This July at the DFS Academy in Germany, the first course of its kind worldwide will start. DFS will train tower controllers for the British market who will be the first ever to directly receive their air traffic controller licence from the UK supervisory authority following training undertaken in a foreign country.
DFS is entering new territory in conducting the training of air traffic controllers for Air Navigation Solutions Ltd., its British subsidiary. Together with the German Federal Supervisory Authority for Air Navigation Services (BAF) and the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), DFS has designed a training course for UK tower controllers which is approved by the CAA. This means that the CAA will issue a student air traffic controller licence upon the successful completion of the course. This licence is the prerequisite for unit training that will take place directly at the control tower at an airport in the UK. Unit training is the practical, on-the-job training that air traffic controllers receive at their future workplace. DFS can now offer its training services directly on the British market because they have been recognised as equivalent to training courses offered in the UK. DFS is the first European air navigation service provider (ANSP) to offer this type of cross-border training.
DFS has actually already conducted the training for air traffic controllers from other European countries, such as Croatia, but this is nevertheless a first. For the first time, two national supervisory authorities have worked together with an ANSP to simplify the recognition of training conducted in another country. In May 2017, DFS, the BAF and the CAA conducted a joint three-day audit of the specific training course contents for British controllers. This was the culmination of two years of preparatory work. "Close and effective cooperation with the British and German supervisory authorities allowed us to develop a new line of training that meets the very specific requirements of UK regulations. The DFS Academy is fortunate enough to have British air traffic controllers on staff who made significant contributions," commented Otto Fischer, Director of the DFS Air Navigation Services Academy. "It is important for the DFS Group that we can train our own air traffic controllers and not be reliant on an outside provider."
Six students will take part in the first tower training course that begins on 3 July 2017. Following the institutional training in Langen, Germany, these students will take up their practical training at Edinburgh Airport next March. The DFS subsidiary, Air Navigation Solutions Ltd., will take over the provision of tower and approach control at this Scottish airport on 1 April 2018. Also in 2018, three more training courses with six students each will be held for tower controllers from Gatwick Airport. Air Navigation Solutions Ltd. has been the air traffic control provider there since spring 2016. Further courses are being planned for 2018 and beyond. As of 2019, DFS will offer any open positions on courses not required by Air Navigation Solutions Ltd. to interested parties.
"The new authorised training courses for the UK will not only allow DFS to train its own staff for its UK subsidiary. It also makes us a viable training provider for all British airports," said Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, CEO of DFS. "Our goal is to offer training courses on the free market in addition to our core business. I think our high quality training courses have a good chance of sparking interest in the UK."