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ATCO Shortage UK

Old 9th Apr 2018, 17:50
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: farfaraway
Posts: 160
LATCC was A (2pm - 8pm); M (8am - 2pm) then back in at 8pm that same day for a 12 hour night shift usually split into first half, second half or long sleep; rest of that 3rd day was sleep, followed by day off, then repeat.

You forgot to mention the sector 8s Which for those of you non LATCC meant you didn't come in at all. Which made the 4 watch system much more bearable
obwan is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2018, 18:06
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sussex
Posts: 28
3 controllers rostered for a night shift is the norm and has been for 15+ years.

This is not solely an ANS, or any other ‘non NATS’ problem.

This is not the first time Gatwick has been closed for periods overnight due staff shortage in recent times but it is the first time it is due to tower shortages.

It is all too easy to have a pop at the smaller ATC providers but staff shortages are a problem all over the UK, including NATS, and are unlikely to improve for some time.
Ratatat is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2018, 18:20
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Originally Posted by Ratatat View Post
3 controllers rostered for a night shift is the norm and has been for 15+ years.

This is not solely an ANS, or any other ‘non NATS’ problem.

This is not the first time Gatwick has been closed for periods overnight due staff shortage in recent times but it is the first time it is due to tower shortages.

It is all too easy to have a pop at the smaller ATC providers but staff shortages are a problem all over the UK, including NATS, and are unlikely to improve for some time.
This.

I'm assuming chevron is retired by some of his posts. To assume that NATS are immune from this is naive - they've done just as just cost cutting as any other ANSP over the last 5 years or so.

Services unavailable due to staff shortage - whilst not common - do happen from time to time at all units. Yep it's not really acceptable but it happens.
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Old 9th Apr 2018, 18:25
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Chevron is most definitely retired, I wish he would stop commenting on posts he quite plainly knows nothing about it. He is starting to embarrass himself.
Nimmer is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2018, 18:29
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Wonder how DFS get away with rostering only 3 controllers for what is normally 4 control positions ie Air, GMC, GMP and delivery.
I suppose the last two could be bandboxed when it's not too busy but Air needs total concentration; I've been in a 737 (on a 'Fam Flight, remember them?) at 4nm on 08 with another lander ahead and the controller has still got 2 departures away before we were cleared to land (or do they not do that any more).
To highlight my above post, GAtwick tower has 3 operational positions, AIR, GMC and GMP. Delivery is a local term for GMP.
Positions are band boxed at night.
Nimmer is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2018, 18:40
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Originally Posted by 2 sheds View Post
Don't quite understand that, Keith - SRATCOH regulates the maximum hours. It sounds as if the previous "flexibility" was a management contrick! Also, I thought that the CI were part of the UK when it suited and not when it didn't! :-)

2 s
2sheds.
Let’s just say that we did not work the rostered hours , pre SRATCOH. When it came in, it meant we had to cover for regular breaks by introducing day duties, which were not popular because you spent the whole day at work (8 hrs) when, previously, you were never there for more than 5 hours in a morning or 6 in an afternoon ( & you had either a full morning or afternoon off into the bargain). As previously said, that was only IF you worked the rostered hours. Most of the time you got away with a lot less. My record was an actual nine & a half working hours in a 7 day period ! SRATCOH certainly ended all of that - we actually had to work close to what we were paid to work ! Another aspect of SRATCOH was that the duty cycle always ended on a late & started on an early ; so, you always started after a day off (or leave) on an early & you couldn’t get away on leave on the last day of your cycle. So, effectively, you lost two days of your leave entitlement.
The management’s flexibility came from being able to rely on the consequent goodwill of the ATCOS in covering for extensions & unplanned absences without them having to increase the complement.
The delicate relationship between the CI & the UK didn’t really cause any resentment towards the SRG “interfering” in local affairs.
kcockayne is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2018, 19:26
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
There are some who predicted this might happen at Gatwick after NATS lost the contract. Wonder if the new Edinburgh ANSP is aware?
Given that both airports have the same ANSP then yes, pretty sure they’re aware
Squawk 7500 is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2018, 19:29
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 49
And the problem with working what you are paid to work is exactly.............
stopbar is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2018, 20:47
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: HANTS
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I’m afraid there’s nothing new about staff shortages causing night closures. Last year and this there have been several instances of Luton/Stansted and Gatwick having to close for mandatory breaks due to shortages,mainly sickness related but also due on occasion to extremely ill advised rostering decisions made to cover day shift shortages. These have not been missed by various of the operators and airport authorities affected but have (very fortunately for those who make those decisions) not made it to a wider media audience.
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Old 9th Apr 2018, 21:59
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Originally Posted by stopbar View Post
And the problem with working what you are paid to work is exactly.............
No problem. I was only explaining why working longer was not as popular as the shorter hours we worked previously. I wasn’t saying that it was a desirable practice, either. You’ll get no argument from me against working what you are paid to work.
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Old 10th Apr 2018, 04:09
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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And the problem with working what you are paid to work is exactly.............
People need to chill out and or use the smilies
Rwy1234 is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 08:26
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Nimmer

Re your post 24 - I couldn't agree more. I recently had to take Chevvron to task on Military Aviation because of some rubbish he was spouting about the Red Arrows - of course I know very little about them too, but wouldn't dream of posting about them! Apart from now of course!

