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Shifting the blame to ATC

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Shifting the blame to ATC

Old 6th May 2006, 17:47
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Honesty really is the best policy. I was on KLM flight from Amsterdam to Edinburgh yesterday afternoon. The captain announced that there would be a short delay due to a the technical paperwork. 5 minutes later he came out of the cockpit and, over the PA system, explained that a scheduled inspection of he landing gear had been missed and the aircraft could not be flown. He admitted the problem, explained the consequences and advised us of the solution - transfer to another aircraft. Although we were very late departing nobody complained - the captain did the right thing by fessing up and keeping us informed.
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Old 12th May 2006, 22:47
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Found this in another topic
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Old 14th May 2006, 08:51
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Honesty is not always the best policy. Let's suppose that one completely ballses up an approach is unstable and has to go around, through no fault of anybodies but one's own.

What are you going to tell the pax, I would suggest that admittig that you have cocked up is not going to be the best policy, but if your were going to be honest how would you "honesty brokers" word it?
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Old 14th May 2006, 09:00
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'Regret we were unable to continue/complete that approach, we are just going around and under ATC control we will be carrying out another approach in about 10 minutes'

Perfectly neutral, no blame, and the big secret is whenever you give bad news on the PA, try and end it with something positive. Lying doesn't achieve much, and shifting the blame onto an innocent party is unnecessary when with a bit of thought, you can word it so nobody takes the blame (except ATC!). You always blame ATC for extensive holding into LHR (because it is their fault), or ridiculous departure time slots- that is important because some people can get very het up about it and it is essential to stop the crew taking the blame. There is not too much sense in the cabin- I've had people on a Nairobi London at dawn approaching Italy, when handed 2 day old papers (from ex London), have actually asked 'no! this morning's paper please!'. They're not thinking straight- with a bit of thought it's amazing what you can get away with without actually lying.
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Old 14th May 2006, 09:09
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Originally Posted by fmgc
What are you going to tell the pax, I would suggest that admittig that you have cocked up is not going to be the best policy, but if your were going to be honest how would you "honesty brokers" word it?
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. We have just climbed back up away from the runway at xxx as I was not happy with our approach to the airfield. I understand this may be alarming for some of you due to the unusual nature of the manoeuvre and the quite loud noise from the engines. Please rest assured that this is a perfectly normal manoeuvre for us as pilots and we will be coming back round under Air Traffic Control for a second approach in the next few minutes. I would like to apologise for the slight delay this has caused to our arrival today, and thank you for your patience."

I have heard people putting a little 'funny' on the end about an extra 10 minutes free of charge, but would caution against that.

PP
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Old 14th May 2006, 09:14
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Rainboe,

You always blame ATC for extensive holding into LHR (because it is their fault)
Please do enlighten us as to why extensive holding into LHR is always ATC's fault.....

We're always keen to provide an improved service, where are we going wrong?
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Old 14th May 2006, 09:23
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Say what you like; if you had heard this morning's RT into LGW - I arrived from a long way away at about 8.00 local - you would never utter a word agin' them agin'.
I was busy (the last twenty minutes is always busy after ten hours sitting there, picking your nose). The controllers were working their brains off and I remarked to my colleague that I did not understand why anyone would do it.
ATC, that is.
Anyway, well done indeed Girls and Boys.
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Old 14th May 2006, 09:41
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Gonzo, I'm afraid ATC carries the can when it puts you in the hold for 25 minutes or holds you on the ground at Basle for 50 minutes on a slot delay. That's life- at that stage those passengers need someone to blame! Who else?

As for slot delays, it's ATCs job and responsibility to stop aeroplanes bumping in to each other, period. I never thought ATC should have the responsibility to decide when aeroplanes can depart, ie impose artificial delays to departure. If an airline has been given a schedule, it should be allowed to fly to it as best it can, and ATC keeps it from bumping into others. I absolutely hated after a 4 day tour to do the last flight to Basle knowing that there would be a departure slot delay of about 50 minutes to come home. Even the airline knew, which is why it was tacked onto the back of the rest of the tour. Airlines fly the planes, ATC does its job. But to allow ATC to control the actual schedules themselves is a step too far.
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Old 14th May 2006, 09:54
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Despite Rainboe's 'toxic' comments, I would much rather be given a delayed slot on the ground than end up in some sector down route where the ATC officer is getting overloaded due to the volume of traffic arriving at one time.

ATC don't control the schedules, they stop aeroplanes bumping in to each other and if that means preventing the error chain by holding your departure then so be it. Jeez, give them a break. It is presumably their management who decide on schedules for airlines, not the ATC officers......

