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The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

ATC Updates

Airways New Zealand CEO search opens up opportunity

With Airways Chief Executive Ed Sims’ resignation announced last month, NZALPA’s ATC Council is looking to forge a more positive and collaborative relationship with his replacement.

Sims served as Airways CEO for six years.

“We wish Ed the best for the future. Our hope is that the new appointment will be someone who is comfortable communicating with us as a union and the controllers at a grassroots level,” ATC Director Jonathan Brooks said.

The appointment comes at a time when Airways is discussing and beginning to implement its 2028 plans, which includes substantial changes across the industry.

“It’s even more important now that Airways engages the most-qualified people on the ground to allow efficient and easy adoption of change. This will also help ensure that any proposals made in future are successful,” Brooks said.

“We’re already thinking about all the ways in which we can work with the new CEO of Airways and we want to actively engage further.

“It’s a win-win situation. It’s mutually beneficial for Airways and NZALPA ATC members to work together, so we can deliver the best and safest service to the public, while improving our working conditions.”

ATC Council considers the challenges and opportunities of the Airways 2028 service delivery plan

Following on from the announcement of Airways’ project 2028, which is about upgrading and modifying the current air traffic management system, the NZALPA ATC Council representatives have been working hard to identify, consider and actively manage the various ways that it will affect the Air Traffic Control members.

The 2028 project includes the introduction of new surveillance technologies, new radar displays and tools, and modified air traffic management procedures. Approach Control services for Wellington and Auckland will be combined (as well as based in Auckland and in Christchurch), the Enroute Raglan Sector will be moved to Auckland, and Queenstown Approach will likely be taken over by a new sector providing an Approach Surveillance service.

“We’re spending a lot of time considering the implications of these changes and the impact this will have on our members and the travelling public,” ATC Director Jonathan Brooks said.

“We need to ensure that once implemented they will achieve the right and safest outcome for everyone.

“Of course, part of our work is also to look into what it means for members outside of those sectors currently impacted and how their jobs might be different in the future.

“What is clear is that change is upon us and we need to approach that change using the best work methods possible to ensure the right outcomes for our ATC members. Our current CEA does not contemplate some of the proposals currently on the table and so the best technique for working through this is collaborative rational problem-solving, using tools such as interest-based problem solving (IBPS).”

Airways is looking at a system upgrade to the Leidos Skyline X programme, which is expected to cope with a forecasted increase of air traffic, possibly by as much as 50 percent over the next decade.

At the time of the upgrade announcement, Brooks told the New Zealand Herald that Airways had assured NZALPA that should there be any job losses as a consequence of the proposed changes, these would be absorbed through attrition.

“If there was to now be a change of direction, then we would expect that we would be involved in that conversation to work through any issues collaboratively.

“Clearly change is coming at Airways and we expect to be fully consulted and treated as an integral part of managing this change process. Our members are highly skilled in their areas of work responsibility and we are sure they will be able to adjust to change professionally and upskill if required,” Brooks said.

NZALPA responds to formation of ATM Policy Institute

Airways recently announced the formation of an Air Traffic Management (ATM) Policy Institute. The international group of air traffic management providers aim to improve the efficiency and performance of ATM through greater market liberalisation.

Airways New Zealand reported recently that the group was founded by the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) of New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Czech Republic and in partnership with the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO). It would provide research on ATM policy issues, and make the case for the benefits of enabling ANSPs to compete with each other for the provision of ATM services. 

“For some time now the NZALPA ATC Council has been talking with our colleagues in the UK, Canada, the US and Australia. Over the past year we have been discussing the rumour of a ‘Star Alliance-type’ partnership in ATC and, as such, we have formed much closer ties ourselves,” NZALPA ATC Director Jonathan Brooks said.

“It’s important our associations communicate openly and freely with each other, and we analyse collectively how any proposed changes could affect the industry. What happens in Canada for instance could easily affect us here in NZ.

“We cannot remain isolated and stand by while any ANSP around the world promotes this potential air traffic service race.

 “We’ll be monitoring the outcomes of the ATM Policy Institute with interest and are looking forward to working alongside our international colleagues on this matter. An early indication of this is the recent trade stand at the ATM World Congress where NZALPA was represented alongside NATCA, CATCA and Civil Air.” Brooks said.

More information: 

The case for liberalising Air Traffic Control >

For the full story on the formation of the ATM Policy Institute >

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