Air Traffic Control Working Condition in Pakistan a Threat to Air Safety

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations (IFATCA) has serious concerns that our air traffic controllers in Pakistan are able to provide the required safe and efficient air traffic service to local and international air travellers under the reported poor working conditions that currently exists.
Our member association, the Pakistan Air Traffic Controllers Guild (PATCG) reports that there is a serious shortage of qualified air traffic controllers in Pakistan; among other consequences, this results in a lack of required ongoing refresher training, necessary to maintain the highest professional standards. As air traffic control is a twenty-four hour operation, any shortage in staff is made up by current staff thereby restricting access to leave entitlements. As a consequence air traffic controllers become fatigued, which compromise their ability to provide a safe service. To further compound matters, IFATCA understands that promises in regard to career progression, such as special cadre ratings and ATCL allowances and license insurance have not been fulfilled, and conditions have fallen below that of other CAA employees. Further, reports indicate that some ATC infrastructure, such as radar equipment, is being operated without any backup facility.

There is no doubt that the Pakistan air traffic controllers, as their international colleagues do every day, strive to provide a professional, safe and efficient service. However, shortage of skilled controllers and substandard conditions will demotivate, frustrate and compromise the ability of the best professionals. IFATCA calls on the CAA to take immediate measures to address the shortage of skilled Air Traffic Controllers in Pakistan and to prevent ATC sectors from being operated without the necessary safety margins said Alexis Brathwaite, President and CEO of IFATCA. Air Traffic Control is a complex and demanding task and controllers bear a significant responsibility for the safety of the flying public. Pakistans Air Traffic Controllers should be adequately recognised for the professional skills they display every day, continued Mr. Brathwaite.

IFATCA calls on the Pakistan CAA to honour promises made to controllers regarding career progression, rating allowances and working conditions, including access to leave and training. IFATCA further calls for the CAA to develop suitable staffing numbers to allow for ATC positions to be operated without dangerous overloading, and for facilities to be maintained at acceptable
international standards.

At a time when the projected growth for air travel in the Asia Pacific region represents one of the highest in the world, Pakistan should not allow itself to be seen as operating a substandard ATC system and must take immediate steps to support its Air Traffic Controllers concluded Mr. Brathwaite.
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