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IFATCA Manual Excerpts


Extracts from  manual on professional policy

International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Association

2.1 Methods of Determining Conditions of Operation and Service

Member Associations should urge their national authorities to implement regulations and/or legislation to provide:

a) a specifically defined personnel statute for air traffic controllers, taking into account the outstanding responsibilities, physio-/psychological demands and strains involved to match with comfortable regulations.

b) Participation of active air traffic controllers through their professional associations when determining conditions of operation and/or employment (Brussels 1979).


Member Associations should make use of the ILO Conclusions in their contract negotiations with their employers, where these may be suitable.


The Executive Board should use any lawful means to achieve, through and by the ILO, an international instrument, based on the above Conclusions or improved ones, by which aviation authorities would be encouraged to become signatories (Toronto 1980)

2.2 Management/controller Relationship

ATC management staff directly concerned with executive air traffic control matters should have a thorough knowledge of air traffic control and be holders of an air traffic controller's licence and, to remain fully conversant with current air traffic control problems, their knowledge should be continually updated.

2.3 Working Environments

Rules of ergonomics should be respected in the design of work places and optimum microclimate conditions should be obtained or maintained (Copenhagen 1978)

2.4 ATC Systems

Research should be carried out in each country to determine the capacity of the ATC system and the workload to be carried by each air traffic controller.

2.5 Automation/Human Factors

The Controller must remain the key element of the ATC system and must retain the overall control function of the system. Safeguards must be established to ensure that the controller remains an active, rather than a passive, user of an automated system (Port of Spain 91 C.11)


A Controller shall not be held liable for incidents in which a loss of separation occurs due to a resolution advisory issued by an automated system (Christchurch 93.C.23)

3.1 Duty Rosters

The duty roster should be based on at least 2 consecutive days off in every 7 days.


Duty rosters should be agreed with the air traffic controllers involved.


An optimal roster should be promulgated, based on the maximum allowed number of working hours per week and per shift, a minimum number of break periods of an agreed minimum length, both during a shift and between shifts and on an optimal night/day switch number per week or per month as appropriate. This roster requires definition of personnel strength based on the number of sectors and traffic density. It must allow for attribution of a minimum number of days paid leave, sick leave, extraordinary leave and unpaid leave. It must be such that a minimum number of weekends per month and of public holidays per year can be taken as they occur and not later. Conditions for overtime and night work (e.g. rest facilities) must be defined and the regulations governing the various kinds of leave be clearly stated.

3.2 Work and Rest Scheme

Definition: Operational Duty: The period which an ATCO is actually exercising the privileges of the ATCO's licence at an operational position.


The average time of operational duty and breaks should not exceed 32 hours per week.


Each shift should not exceed 7 hours 30 minutes including breaks.


The continuous operational duty for an ATCO should be 2 hours and should be reduced to 90 minutes for ATCOs working with visual terminals and/or radar displays; after which a minimum 30 minutes break, away from the working environment should be given to ATCOs.


By night, the total operational duty time should not exceed 5 hours. (Jerusalem 95.C.2)

4.1 General Provisions

A remuneration for the profession of air traffic controller is justified commensurate with the requirements and responsibilities of the profession, not limited by the practices of other organisations.


Equal remuneration for equal work is justified with relation to duties and responsibilities.

4.2 Remuneration principle

Remuneration for air traffic controllers should recognise the uniqueness of the Air Traffic Control profession and the associated responsibilities.


Remuneration of air traffic controllers should reflect their "employment status" in accordance with ILO Publication ISCO*-88, in which air traffic controllers have been put in a category that includes Aircraft pilots, ships' officers and other related "associate professionals".

* International Standard Classification of Occupations 

Remuneration should be commensurate with acquired levels of skill and experience. The remuneration of controllers should therefore reflect their skills and also have relation to the acquired amount/type of ratings.


When a controller is assigned additional tasks, such as instruction or system-development, this should also be reflected by a higher remuneration level. (Ottawa 94.C.12)
The above said manual also brings about the uniqueness of the profession of ATCOs, level and difficulty of responsibilities, how should the remuneration be fixed etc., working conditions etc.

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