50TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Amman, Jordan, 11-15 April 2011
WP No. 97
Review Policy on CCTV
Presented by the Netherlands
IFATCA has recently (2007) adopted Policy on visual observation and new aerodrome control service concepts. This Policy consists of a definition of visual observations and also lists requirements that must be met in order for any new aerodrome control service concept to be accepted by the Federation. Besides this, IFATCA also has Policy on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) which is reasonably restrictive and does not allow for this technology to be used as a replacement for direct visual observation. IFATCA Policy on CCTV is reviewed in this working paper, taking other IFATCA Policy and ICAO documentation into consideration. Policy changes are recommended in this working paper.
1.1 The Netherlands Guild of Air Traffic Controllers has adopted IFATCA Policy as its own, endeavouring to be in full compliance with it. The IFATCA Technical and Professional Policy Manual is checked every time a new Air Traffic Management (ATM) concept is introduced. The Dutch Guild tries to make use of experience and knowledge of IFATCA whenever possible.
1.2 IFATCA has Policy, on the use of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) as substitute of direct visual observation (accepted in 1999), on visual observation and on new Aerodrome Control Service Concepts (both accepted in 2007).
1.3 This working paper will review IFATCA Policy on CCTV and check it on consistency with other Policy Statements. This working paper will not review Policy on Visual observation and new aerodrome tower concepts.
2.1 IFATCA Policy
2.1.1 IFATCA has Policy on CCTV (page 3 2 2 7), it is listed under the header “Responsibility and functions of aerodrome controllers with regard to surface movement”:
|“A control tower must afford an aerodrome controller with direct visual observation of the manoeuvring area. The use of CCTV equipment is not acceptable as a substitute for direct visual observation.”|
2.1.2 There is more relevant IFATCA Policy when it comes to visual observation by the aerodrome controller. This is listed under “Visual observation & new aerodrome tower concepts”, page 3 2 2 4 of the Technical and Professional Manual:
|“Visual observation in ATM can be defined as: “Observation through direct eyesight of objects situated within the line of sight of the observer possibly enhanced by binoculars.
An Aerodrome Control Tower is a unit established to provide air traffic control service to aerodrome traffic. The tower cab shall be constructed as to provide aerodrome controllers the capability to maintain a continuous watch on all flight operations on and in the vicinity of the aerodrome as well as vehicles and personnel on the manoeuvring area. Watch shall be maintained by visual observation, augmented by radar or other approved surveillance systems when available.
Before any Aerodrome Control Service Concept can be endorsed by IFATCA, the following requirements shall be met:
2.1.3 A new aerodrome control service concept could be based on the use of CCTV as a substitute for direct visual observation. The requirements listed above state that this can be acceptable, provided that the same level of surveillance is provided, it is subjected to a full safety analysis, contingency procedures are established, and controllers are involved in the development. The conclusion is that the Policy statement on the use of CCTV equipment as shown in 2.1.1 could contradict the requirements listed above in 2.1.2.
2.1.4 The Tower controller cannot always see every part of the manoeuvring area, there are several airports where this is the case. Often this problem is fixed by the use of CCTV equipment to provide the Tower controller with surveillance on areas where he/she cannot make use of visual observation. IFATCA Policy does not provide support to Member Associations (MAs) who are looking for guidance in case visual observation is not possible and alternative means are needed to overcome this hurdle.
2.2.1 ICAO Doc 9426 Air Traffic Services Planning Manual states under Section 2, Chapter 2 (Specific Requirements for an Aerodrome Control Tower):
|“2.1.2 Surveillance by the aerodrome controller is normally done by visual means (eyesight) alone, mechanically through the use of binoculars to improve eyesight or electronically, through the use of radar or closed-circuit television. The controller must be able to discriminate between aircraft and between aircraft and vehicles while they are on the same or different runways and/or taxiways. The most significant factors contributing to adequate visual surveillance are the siting of the tower and the height of the control tower cab. The optimum tower site will normally be as close as possible to the centre of the manoeuvring part of the aerodrome, provided that at the intended height, the tower structure itself does not become an obstruction or hazard to flight.”|
2.2.2 ICAO allows for the use of closed-circuit television as surveillance technology by the aerodrome controller.
2.2.3 It is also stated that the controller must be able to discriminate between aircraft and between aircraft and vehicles while they are on the same or different runways and/or taxiways. The most significant factors contributing to this requirement are the siting and height of the Tower cab. No other solutions are mentioned.
