and competency. These hours may vary for each MA and even for different units within a MA. It seems therefore logical that a country and/or unit itself comes up with these amounts. IFATCA can only stress the need for it.

Conclusions

Involvement in other ATC-related tasks can lead to a lowering of the proficiency level. Minimum working hours are necessary to maintain recency and competency. These hours must be set by the MA. The minimum working hours must be appropriate for the workload of each position.

The minimum working hours must be increased in the following cases:

  • at the introduction of new procedures or ATC-systems;
  • at difficult positions or sectors;
  • at instigation of an individual ATCO.

Recommendation

Each MA should agree with the appropriate Regulatory Authority a minimum of operational working hours, per rating, for their ATCOs who are involved in other ATC-related duties.

The minimum operational working hours must be appropriate for the workload of each position.

The minimum working hours must be increased in the following cases:

  • at the introduction of new procedures or ATC-systems;
  • at difficult positions or sectors;
  • at instigation of an individual ATCO.

Last Update: September 20, 2020  

December 23, 2019   717   Jean-Francois Lepage    1994    

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