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Following unilateral salary cuts and the employer’s refusal to negotiate a collective agreement, air traffic controllers in Tirana declared a temporary inability to work due to stress earlier this week. As a consequence, more than a dozen flights to and from Tirana International Airport were cancelled.
Albanian authorities reacted to this decision by force and sent in troops and police to clear the air traffic controllers out of the flight control tower. There have also been several reports of air traffic controllers being arrested or taken into police custody. Meanwhile, prime minister Edi Rama threatened legal action against protesting workers and threatened to fire those who refused to return to work.
This unnecessarily violent response by the state only aggravates an already difficult situation workers are facing after more than a year of uncertainty and stress.
The ETF stands in solidarity with the protesting workers and condemns the aggressive backlash of the state. The right to protest and the right to strike are fundamental rights of workers and must be respected. We call on the state to recognise the key role of air traffic controllers and engage in a constructive dialogue.
Covid-19 demonstrated that aviation is a critical strategic infrastructure and service, providing essential connectivity, promoting socio-economic cohesion and timely supply of goods, thus serving our societies.
The professionals working in aviation – who provide a safe & dedicated service – are a crucial part of the aviation ecosystem: both before, during and after the crisis, and any potential recurrence thereof, and during the recovery – which is expected to be of unpredictable length.
This strategic infrastructure, service and its people deserve priority attention. To do so, policy-makers and aviation stakeholders must use the crisis to rethink the ‘old’ system and to ‘repair’ its structural weaknesses and distortions that the crisis revealed – which, if unaddressed, will hinder the recovery, weaken the aviation sector, and harm the public interest.
The statement is available here.
This ETF statement is identical to and supportive of the statement by other aviation professionals’ organisations available here.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, ETF Civil Aviation Section has been representing the civil aviation workers of Europe, providing feedback to measures introduced by the various authorities and putting forward concrete plans. The responses so far are combined in the new plan for European aviation that introduces short- and the long- term measures, covers all the different areas of civil aviation, and embraces social and environmental sustainability.
Please download the plan here
Air traffic Management (ATM) as part of the wider aviation industry is facing the most significant crisis in its history. ATM staff continues to provide an essential service to ensure flights can continue to operate, with cargo and medical flights playing a particularly important role at the moment. Despite the vital importance of the industry, there are several crucial on-going issues. These are relevant to the continuing provision of ATM services now and, even more importantly, in the future, after we emerge from the current situation.
The Signatories support the European regulatory authorities in producing a robust, harmonised, EU-wide regulatory safety framework that enables the safe, secure, efficient and fair integration of drones in the aviation system, and fosters broad public acceptance. Since the Drones Helsinki Declaration in 2017, which called for simple and performance-based rules for drones, significant progress has been made in developing and delivering a regulatory framework that will support the safe and sustainable growth of the drone industry. However, in order to facilitate the integration of drones in very low-level airspace (i.e. below 500 ft) and preserve the high level of safety in the entire European airspace, we jointly call to accelerate the implementation of the following measures.
1. Extensive public awareness campaign The general public, including recreational/occasional drone users, as well as commercial clients, must be aware of the safety risks, duties, liabilities, insurance requirements, responsibilities and third-party privacy issues associated with drone operations. These are essential requirements as lack of awareness and negligence could result in safety incidents and accidents. Therefore, more resources must be dedicated to this aspect of drone integration in the airspace.
2. Mandatory training and certificate/license relevant to operations The obligation for drone pilots to obtain a certificate or license aligned with EU regulation – depending on the properties, performance and features of the drone – creates awareness and mandates knowledge of the applicable regulations and restrictions as well as helping to develop the necessary skills. Practical training and theoretical knowledge requirements for unmanned aircraft pilots constitute an important safety net to prevent drone incidents or accidents. A solid knowledge and skills base is therefore a must, considering the complexity of the national and European airspaces and related aviation regulations. We are all one in the sky There is only one sky and all stakeholders, new and traditional, need to collaborate to keep it safe, secure, efficient and fair. The Signatories
The undersigned ATM Professional Staff Organisations note with great regret yet another attack of Airlines for Europe (A4E) on the European Air Traffic Management in the form of a joint letter of A4E member airlines’ CEOs to the European Air Navigation Service providers (ANSPs). The letter enumerates a number of ATM-related issues as cause for the delays.