Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1705195
johnm wrote:
It’s not a simple matter, because the environment for airport/approach ATC is different to that of en-route ATC, but one of the main reasons is that airports see ATC as a large cost that needs to be reduced (they won’t pay for an overbearing of staff) and the CAA and the SES performance scheme has forced en-route NATS to cut costs to allow reduced route charges.


Is this a part of UK ATC or does it apply across Europe as well, because it looks like the usual penny wise pound foolish disease at first glance. Moreover a joined up system would typically be more efficient thus improving ATCO productivity and reducing pressure.


"This is the UK and Ireland functional airspace block’s performance plan and supporting document for the reference period of 2015 to 2019 (RP2).

The document sets out targets for en-route and terminal air navigation services (ANS). It meets the requirements of the single European sky (SES) performance scheme, an EU initiative to improve the performance of ANS by setting targets in the 4 performance areas of:
•safety
•environment
•capacity
•cost-efficiency"

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicati ... 15-to-2019

It's Europe-wide

https://ec.europa.eu/transport/modes/ai ... ormance_en

https://www.nats.aero/about-us/ses/reference-period-2/
Awful Charlie liked this
#1705205
I some ways I think they are really good to compare because it shows what a shortage actually looks like. Good pay and conditions, the extensive training is fully paid for, and they still can't get enough people (or push them through training quickly enough).

If there really were a shortage of airline pilots then the same situation would exist. The employers would be paying the full cost and they still wouldn't be able to get enough people.

The fact that you still have to pay the thick end of £100k for an ATPL that comes with no guarantee of any sort of job tells the rest of the story. People say that hiring conditions are good at the moment, but that is all relative. It just means there are slightly fewer candidates for each job rather than not enough candidates to fill all the jobs.
#1705209
More advocating......Where do the controllers come from?


I had hoped from a number of areas:

1) Reduce fragmentation / overlap / disjointed provision so that less personnel / equipment / buildings etc may serve a larger area.
2) Simplification of airspace and its boundaries could mean much easier to get approved to control on that sector or any other sector
3) Recognise some may not want to do shift work, ever
4) Assess if virtual towers will help those who cannot physically move there, or see if adding a number of (smaller) enroute control centres in office floors in cities will allow more people to plug-in to any sector at any desk.
5) Standardisation of rules to international best practice so that recruitment from overseas, if necessary, becomes easier.
6) Remove any over the top laws that make controllers feel too nervous on every little wrong move they make, particularly when there has been no airprox.
7) Promotion of air traffic control at air show events, city billboards, TV adverts, etc. There’s a perception that’s it’s a very stressful job that’s hard to learn and easy to lose and find themselves in a courtroom.

Just some thoughts.
#1705219
James Chan wrote:
More advocating......Where do the controllers come from?


I had hoped from a number of areas:

1) Reduce fragmentation / overlap / disjointed provision so that less personnel / equipment / buildings etc may serve a larger area.
2) Simplification of airspace and its boundaries could mean much easier to get approved to control on that sector or any other sector
3) Recognise some may not want to do shift work, ever
4) Assess if virtual towers will help those who cannot physically move there, or see if adding a number of (smaller) enroute control centres in office floors in cities will allow more people to plug-in to any sector at any desk.
5) Standardisation of rules to international best practice so that recruitment from overseas, if necessary, becomes easier.
6) Remove any over the top laws that make controllers feel too nervous on every little wrong move they make, particularly when there has been no airprox.
7) Promotion of air traffic control at air show events, city billboards, TV adverts, etc. There’s a perception that’s it’s a very stressful job that’s hard to learn and easy to lose and find themselves in a courtroom.

Just some thoughts.


1) They've already done and are doing this - they closed the Manchester sub-centre and consolidated it up to Prestwick
2) Very difficult due to danger areas and agreements with adjacent sectors and other units - you really do need to have specialist knowledge of your sectors.
3) Bit difficult when it's a 24/7 operation, but there are some flexi and part-time folk
4) Isn't this contradictory to 1)? Virtual towers are being developed - LCY due to open at Swanwick in the next year or so I belive.
5) SERA etc.
6) I'm not sure where you get this impression
7) I think the NATS recruitment team do this already
#1705222
I had go at the documents that @GonzoEGLL posted, blimey! Way beyond my capacity to understand, but a few things came up. The U.K. reliance on commercial contracts and competition to drive out cost is well to the forefront. An ambition to deliver 10 % more traffic with a real terms cost reduction of 20% is a tall order, especially if the core resource (ATCOs) carries a scarcity premium.
#1705243
6) I'm not sure where you get this impression


A recently retired controller said this: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=112622&p=1701819#p1701819.
Well, if things are a bit different in reality, then great :D

Isn't this contradictory to 1)


It's more about where there's overlap. But if it's easier/cheaper to relocate recruited people to a smaller number of sites (Swanwick/Prestwick), then setting up these smaller/simpler "virtual" centers probably won't work then - fair enough.
#1705256
In the medium term I would expect fewer humans doing ATC. A sensible solution seems to be a set of decentralised algorithms with a lot of decisions being taken by a robot in each aircraft that knows what to expect from the other robot aircraft it senses on ADSB, as well as data from the ground.

With the sky full of autonomous flying machines of all sizes it would all get a bit complex for humans to control anyway.