Chevvron has posted himself that his only unit after his cadet course was Farnborough, but it is amazing how he seems to be an expert on matters LATCC and LL!

Rant over!
Brian 48nav is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 08:44
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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One wonders why the regulators aren't imposing fines on the airport authorities/ATC providers who aren't staffing their airports/centres correctly.

A large fine for being understaffed would soon focus airport operators/ATC providers attention on their shortcomings and bring the problem to the attention of the media.

Over the last few years traffic numbers have been increasing at many airports and this trend looks likely to continue at an ever increasing pace. At a certain point this requires extra ATC positions to be open, either for longer periods or positions split or new positions to be created to accommodate this increasing traffic.

We are seeing overseas ATC contracts starting to poach controllers from many countries, exacerbating ATC shortages even more.

The regulators really do need to get on top of this.
On the beach is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 08:58
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dreamland
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I've heard that a certain SaRG PI(N) does not believe that SRATCOH is mandatory, but for "guidance".
Apparently he also disagrees with managed closures when there are staff shortages, having allegedly said that ATCOs should work until they feel fatigued before taking a break!
Who regulates the regulators?
Toadpool is online now  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 09:12
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: T.C.
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Originally Posted by Toadpool View Post
I've heard that a certain SaRG PI(N) does not believe that SRATCOH is mandatory, but for "guidance".
Apparently he also disagrees with managed closures when there are staff shortages, having allegedly said that ATCOs should work until they feel fatigued before taking a break!
Who regulates the regulators?
Latest at TC, SRATCOH is not a regulation but a recommendation. After 2 hours the controller will be asked by the supervisor if they are happy to continue or do they need a break. Union recommendation is to ask for the break.

As for airport "radar" closures, been a few this winter, luckily for the ATC provider the closures have been factored around the times when there is no traffic.

Has the makings of a long summer.
Nimmer is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 09:31
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SE England
Posts: 575
The regulators really do need to get on top of this
I think the regulators are a lot of the problem:

They need to pay enough to get the best staff.
They are too short-staffed to send inspectors out to units except where essential.
They enforce ever tighter financial situation on the large ANSP which then encourages experienced, expensive staff to leave and forces every unit to be operated short-staffed.
They actively encourage market forces on ANSP provision, which leads to wholesale staff change throughout the country and the many dangers which go with this. Market forces can also increase costs.
They turn a blind-eye to units being dangerously understaffed, apparently seeing it as a local business-risk rather than a safety risk.
Dan Dare is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 09:38
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Originally Posted by Brian 48nav View Post
Chevvron has posted himself that his only unit after his cadet course was Farnborough, but it is amazing how he seems to be an expert on matters LATCC and LL!
Not just LATCC and LL but Biggin too (see other areas on PPRuNe and Flyer where he appears to ‘know it all’).
Rwy1234 is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 10:13
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
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I know staffing is a problem, as we all do, but I’m still struggling to work out why this incident in particular is evidence of a lack of ANSP competence or cutting costs.

I’m sure Gatwick have run with 3 on nights for many years. Two ATCOs calling in sick the morning of their first night shift is going to cause major problems to any unit. In many cases it would have been worse 20 years ago as overtime/AVAAs etc were not the done thing.

Anybody tried getting overtime/AAVAs in for nights? ScRATCOH rules out 80% of the workforce already, and possibly 95% if it’s not on the ‘right’ night. That leaves those on leave before or after, many of whom will be away on holiday.

When was the last unit to roster an official ‘call in’ contingency shift? Are we really saying we have to go back to that? Do we really think airports would stomach that against the 10000 to 1, or maybe 100000 to 1 chance of having to close overnight?
Gonzo is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 10:13
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: HANTS
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I’m afraid if you’re fool enough to agree to work beyond 2 hrs without realising the implications you should not be in the seat. If you get it wrong there will be no support from management (obviously) and far more importantly you will not be supported by the union,quite rightly in my opinion. Fancy standing in a court all alone trying to explain your decision?
GAPSTER is offline  
Old 10th Apr 2018, 11:24
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: T.C.
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Agree 100% Gapster. Yet staff have worked over 2 and half hours and one approaching 3 due to lack of staff.

It takes large balls to say NO hand traffic back along the "line" and shut the frequency. I for one would always say no and start the above process at 1 hour 58 to ensure I am out of the position by the 2 hour point.
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