Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

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Bracebrace
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Air Belgium in 2018

Post by Bracebrace » 30 Jul 2018, 11:23

737MAX wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 11:15
Epidemic? I’d say these slots are becoming... pathetic?!!

This year is completely crazy. Slots on almost every single flight, sometimes even in the middle of the night! It has never been that bad...
Yep, I can confirm although I have the impression France and Spain are the problem and rumours going around are that slots have become a way to "strike in disguise". Marseille upper regions seem to be very "slotty". Anway, frequently going through Spanish and French airports at night with not a single bird in the sky, yet getting a 1 hour slot thrown at us for no apparent reason. It is ridiculous.

Nevihta
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Re: Air Belgium in 2018

Post by Nevihta » 30 Jul 2018, 11:59

Slots can also happen for ATC staff shortage, and a lot of ANSP in western Europe are short of staff...

737MAX
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Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by 737MAX » 30 Jul 2018, 13:13

KriVa wrote:
29 Jul 2018, 17:32
Desert Rat wrote:
29 Jul 2018, 17:23
...it's an epidemic!!!
I just wanted to comment that this part is actually pretty true.
As an example: flights departing from BRU without a slot delaying their departure due to a restriction somewhere along the route are rather rare these days. Lots of traffic, lots of bad weather, and a few strikes here and there cause more than a little mess and headaches at EuroControl.
Flights often also tend to end up with multiple regulations limiting when they can depart.
Epidemic? I’d say these slots are becoming... pathetic?!!

This year is completely crazy. Slots on almost every single flight, sometimes even in the middle of the night! It has never been that bad...

You don’t even know before boarding when you’ll be allowed to depart; these slots keep on changing all the time, sometimes from a slot at STD to another one up to 2-3 hours after! Completely mad. And that is obviously out of control for the airline...

Too much traffic? Bad weather? Yeah right. Complicated/way too complex european airspace is probably a good explanation for these slots... (without forgetting the huge amount of strikes of French ATC, or their « slow motion » mode when they are not officially on strike).

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luchtzak
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by luchtzak » 30 Jul 2018, 13:16

I have created a new topic on the air traffic control restrictions, the message posted by 737MAX should come up first but doesn't, as I had to copy his message from the other topic.

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sn26567
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by sn26567 » 30 Jul 2018, 16:26

Evert day Ryanair published statistics with the number if flights delayed by ARC staff shortages, mainly in France, Germany and the UK. Impressive!
André
ex Sabena #26567

Nevihta
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by Nevihta » 30 Jul 2018, 20:45

Anyhow, it's every summer the same. less staff (holidays) and more flights (tourists) makes it difficult.
On another hand, don't take for granted figures provided by Ryanair, they have been changing the figures more than once to fit their claims...

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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by jan_olieslagers » 30 Jul 2018, 21:18

On your first point, I am not so sure: it does not require a high degree of skill to plan human resources well in advance, according to estimated demand. And the increase in demand can certainly be estimated, it is verily the same thing every summer.

On your second point, I can only agree: never trust figures offered by marketeers, least of all succesful marketeers.

Nevihta
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by Nevihta » 30 Jul 2018, 21:28

jan_olieslagers wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 21:18
On your first point, I am not so sure: it does not require a high degree of skill to plan human resources well in advance, according to estimated demand. And the increase in demand can certainly be estimated, it is verily the same thing every summer.
It's just that ATCOs like to go on holidays at the same time as their kids, so there's less workers available (even to replace in case of sickness)...
The main problem is understaffing, which has been happening for a long time, and trying to attract foreign controllers is not that successful... so no short term solution.

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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by jan_olieslagers » 30 Jul 2018, 21:44

Ok, I agree, long term planning is not rocket science, but it does require a certain "stock" of available resources. Indeed understaffing might well be the real issue, much rather than summer holidays.

convair
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by convair » 30 Jul 2018, 22:22

jan_olieslagers wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 21:44
Ok, I agree, long term planning is not rocket science, but it does require a certain "stock" of available resources. Indeed understaffing might well be the real issue, much rather than summer holidays.
The solution is a Europe-wide ATC! When will the EU understand?

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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by jan_olieslagers » 30 Jul 2018, 23:12

Some might suggest to rather scale down this responsability to the regional authorities... :)
But what would such a change of level, either up or down, change to the lack of funding?
ATC is a public service that does not bring (a lot of) direct revenue, so nobody is wiling to pay for it.

