in Air Transport

ATNS official elected to key Industry position

Posted 25 April 2018 · Add Comment

Air Traffic and Navigation Service (ATNS) SOC Senior Air Traffic Controller, Peter Van Rooyen, has been elected Executive Vice-President of the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA).

 

His election took place during the final plenary of the Association’s 57th Conference, held recently in Accra, Ghana.

Van Rooyen said he has been involved in Air Traffic Control Professional activities since he joined The Guild of Air Traffic Controllers of South Africa (GATCSA) in 2000.  “I have held various positions on the GATCSA Executive Board including being President of the Guild.  Currently I am the Executive Vice President Professional on the Executive Board of GATCSA”.

“I’ve been a member of IFATCA since 2001.  In 2008, I decided to challenge myself more and made myself available for elections to join the Professional and Legal Committee (PLC) of IFATCA, working on various interesting topics and presenting papers at the annual IFATCA Conferences” he continued.  He says he has been very fortunate to have been elected on this specific committee every year since 2008. 

Another great opportunity came Peter’s way when the IFATCA Executive Board elected him as Chairman of Committee C at the IFATCA annual conference, for the last four years.  “The experience in GATCSA and IFATCA has broadened my overall knowledge and has given me a good international context to several important issues that affect Air Traffic Control in South Africa and Globally” concluded Peter.

Van Rooyen has identified the professional challenges the Board should concentrate on in the next two years: “Firstly, I believe our priority should be Fatigue Risk Management, there is still lots of Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP’s) rostering Single Person Operations (SPO) in busy environment and long hours of operational watch.  In some countries, Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCO’s) need to take second jobs because of poor pay, this has a major effect on Fatigue.  This topic is also very high on ICAO’s list to implement,” he said.

Secondly, Competency and Licensing. Van Rooyen said: “Competency have been an issue due to many things, unfortunately a new angle in competency is coming up very fast; many ANSPs had staff shortage, so they took it upon themselves to “FAST TRACK” training of ATCOs to meet the required capacity." 

Thirdly is ‘Just Culture’. “We still have a lot of cases where ANSPs are punishing controllers for errors, even if the errors are systemic errors,” said Van Rooyen. “Just Culture” still seems to be a very difficult concept to understand by various ANSP’s where the biggest obstacle is the line between wilful intent and human error, Who draws the line”.

He added: "Though most ANSPs today try to improve the working environment of ATCO’s there are still some that lag, and in some countries, controllers work under unbearable conditions.

Van Rooyen believes IFATCA needs to focus their resources on the above mentioned four major areas to make a difference in the Air Traffic Controllers life.  He stated that “We need to realise that all our members have various work-related challenges and we should, where practically possible, assist and give guidance accordingly because they are the Federation in the end.”

 

 

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