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Limited formal guidance for consolidation periods

Issue number: AO-2012-012-SI-02
Who it affects: Air traffic control – all operation types
Issue owner: Airservices Australia
Operation affected: Aviation: Airspace management
Background: Investigation Report AO-2012-012
Date: 18 October 2013

Safety issue description

The air traffic services provider had limited formal guidance regarding how to determine appropriate consolidation periods for en route controllers on one sector before they were transitioned to commence training on another sector.

Response to safety issue

Airservices Australia (Airservices) advised the ATSB that the National ATS Administration Manual provided formal documented guidance regarding consolidation after the initial endorsement and factors determining consolidation periods. Airservices provided no advice of safety action in relation to this safety issue.

   
ATSB comment/action in response  

The ATSB is not satisfied that Airservices has adequately addressed the identified safety issue. While the National ATS Administration Manual provides some guidance, as stated in the report, the minimum time periods for controller consolidation are not prescribed. As such, there is no formal time period required for consolidation and the subjective assessment is delegated to ‘supervisors' in determining respective consolidation periods. It is not stated that any formal documentation of assessment is to be performed or that a training specialist or the controller themselves be involved in the process. As such, this safety issue has not yet been adequately addressed by Airservices Australia and the ATSB issues the following recommendation.

Recommendation

Action organisation: Airservices Australia
Action number: AO-2012-012-SR-018
Date: 18 October 2013
Action status: Released

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that Airservices Australia takes safety action to address the limited formal guidance regarding how to determine appropriate consolidation periods for en route controllers on one sector before they were transitioned to commence training on another sector.

Correspondence

Date received: 17 October 2013
Response from: Airservices Australia
Action status: Closed
Response text:

Airservices notes that the ATSB considers we have not yet demonstrated that we have satisfactorily addressed this issue and the associated recommendation, and is currently undertaking an internal review of the National ATS Administration Manual (NAAM) and ATC training plan documentation.

The review is aimed at strengthening the internal guidance to support the progression of a controller’s training, taking into account a number of factors including controller competency. In particular, this review will ensure that the factors and rationale considered are documented appropriately. The review is anticipated to be completed by the end of November 2013. Airservices will advise the ATSB of the outcome of this review and any intended actions.

   
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Status justification:

The ATSB recognises Airservices' work to address this safety issue and are satisfied that, when in place, the Airservices enhancements to the guidance material for controller training will adequately address the safety issue.

 
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Last update 12 August 2015