A normal Day For an Air Traffic Controller
“From The Diary of an Air Traffic Controller”
“ Now I had prepared Myself for my Shift” said the Controller for himself at home, looking back at his Small handbag doing a final check on its contents as now of the hard circumstances of the Pandemic of COVID -19 ,sure the check list of the contents of the small Handbag were all about the new normal precautions like “The Hand Jell (sanitizer) “, the Alcohol spray bottle, the Face Mask, The Gloves, Wet Wipes, Tissue and sure his Head Set beside any other personal belongings (keys , phone ,etc.); After the final check he gives oral (safety) instruction to his Family then he went to his Car and start his way to his control unit.
Upon arrival to his control unit he remind himself, put on the face mask, don’t shack hands with any other then normally he starts to ask this colleagues/ Supervisor “Did our colleague “X” get recovered yet from the infection with the COVID -19 yet?” , “Did any other one of our shift team recorded Positive?” then at his desk on the control position he starts to hand on his control position getting the last technical information /instruction from his colleague to start his work and at the same time start to clean his desk with the Alcohol and wipes, then inserting his Handset being ready for getting control on the Traffic
“WAIT A SECOND”??!!!
Air Traffic Control is the Most stressful job in the World and by looking above finding all this added Stress on The Controller starting from putting on his Clothes till starting taking control on Traffic, A Heavy Load then add the load of the job itself as Air traffic control is the Job where mistakes are unacceptable !! , back to the controller himself, his mind is busy with the life and the pandemic, his eyes on the traffic under his control doing his job busy doing calculations about that traffic, Although the Traffic loads world wide are in very little rates if compered with same times before the pandemic; Here start to Appear a new Safety Issue regarding the Human factors which is Human Performance dealing with Traffic ; by observing the ATCOS on duty we find that their response, situational awareness and the General Work attitude is sluggish(ideal).
So as Safety Specialists we find that it’s a worldwide issue and new mitigation procedures were added to overcome this issue like refresher courses, simulator sessions, increased ECT (Emergency Continuity Training) hours also as a positive point in this hard times, a lot of technical webinars and general ATM , Air navigation topics were available which for sure increases the controllers general technical information beside enriching their continuous Training adding great value to them .
This all mentioned beside continuous monitoring on the Controllers work attitude, supervisors and Controllers were Advised to keep the team work unity, keep observing / helping each other as to overcome this issue during this very hard times Safely.
ATC and ATCOS are the Back bone of the safe operation of ATM in the Air Transport industry as Safety is their main objective and they are Committed to do it under any circumstances in the right Manner.