Use of Unqualified Personnel – Legal Aspects

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Use of Unqualified Personnel – Legal Aspects

36TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Taipei, Taiwan, 17-21 March 1997

WP No. 156

Use of Unqualified Personnel – Legal Aspects

Introduction

The Jerusalem IFATCA Conference (1995) revealed the need to deal with the legal aspects implied by the use of unqualified personnel to provide Air Traffic Control Services.

The main reasons leading to this situation are :

  • the lack of ATCO’s;
  • replacement of ATCO’s in case of a strike;
  • use of new technologies without any appropriate ratings.

Discussion

The qualification or licence is the only guarantee of skill and training which allows controllers to work in conditions of safety, that is clearly stated by ICAO and IFATCA.

ICAO Annex 1, para 4.4 and 4.5 defines the qualifications and licence of the controller.

IFATCA MANUAL, para 4.2 page 4342 defines the validity of a controller’s licence as follows:

All Air Traffic Controllers must be trained at ATC training schools or colleges, in accordance with ICAO requirements.

All Air Traffic Controllers must be licensed.

All Air Traffic Controllers must hold air traffic control ratings appropriate to the duties they are undertaking.

A controller’s local rating becomes invalid after a maximum break of six months, and revalidation is necessary before resuming duty.

For the purpose of guaranteeing safety, ATCO’s will not be replaced by personnel who do not hold ATC licence in accordance with ICAO Annex 1, as being ATC functions will not be added to the work responsibilities for unlicensed personnel.

The functions which are contained within ICAO Annex 1, as being ATC functions will not be added to the work responsibilities for unlicensed personnel.

 

Despite the fact that we have laid down policy in terms of qualifications and licensing of controllers, some countries simply break the rules. This obviously calls for the defining of responsibilities in the event of those rules not being obeyed.

Conclusions

IFATCA MANUAL, para 4.2 page 4342 defines clearly the “validity of controllers licence” as outlined in para 2 discussion.

IFATCA is opposed to policies which do not respect para 4.2, page 4342 relating to the “validity of controllers licence”.

However, it is accepted that in some cases controllers cannot refuse to work or to co-ordinate with such personnel, (neighbouring country using unqualified personnel for example) as this may have immediate consequences on your own work and endanger air traffic.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the following paragraph be added (as para 4.3.3 page 4 3 4 2) to the existing IFATCA policy regarding the use of unqualified personnel:

“ In the event of an incident, caused totally or in part by the use of unqualified personnel, primary responsibility must lie with the person or the authority responsible for allocating the unqualified staff to the task undertaken.”

Last Update: September 28, 2020  

March 5, 2020   237   Jean-Francois Lepage    1997    

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