IFATCA voices concerns over safety issues in the Dominican Republic

Open letter to Dr. Herrera Rodriguez

- Montreal, Canda

The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA) is the independent, non-profit, non-political and non-industrial Professional Association representing more than 50,000 air traffic controllers in more than 130 countries worldwide.

The Federation has become aware of several safety-related issues surrounding air traffic control in the Dominican Republic, instances which have been reported to you by the duly recognized representative of the air traffic controllers, the Dominican Association of Air Traffic Controllers (ADCA).

These instances include a total communications failure in Punta Cana, with air traffic controllers coordinating via cell phone; unserviceable navigation aids at La Isabela International Airport (MDJB) forcing pilots to complete all approaches visually; the DME at El Catey Presidente Juan Bosch Airport (MDCY) going out of service with no technician who can find a solution; the Control Tower at Puerto Plata Gregorio Luperon International Airport (MDPP) working with only an emergency radio for over a year, suffering frequent communications failures, and other instances of unreliability and unsafe conditions.

The Federation finds it unfortunate that instead of working with the ADCA to address these and other safety issues, authorities have resorted to suspensions, demotions and other intimidating forms of retaliation against the air traffic controllers of the ADCA. We find these actions to be unsubstantiated, without merit and unethical. The ADCA has communicated with your office no
less than eleven times in the last year concerning safety related issues in the Dominican Republic air traffic control system, and your office has not replied a single time. The Federation believes this is unacceptable.

The Dominican Republic has a responsibility to the international community to provide safe and efficient air traffic services to the users utilizing properly trained and qualified staff. As of the writing of this letter, this is not the case. IFATCA works together with other international organizations such as IFALPA and ICAO and we are prepared to voice our concerns regarding the safety of air travel to the Dominican Republic to these international pilot and regulatory authorities. We ask your immediate attention to these issues to prevent a negative reaction from
the users of the Dominican Republic's air traffic control system.

Dr. Herrera Rodriguez, IFATCA's goals are to promote safety, efficiency and professionalism in international air traffic control. We assist and advise member nation organizations such as the ADCA, and in this spirit we urge you to meet with representatives of the ADCA in order to take all necessary steps to correct these safety related issues before something tragic occurs.

The Federation is confident that this approach will allow the Dominican Republic to succeed in the challenging task of returning air traffic equipment and services to a high level of safety and efficiency, using the well trained and professional air traffic controllers of the ADCA.

Our Federation stands ready to assist you in any reasonable manner in returning the Dominican Republic's air traffic control system to one of safety, reliability and regularity in an atmosphere of trust and respect, utilizing properly trained air traffic controllers from within the duly recognized representative of the controllers, the ADCA.

Our Federation fully supports a real, genuine commitment to this undertaking. The issues we raise in this letter, and the issues raised by the ADCA in their correspondence to you, are vital to the re-establishment of safe, orderly and efficient air traffic services in your country and can no longer be ignored.

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