29TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Acapulco, Mexico, 21-25 April 1990
WP No. 37
Definition of Essential and Minimum ATC Service
The Work Programme of SC4 1989/1990 required a definition for the terms Essential and Minimum ATC Service to be found, in close liaison with SC7. After consultation with SC7, EVPP, ILO and a discussion at the SC4 meeting on 25/27 August 1989 in Sandefjord, we found in our research that ICAO and ILO do not specifically define Essential ATC Service or Minimum ATC Service. ILO has a definition of Essential Service which also applies to the provision of an ATC Service.
With regard to the ethics of disrupting ATC services, it is recognised because of the different regulations that apply it is very difficult to detail exactly what ATC Services should be provided. In cases where ATC Services had been disrupted in the past it appears that the minimum level of services provided by ATC controllers differed.
Essential ATC Service
ICAO do not provide a definition of Essential ATC Service.
ILO do not provide a definition of Essential ATC Service, however for the Committee of Freedom of Associations the term “Essential Service” is defined as:
|“services whose disruption could cause serious hardship to national community… and apply to public service such as Police, Hospitals, Fire Services and Air Traffic Control.”|
Essential Service is further defined by ILO, that:
|“where a total or prolonged stoppage in a sector that is liable to endanger the life, strategy of health of the population … the maintenance of a minimum service concerning a special category of workers would seem to be justified.”|
We can therefore deduce that ILO already considered ATC to be an “Essential Service”.
Minimum ATC Service
ICAO do not provide a definition of Minimum ATC Service. The minimum ATC Service would appear to be a list of functions and/or duties that a controller must perform in case of disruption of ATC service due to acts of terrorism, war, natural disaster and/or industrial disputes. Presently the contents of the Minimum ATC Service are agreed between Civil Aeronautical Authorities and staff unions, and vary from strict minimum (e.g. monitoring 121.5) to almost full ATC service.
ILO do not provide a definition on Minimum ATC service, but define “Minimum Service” as actions confined to operations that are strictly necessary to avoid endangering the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population. They also say that the extend of the Minimum Service to be provided should be not so great as to render the strike ineffective in practice because of its limited impact…
Although ATC is considered as an Essential Service there is no internationally agreed definition of Essential ATC Service. If one has to give a definition of Essential ATC Service, we would suggest that: “Essential ATC Service is the provision of information to aircraft likely to conflict with one another, as part of ATC duties as defined by local procedures.”
With regard to the term Minimum ATC Service again there is no internationally agreed definition. Due to the variety of regulations in regard of Minimum ATC Service in various states, it is not desirable at this stage, to impose a strict definition of the contents of Minimum ATC Service for IFATCA. This should be left to the MAs involved, to decide what level of service they should provide and to whom.
“ Minimum Service is defined as actions confined to operations that are strictly necessary to avoid endangering the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population.”
ICAO. Doc. 4444 Part 111/14-14.1. Pages 3-15.
International Labour Organisation. International Labour Review, Vol. 126, No. 5 Sept./Oct. 1987. Pages 551 to 554.
ILO. Report of the Committee of Experts. (ILO). Pages 66 to 81.
Last Update: September 20, 2020