PP
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Old 14th May 2006, 10:02
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Gonzo, I'm afraid ATC carries the can when it puts you in the hold for 25 minutes or holds you on the ground at Basle for 50 minutes on a slot delay. That's life- at that stage those passengers need someone to blame! Who else?
Of course, the blame doesn't lie with the airlines who schedule sixty aircraft to fly into LHR (for example) in that hour, when we can only handle forty five, does it? Who's to 'blame' for delays? Whenever I'm asked why I'm delaying a/c, I always give the same reply.....'other aircraft.....No other aircraft, no delay.' That's reducing it to the absurd, I know, but it's true.

As for slot delays, it's ATCs job and responsibility to stop aeroplanes bumping in to each other, period. I never thought ATC should have the responsibility to decide when aeroplanes can depart, ie impose artificial delays to departure.
What would you suggest? Surely not that we just abolish slot times and thus giving my colleagues on Dover, Clacton or TC Midlands far too many aircraft for the space available?

But to allow ATC to control the actual schedules themselves is a step too far
That's the problem. We don't. We react to 'correct' the airlines' schedules. If we had more input into the scheduling stage, things would run a lot more smoothly.

Again, using a clear example, the first lot of Midland domestics from LHR outbound, all go from adjacent stands; 102, 104, 106, 108 and 110. They are all scheduled to depart within five-ten minutes. Accoring to the laws of physics, it is impossible for them all to depart on time, some will get delayed. Of course, that's our fault, isn't it.....

Edit for Pilot Pete...I think you're all overestimating ATC's input into schedules....that's airport authority and ACL territory, and even then I'm not sure how much input they have into where you guys fly and at which time. Number of slots, yes. What those slots are used for, I don't think so.
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Old 14th May 2006, 10:59
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Originally Posted by Rainboe
You always blame ATC for extensive holding into LHR (because it is their fault), or ridiculous departure time slots- that is important because some people can get very het up about it and it is essential to stop the crew taking the blame. There is not too much sense in the cabin- I've had people on a Nairobi London at dawn approaching Italy, when handed 2 day old papers (from ex London), have actually asked 'no! this morning's paper please!'. They're not thinking straight- with a bit of thought it's amazing what you can get away with without actually lying.
departure slots are not created by ATC. Slots are imposed by CFMU in brussels, by looking at the flight plans received and referencing with sector capacity etc.. A delay on the ground is not always due to a restriction at the destination airport, it could be an enroute restriction. On some occasions a bit of creative flight planning could bypass the restricted area, and in some cases a SIP (Slot improvment proposal) message will be sent to operators detailing a possible change to route which will improve the departure slot.
Slots are also caused by Weather at an airfield. Obviously in very poor weather the landing rates are reduced. In these circumstances it is not fair to blame ATC, it would be better to be honest and say "due to weather restriction on arrivals have been imposed to keep everyone safe"
In short it is not ATC that impose departure slot restrictions. it is merely a response to demand exceeding capacity. If you want to blame ATC and the flow management for delays, then you are crtiticsing them for mainting a level of service that provides a safe environment for the public to fly in.
ATC = SAFE, ORDERLY and EXPEDITIOUS in that order
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Old 14th May 2006, 11:09
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<<I always give the same reply.....'other aircraft..>>

Good on yer Gonzo. I used the same reason for 30+ years, except I just used to say "planes"!
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Old 14th May 2006, 11:15
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I recall one flight where the captain informed us that we were "..waiting for two missing passengers, whose bags are already in the hold" and that "When they finally come on board we should try and make them feel welcome". Everyone cheered and wistled loudly as they walked through the cabin.
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Old 14th May 2006, 11:54
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Who's fault is it?

ATC - 'cause they don't give you start
CFMU - 'cause they don't give the slot
Airlines - 'cause they all depart at 08:00 local

well, if we continue like this I can name a few:

Passengers - 'cause they all like to leave in the morning
Boeing & Airbus - 'cause they make too many planes
Tesco & Walmart - 'cause they're so cheap everybody has some spare cash to go on holidays
Bush & Blair - 'cause the economy is going too well
Capitalism, the Wright Brothers, Newton...

