COVID-19 and the Alliance member states

The ongoing Covid-19 situation has had a profound effect on the Aviation sector across the globe as mentioned in the President’s address.  Below are some brief facts about the situation across The Alliance member states.

  • Canada – CATCA
    • Traffic down about 90% from normal numbers
    • 3rd largest carrier has stopped flying
    • Facilities running in a midnight configuration
    • No talk of layoffs
    • CATCA members are having a referendum vote to delay the pay increase/retroactive back-pay
  • USA – NATCA
    • 80+ FAA Employees have tested positive
    • Non-essential personnel out of building on excused absence
    • Currently running Midnight Configurations across most of the NAS
      • Most facilities running 5 days on, 10 days off
      • Some running two crews – 5 days on, 5 days off
      • 8 facilities are still running normal staffing
    • Traffic down across the US about 70%, NY TRACON down 82%
    • Medium and Low-activity towers only down about 30% as flight schools and general aviation still flying.
    • Training has been stopped and high-risk employees sent home
    • Still working on adjusting the hours of operations and possibly closing low-level towers.
    • FAA not discussing RIF’s or Furloughs at this point
  • New Zealand – NZALPA
    • Traffic down 95%
    • Airways down to 5% revenue
      • Grounded the international fleet entirely
    • Membership deferred pay increase by 94%
    • Contingent rosters at every sector/Midnight Roster
    • “We are an island in the pacific”
      • We are in absolute lockdown
    • No VFR’s currently flying
    • Relationship with employer has dipped somewhat
      • They want to closer regional towers. NZALPA is going to fight this as it is a short-term solution to show saving money on the books for the next two years.
  • Australia – CIVIL AIR
    • Traffic levels across Australia have taken a massive hit and our industry is on its knees! We have seen traffic decrease approximately 80-90%. For example, Sydney on the 7/4/20 had 87 movements as compared to just over 900 for the same day last year. The only areas of aviation we have seen un effected is Medevac aircraft, General Aviation (especially flight training) and the FIFO mining traffic around the country. As we are seeing around the world taxiways and some runways are being turned into makeshift parking areas for aircraft.
    • Rosters are similar to US – 4 teams (morning, afternoon, night, reserve)
    • Closed Towers: Hamilton Island (due to the closure of the airport)
    • Staffing impact:

Most non-operational staff who can undertake their task from home have been working from home for Airservices since early March. Most operational staff (ATCs, Tec’s, Fire Fighters etc.) are still working at their respective units, albeit with new measures agreed between Civil Air and Airservices management. On 23/3/20, both parties came to an agreement on a new roster that was implemented over the next 7 days which had the following aims:

  • Operational staff to follow isolation/team shifts.
  • A reserve team put in place to provide redundancy for the likely hood of a positive test.
  • Increased leave acquittal for staff not required.
  • At this point we are talks with Airservices there has been no indication of any redundancies or stand down plans for our operational controllers. The memories of mistakes made during previous events such as Sep. 11 are still raw, so we are trying to keep the workforce ready for the inevitable recovery whatever that looks like.
  • Industry Hibernation: The aviation industry is going into hibernation with airlines standing down staff to stem the cash flow and try to ride out the crisis. Airservices projection is that when we do see aircraft movements increase again its likely to be only at a level of 80% of pre- COVID19 movements for 2 years. What impact that has on the industry, the country and indeed how it fits into the new look world aviation market is yet to be seen
  • Perth has higher traffic due to the mining industry
  • Increase in GA traffic
  • Spain – USCA
    • Rosters have been changed
    • 34 positives all over country
    • 43 at home with symptoms
    • Traffic down 94.6% from same day in 2019
      • Only 1 of 20 flights from last year
    • Fees/Money – all airline payments from Feb-May will be delayed till November – August 2021
    • No layoffs at this time
    • Possible promotion of early retirements
  • UK – PROSPECT ATCOs’ BRANCH
    • Working Reduced schedule
      • 6 days on, 4 days off and 6 & 3 maintained
      • Standby shifts introduced
    • Traffic down 90%
    • Some airports critical
    • London City closed to civil flights, 24-hour standby for medivacs
    • Belfast City (reduced hours)
    • Birmingham (night closure)
    • Bournemouth (reduced daytime hours, closed weekends)
    • Bristol (night closure)
    • Cardiff (night closure)
    • Exeter (reduced hours)
    • Edinburgh (H24 but terminal only open daytime hours)
    • London Gatwick (extended night closure. Zero rated outside 1400 -2200)
    • Manchester (reduced hours)
    • Norwich (reduced daytime hours)
    • Oxford (reduced daytime hours)
    • Southampton (open for 2 hours per day, staff on-call out with these times)
    • Furlough scheme introduced by Government
    • Many ANSPs have commenced furloughing
    • Furlough ATCO’s in NATS starting on April 11th in a 3-week rotation.
    • All Trainees furloughed
    • So far, no cuts in pay in NATS. Some ANSPs furloughing staff on 80% of salary
    • NATS Reversed pay deal – 2.3% deferred. Similar instances across the other ANSPs. Pay deferral the norm.

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