New Delhi [India], March 21 (ANI): The Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) Guild has written a letter to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) Chairman over the shortage of manpower for the smooth functioning of Air Traffic Control (ATC) across the country.
AAI has recently started 24-hour operations at Upper Varanasi Airspace (UBN) without proper safety assessment. Now, the Kolkata UBN is monitoring the movement of all aircraft that fly above 25,000 feet from Varanasi to Kolkata.
The ATC Guild, through its letter, has drawn the attention of the authority regarding more than 450 posts of ATCO lying vacant, and it is required to fill up these posts immediately.
"ATC Guild is thankful for the various initiatives and decisions are taken by your good office for reducing the shortage of ATCOS. We are sure that with the upcoming 456 posts and further creations of posts in Air Traffic Management (ATM ), we will definitely end up a shortage of ATC manpower in AAI in the future.""Unfortunately the local management at Kolkata is unable to understand the importance of trained manpower and forcing working controllers to take a major safety risk for aircraft and its occupants," the ATC guild letter further readThe ATC Guild has already raised concern and written a letter on the safety of aircraft and passengers that mention providing adequate manpower for the smooth operation of air traffic.
"ATC Guild considers the safety assessment improper and requests for a safety assessment as per the C-SMS manual. We also request your office to bring this to the notice of the DGCA so that if any untoward incident occurs due to poor preparedness for 24 hours Upper Varanasi (UBN) Operation; manipulations done in Safety Assessment by local management; then no penalty shall be imposed on the working controllers but the concerned officials at Kolkata who are forcing," ATC guild said in a letter.
The letter further states that if any incident happens, the air traffic controllers will not be responsible for it.
"This situation on the controllers of Kolkata may be held accountable. ATCOs are always committed to achieving all the organisational goals, and we have always accepted new challenges. In UBN 24-hour operations implementation, we want to complete this project with minimum acceptable levels of safety risk for aircraft and its occupants," According to the ATC guild letter.
This issue has already been taken up with the Member (ANS) office wherein we have already apprised the office about the safety-critical shortage of radar controllers at Kolkata, limitations of VHF coverage, non-publication of Sector Capacity, AAIB recommendation for the UBS sector.
The report also mentions the need for Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs), according to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Aviation.
"The Committee reiterates its concern at the undue and avoidable delay in recruitment of ATCOs and strongly recommends the AAI to fill up the vacancies without any further delay."Aviation safety is a fundamental objective of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). ICAO continues to work closely with the entire air transport community to further improve aviation safety and standards. (ANI)