Except for some industry-insider wise-guy, nobody's gonna know what CFMU in Brussels is. It's part of the bigger ATC picture. Therefore, a slot delay is "due ATC". If this is a lie, then I'd recommend any delay "lies" to stop there.
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Old 14th May 2006, 12:30
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As a controller I would not be miffed at all it a pilot blamed ATC for a genuine delay but, as has already been mentioned, ATC has been blamed for matters totally unrelated to the service. I sat behind a right comedian coming in to LHR from LAX early one morning. At about 5am, and about 100 miles out, he gaily told us that at that time there would be no other traffic so we would have a quick approach to Heathrow and we would be landing in about 20 minutes. I fell about! Needless to say, a few minutes later we started to hold at Bovingdon. The guy then said: "ATC have sprung a surprise on us and told us to hold; they've done that before". I mean to say, don't these people know about noise restrictions?
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Old 14th May 2006, 12:31
  #36 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Roger Copy Charlie
Except for some industry-insider wise-guy, nobody's gonna know what CFMU in Brussels is. It's part of the bigger ATC picture. Therefore, a slot delay is "due ATC". If this is a lie, then I'd recommend any delay "lies" to stop there.
Is CFMU ATC though? Without wishing to invoke some form of semantic flame war ATC do Air Traffic Control, CFMU are in the business of Traffic Management. Slots, flow etc. etc. are all forms of traffic management. ATC are the people who move you from A to B, safely and in an orderly and expeditious manner.
Perhaps both sides of the industry need to recognise that it is NOT ATC who cause delays, (they manage them) but Traffic Management.
Why do we have Traffic Management? For all the reasons mentioned above people like to fly, they generally want to depart early, there are too many aircraft wanting to use limited facilities all at the same time. Somehow this has to be managed and someone (or more than one) will 'lose out' on the time they want. Coming into an airport is similar but can be made much more complicated by weather or other problems (runway out of use for a period etc). These difficulties are not caused by ATC but it is ATC who have to manage them and get the 'blame'. So not only does the ATC'er have to work their socks off when the weather deteriorates but they also get blamed for it! Hhhhmmmm!


BD
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Old 14th May 2006, 12:39
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I knew what I was going to say was a bit controversial, but I stand by it. It's too broad a stroke imposing 50 minute slot delays like Eurocontrol or whoever does. When you do manage to get an earlier departure, you find yourself whistling past Paris with the sky to yourself and a quick approach into LHR/LGW, which means you could have gone earlier and gotten away with it fine. I still think leave ATC to stop the bumping and let airlines keep to the schedules they have been given and licensed for, taking holding as necessary. I was convinced that if Eurocontrol could demonstrate how many slot delays they were 'obliged' to impose, it would influence their demand for more budget from the politicos. It's very difficult to predict a wave of arrivals, and holding everybody up doesn't achieve much- just puts off the problem to another time whilst making LHR the arrival delay capital of the world- the 'worlds most busy international arrival delay airport!'.
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Old 14th May 2006, 12:40
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I always tell the pax that atc have told us that our earliest take off time is....

Thereby nobody gets the blame and no lie has been told.

BUT does it matter if ATC do get the blame?

For commercial reasons it is in the airlines' interest not to shoulder the blame, but, apart from a bit if pride, what effect does it have on ATC?

I do agree that if you are sat on the ground with a tech problem or pax handling problem, to blame it on ATC is asking for trouble, you could well be digiing yourself a big hole for 10 minutes down the line when your areplane is unfixable and you ask the pax to disembark.
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Old 14th May 2006, 12:51
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Originally Posted by fmgc
BUT does it matter if ATC do get the blame?

For commercial reasons it is in the airlines' interest not to shoulder the blame, but, apart from a bit if pride, what effect does it have on ATC?
Some countries ANSP's (Air Navigation Service Provider) are also a commercial enterprise. So YES it does matter when you blame ATC when it is not their fault. Too much delay attributed to the ANSP means they get hit by penalties.
Apart from that I would suggest most ATC'rs take a pride in their work and don't take kindly to being 'blamed' for something which they're actually trying to avoid!

BD
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Old 14th May 2006, 13:03
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Rainboe,

You're sure the delay imposed was always due to an LHR arrival restriction?

Yes, ATFM as we know it is an imprecise art. We in the UK are trying to change it, but it's a gradual process.

99% of all the ATCOs I know take great pride in providing the highest possible service. However, that attitude actually makes things more difficult sometimes, when thinking of the 'big picture'. The present ATFM attempts to manage the capacity of the system, but that system can be thrown totally out if; a few aircraft depart in the -5 of the slot (which we attempt to do if you're ready in time), a few more depart in the +10
part of the slot (or +15 as we can at LHR - which we try to do rather than delaying you and asking for a new one), and add that to one or two great ATCOs busting their guts to give a few direct routeings, and 15 a/c turn up at a sector boundary when 5 have been planned for.

I still think leave ATC to stop the bumping and let airlines keep to the schedules they have been given and licensed for, taking holding as necessary.
Sounds great on paper. However: How would you protect en-route workload? I reckon more than half the slots applied to outbounds from LHR are due to en-route capacity, rather than destination airport capacity. How would you justify the environmental impact of all those a/c going round in the hold. If our four stacks are full, they (you) start to hold further out, cutting the capacity of each TMA (and futher out, en route) sector......
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