European union groups remain critical of basis of next Single Sky regulatory period

Humans must remain at the core of ATM both at the level of service provision and the customer, according to European controller union grouping ATCEUC which is critical of how the next raft of regulatory targets that will govern Single Sky performance are being set.

At its latest yearly meeting held in Lviv in Ukraine, the umbrella group said the next four-year period which starts in 2020 should be first and foremost about passenger and airline safety rather than cost and targets.

“It is widely accepted that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is neither wise nor efficient, to say the least,” the group said in a statement issued after its annual summit. “To repeat an experiment with the same parameters and expect a different outcome is just a waste of time and effort. Yet, this is what the European Commission is trying to accomplish with [the third reference period] RP3.”

“Could this be the explanation for repeating the mistakes of RP1 and RP2, should those schemes, as well as planned provisions of RP3, benefit the airlines by harming air navigation service providers (ANSP)?” it asked.

It was critical of the Performance Review Board (PRB) for entrusting a handful of academics to assist the European Commission drafting the principles that will define the next regulatory period.

“However, the frontline operators remain voiceless in these attempts to model and define traffic efficiency and complexity around Europe in mathematical terms,” it complained. ” The results of these studies speak for themselves.”

Radical ideas such as single controller operations, controller mobility, increased automation and cross-border operations continue, it said, to be brought to the table by the Commission while ‘unsuitable solutions’ such as incentive schemes, unfair parameters within traffic and cost /risk sharing mechanisms and unrealistic KPIs are still being proposed by both the European regulator and the PRB.

“Why are they still missing the point? Humans have to remain at the core of ATM, both at service provision and at customer level. It is not only about cost and targets. It is first and foremost about safety for passengers and airlines. This must be the ultimate goal of RP3 and must remain the focus of our attention.”