More than 100 air traffic controllers from around the Asia-Pacific region and beyond will come together for the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) regional meeting in Wellington next month.
NZALPA will host the prestigious annual event, for the first time since 1994, with sponsorship from the Contingency Fund Trust.
“We’re honoured to have been asked to host this year’s event,” air traffic controller and regional meeting organiser Jeremy Thompson said.
“It goes a long way in showing how respected New Zealand’s aviation scene is and also gives the countries within the region a chance to share their experiences over the past year, from which we can all learn.”
The three-day meeting (19-21 October) will incorporate guest speakers, workshops, presentations, opportunities for discussion and social events.
The main day of proceedings will coincide with International Day of the Air Traffic Controller marked on 20 October every year.
The NZALPA team organising the event has confirmed that this year’s theme will be automation in the workforce, which will look at the changing role of the air traffic controller and how they adapt to automation, and how technology is affecting the role.
Four speakers have been confirmed. IFATCA President, Chief Executive Officer and working controller Patrik Peters will be presenting on automation and also on the impacts of fatigue.
“It’s great to have Patrik back after the valuable contributions he made at the NZALPA conference in June,” Thompson said.
“He’ll be able to report on current issues affecting our colleagues in Europe and knowledge he has from working closely with controllers on other continents.”
Philippe Domogala, who is well known for his contribution as editor of The Controller magazine and also for his 30 years’ experience as a controller for Eurocontrol, will speak on Just Culture and what that means for employers and controllers as the industry changes.
The Chair of the UK’s union for air traffic controllers, Prospect, and board member of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, Paul Winstanley, will share his experience in the UK as the industry trials remote and virtual towers through employer NATS.
“The UK are in a position where they have a shortage of air traffic controllers and don’t quite have the technology in place to cope with this shortage,” Thompson said.
“Paul will be able to tell us what is working and what’s not when it comes to alternative tower choices.”
The fourth speaker, IFATCA’s Executive Vice President Mike O’Neill, is a controller in Hong Kong. He will focus on following standard procedures and the benefits of following standard departure and arrival procedures (SIDS and STARS) and how that impacts on pilot planning.
Mike will also conduct a workshop on these procedures and how different regions are doing things.
Every member country of the Asia-Pacific region will also have the opportunity to present a 12-month activity report that will facilitate discussion on traffic trends, rosters, staff, employers, new technology, project and any accidents or near-miss situations.
The meeting will conclude with a presentation by NZALPA’s Chris Miller, who will present on the ATC’s professional standards programme as it is put into practice in New Zealand.
“NZALPA is really leading the way in its support of controllers and dispute management,” Thompson said.
“Part of the meeting will include time to highlight the benefits of the professional standards programme and how it is helping our controllers.”
The regional meeting will attract delegates from the Asia-Pacific region, but also from countries such as Russia, too.
“All delegates are committed to looking to explore ways in which they can work together in preparation for the drastic increase in air traffic over the next few years,” Thompson said.
IFATCA represents more than 50,000 professional ATCs from more than 100 countries.
Visit the IFATCA Asia Pacific Regional Meeting 2017 website