President’s Message on Covid

I write this President's Address at a time when I thought I would be covering a range of ATC issues but unfortunately, we are facing one all-encompassing issue, COVID-19.

As Air Traffic Controllers and Air Traffic Specialists we are clearly in unprecedented times and face challenges that were unimaginable a few months ago. No one could have expected or foreseen what is happening across the Aviation sector globally. The aviation situation has changed for everybody, with much uncertainty for ANSPs, airports, airlines and of course for us all as Air Traffic Professionals. The Aviation sector maybe on a complete reset and now more than ever ATC Unions must work closely together as a group to share best practice and jointly develop ideas so that we all are best placed to deal with the ongoing COVID -19 crisis.

As you would expect the members of The Alliance are currently adapting and reacting to circumstances unique to their own country. You can find information on the situations we are all facing and the work we are all doing here on this website.

The situation has developed at rapid pace and the members of the Alliance Unions have responded with measured, considered responses to this challenge, it’s just what we do, its in our DNA.

The immediate protection of our workforce from the virus has been essential, together with continuity of service provision and matching staffing teams to declining traffic. Measures such as standby shifts and social distancing in the workplace are now common place. Our flexibility will be needed more than ever over the coming weeks as we approach what is hopefully the peak of infection in most countries.  Although passenger numbers are dropping to levels not seen for decades, there are repatriation flights, cargo flights and ambulance flights that still require us to keep every user of the air traffic system safe. 

The challenges faced by us all in the global aviation industry are changing day by day and these are indeed unique times.  Although COVID-19 is different and it brings with a great deal of uncertainty,  we have all weathered difficult times before. The Aviation professionals we represent were instrumental in helping with the response to 9/11, the economic downturn and the volcanic ash cloud, we have learnt from what we did before and we will be using our experiences again as we deal with this challenge. 

Through the foundation of The Alliance we will be able to work as a collective to share our experiences, so we are best placed to start the process of restoring the Global ATM system. We remain committed to our core values of and desire to develop collaborative relationships across the aviation industry by speaking with a collective labour voice.  In the coming months, as our world hopefully stabilises, we will be developing our partnership program, continue to forge and encourage collaboration with ANSPs and look to foster closer relationships with Industry to ensure that our members are best equipped to face whatever challenges the future holds.

Stay safe

In Solidarity

Paul Winstanley
President Global Alliance