Irish air visitors controllers warn of ‘disruption’ to air journey in letter to minister


A GROUP OF air visitors controllers has written on to Authorities to boost issues of disruption and security in Irish airspace.  

The claims, which had been despatched in an emailed letter and never communicated through a commerce union, embody allegations across the security of the air visitors management system in Irish airspace. They allege the issues have been attributable to rostering points and understaffing. 

In an announcement the Irish Aviation Authority has refuted the allegations and appealed to the workforce to have interaction with the commercial relations mechanisms obtainable. 

Within the letter, seen by The Journal, the controllers stage quite a few claims on the administration of the company, which is presently present process a break up by Authorities. 

The letter paperwork makes a litany of claims together with:

  • An alleged lack of air visitors management (ATC) providers at airports, which it’s claimed prompting short-term shutdowns of ATC at Cork and Shannon in July. 
  • In keeping with the claims, the same short-term closure at Dublin Airport was narrowly averted in early August. 
  • Security issues have been raised as arduous pressed controllers are positioned on rosters “beneath protest and duress”.
  • They’ve referred to as for the alternative of the IAA administration board. 

Sources stated that 40% of the nation’s 300 Air Visitors Controllers had backed the letter, copies of which had been despatched to TDs and on to the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

As beforehand reported by this publication, industrial relations issues have been raised by the workforce in latest months. 


The IAA is accountable for the administration of Irish-controlled airspace, the security regulation of Irish civil aviation and the oversight of civil aviation safety in Eire.

However beneath a Authorities directive the regulatory operate should be separated from the enterprise facet, which supplies business air navigation providers.

In August Fórsa, the IAA and the Division of Transport all stated that they had been working by means of the method of this separation.

However the letter raised issues about how discussions had been being carried out.

The air controllers elevate issues that rostering issues imply air visitors at airports has been come beneath elevated strain. The IAA, in its assertion to The Journal, didn’t handle this immediately however appealed to all of the workforce to have interaction with industrial relations mechanisms to air their grievances. 

In keeping with the letter from the controllers: “As you might be conscious on quite a few events an Air Visitors Management service was not obtainable at State Airports on account of a scarcity of Air Visitors Controllers. Cork Airport closed for a interval on the twenty fifth July and Shannon Airport on the twenty sixth July.

“The closure of Dublin Airport on the sixth of August was narrowly averted due to the actions of the ATC Department committee.”

The IAA didn’t reply on to queries in regards to the closures talked about within the letter. 


Severe security issues had been additionally raised.

The letter referred to “quite a few latest incidents the place Air Visitors Controllers are having their rostered duties modified on extraordinarily quick discover to cowl employees shortages, successfully forcing ATCOs into working positions beneath protest and duress with none regard for the fatigue such adjustments trigger”.

“I request that such occasions be investigated by the Air Navigation Security Division,” the letter stated, referring to an IAA oversight physique. 

The air visitors controllers have stated that the rostering points and employees shortfalls have vastly affected morale.

“Sadly it appears to be the case that relations inside the IAA have reached an all time low.”

The letter states: “The enterprise mannequin of the IAA requires all ATCOs to take part in an time beyond regulation scheme. Initially designed to cowl unexpected employees shortages, the call-in scheme now could be used to fill gaps on the roster on account of sickness absence, regulatory coaching or venture necessities and annual depart.”

In response to a question, Fórsa – which formally represents the controllers – stated it had lobbied repeatedly to unravel the issue of an over-reliance on time beyond regulation. 


The letter states that until the issues raised are addressed there might be a “disruption of the supply of an Air Visitors Management service for the State”.

The letter claimed that some controllers had been actively in search of different employment. 

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Dublin Airport at twilight.

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The letter concludes with a plea to Minister Ryan to intervene. 

“My union has communicated with you and your Division officers on many events. Nevertheless there has not been a decision to the a number of points as but.

“It’s arduous to imagine {that a} group of execs who’ve adhered to one of the best practices of commercial relations and social illustration by means of Dáil Eireann discover themselves deserted.”

Plea for mediation

The IAA stated in an announcement that it’s conscious of the letter despatched to public representatives “by quite a few Air Visitors Management Officers regarding industrial relations issues between the Firm and its recognised employees consultant our bodies”.  

“As such, the IAA has offered an replace to the Minister for Transport outlining the factual place on the issues raised and refuting the allegations of their entirety.

“The IAA has a long-established industrial relations framework inside the Firm, which these employees and their representatives ought to now re-engage with to debate and resolve these points,” the assertion learn. 

It stated its industrial relations mechanisms contains an Inner Dispute Decision Board (IDRB). It stated that “any employees points or issues” can solely be handled by means of the agreed industrial relations framework.

“The precedence of the IAA and all its employees is security. That is recognised by worldwide observers who regard the IAA as one of many prime air navigation service suppliers globally and a constant excessive performer with regard to compliance with security requirements,” it stated. 

“We invite these staff who’ve raised points to re-engage with the impartial disputes decision course of and to work constructively with the Firm to discover a answer that’s passable for workers and the Firm and permits us to get on with the necessary strategy of rebuilding Irish aviation.”

A Division of Transport spokesperson stated the issues raised within the letter had been a matter for the IAA and that it could not be commenting. 

Fórsa stated it was conscious that letters had been despatched to TDs by IAA staff.  

The union stated that it doesn’t endorse the decision made within the letter for the alternative of the IAA administration workforce however added:

“Fórsa is, nonetheless, involved on the lack of manpower planning within the authority, and has made repeated representations to IAA administration about its over-dependence on time beyond regulation and on-call preparations, and on the necessity to prepare and make use of important further numbers of air visitors controllers and associated employees”.  

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