The European Union intends to unify the issue of Air Traffic Control Officer (ATCO) licenses, the quality of air navigation educational institutions and the system of official inspections by a new common regulation. The European consultation process arrived at an important station in Budapest on 11 and 12 of April 2013 because representatives of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and of non-EU states encountered at the international seminar organised in the headquarters of HungaroControl. The Hungarian air navigation service provider did not only contribute to the integration by its assistance, but also demonstrated a successful example to the participants by its international training academy.
Under the Single European Sky programme the air navigation system of the continent will be refurbished and the operation of air navigation service providers will be more coordinated. As a part of the process the European Aviation Safety Agency uniforms the rules of issue of the ATCO licenses and the requirements concerning the educational institutions. The uniform regulation does not only strengthen flight safety but facilitates interoperability between Member States and air navigation services. The Balkan states not yet members of the European Union could join the consultation process with the help of HungaroControl: upon the initiative of the Civil Aviaton Agency of Montenegro the Hungarian air navigation service provider organised a two days seminar in Budapest in collaboration with Entry Point Central ATS Academy, where participating states could get acquainted with and comment on the EASA Regulation draft more in details. At the forum held with the participation of ten countries the future possibilities of the training of air traffic controllers and the transboundary training experiences were also presented, and research and development trends of the upcoming years were discussed.
"Growing air traffic and the process of integration are generating increasing demand for training and simulation across Europe but there is only a rather limited supply of capacities meeting today's high professional requirements. Additionally, even though the air traffic controllers work in various countries in a similar manner, there is still a number of differences in the details, while the knowledge behind the ATCO licenses must be the same, regardless of where the controller acquired his or her qualification within the European Union” – Mr. Kornél Szepessy, CEO of HungaroControl said. Mr. Szepessy stressed: “The HungaroControl subsidiary Entry Point Central air navigation academy promotes EU objectives, because as a consequence of its infrastructure and Nordic partners it trains the air traffic controllers according to an internationally recognised method, which complies with the requirements and it is available to our foreign business partners from 2013 on”. The CEO emphasised that with this two days event HungaroControl supported air traffic integration of the Balkan states.
Michael Standar, Chief Strategies of the Single European Sky ATM Research programme (SESAR) held a presentation at the seminar, and stated that training and education programmes must keep up pace with the advancement of air navigation technology in order to assure that air traffic controllers received novelties well and to keep their expertise fresh and up to date. He also mentioned that SESAR supported innovative solutions whether they serve the renewal and development of training, or the work of active air navigation.
The new EU Regulation regarding ATCO training and licensing will take effect from 2016, once the consultation process has been closed. The reason why HungaroControl hosted the consultation between EU members and non-members was that the EPC academy of the Hungarian ANSP is a successful example of educational projects implemented with international cooperation, and additionally traffic in the soon to be re-opened upper airspace of Kosovo will be controlled from Budapest, thus the Hungarian service provider plays a mediating role in the air navigation integration of the region.