The 26th International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) Africa and Middle East (AFM) regional meeting (26th IFATCA AFM RM) was held in the beautiful West African city of Accra, Ghana for the second time; the meeting took place at the Accra International Conference Centre from 28th to 30th October, 2015.
The meeting was attended by twenty two (22) Member Associations (MAs), which included more than 120 delegates; two equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders.
The meeting, the theme of which was “Providing an enabling environment for air navigation service, the role of stakeholders.” was officially opened by the Ghana Deputy Minister of Transport, Honorable Joyce Bawa Mogtari. In her speech she reiterated the Government’s acknowledgement of the role Air Traffic Control plays in the global economic development, and assured delegates of the imminent decoupling of the ANSP from the regulator in Ghana.
The IFATCA President and CEO, Mr. Patrik Peters who was also present, in his opening speech emphasized the importance of collaboration, stating that the IFATCA current theme is ‘We are all in this Together’.
The three days conference deliberated on various topics based on presentations from a number of aviation partners including ICAO, IATA, IFALPA, EGNOS, ITF, Ghana Airports Company Limited and the IFATCA Executive Board; the topics covered Safety Culture including Just Culture, Collaborative Decision Making, Role of the States in providing an enabling environment, Employer/Employee role in providing an enabling environment in the provision of Air Navigation Service, what it takes to enable an optimum flight, how satellite based augmentation system (SBAS) can enable improved provision of ANS etc.
This year’s meeting was sponsored by The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) THALES, Indra, SG-SSB, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, Engineers and Planners, Air Traffic Navigation Service (ATNS) South Africa and Ghana Air Traffic Controllers Association (GHATCA).
The meeting was chaired by The IFATCA Regional Executive – Vice President (EVPAFM) Miss. Keziah Ogutu. Members of the IFATCA Executive Board who were in attendance to support the EVPAFM included the IFATCA President and CEO Mr. Patrick Peters, the Deputy President Mr. Scott Shallies and Executive Vice President Technical Mr. Duncan Auld.
The presenters included Mr. Albert Taylor from ICAO, Ms. Lindi-Lee Kirkman from IATA, Mr. Moustapha Mallam from EGNOS, Mr. Ben Ahlijah from Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), Mr. Carl Bollweg from IFALPA, Mr. Byla Sow ITF and Mr. Mikateko Chabani from ATNS.
There were ten (10) Recommendations and Resolutions agreed on by the meeting. The highlights of the conclusions and recommendations taken at the end of the meeting are as follows:
1. As a matter of urgency, MAs should collaborate with ANSPs to implement Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM);
2. MAs should collaborate with their ANSPs to incorporate Basic Cockpit experience for ATCOs in their training programme as a tool to enhance better understanding of aircraft operations;
3. ATS Incident target rates should not be used for measuring controller performance, nor as an appraisal tool, which may have any financial implications on remuneration. This could negatively affect safety and is contrary to Just Culture;
4. ICAO was urged to coordinate with any State that have yet to implement Rating and Licensing of Air Traffic Controllers to do so as a matter of urgency;
5. To promote Just Culture in the region, MAs should continue to dialogue and collaborate with their ANSPs and Regulatory arms of the States on the importance and necessary implementation of Safety Cultures by implementing Safety Management System (SMS). Incident target rates should not affect performance appraisal and any financial remuneration. This could negatively affect safety as well as just culture;
6. In order to have “Optimal flight operations” by airlines, MAs must play their role in a “collective collaboration” with other stakeholders, to ensure the standardization of operations and seamless airspace that entails civil/military cooperation, coordination, interoperability, adaptability and standardization of equipment;
7. To ensure safe implementation of SBAS, EGNOS will collaborate with IFATCA and ANSPs in all its dealings and plans in relation to the Implementation over Africa;
8. IFATCA will collaborate with ITF in endeavour to obtain a special session for Air Traffic Control in the ILO assembly;
9. To enable improved safety awareness amongst the regional Air Traffic Controllers, IFATCA will partner with ICAO and other international bodies to provide safety seminars in the region;
10. Sudan was officially confirmed to host the 27th AFM Regional Meeting for 2016. CAPE VERDE, ETHIOPIA and NIGERIA expressed their interests to host 28th AFM regional meeting.