G-JWTP wrote:Gonzo EGLL ,
In your opinion or official NATS hat if you prefer.
Why is there such a shortage of controllers at present?
Is it an obvious fix or is longer term strategic planning neccessary?
I have no official NATS hat to wear right now, so if you want to hear the official NATS view, I suggest contacting them.
I will certainly give you my opinion on the UK ATCO shortage. It will be a repeat of what has been posted before on this forum, so I’ll be brief:
- Reirement bulge.
- NATS, over the years, condensing courses down and specialising at an earlier stage (many non-NATS airports would gratefully employ former NATS trainees who had completed the Tower course but then failed Approach Radar or Area. This ready supply of keen trainees ‘subsidised’ by NATS, who could then, after a few years, return and complete an Approach course dried up.
- Worldwide shortage which has meant a continuing outflow of controllers to the Middle East, Canada, Australia etc.
- Pensions freedoms mean some controllers are taking early retirement (some in their late 40s).
- Commercialisation of the Airport ATC market has seen contract changes at quite a few airports, so some controllers towards the latter years of their careers have chosen to retire rather than either move (if able) or continue under a new employer.
- Race to the bottom in terms of costs. Airports see ANSPs as a significant cost, because their airline customers are committed to reducing any cost they incur to allow for £10 ticket prices. If airlines put enough pressure on their airports to reduce costs, the airports will pass on that pressure to their ANSP tender process. Incumbent ANSP then feels they have to attempt to meet the customer expectation or lose the contract.
- Reduction in NATS recruitment a few years ago, allied to a pretty aggressive voluntary redundancy programme.
The CAA’s report under Project Oberon http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/201 ... dacted.pdf
might be interesting. The TL/DR is on pages 5 and 6.
- Whole situation not helped by some airlines who, as shareholders, have a high level of influence over the amount NATS can charge (ie revenue). Airlines want route charge costs to be low for them to maximise their own revenue, but those who own shareholdings in NATS also want return as a dividend, so those at the coal face get squeezed by both ends.
More info: https://www.atcos.co.uk/wp-content/uplo ... P-1593.pdf
Andhttps://www.atcos.co.uk/wp-content/uplo ... sponse.pdf
To summarise, lots of factors.
A ‘perfect storm’.
Training pipeline going at maximum.
No quick fix.