That said: above certain altitudes, ATC is organised on a European level, or at least multinationally. Local ATC must always be local*. There is a certain area in between, where some shifting could be organised, yes perhaps. But in this complicated Europe of ours, it will never be easy. Some countries are very much "pro Europe" as long as they need not give up any local authority... But that is touching on politics :(

*Except perhaps for "remote towers" as they are implementing in Norway, as I understand. An exceptional case, though: aerodromes with very very little traffic yet occasionally requiring tower control for commercial air transport every once in a while.

737MAX
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by 737MAX » 31 Jul 2018, 09:03

jan_olieslagers wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 23:12
Some might suggest to rather scale down this responsability to the regional authorities... :)
But what would such a change of level, either up or down, change to the lack of funding?
ATC is a public service that does not bring (a lot of) direct revenue, so nobody is wiling to pay for it.

That said: above certain altitudes, ATC is organised on a European level, or at least multinationally. Local ATC must always be local*. There is a certain area in between, where some shifting could be organised, yes perhaps. But in this complicated Europe of ours, it will never be easy. Some countries are very much "pro Europe" as long as they need not give up any local authority... But that is touching on politics :(

*Except perhaps for "remote towers" as they are implementing in Norway, as I understand. An exceptional case, though: aerodromes with very very little traffic yet occasionally requiring tower control for commercial air transport every once in a while.
As you said, Eurocontrol is above a certain altitude.
I’ll give you an example...

A flight from Sevilla to Eindhoven will be allowed in the Eurocontrol airspace and will therefore be allowed to start its descent towards Eindhoven pretty much on profile (= less fuel burn).

A flight from Sevilla to Antwerp (50km south of EIN) will have to start its descent way too early (between Bordeaux and Paris to about FL360-340-320) and arrive in Belgium below FL240 (= another early descent) because that flight is not allowed in the Eurocontrol airspace!!

That’s what we mean when we talk about complex airspace. Towers have nothing to do with that, slots almost never come from a tower area (unless there is a good reason for it).

This year is really, really bad. A lot of delays are caused by slots, and unfortunately these delays can be major.

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KriVa
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by KriVa » 31 Jul 2018, 09:13

convair wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 22:22
The solution is a Europe-wide ATC! When will the EU understand?
That's basically what EuroControl is for the upper levels.
If you take a look at the list of restrictions, it obviously doesn't solve the problem.
Just because you make some service pan-European, doesn't mean your problems are solved overnight. You will still need basically the same amount of people to move the same amount of traffic, so not much will be gained or lost by doing it.
There are other benefits though, but they are outside the scope of this topic.
Keep in mind, a lot of operators are planning flights intentionally below blocks of airspace managed by EuroControl, in order to avoid those restrictions.
This, in turn, means even more traffic passes through the lower levels.
Late filing or late updating of a flight plan can also mean you get a huge slot (in the order of 2-3 hours). Sometimes there's a way to improve, sometimes there isn't.
Thomas

737MAX
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by 737MAX » 31 Jul 2018, 10:23

And in the mean time, in the US, the word « slot »
is still completely unknown...

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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by Poiu » 31 Jul 2018, 10:33

Nevihta wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 20:45
Anyhow, it's every summer the same. less staff (holidays) and more flights (tourists) makes it difficult.
It is not normal that there is less staff during the peak season.
ATC is a seasonal business, staff is well paid, limited summer leave should be part of that package.
It is pathetic Indeed, this weekend 5 hours slot on a 2100h departure from FAO...

737MAX
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by 737MAX » 31 Jul 2018, 10:49

Poiu wrote:
31 Jul 2018, 10:33
Nevihta wrote:
30 Jul 2018, 20:45
Anyhow, it's every summer the same. less staff (holidays) and more flights (tourists) makes it difficult.
It is not normal that there is less staff during the peak season.
ATC is a seasonal business, staff is well paid, limited summer leave should be part of that package.
It is pathetic Indeed, this weekend 5 hours slot on a 2100h departure from FAO...
Probably 1 CB in Paris and 1 TCU in Madrid airspace? :roll: :lol:
Needless to say that some countries in Europe have quite low standard ATCO's... and it's probably part of the problem, too. France, Greece and Spain are particularly terrible :cry:

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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by mvg » 01 Aug 2018, 10:25

The reason for ATC delays/slots is always the same: the traffic demand exceeds the traffic capacity in an ATC sector (en-route delay) or at an airport.

