French air traffic controllers called off their work stoppages three days early on June 25 just as Belgian controllers launched a series of two-hour strikes that ran through June 26. The Association of European Airlines said in a statement, “The reason for this social unrest is linked to the self-interest of the unions, which refuse to accept much needed efficiency improvements to their working practices.” Nearly 400 flights in Europe were affected by the strikes on Wednesday alone.
Air traffic control
Testifying yesterday before the Senate subcommittee on aviation on the status of NextGen ATC implementation, FAA deputy administrator Michael Whitaker told lawmakers that “both the FAA and industry must be held accountable if NextGen is to succeed.”
The FAA has extended the expiration date of the final rule requiring civil helicopter pilots to use the New York North Shore Helicopter Route when flying VFR along the north shore of Long Island. The current rule was scheduled to expire on August 6 this year but the FAA extended it for two more years to preserve the current operating environment while it determines whether use of the route should be permanently mandatory.
The two largest French air traffic controller unions–SNCTA and UNSA-INCA–voted Friday to hold a six-day strike beginning June 24 and running through June 29. The controllers are protesting budget cuts designed to reduce air navigation costs by reorganizing airspace into functional blocks. The strike is expected to affect nearly 50 percent of all French air traffic.
Swedish air navigation service provider LFV has given a green light to begin remote-control ATC operations using Saab’s remote tower technology. Operations are set to begin this fall at Sundsvall Airport on Sweden’s east coast.
The Swedish Transport Agency approved technical and operational procedures Sweden’s air navigation service provider LFV will use to operate the world’s first “remote tower,” contractor Saab announced. This fall, controllers at the Sundsvall Remote Tower Center will begin managing takeoffs and landings at Örnsköldsvik Airport, 62 miles distant.
The number of training programs preparing flight crew for the new multi-crew pilot license (MPL) continues to multiply. Before year-end, there will likely be 30 or more active MPL programs around the world with well over 3,000 cadets in the pipeline. The MPL is intended as a competency-based training license focused on preparing new pilots to become airline first officers.
Sustained investment in airport infrastructure and a continuing view of all airports as part of a national aviation-transportation network are paramount to maintaining America’s world-leading aviation system, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told U.S. lawmakers yesterday at a House aviation subcommittee hearing on airport financing and development.
German air navigation service provider (ANSP) Deutsche Flugsicherung (DFS) said that its plan to significantly raise the user fees it charges airlines resulted from less-than-forecast air traffic. The Association of European Airlines (AEA) has denounced the plan and warned that Germany’s airspace will become the most expensive in Europe.
India has completed its ground network for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) tracking of aircraft, according to supplier Comsoft. The German company announced on June 12 that it has finished installing seven new ADS-B ground stations under a second phase of the deployment, which India has integrated into its ATC system.