The tvn24.pl portal has learned that for three and a half hours on Sunday night, there will be no approach controllers at Warsaw’s Chopin Airport. For this reason, the plane will not land from 2 a.m. until 5:30 a.m. at the largest airport in the country. Even if he finds himself in an emergency situation. A similar situation occurred at night from Friday to Saturday. This is the result of the conflict in the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) and the notifications given by the inspectors.
Our reporter found that the approach controllers (without their work no machine would be able to “sit” in the aisle of the Warsaw airport) would not work from 23.59 to 3.30 UTC, that is, from 1.59-5.30 Polish time. During these hours, takeoff and landing are not planned due to the “night silence” that began in March 2018, and is valid from 23:30 to 5:30. However, this does not mean that the lack of controllers changes nothing: the port handles late-night flights and is an alternative airport for many flights. There may also be humanitarian flights at night.
As determined by Grzegorz Łakomski, such an organization of the airport’s work is necessary due to the lack of personnel among the inspectors. The airport in Warsaw was also unable to accept any planes during the night from Friday to Saturday. On the occasion of this event, we spoke to air traffic controllers with many years of experience who decided that the closure of Poland’s largest airport was an “unprecedented” situation.
PANSA on traffic controllers
The Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (Pansa) announced Friday evening that it “is currently facing the challenge of increasing the number of absenteeism from air traffic controllers due to, among other things, sick leave, notifications of malaise, etc., and, consequently, delays in air traffic.” The press release added that the agency “is taking the necessary measures to ensure the review staff and the stability of the situation in the coming days.”
He also stated that “negotiations between the management of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency and the Board of Directors of the Union of Air Traffic Controllers are ongoing and will continue tomorrow, Monday.” “In addition, during the talks, the social side reported on new issues that go beyond the agreed scope” – it was announced in the statement.
The conflict in the penny
Tvn24.pl has been describing the conflict in Bansa for several months. In the second half of January this year, the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency announced that it was in the process of implementing new bonus regulations. It’s part of the agency’s modernization plan. As reported by PANSA at the time, these regulations were developed jointly with the social aspect and approved by the Minister of Infrastructure. According to PANSA, it compensates for the “disproportion in earnings for operational services employees that has grown over the years and introduces a system of employee motivation and incentives.”
The agency stated that nearly three-quarters of its employees, including observers working in regional bodies, and most of the operational and technical services, have adopted the new terms and are working under the new rules. Under the new pay regulations, air traffic controllers can earn up to 45,000 PLN per month, including resources from the bonus fund. Furthermore, each of the Agency’s employees may receive an additional bonus for working on development projects implemented by PANSA.
However, the conflict concerns not only the issue of wages, but also the issue of security in the skies of Poland. Maciej Sosnowski, President of the Union of Air Traffic Controllers, in an interview with tvn24.pl: – The gradual deterioration of safety will eventually lead to disaster, as two planes collide in our airspace.
His deputy in the union, Andrzej Fenrych, tells him: – Working at PANSA, in this way, with such managers, is simply dangerous. Even if it rained gold on us and nothing else changed, we wouldn’t go back to work.
This is confirmed by the results of the Office of Financial Supervision. “The Supreme Audit Office has a negative opinion about the activities of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency in each of the analyzed regions,” we read in the document received by tvn24.pl. The Supreme Court of Audit considers that “the state of tension within the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency may lead to a decrease in the level of air traffic safety.” The agency’s inspectors note that “auditors reported feeling overburdened” and that “auditors (…) also encountered confusion.”
On Thursday, March 31, 44 people bid farewell to work at Pence. At the end of April, the notice periods for another 136 people will expire. If they go too far, out of the 216 zones and zoom controllers that work so far, there will be 36, just one in six.
Change the president in pence
On March 31, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, at the request of Infrastructure Minister Andrzej Adamczyk, appointed Anita Oleksiak as head of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency. Oleksiak replaced Janusz Janiszewski, President of PANSA, in this position.
The air traffic controllers union assessed that the change in the position of the person who runs the agency is “undoubtedly a step in the right direction.”
“The union hopes that the new president will get acquainted with the latest assessment of the situation by Eurocontrol, but also with our analyzes of the situation in which the agency has found itself, as a result of poor management – unprecedented, in its long history and we will jointly develop a program to restore safety to Polish paradise and rebuild the soul that has been damaged recently for the work of the controllers. We are open to conversations and provide recommended solutions to restore the proper functioning of the enterprise” – we can read in the union press release.
In recent days, talks are taking place between the management of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency and the union of air traffic controllers about the terms of the bonuses. “So far, during the talks, security issues were widely discussed, which is a priority for both parties. In addition, during the talks, more issues outside the scope agreed upon by the social side were reported” – Pansa reported on Friday, adding That and that talks will continue on Monday.
Main image source: TVN24
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