2.3 Review of IFATCA Policy
2.3.1 IFATCA Policy on CCTV is very restrictive and states that the use of CCTV equipment as replacement for visual observation is not acceptable. At the same time Policy on new aerodrome tower concepts is much less restrictive, and actually allows for the use technology as part of an Aerodrome Control Concept provided that certain requirements are met. These Policy statements appear to contradict each other and this is undesirable. For this reason, changes to Policy on CCTV are recommended.
2.3.2 ICAO allows for the use of closed-circuit television as surveillance technology by the aerodrome controller. IFATCA should support this position as the use of technology like CCTV has become widespread in aerodrome control nowadays, and often provides the controller with surveillance or with better surveillance. Subsequently, the controllers’ job is made easier and at the same time the level of service has improved. IFATCA Policy on Aerodrome Control Concepts addresses possible concerns, and requirements are listed.
2.3.3 IFATCA Policy differs from ICAO Recommended Practices when it comes to the definition of visual observation. This difference should continue to exist, as IFATCA continues to believe that visual observation cannot be replaced by any technology without meeting certain requirements. However, IFATCA Policy on CCTV should be amended to make it less strict, as the use of CCTV technology in Tower operations has become widespread. Therefore Policy changes are recommended.
2.3.4 IFATCA has defined visual observation. There is no need any more to use the term ‘direct visual observation’, as Policy on Visual Observation addresses the concerns that lead to the use of the word ‘direct’. For this reason changes to Policy are recommended, deleting the term ‘direct’.
2.3.5 Airports are always looking for improvements/expansions to terminals, freight facilities, office buildings and other real estate. One restricting factor for an unlimited improvement or expansion of buildings is the fact that the aerodrome controller requires visual observation of the manoeuvring area. On the other hand, IFATCA Policy leaves room for the use of technological equipment, provided that certain requirements are met. A concern for the Netherlands Guild is that the use of equipment as a replacement for visual observation could result in a situation where expansion of airport facilities becomes more important than visual observation for the controller, simply because there is technology like CCTV available. The Dutch Guild believes that this is an undesirable situation and this must be avoided at all times. IFATCA Policy on Visual Observation might have to be strengthened in order to make sure that such developments will not take place.
3.1 IFATCA Policy on CCTV has been reviewed taking into consideration other IFATCA Policy and ICAO documentation.
3.2 Changes to IFATCA Policy are recommended in order to eliminate contradictions and to make it consistent with the existing definition on visual observation.
3.3 CCTV should not be used as a replacement for visual observation in order to enable airports to build or expand real estate. IFATCA Policy on Visual Observation should be strengthened to avoid these situations.
It is recommended that;
4.1. IFATCA Policy on page 3 2 2 7 of the IFATCA Technical and Professional Manual:
“A control tower must afford an aerodrome controller with direct visual observation of the manoeuvring area. The use of CCTV equipment is not acceptable as a substitute for direct visual observation.”
Is amended to read:
“A control tower must afford an aerodrome controller with visual observation of the manoeuvring area. The use of CCTV equipment is only acceptable in case it provides the controller with at least the same level of surveillance, safety is demonstrated and contingency procedures are in place.”
4.2 “Review Policy on Visual Observation” is included in the 2012 TOC Work Program.
IFATCA Technical and Professional Manual 2010
ICAO Doc 9426 Air Traffic Services Planning Manual
Last Update: September 30, 2020