JATCA comments on members not performing air traffic duties

Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers' Association
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JATCA comments on members not performing air traffic duties

Unread post by bimjim » Tue Feb 02, 2016


JATCA comments on members not performing air traffic duties


Throughout the past week, out of due consideration for public safety, as well as concerns regarding personal liability, members of the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA) considered it prudent not to perform air traffic control duties using the faulty and malfunctioning equipment present at the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA). International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices, Jamaica Civil Aviation Regulations (JCARS), as well as the JCAA’s own Manual of Operations for The Air Traffic Services, prohibits air traffic controllers from using any equipment to provide air traffic control service once such equipment falls below the stringent levels of function stated in these regulations. This is so because air traffic control is classified as a safety-critical industry.

While we applaud the professional commitment of our members to protect public safety, disappointingly our position was not endorsed by all. We found this quite shocking. Our parent company, the JCAA, having found itself incapable of rectifying the frequent malfunctions being experienced within its air navigations infrastructure, and being unwilling to provide air traffic controllers with indemnity or proper procedures to buffet the effects of failing equipment, sought to utilize the legal machinery of the state afforded to it under essential service considerations, in having the actions of the air traffic controllers being deemed industrial action.

Air traffic controllers, by way of ruling by the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) on January 29, 2016 were issued with an Order to Cease Industrial Action. Out of deference to the authority of the IDT and given the legal implications of defying the Order, air traffic controllers have been forced to resume the provision of air traffic service using faulty equipment, thereby continuing to expose the travelling public to increased risks of unsafe situations. The JATCA intends to explore its legal options regarding this matter.

Our members are fully aware that there is a planned modernization programme to be undertaken at the JCAA with the procurement of new air navigations equipment, and we enthusiastically support any process which promises to enhance the development of our industry. This planned modernization process however, due to its complexity, will not provide air traffic controllers with new equipment with which to conduct their jobs for at least another 2 – 3 years! This means our members will be forced to continue to attempt to ensure public safety using the existing equipment in its current state, fraught with malfunctions and continued degradation!

We continue to encourage public discourse on the serious matters of safety which we have highlighted and we firmly believe that the safety of the users of our airspace must be addressed with the highest level of priority which it deserves. While we pledge our continued efforts at ensuring the safety of the travelling public which we serve, we remain steadfast in our demands to be provided with the requisite assistance to perform our jobs properly, which is only reasonable given the enormous task with which we have been charged; ensuring safe skies.

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