3rd Feb 2012, 13:18
The Aviation Regulatory Organization in Iraq, (ICAA) is moving towards taking over all aspects of ATC operations in Iraq. They have served notice that the ATC contract being fulfilled by the International experienced ATC contractor, SERCO will not be renewed at the end of this year. The ICAA will take over regulation, certification, training, and control of all ATC Operations without outside experience or assistance. The Iraq airspace is currently being operated and managed by SERCO. ATC expertise is currently supplied by a muti-nationally, accredited ATC work force that has on average more than 20 Yrs of ATC experience per controller. This experience is required to safely manage the outdated equipment that lacks any backup systems. There are no back up power sources, radios, computers or radar systems. Equipment failures are an everyday part of life. If the ICAA allows the contract with SERCO to expire, Approach control services in Iraq will be handled by Iraqi controllers with less than 10 months experience. Iraq currently does not have 1 Approach controller in training. ACC experience is equally lacking to handle busy traffic. Make sure TCAS is operational. Good Luck.
3rd Feb 2012, 14:17
Quote: ACC experience is equally lacking to handle busy traffic.
Not knowing anything about the aviation picture in Iraq I was wondering what the traffic levels are, both at airfields and en-route. Can you give us some idea?
In a previous life I trained some Iraqui controllers on area radar. They had just completed an aerodrome approach radar course, so had to get their heads round lots of new techniques. Prior to this they had spent some weeks in Bournemouth learning English. Chatting to them we found out that their first Iraqui Air Force posts were spent flying Mig's, and they had been sent to Prague to learn Czechoslovakian before starting flying training with the Czech air force. They seemed to take all this in their stride, and passed our course perfectly satisfactorily. They may have been the exception, but don't be in a hurry to write them all off.
3rd Feb 2012, 19:57
The traffic in the ACC is light 50% of the time, moderate 30% of the time, and heavy 20% of the time. By heavy I mean in excess of 40 aircraft in a sector continuously for more than an hour. In the ACC the qualified Iraqi controllers can only handle light traffic alone, moderate with an assist, and can not handle heavy traffic with out SERCO instructor guidance. Some of these controllers, and there are not many, have only been checked out for 6 months. In the Approach Control, there has not been heavy traffic since the American Military left. It is slow 70% of the time, moderate 30% of the time. The Iraqi controllers are selected to be controllers based on friendship or political considerations. They do not have an assessment program. They train forever. Some have been training for more than 10 years and are still not certified. While some will be able to do the job over time, most will never work moderate traffic well or heavy traffic at all. They need to get more experience. Experience takes time. I say all of this with out taking into account the quality of equipment and lack of back up systems for the radios, radar, computers and power supplies. They don't even have adequate training systems where they can simulate emergency and unusual situations.