The European Regional Meeting of IFATCA, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations, was held 23rd 25th October on the Greek island of Kos. The meeting was attended by 35 of the 44 European member associations, showing the continued dedication of Air Traffic Controllers in Europe.
With the economic downturn, the Air Navigation Service Providers of many states are suffering from reduced revenues since fewer aircraft are using their airspace and airports. This prevents the necessary increasing of staff, which in turn increases overtime of current staff. Controller shortages remain an issue in the region and could affect safety, says Patrik Peters, IFATCA Executive Vice President Europe. Eurocontrol and EASA made several statements during the meeting, that even though air travel has declined in the last 12 months, their expectation is that traffic will soon rebound. If sufficient numbers of controllers are not catered for, serious capacity problems will occur. The meeting reviewed recent accidents, including the New York Hudson River collision, where mainly Italian tourists were killed. Legal protection for controllers also remains a top priority for the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers Associations.