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Bordeaux near miss - Financial Times article

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Bordeaux near miss - Financial Times article

Old 8th Feb 2024, 09:11
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Bordeaux near miss - Financial Times article

https://www.ft.com/content/4a07770b-...2-4564794a1e9e

Pay-walled article, but the highlights are:

"On New Year’s Eve 2022, an air traffic controller at Bordeaux airport authorised an easyJet A320 jet carrying 179 passengers to land on runway 23. It had slipped his mind that he had already authorised a small, two passenger aircraft to go to the same runway. The leisure pilot, listening on the radio, reminded air traffic control of his presence. Luckily, easyJet pilots were able to abort the landing just 103ft from the tarmac, avoiding disaster.
(...)

Controllers there had been working to an informal rota, which meant they had completed only about 60 per cent of their officially scheduled hours by the last day of 2022. Only three people were on duty at the time of the incident, when six were on the official rota. The backup controller, the reinforcement in case of emergency, did not even turn up for work. Worst of all, management knew about the practice, but ignored it to maintain “social peace”.
(...) in dissecting the incident, the BEA investigators noted that Bordeaux and most French airports have no “reliable” means to identify which controllers have come into work, how long they stay or what functions they actually fulfil."

Full report seems to be here: https://bea.aero/fileadmin/user_uplo...NE_OACI_FR.pdf (In French, looks like an English translation is pending).


The Financial Times article, which is titled "Near-disaster shows EU air traffic control is nowhere near good enough" then goes on to lament the lack of more technology to aid with aviation safety, and the reliance an manual processes. Can't help but think that it shows a certain "more tech = good for business" bias, but ATCOs not showing up for work for 40% of rostered hours and that being tolerated by management is certainly a new one for me.
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Old 8th Feb 2024, 13:06
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Translation of the key conclusions on page 59 of the BEA report is here: Incident: Easyjet Europe A320 at Bordeaux on Dec 31th 2022, cleared to land on occupied runway

Translation with jargon interpreted is here: Serious incident Airbus A320-214 (WL) OE-INE
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Old 11th Feb 2024, 07:21
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Strange headline

The headline states this a problem with EU ATC. The article is paywalled but other reports are saying that a root cause of this incident was poor management at Bordeaux allowing controllers to skip shifts and subsequent undermanning.

I fail to see how this can be laid at the feet of the whole of the EU
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Old 11th Feb 2024, 08:50
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Originally Posted by CARR30
The headline states this a problem with EU ATC.........I fail to see how this can be laid at the feet of the whole of the EU
Exactly, Poorly written article and misleading . The controllers in France are still civil servants , one of the last ones to be in the EU. As such they fall under Civil servants rules which restrict their salaries, which are roughly half of the others in the EU, to compensate they are allowed to work basically half the time as the rest of the EU and the strong unions managed to get to do the duty rosters management themselves . Here in Bordeaux , on that day, abuses were obviously made, This is a purely French system problem and not at all a EU wide issue.
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Old 11th Feb 2024, 14:19
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
Exactly, Poorly written article and misleading . The controllers in France are still civil servants , one of the last ones to be in the EU. As such they fall under Civil servants rules which restrict their salaries, which are roughly half of the others in the EU, to compensate they are allowed to work basically half the time as the rest of the EU and the strong unions managed to get to do the duty rosters management themselves . Here in Bordeaux , on that day, abuses were obviously made, This is a purely French system problem and not at all a EU wide issue.
I was sitting next to a French controller friend at dinner last Saturday and he said that he and his colleagues arranged their own shift rotas between themselves. He works an average of eleven days a month.
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Old 11th Feb 2024, 15:04
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Originally Posted by sitigeltfel
I was sitting next to a French controller friend at dinner last Saturday and he said that he and his colleagues arranged their own shift rotas between themselves. He works an average of eleven days a month.
I guess that is an average of working days per month. The average white-collar person in England works about 19 working days a month.

A 52 week year has roughly 52 x 5 working days = 260 working days per year, or 23 and one third working days per 'month' (twelfth of a year)
In England, we have public holidays - 1st January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Early May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday, August Bank Holiday, 25th and 26th December (public holiday moved to weekday if date falls at the weekend), which gives eight non-working days per year, which makes 252 working days per year, or 21 working days per month. You can further remove paid leave - four weeks removes 20 days from the annual total, giving 232 working days, or 19 and a third days per 'month'.

If, for example, shift work is counted as time-and-a-half outside normal working hours, someone who works entirely outside normal working hours would work an actual 12 and eight ninths working days per 'month'. Not so different.
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Old 12th Feb 2024, 19:03
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This kind of 'controller error' incidents happen all over, and the one incident in France is dwarfed by the numerous recent incidents , often much worse ,in the USA where completely the opposite situation applies: controllers forced to work excess hours on overtime due to lack of staff.
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