We all know the reasons for airport delays: weather (most of the time), runway closures, equipment (e.g. ILS, airport lighting) failures and also sometimes lack of ATC staff. Not much to do about it except for the staff shortages: have multi qualified controllers that can work in different environment (approach / tower) to have more flexibility when rostering them and/or recruitment!

The reason for en-route delay is because ATC cannot handle the amount of traffic in a particular block of airspace. How is that possible?

There can be many reasons (and solutions) too:

- airspace design is not adapted anymore to the current traffic levels (Belgian airspace design dates back from the second world war and since then only patches have been put on it). Check US airspace: way more dense with many more airport but designed to make life easy: straight forward and logical rules, standard airspace around each airport, flexibility, and so on.

- controllers have the power to set the sector capacities, and “for safety “ reasons, they are able to set almost any figure they want, usually well under the real capacity

- if a sector is overloaded, it should be split-> controllers sometimes do not want to open a sub-sector because it would affect their proudness ("I can handle it myself, don't worry") and also because it would give them less breaks. Some ATC sectors in Belgium literally NEVER get open. Sad because sometimes offloading one or two planes to another frequency enables a controller to work much more efficiently.

- Controllers have no performance criteria to be met. Whether a guy lands 15 planes per hour or 35, the salary is the same and no one is thanked for the good work. So many say, why would I make any effort?

That's valid for Belgium and also many other countries where ATC is still a public service. Why is UK ATC so good? They are privatised and have to reach objectives. And if they don’t reach them, they have justify themselves and sometimes give compensations to the airlines and/or the airports.

I see the safety argument coming but there is an “in between” between what exists now (way too restrictive and over and over cautious) and something unsafe.

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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by Passenger » 01 Aug 2018, 11:54

From the Trivia 2016 topic:
luchtzak wrote:
01 Aug 2018, 02:26
Photoshop fail: newspaper De Standaard photoshops another aircraft on this picture, in the background you can spot a TUI aircraft taking off on the real runway (07R).
Well, fake news with the photo indeed (it's De Standaard...), but the introduction of the article itself is correct: "...Terwijl het verzet tegen luchthavens en vliegverkeer toeneemt, blijven de Europese luchthavens uitpakken met recordcijfers. Waar ligt de grens? Economisch kan het luchtverkeer nog groeien, maar dan halen we nooit de klimaatdoelstellingen van Parijs...." Translated via Google Translate: "...While opposition to airports and air traffic is increasing, European airports continue to expand with record figures. Where is the limit? Economically, air traffic can still grow, but we will never achieve the climate goals of Paris..."

Growth in aviation is spectacular, and it's all individual companies who realize that growth: charter companies discovering new routes, airlines introducing more routes and/or more frequencies, aircraft manufacturers increasing capacity/delivery, increasing world population leading to more passengers needing flights.

And the sky is the limit - no one limits their growth. But topic and increasing protest against aircraft pollution proof that the sky is not the limit. When all involved continue with their unlimited growth, there soon will be a turning point, followed by a setback.

UGent / University Ghent recently introduced a no-fly travel instruction for all their staff, when there is an alternative and acceptable railway connection. Once big private companies copy that principle and once anti-aviation forces manage to convince the public to avoid air traffic, the ATC congestion problem will be gone.

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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by Passenger » 06 Aug 2018, 12:25

"...Delays – three questions and many answers..."

article from Eurocontrol towards the public:
http://www.eurocontrol.int/news/delays- ... ny-answers

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sn26567
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Re: Air traffic control restrictions are getting out of control

Post by sn26567 » 06 Aug 2018, 15:27

Passenger wrote:
06 Aug 2018, 12:25
"...Delays – three questions and many answers..."

article from Eurocontrol towards the public:
http://www.eurocontrol.int/news/delays- ... ny-answers
Glad to see that Eurocontrol's definition of the duration of a flight corresponds to the one I have always used in my flight reports: frm when the aircraft leaves the gate (push-back) until one door opens at arrival. FR24 seems to have a different definition.
André
ex Sabena #26567

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